Best known as the birthplace of the Walmart chain, Bentonville, AR 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
2.Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House
© Courtesy of peshkov - Fotolia.com
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
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
© Courtesy of fottoo - Fotolia.com
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 and the park also hosts the annual Slaughter Pen Jam, which is one of the top annual bike events in Arkansas.
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 a small fee, but the beautiful gardens are open to the public free of charge. 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. The museum and mansion are open every Tuesday through Saturday, and tours take place every hour on the hour between 10am and 3pm.
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.Bike Rack Brewing Co.
© Bike Rack Brewing Co.
The oldest brewery in Bentonville, the Bike Rack Brewing Co. prides itself on brewing high-quality craft beers inspired by the local lifestyle. A selection of signature beers is always available on tap, and the brewery also offers carefully handcrafts beers in small, seasonal batches that are typically only available for a short period of time. Pints of select beers are sold for only $3 on Mondays and Tuesdays between 5pm and 7pm, and $10 growler refills are offered Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. A trivia night is held every Thursday, and live music is often played on the weekends.
410 SW A St #6, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-268-6648
12.Bentonville Mystery History Tours
© Bentonville Mystery History Tours
Owned and operated by two local members of the Benton County Historical Society, Bentonville Mystery History Tours gives visitors an exciting glimpse into the rich history of Northwest Arkansas. Bentonville Square is surrounded by historic buildings such as the Benton County Court House and Sam Walton's original 5&10, and guests will hear stories about everything from Civil War-era shootings and hangings to the town’s haunted restaurants and theaters. Tours begin in front of the Massey Building, last approximately 90 minutes, and cover one-and-a-half blocks in downtown Bentonville. Private tours can be arranged for groups of ten or more people.
125 W Central Ave, Bentonville Square, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-212-0935
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13.BiteSeeing Food Tours
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Bentonville is home to plenty of excellent restaurants, and BiteSeeing Food Tours offers the opportunity to explore the town in a truly unique way. The tour includes stops at five different locally owned restaurants and, in addition to sampling an excellent range of pre-selected dishes, guests will learn about the history and the inspiration behind the restaurants. Tours last approximately 3 hours and include 2 miles of walking, and anyone with special dietary requirements is kindly asked to let the company know before booking a tour. Private tours can be arranged for groups of between eight and twelve people.
14.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
15.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. The restaurant is open every day between 11am and 10pm, and beer, wine, and margaritas are available to accompany your meal.
109 NW 2nd St A, Bentonville, AR 72712, Phone: 479-657-6300
15 Best Things To Do in Bentonville, AR
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Photo: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
- Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House, Photo: Courtesy of peshkov - Fotolia.com
- Hobbs State Park, Photo: Courtesy of bonniemarie - Fotolia.com
- Museum of Native American History, Photo: Museum of Native American History
- Scott Family Amazeum, Photo: Scott Family Amazeum
- Slaughter Pen Hollow Trail, Photo: Courtesy of fottoo - Fotolia.com
- The Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens, Photo: The Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens
- The Walmart Museum, Photo: The Walmart Museum
- Onyx Coffee Lab, Photo: Courtesy of phatpc - Fotolia.com
- 21c Museum Hotel, Photo: 21c Museum Hotel
- Bike Rack Brewing Co., Photo: Bike Rack Brewing Co.
- Bentonville Mystery History Tours, Photo: Bentonville Mystery History Tours
- BiteSeeing Food Tours , Photo: Courtesy of Christian Schwier - Fotolia.com
- Bizzy B's Bakery, Photo: Bizzy B's Bakery
- Flying Fish Seafood, Photo: Flying Fish Seafood
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of luzitanija - Fotolia.com