Date: November 2, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Molly Anne Sandefur |
An ever-expanding cultural scene draws people from near and far to the Northwest corner of the state | A Special At Home in Arkansas Promotion
In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau put out a list of the 15 fastest-growing cities—and it’s no surprise that Bentonville ranked high, coming in fifth thanks to a 7.4 percent increase in population a year prior. While the city has been home to Walmart’s headquarters for decades and a popular outdoors destination even longer, Bentonville’s growth became arguably exponential with the establishment of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (crystalbridges.org) in 2011. In April, a 100,000-square-foot expansion was announced that will grow the facility by 50 percent and increase space for galleries, educational programs, and events; how’s that for a 10-year anniversary present?
Establishing Bentonville as an arts destination has had a domino effect on the region at large. For example, when Onyx Coffee lab (onyxcoffeelab.com) opened its first location in 2012, owners Andrea and Jon Allen aimed simply to provide ethically sourced, locally roasted coffee. Fast forward to present day and they’ve garnered national attention and evolved to encompass exciting new projects—two of which include a 2,500-square-foot roastery and headquarters in Rogers along with Hail Fellow Well Met (hailfellowwellmet.com) in Springdale, a specialty market and cafe with interiors no less stunning than Onyx’s four locations across Northwest Arkansas. Read on for more of our favorite places to shop, dine, visit, and stay in the region.
BRIKA (instagram.com/brika_bentonville) is the newest must-visit retail space in Bentonville. Having opened this fall, its uber-curated inventory features home décor, apparel, and gifts from a mix of local makers and national brands. Looking for your next favorite read? Visit Two Friends Books (twofriendsbooks.com) to browse new and preloved tomes. In Rogers, step into Urban Bath & Body Company (theurbantub.com) and shop handmade bath bombs, body scrubs, lotions, and soaps.
While McClard’s Bar-B-Q (mcclardsnwa.com) has been a landmark in Hot Springs for nearly a century, new ownership has expanded the barbecue joint’s reach with a location in Rogers. Here, you’ll find all your favorites, plus new salad and appetizer offerings. Bar Cleeta (barcleeta.com) in Bentonville offers an elevated atmosphere for enjoying craft cocktails and small plates based on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The Momentary (themomentary.org), a contemporary art gallery and satellite of Crystal Bridges, plays host to “In Some Form or Fashion,” opening November 20. The free exhibit explores the intersection of art, fashion, and consumerism. Visitors with children will love the Scott Family Amazeum (amazeum.org), an interactive space for kids to learn about the arts and sciences. In Rogers, Topgolf (topgolf.com) is a sports bar-meets-driving range, perfect for all skill levels—whether you keep a standing tee time or have never picked up a club in your life.
Boutique hotel 21C Museum Hotel (21cmuseumhotels.com) epitomizes the quirky yet fine art allure of Bentonville. Book one of its 104 rooms or simply stop by to view the current exhibit and have a drink at The Hive. For more intimate accommodations, book Harper Howey on Central (harperhoweyoncentral.com), a three-bedroom rental decorated in the artful style of Northwest Arkansas design firm Harper Howey Interiors.