The town of Bentonville, Arkansas is one of the fasted growing areas in Arkansas.
It is hip and fashionable but still has that small town charm. It is a wonderful city.
From world class biking to world class museums there are so many great things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas.
We love visiting Bentonville and consider it to be one of the most interesting places in our beautiful state. Here is a list of some of our very favorite things to do in Bentonville, AR.
BEST Things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas
Experience Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
If you only have time to make one stop in Bentonville this is where you should go. People come from all over the US and even the world to visit Crystal Bridges.
This museum was given to the town of Bentonville by Alice Walton. It features American art, including works by Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and so much more.
While there you can also tour the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Bachman-Wilson House which is part of their permanent collection.
Crystal Bridges museum also has beautiful grounds that feature native plants, walking trails, and outdoor art installations.
Not only that but it is free to enter!
Visit the Walmart Museum
NOTE: The Walmart Museum is currently undergoing a HUGE restoration. They are planning to re-open on the square in September, 2024. Until then the museum has been moved to a temporary home at The Walmart Museum Heritage Lab.
The Walmart Museum, which is normally located on the Bentonville square, tells the story of Sam Walton and the Walmart empire which, of course, was started in Bentonville and is still headquartered in the city.
This is way more interesting than it sounds as you get to see Walmart ads from around the world, vintage items, and the “wall of returns.”
Go Mountain Biking on a World Class Trail
Did you know that Bentonville is the mountain biking capital of the world? You don’t have to be in Bentonville for very long before you realize that biking is a big, big, BIG, deal here. Biking is one of the very best things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas.
You will find trailheads from beginner to expert, many of which are within one mile of the charming downtown square while others are a bit deeper into the woods.
The city of Bentonville and the Walton Family Foundation have invested heavily in creating and maintaining these trails, making them some of the best in the world.
Experience the Bentonville Town Square
The Bentonville Town Square feels like a southern Star’s Hollow. (Gilmore Girl’s reference!) Seriously, this is one of the prettiest town squares that you will ever see. I would describe it as the heart of Bentonville.
It is the best place to go to experience the small town feel and friendly atmosphere in Bentonville, AR.
The center features a shaded lawn and flower beds with a fountain in the middle. The surrounding streets are filled with boutiques, amazing restaurants, bookstores, bike stores, and coffeeshops. This is a “feel good” place!
There are also a myriad of special events held here including the not to be missed Saturday farmers market which shuts down the streets around the square and features wonderful vendors.
Learn at the Museum of Native American History (MONAH)
The Museum of Native American History or MONAH is another free museum whose mission is “to educate future generations about the lives of the First Americans.”
The founder is David Bogle who is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation and was born and raised in Bentonville.
The museum features an impressive collection of over 10,000 of the finest Native American artifacts. Many of these were part of Mr. Bogle’s private collection, but there are also many donated items as well as some that are on loan to the museum.
This is a great place to learn more about the native Americans who lived not only in Arkansas but throughout North America.
Dream and Create at the Scott Family Amazeum
If you are visiting Bentonville with children you will definitely want to go to the Scott Family Amazeum.
This is an interactive children’s museum that is the place to go for creativity, discovery, and just plain fun.
Enjoy Modern Art at the Momentary
NOTE: The Momentary is currently under renovation and the entire east side is closed. However, they are still holding special exhibits and events so it would definitely be worth checking to see what is on offer while you are in the area.
The Momentary is housed in a former cheese factory which has been remodeled and now features a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces showcasing a wide range of modern art forms. These include visual arts, performance, music, film, and more. They also offer culinary experiences, workshops, and concerts.
The space is also home to a coffee shop (currently closed) and a roof top bar.
Step Back in Time at the Peel Mansion Museum and Gardens
Want to see how some of the earliest Bentonville residents lived? If so, you will definitely want to visit the Peel Mansion Museum and Gardens.
The Peel Museum features an historic home in the Italianate style which was built in 1875 and now serves as a museum. You can tour the home and see the artifacts housed here.
The gardens have the remains of the original apple orchard that used to surround the house. You can also peruse the herb gardens, rose garden, vegetable gardens, and more.
Lift a Glass at one of the Local Bentonville Breweries
Northwest Arkansas is becoming known for some amazing craft breweries. Here are two of our favorites that are located in Bentonville. There are many more in the Northwest Arkansas area!
One of the great Bentonville activities is to relax on an outdoor patio with a local brew after a long bike ride.
- The Bentonville Brewing Company not only has great beer but is a fun place to gather. It is very family friendly with expansive outdoor spaces. You can also bring your dog! And if you get hungry they food from local trucks on site.
- Bike Rack Brewing is in the 8th street market. This is a nano-brewery that offers beers inspired by local flavors. They have a large patio and you can enjoy their “live on the patio” series with free weekly concerts through the spring and summer.
Splash or Skate at Lawrence Plaza
Lawrence Plaza is a fun splash pad where kids can cool off in the hot Arkansas summers. In the winter it transforms into an outdoor ice skating rink!
Stay at the 21 C Museum Hotel Bentonville
The 21 C Museum Hotel Bentonville is located on the town square and is only a short walk from Crystal Bridges.
In addition to being a hotel it is also a contemporary art museum, a cultural center, and home to The Hive restaurant. The galleries are open daily so even if you aren’t staying at the hotel you will want to stop in!
Pick and Play at the Meteor Guitar Gallery
If you are interested in guitars and music then you will absolutely want to visit the Meteor Guitar Gallery. This is a combination guitar shop and a live music venue.
The Meteor is located in an old, restored movie theater. The guitar store has over 1,000 instruments as well as art pieces. You can also host a party or event here.
Check out the calendar on their website to learn about upcoming concerts, movies, and other events.
Watch the Planes Land at Thaden Field
Thaden Field is a gathering place for anyone who loves airplanes and aviation. If you want an aerial adventure this is where you should go.
There is a flight school here, an exhibit hanger, and flights into the Ozark Mountains. There is also a restaurant, the Louise Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner that allows you to sit and eat and watch the planes come and go.
Start Your Morning With A Delicious Coffee
Coffee shops in Bentonville have become more than just a place to get your caffeine fix. They are gathering places for relaxation or work or community.
You will find coffee shops on the Bentonville square, in town, and even along the bike trails.
Stroll Compton Gardens and Arboretum
Compton Gardens and Arboretum is a 6 acre oasis in downtown Bentonville. At this botanical garden you can stroll the peaceful paths while you enjoy seeing native trees, plants, and art installations.
You can also visit the Neil Compton exhibit room. Dr. Compton is a famous Arkansan who was one of the leaders in the fight to save the Buffalo River.
Take a Cooking Class at the Brightwater Center for the Study of Food
The Brightwater Center for the Study of Food is a school for the culinary arts that also offers classes to the community. These classes are for the home chef, foodies, or anyone who wants to become a better cook!
You might find a class about pickling and fermenting, baking, making chocolate drip cakes and many others!
Dine at Excellent Restaurants
The food scene in Bentonville is getting better all the time. In fact, it has some of the best restaurants in the state!
One of the standout features that you will find is the focus on locally sourced ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine. There are a variety of cuisines represented from international foods to barbecue to upscale and innovative. There is something here to fit every taste!
A few of our favorites are The Preacher’s Son, Crepes Paulette, Wrights Barbecue, and Table Mesa but there are so many more!
You will love trying out the food in Bentonville.
Enjoy one of the Beautiful Public Parks in Bentonville
- Osage Park has a wetlands boardwalk, a dog park, and even pickleball courts. You can also fish at Lake Bentonville while watching planes take off from Thaden Field airport.
- Memorial Park has more than 70 acres. There are sports courts and fields, playgrounds, a skateboard park, and a walking trail.
- Orchards Park is right across the street from Crystal Bridges and is a great place to take a walk or picnic. It has paved paths, expansive spaces, and a fountain in the middle.
- Park Springs Park is an older and nicely shaded park with a playground as well as a large lighted pavilion that can be reserved for events. It also has trails that lead to the springs.
- Bella Vista Lake Park is a large and lovely park that allows you to take a walk around Bella Vista Lake. There is a playground, picnic tables, and the 1.8 mile trail.
I hope that you enjoy this list of the best things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas. It is one of our favorite cities in our favorite state! You will definitely want to visit Bentonville.