Date: July 28, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Molly Anne Sandefur |
Live music, bustling arts scenes, and local shops bring to life these Northwest Arkansas towns | A Special At Home in Arkansas Promotion
From the college town buzz of the Fayetteville Square to Springdale’s vibrant historic downtown, these are two towns you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Northwest Arkansas. In Fayetteville, actors have returned to the stage at TheatreSquared (theatre2.org), where tickets are available for American Mariachi by José Cruz González from August 4-29. The Broadway season at Walton Arts Center (waltonartscenter.org) begins in October, and at its Rogers outdoor counterpart, the Walmart AMP (waltonartscenter.org/AMP), you can enjoy live music into the fall. In August alone, the venue will see the likes of Lady A, The Black Crowes, The Avett Brothers, Alanis Morissette, Chris Tomlin, and Luke Bryan.
In downtown Springdale, support from the city council, Downtown Springdale Alliance, and grants have led to the creation of the Holcomb Arts District (downtownspringdale.org). Where Emma Avenue was already humming with local shops and restaurants, several building facades along that road and extending south on Holcomb Street are now alive with colorful paintings by artists from all over the country. Visit the Downtown Springdale website for a map to guide yourself on a walking tour of the seven murals. Read on for more of our favorite places to shop, dine, visit, and stay when visiting Fayetteville and Springdale.
In Fayetteville, French Metro Antiques (frenchmetro.com) is regarded for its collection of one-of-a-kind imported antiques, from 19th century casegoods and seating to gilt mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and objets d’art. Darcy Apparel (darcyapparel.com) offers a curated selection of women’s clothing and accessories embracing minimal, sustainable styles. At Underwoods Fine Jewelers (underwoods.com), a multi-generation family business, you can shop their in-house selection of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and more, or work with their Certified Gemologists to design a custom piece. In Springdale, visit R McClintock Fine Woodworking Shoppe (rmcclintock.com) to select expertly crafted handmade furniture and gifts.
Located inside West End on Dickson, Wake & Bake (instagram.com/wakeandbakefay) is your new go-to for brunch—especially if you love mimosas, dining on the patio, and any excuse for waffles. At Eclectic Kitchen (eclectickitchenfayetteville.com), a menu of steak, seafood, and pasta created by chef Brian Evans offers elevated cuisine in a pared-down atmosphere. In Springdale, there’s no shortage of taquerias; Taqueria Guanajuato (taqueriaguanajuatonwa.com) has not one, but two locations on North Thompson. Southeast of town, Sassafras Springs Vineyard (sassafrasspringsvineyard.com) offers charcuterie boards, fresh-baked pizzas, and wines produced on the vineyard’s 60 acres.
Operating since 1973, the popular Fayetteville Farmers Market (fayettevillefarmersmarket.org) is open in the downtown square year-round. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, shop produce from local farmers as well as honeys, jams, soap, yarn, and other crafts made by artisans. At Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (bgozarks.org), explore 12 themed gardens—including the Ozark Native Garden, Japanese Garden, and Butterfly Garden. Head to Arvest Ballpark to see the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (milb.com/northwest-arkansas), Springdale’s minor league baseball team, in action.
Built in 1905, Carnall Hall on the University of Arkansas campus was first a girls dormitory, then a fraternity house, and finally housed offices and classrooms before undergoing an extensive renovation almost a century later. It reopened in 2003 as the Inn at Carnall Hall (innatcarnallhall.com) and offers a boutique hotel experience. Closer to Fayetteville’s square, The Graduate (graduatehotels.com) delivers college nostalgia along with a dose of kitsch, featuring references to the Razorbacks and Old Main worked into the carpet, wallpaper, and furnishings.
Enjoy NWA by bike and foot
A national initiative called Slow Streets that encourages walkable, bike-friendly urban living first made its way to Northwest Arkansas in 2020. Here’s four things to know about the program and its upcoming events when it returns this fall.
Slow Streets events take place in the spring and fall when the weather is mild. This autumn, routes will be marked every weekend in September and October, from Friday through Sunday evening.
Roads marked as “slow streets” will appear in Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Rogers. Chosen routes typically lack sidewalks or bike lanes, so signage encourages cars to drive slowly and walkers and cyclists to use the streets as they please. Each route in Northwest Arkansas is strategically connected to the Greenway trail system.
The national program has partnered with BikeNWA, a nonprofit organization working to create a more transportation-friendly community and better, safer infrastructure for both cyclists and pedestrians.
Slow Streets NWA routes have been designed to be accessible to anyone, not just athletes or cyclists. The initiative aims for people to use Slow Streets for exercise, family walks, transportation to and from work, and to just take in and enjoy the community—albeit at a slower pace.
Find out more at bikenwa.org/slowstreetsnwa.