Best known as the birthplace of the Walmart chain, Bentonville, Arkansas has blossomed into a booming town with plenty of cultural and culinary attractions.
Despite the town's relatively small size, it offers everything from beautiful parks and trails to world-class art and history museums.
A visit to the town wouldn't be complete without a stop at the iconic Walmart Museum, but it would be a shame to pass through without stopping at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as well. Whether you're visiting on business or for pleasure, here are the best things to do during your time in Bentonville.
1. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
© Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is set on a beautiful 120-acre property that features two creek-fed ponds and a network of peaceful walking trails. The museum's permanent collection boasts a variety of American art created from the colonial era to the contemporary period, including paintings and sculptures. General admission is free of charge, but a small fee is sometimes charged to view special exhibitions. The trails and grounds are open to visitors every day of the year between sunset and sunrise, but the museum itself is closed on Tuesdays and select holidays.
600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-418-5700
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2. Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House
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Built in 1956, the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman–Wilson House is an iconic piece of mid-century residential architecture designed in Wright's unique Usonian style. The home was originally constructed in New Jersey on the bank of the Millstone River, but unfortunately, its location meant that it was threatened by periodic flooding. The building was carefully restored by architects Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in the late 1980s, and in 2013 it was purchased by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and relocated to Arkansas. It now sits on the museum grounds beside the beautiful Crystal Spring, and most of the interior is open to the public.
600 Museum Way, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-657-2335
3. Hobbs State Park
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Encompassing 12,055 acres on the shores of Beaver Lake, Hobbs State Park is the largest state park in Arkansas. There are almost 33 miles of multi-use trails available to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, including the 8.5-mile Pigeon Roost Trail, which has five primitive campsites that make it perfect for an easy overnight trip. Picnic areas are available for day-use guests, and the state-of-the-art visitors center features interactive exhibits, classroom space, a small retail boutique, and free Wi-Fi. The park also offers a 100-yard public shooting range, and regulated hunting is permitted on a seasonal basis.
20201 E Highway 12, Rogers, AR 72756-7530, Phone: 479-789-5000
4. Museum of Native American History
© Museum of Native American History
Home to an incredible collection of artifacts found in both North and South America, the Museum of Native American History takes visitors on a fascinating journey through 14,000 years of America's past. The exhibits are arranged in chronological order, beginning with the Paleo period and ending with the European influence of the late 19th century. Highlights include a complete mammoth skeleton, a small arrowhead scavenger hunt for children, and the Sweetwater Biface, which is believed to be the thinnest flint artifact ever discovered. There is no admission fee, and audio wands are available for self-guided tours.
202 SW O St, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-273-2456
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5. Scott Family Amazeum
© Scott Family Amazeum
Designed to engage families in hands-on discovery, the Scott Family Amazeum consists of roughly 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and 1 acre of outdoor property with an interactive "playscape." Exhibits cater to all ages and interests; highlights include a tinkering hub, an art studio, and a science lab where children can do experiments with Hershey's candy. Special events and programs are offered on a regular basis, and the museum is open every day except for Tuesdays and select holidays. Children under two receive free admission, and admission on Wednesday evenings is done on a pay-as-you-like basis thanks to a grant from Tyson Foods.
1009 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-696-9280
6. Slaughter Pen Hollow Trail
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Easily accessible from downtown Bentonville, the Slaughter Pen Trail is a multi-use trail designed with mountain bikers in mind. There's something here for bikers of every ability and interest; special features include log drops, skinnies, and a free ride area with jumps and a wall ride. The well-maintained trails span approximately 20 miles, and they connect to the Blowing Springs mountain bike trail system via Lake Bella Vista. There is plenty of parking nearby.
7. The Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens
© The Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens
Built in 1875 for Colonel Samuel West Peel, the Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens is a gorgeous Italianate villa furnished with authentic antiques. Tours of the home are available for free Tuesday – Saturday, from 10am to 3pm. The beautiful gardens are open to the public free of charge as well. The museum hosts a number of galas and other special events throughout the year, and a special event space can be rented out for weddings and other private events.
400 S Walton Blvd, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-254-3870
8. The Walmart Museum
© The Walmart Museum
Bentonville is known worldwide as the birthplace of the Walmart chain, and the Walmart Museum allows visitors to relive the dime store experience of Walton's original 5&10. The museum is located inside Sam Walton's second store, and highlights include interactive exhibits with period music and children's discovery drawers, authentic memorabilia such as Sam Walton's iconic 1979 Ford F150 pickup truck, and his original office, which remains as it was on the day he died. After visiting the museum, visitors can sit down in the Spark Café Soda Fountain to enjoy an ice cream treat in a retro 1950s setting.
105 N Main St, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-273-1329
9. Onyx Coffee Lab
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Situated right in the heart of downtown Bentonville, the Onyx Coffee Lab is a gorgeous, futuristic coffeehouse that serves specialty espresso drinks, tap beers, and a small selection of quick bites. A sleek bar sits at the center of the cafe, allowing customers to watch as their drinks are prepared. The owners are proud to source and roast their beans themselves, providing a unique farm-to-cup coffee experience that's sure to please even the pickiest coffee connoisseurs. There are also retail products available for purchase, including bags of coffee beans, coffee blossom honey from Guatemala, and a special coffee chocolate. Things to Do in Arkansas
72710, 100 NW 2nd St #106, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-715-6492
10. 21c Museum Hotel
© 21c Museum Hotel
Opened in 2013, the 21c Museum Hotel is a unique contemporary art museum that also houses a boutique 104-room hotel and an upscale restaurant. More than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space is spread out across the property; exhibitions change regularly, but highlights include a Cadillac limousine covered in coins and a giant sculpture of a tree that sprouts basketball hoops instead of leaves. No admission fee is charged, and the museum is open to visitors every day of the year. Cultural events are held regularly throughout the year, and guided tours are offered every Wednesday and Friday evening.
200 NE A St, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-286-6500
11. The Momentary
© The Momentary
What was once a cheese factory is now one of Arkansas’ most popular contemporary art centers! Built out of the remains of a 70-year decommissioned cheese plant, The Momentary redefines what anyone would expect out of an art museum with its welcoming vibe and laid-back atmosphere. Visitors walk through The Momentary’s backyard to enter the venue instead of what would normally be giant front doors, which immediately encourages openness to learn about art, discover new mediums, and grow curious. At the heart of The Momentary is a multidisciplinary art program that fuses traditional exhibition spaces with innovative studio spaces for artists in residency, performance spaces for musical performances, theatre productions, and film showings, as well as areas for culinary and social activities.
507 SE E St, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-418-5700
12. Bizzy B's Bakery
© Bizzy B's Bakery
With its bright blue walls and its decadent selection of cupcakes, pies, and European-style pastries, Bizzy B's Bakery is the ideal place for a mid-day snack break. The chefs and cake decorators are truly passionate about what they do, and there's always a special new creation or two in the display case. The bakery is also pleased to offer beautiful custom cakes and pastries for every occasion, and complimentary cake tastings are offered to wedding customers. The owner and staff take customer satisfaction very seriously, and catering and delivery are available for gatherings of every size.
1501 SE Walton Blvd, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-657-2557
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13. Flying Fish Seafood
© Flying Fish Seafood
Inspired by classic East Texas Fish Joints, the Flying Fish is a casual eatery that specializes in delicious seafood dishes with a Cajun twist. The menu offers everything from fried catfish to crab legs to grilled salmon; hamburgers and salads are available for anyone who's not in the mood for seafood. The restaurant is also home to the unique Billy Bass Adoption Wall, and any customer who donates a Billy Bass will be given a free basket of catfish. Beer, wine, and margaritas are available to accompany your meal.
109 NW 2nd St A, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-657-6300
14. Compton Gardens and Arboretum
© Compton Gardens and Arboretum
Did you know that you can walk straight into an oasis at the heart of Downtown Bentonville? Compton Gardens and Arboretum is a paradise of greenery and relaxation with over 6 acres of land that pay homage to Ozark horticulture and even the efforts to conserve the Buffalo River by Dr. Neil Compton. At Compton Gardens and Arboretum, guests can navigate stunning woodlands, see impressively kept gardens, learn about native plants, and see Champion Trees, all at their own pace. The arboretum and gardens can easily be explored on foot, but bikes are also welcome for those who want to cycle around the trails. Be sure to drop by the Dr. Neil Compton Exhibit Room to learn all about this inspirational figure and passionate conservationist of Northwest Arkansas.
312 N. Main Street, Bentonville, Arkansan 72712; Phone: 479-254-3870
15. Bentonville Brewing Company
© Bentonville Brewing Company
Brewing since 2015, the Bentonville Brewing Company has made it their mission to push the boundaries of traditional and common brewing styles as well as categories to bring forth fresh offerings to their customers straight on tap. Curious beer-loving folk can stop by the Bentonville Brewing Company’s taproom to sample the many craft beers the brewery has to offer. Their state-of-the-art taproom features 24 taps that pour year-round offerings, seasonal offerings, as well as experimental beers in a spacious and family-friendly environment. Enjoy the outdoor area which has a dog park and pump track for kids to enjoy while the adults sip on their drinks. A German-style pub is also in the works for the Bentonville Brewing Company taproom.
901 SW 14th Street, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712; Phone: 479-903-7330
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