Fayetteville, Arkansas is a gem of the Ozarks. The scenic Boston Mountains frame the city, with Mount Sequoyah rising on the eastern horizon. Fayetteville is Northwest Arkansas’ educational and cultural center, so it’s no wonder that U.S. News ranked it as one of the Best Places To Live in 2021.
You’ll quickly find there are numerous unique and exciting things to do in Fayetteville, AR. From watching a riveting football game at the University of Arkansas to exploring historic sites and the coffee shops, bars, boutiques, and eateries along Dickson Street, Fayetteville has plenty of happenings to entertain and delight.
Ready to learn more? Here are 13 things to do in Fayetteville AR that you and your crew will love!
TAILGATE A UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOOTBALL GAME
The University of Arkansas has a very dedicated fanbase for its sports programs, especially its football team. The Razorbacks first season was in 1894, making it one of the oldest programs in the country.
Folks outside of Arkansas may not know that UofA has two football stadiums – one is in Little Rock, but the primary home of the Razorbacks is the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The stadium can house up to 76,000 fans – and on game days against rivals Ole Miss and Louisiana State University, every seat is full of screaming fans.
You won’t get a more thrilling or exciting football experience than at a University of Arkansas football game. Tailgate parties are famous for burgers, music, and face painting to gear up fans for the game. After the game, make sure to hit up downtown to celebrate the win at one of Fayetteville’s restaurants with your fellow fans!
TOUR THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF THE OZARKS
The Ozarks are home to some of America’s most vibrant forests, lakes, and rivers. Hundreds of unique and beautiful plants call the Ozarks home – and you can learn about many of them at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks.
The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is relatively new to Fayetteville; the movement that grew into the institution began in 1993. Nevertheless, it has become a favorite location for botany lovers, families looking for a place to enjoy outdoor activities, and couples seeking an afternoon stroll in nature. In addition, it’s a popular picnic stop for people enjoying the nearby activities of Lake Fayetteville, as the garden technically sits on the lake’s trail.
Visitors to the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks should plan on bringing their walking shoes to enjoy all the garden has to offer in comfort. Twelve individually themed gardens circle The Great Lawn, each with its own charms to dive into. For example, while strolling through the Shade Garden, you’ll see plants that thrive without sunlight. Meanwhile, at the Rock and Water Garden, you can enjoy an Ozark mountain stream occupied by frogs, fish, and other friendly Ozark animals.
The star of the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks is its Butterfly House. Found in the Butterfly Garden, the house keeps its fluttering residents from May to October. Visitors to the Butterfly pathway may catch a glimpse of migrating butterflies as they stop to snack on the garden’s tasty flowers before continuing on their journey. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Fayetteville AR.
FISH AND PLAY AT LAKE FAYETTEVILLE
Fayetteville never runs out of outdoor activities, especially if you like to fish. Lake Fayetteville offers choice fishing for residents and visitors alike. In addition, its busy marina and docks offer canoe and kayak rentals, paddle boats, and pontoons for anyone wanting to enjoy a day on the lake’s crystalline waters.
Of course, fishing isn’t the only outdoor activity available at Lake Fayetteville. There is 458 acres of land available for you to explore. Trail runners and nature watchers enjoy taking to the 5.5-mile nature trail, while cyclists can make use of the bike rentals at the park. If you want to hit up the Botanical Gardens while at the park, you can use the trail to get there! There are also picnic areas, playgrounds, and disc golf facilities for guests to enjoy.
VISIT THE CLINTON HOUSE MUSEUM
Fayetteville’s place in American history was fully cemented by the Clinton family when President Bill Clinton married his wife at their home in the city. At the time, Hilary and Bill taught at the University of Arkansas’ law school. The two married in a small ceremony in their Fayetteville home’s living room.
Interestingly, the house had a unique connection to Fayetteville’s history before the Clintons lived there. The home’s original owner was H.H. Taylor, who owned the Fayetteville Daily Leader. Political ties run deeply in the home, which once also housed the sister of Senator J. William Fulbright.
The Clintons bought the home in 1975 until Bill Clinton became the Attorney General of Arkansas in 1976. Then, they rented the house to law students until 1983. Today, the Clinton House serves as a museum dedicated to Bill Clinton’s run for the presidency and the Clinton legacy. It is one of the four stops on Arkansas’ “Bilgrimage” that takes you from Bill Clinton’s birthplace to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.
Exhibits at the Clinton House Museum detail the Clintons’ dedication to civic service and public works and key moments in the couple’s history. You can also see a replica of Hilary Clinton’s wedding gown at the house.
LISTEN TO TUNES AT GEORGE’S MAJESTIC LOUNGE
Nightlife in Fayetteville is next level at George’s Majestic Lounge. Located on the iconic Dickson Street, the lounge has served Fayetteville patrons since 1923, making it the oldest and longest-running club in Arkansas.
George’s impact on Arkansas can’t be understated. The lounge was the first to integrate in the 1950s. George’s was also the first to offer pizza delivery in Northwest Arkansas – that’s pretty cool, too!
Nowadays, George’s is best known for hosting fantastic live musical entertainment for its patrons. Singers and bands who have serenaded and performed from George’s stage have gone on to greatness, including country stars Cody Johnson, Luke Combs, Dierks Bentley, and the Zac Brown Band!
Visitors to George’s must be 18 years or older when making your plans.
CATCH A SHOW AT WALTON ARTS CENTER
Discover Arkansas’ finest performing arts talent at the Walton Arts Center. The theatre began with a donation from Sam Walton, aka the founder of Walmart. It has since grown into a premier theatre destination in Arkansas.
The Walton Arts Center hosts a variety of programs throughout the year. The Center hosts several regional organizations, including TheatreSquared, which has received recognition from the American Theatre Wing, aka the founders of the Tony Awards.
You’ll definitely want to check out their calendar of events before visiting. You never know what show you’ll find on stage – they’ve done everything from “My Fair Lady” to hosting a screening of Encanto with a Sing-Along.
If you happen to stay in Fayetteville in July, check out the Walton Arts Center “Art of Wine.” The event brings hundreds of wines, dozens of restaurants, and thousands of people together to enjoy a taste of Napa without leaving Arkansas.
GRAB SOMETHING LOCAL AT THE FAYETTEVILLE FARMERS MARKET
Locally grown and made products don’t get much better than at the Fayetteville Farmers Market. Located in the scenic Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens, the market provides a space for local vendors to sell their wares all year long.
The market opens on Saturdays and Tuesdays for its patrons to shop the stalls that line Fayetteville’s historic downtown square. Note, the market does recommend swinging by before 1 p.m. to get the best selection.
Products at the Fayetteville Farmers Market are as local as you can get – they all come from within 60 miles of the city. On your shopping trip, you’ll find everything from farm-fresh veggies, eggs, and meats to honey, flowers, and crafts.
TAKE A BOAT TOUR OF THE OZARKS
Some believe that the Ozarks received their name from French explorers discovering the many natural arches and bridges that dot the region. The French referred to the region as aux arcs or the land of arches.
In the Ozarks, deer and elk serenely watch from the dappled leaves of the oak forests. The call of wild turkey and cardinals fill the air. It is a scenery unlike any other, peaceful and majestic. One of the best ways to explore the Ozarks fully is on a river boat tour.
Just a short 10 minutes from Fayetteville, you can take a guided tour on a riverboat along the White River to explore the Ozarks. Tours are personalized by the team at Beyond the Ozarks, with anecdotes about the wildlife and region, all while enjoying a relaxing float down the river.
SHOP AND EXPLORE THE ART AT TERRA STUDIOS
Just outside Fayetteville awaits a wonderland of stone, glass, and nature. Terra Studios is home to artwork by over 120 regional artists that, together, have created a marvel for visitors to explore.
When visiting Terra Studios, you’ll find yourself dazzled by stunning carvings, intricate labyrinths, and stonework outside. The outdoor Art Park area welcomes pets and picnics and provides a wonderful respite from a day of exploring.
If you want to fully immerse yourself in the artwork at Terra, you can visit their indoor galleries and studios. Make sure to find your own Original Bluebird of Happiness before leaving – the glass birds are now an internationally-sold memento made at Terra Studios.
WALK OR BIKE THE RAZORBACK GREENWAY
If you want to spend a day taking in the sights and sounds of Northern Arkansas while enjoying a long walk, head to the Razorback Greenway. This 37.5-mile long walking trail spans from Fayetteville to the city of Bella Vista – so if you really wanted to, you could travel to new horizons by following the path.
The Razorback Greenway crosses through city and parkland, and much of it passes along creeks and lakes. The routes also pass through many Arkansas cities’ arts and downtown districts, including Fayetteville. You can even connect to mountain bike systems along the way. In short, it’s a great way to explore the region, and the trail is easy enough for bikers and walkers of all experience levels.
STAMP YOUR PASSPORT ALONG THE FAYETTEVILLE ALE TRAIL
Arkansas is full of remarkable trails, but ale-lovers will naturally find themselves drawn to one more than any other: the Fayetteville Ale Trail. On this journey of discovery, travelers experience 17 breweries, each a pit stop to earn a special prize at the journey’s end.
Now, not all of the breweries on the Fayetteville Ale Trail reside in Fayetteville. Some are in nearby cities and small towns, including the Eureka Springs Brewery and Bentonville Brewing Co. But, all of the stops are well within a day’s trip of each other, and each destination offers a unique take on craft brewing.
The Ale Trail has grown from a small event to a nationally recognized beer tour. It’s free to participate in the tour, aside from the cost of your drinks. All you have to do is swing by the Fayetteville Visitors Center to grab a passport, and you’re ready to start collecting those stamps!
LET THE KIDS GO WILD AT WILSON PARK
Families absolutely love taking their kids to Wilson Park. The city park is one part whimsy, one part adventure, with a castle-themed playground, a pool, and plenty of outdoor fun.
Artist Frank Williams designed Wilson Park’s “Castle” Playground. Kids will spend hours clambering up the castle, playing king of the world, and ruling over their park domain. If it is a hot summer day, the municipal pool offers cool waters to splash around in, while the tennis courts and sand volleyball courts offer additional recreational options for the family.
While enjoying your day at the Castle, be sure to visit the bois d’arc, or “Osage Orange,” located in Wilson Park. The tree is one of Arkansas’ “Amazing Trees” and is estimated to be around 100 years old.
STROLL THE ARKANSAS AIR & MILITARY MUSEUM
The halls of the Arkansas Air and Military Museum are lined with the vehicles that played a pivotal role in American military history. The museum exhibits educate visitors on aviation, engineering, and military history.
Visitors to the Arkansas Air and Military Museum can explore planes from throughout history. Crafts range from Golden Age planes, like the Howard DGA-11 to the C-130 Hercules that are still in use today. The museum even has a Packard Tank, Huey helicopter, and a British Ferret armored car in the collection.
The Arkansas Air & Military History Museum occasionally hosts special events for individuals interested in a deeper look at military history. Kids with a love of aircraft or science will enjoy the three-day summer camp, Camp Drake, where they get to fly in airplanes, learn to build them, and more. The museum also hosts Taxiway Talks on the second Saturday of the month, touching on different topics relating to the museum, aircraft, or military history.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO ARKANSAS
- YOUR ARKANSAS VACATION
- HOT SPRINGS: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Hot Springs Arkansas
- EUREKA SPRINGS: 16 Best Things To Do In Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- LITTLE ROCK: 14 Amazing Things To Do In Little Rock, Arkansas
- BENTONVILLE: 14 Awesome Things To Do In Bentonville Arkansas
WHERE TO STAY IN FAYETTEVILLE AR
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