The 7 Greatest Things to Do in Bentonville, Arkansas

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Bentonville, Arkansas is located in Northwest Arkansas, only minutes over the Missouri State Border. You’ll observe bikers heading out to the area’s various bike paths as soon as you approach the municipal boundaries.

Bentonville is renowned as the Mountain Bike Capital, and it’s easy to understand why. Mountain biking not your thing? Small-town charm and a bustling arts scene, as well as some fantastic cuisine, will keep you engaged.

Visited other locations in Missouri? Check out our other tasty guides:

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The Top 7 Things to Do in Bentonville, Arkansas

Visit An Art Hotel

Check out the 21C, an art hotel located in Bentonville Square. It has a convenient location and free parking. When you enter the 21c’s lobby, you’ll discover a gallery of paintings extending up to the elevators. The image changes, so if you come back, you’ll see something fresh. The personnel was warm and inviting, and they gave me a list of eateries and their hours of operation.

The hotel is more modern, with soft white walls and blonde wood accents. Each area has its own original work of art. In my room, for example, there was a magnificent picture of natural landscapes in vivid orange.

You don’t even have to leave the hotel to enjoy delectable meals. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are served at The Hive, a hotel restaurant. With Beehive sculptures and 21C penguins as decoration, you’ll want to take a picture. The brunch menu has a decent selection of alternatives depending on whether you want sweet or savory.

I ordered the pimento cheeseburger, which did not disappoint. The beef burger with house-made pimento cheese on a brioche bun was filling yet good.

The Bentonville Tour Is Huge

Big on Bentonville provides a local tour guide, which is my favorite method to experience a place. The trip begins at the 21c hotel and takes you around town on a golf cart. They discuss the city’s history as well as its rebirth during the last ten years.

During tour, youll view various street art paintings and will have opportunity to snap some shots, so bring your camera. The trip will then proceed to view the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Art Gallery as well as other bike paths and public art across the city.

Eventually, I got off of the golf cart and walked around the Compton Art Gardens, where I spotted one of my favorite works of art.

Daniel Popper’s Heartland is located back into the grounds and is encircled by a floral meadow in the summer. The artwork consists of two hands joined together to create a heart. It towers over the garden and looks lovely when the sun casts shadows on it.

I knew after the trip that I wanted to visit the various museums in Bentonville and snap photos of the murals. The guides were quite kind and excited about their hometown.

I suggest taking the tour at the start of your vacation to help you decide which sights to see. Tickets may be purchased on the Bentonville website, and they provide sightseeing excursions, cuisine tours, and private parties.

Walmart’s Museum

The Walmart Company is headquartered in Bentonville, and the Walton family has contributed significantly to the community. Visit the Walmart Museum, which is situated directly in the plaza and is free to all visitors. The site was the first shop, and the museum traces the history of the Walmart business from its inception to its current state.

Everyone who grew up in small-town America likely has fond recollections of visiting a Walmart, and it’s fun to go through the relics on display. The wall of returns was one of my favorite displays. Walmart allows customers to return products for any reason, and the display depicts some of the items as well as the return slip explanations.

A pencil sharpener was returned because it did not sharpen ink pens, while a hand mixer was returned because it was thought to be possessed. They have recreated Sam’s office as it was on the day he retired. It was clearly a functional workplace, with newspapers piled high and a desk piled high with file folders.

Once you’ve seen the exhibit, stop by the Spark Caf, which is conveniently placed near the exit. If the weather has dropped down, the Spark Caf serves ice cream, sweet desserts, and sodas, as well as hot tea and hot cocoa. The caf is incredibly reasonable since a serving of ice cream is 99 cents, and drink will just set you back 50 cents. If you want to go with the Walmart theme, get the spark cream flavor, which is vanilla ice cream that has been dyed blue and yellow to match the Walmart theme colors.

American Art Museum Crystal Bridges

The Walton family desired that the arts be available to everyone, and the Crystal Bridges Art Museum gives free entry to world-class art.

The museum is set in the woods and overlooks a pond, offering an intriguing display of art and natural beauty. The displays are organized chronologically, and I loved beginning with paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Don’t forget to look at the outdoor art as you go around the buildings.

First, beautiful Chihuly glass sculptures with pointed sticks erupt from the ground in a vibrant blue hue. Even with severe winter snows and summer heat, the sculpture stands out against the natural forests backdrop.

Then, encounter Buckminster Fuller’s Flys Eye dome, a futuristic white sculpture. The dome is composed of fiberglass and has two panels with circular cutouts. Originally built to give a place to live, it is today an intriguing building to explore and photograph the Arkansas environment from a future perspective.

As you go around the museum, you will note that the artwork is displayed in historical sequence, providing a fascinating look at how art has evolved through time. Portraits to more contemporary sculptures.

Plan on spending a couple of hours exploring the art within and the paths around the museum.

Art on the Street

Bentonville has a thriving street art culture for such a tiny town. Murals may be seen on many of the buildings, as well as several distinctive neon signs. Yet, you won’t have to hunt hard to find it since there are several pieces all around the square. If you want to prepare ahead of time, the Visit Bentonville website has done an excellent job of mapping out the numerous public art installations so you can get instructions as you visit the town.

Kenneth Seimens designed my favorite sculpture, which is positioned just across from the 21c Museum hotel. The dramatic statement on the mural reads, “Holding her breath, she walks forth into a brand new adventure,” as a girl in a spacesuit glances warily at a snarling tiger. The artwork is duplicated in many hues throughout the structure, and it was difficult to select my preferred color palette.

Check out the parking lot behind the Pedalers Pub if you want to view numerous artworks in one location. Murals cover a low wall in three directions, each with a unique point of view. Murals in black and white to wild color sceneries.

I adored finding each item since they were so unique. By combining the ancient city square with current paintings, the street art movement gives the city a genuine air.

Capital of Mountain Biking

As you enter the city boundaries of Bentonville, you will see how many bicycles are strapped to the back of automobiles. Mountain biking is one of the city’s key attractions, with so many routes connecting it. Bentonville has a broad range of routes available, from beginner to advanced.

Bentonville has built multiple routes in recent years to promote itself as the Mountain Biking Capitol, and with the Ozark landscapes, it’s simple to understand why.

There are various bike rental businesses in Bentonville where you may hire a bike if you didn’t bring your own. As you go across town, you will notice the bustle of bikers making their way through town. The city has created simple methods to ride on the trails while being close to hotel and dining choices by providing various parking sites around the trails.

There are also lots of bike racks outside of businesses and restaurants, so you can take a break from the trails in town.

Investigate the Local Food Scene

Mountain biking and seeing the art scene will whet your stomach, and Bentonville has a dining culture that includes southern comfort dishes as well as some European favorites. If you can’t decide what to eat, go to the 8th Street market. You’ll have lots of options with various restaurants and businesses within the market.

There is also a decent selection of food trucks and lots of outside space to enjoy your meal. I ordered a ploughman’s lunch from Sweet Freedom Cheese and really appreciated the cheese and meat options. The 8th Street Market also includes a few fascinating murals, making it a pleasant area to enjoy both delicious cuisine and art.

Creperie Paulette has savory and sweet crepes that equal those found in Paris for European flare. Crepes Paulette, located only a few blocks away from the main plaza, is popular with both residents and tourists, and it is well worth the wait. It will be difficult to pick between the standard Nutella and strawberry. alternatively a savory crepe stuffed with fresh spinach and aged cheddar!

Conclusion

With its art culture, mountain biking, natural beauty, and fantastic dining choices, Bentonville, Arkansas, is real. I was pleasantly pleased by how many free activities there were to do, and your primary costs for a weekend break would be hotel and meals.

Bentonville is readily accessible by car for those in the Midwest and by plane for those farther away. The relaxed pace of the city allows you to unwind or raise your heart rate with mountain riding.

The city definitely offers something for everyone, and I hope you will consider visiting Bentonville on your next trip.


Which of these top Bentonville AR activities do you want to do first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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