DESTINATION

Destination: Fayetteville

Discover all the reasons why this funky little town ranks high in “Best Places to Live” rankings

By Robby Edwards

 

Photos courtesy of Experience Fayetteville

We are featuring stories on the downtown areas of our region’s major cities. We did this in 2015, but we’re back to let you know what’s still there and what’s new. We hope this provides some insight, history, highlights and things to do and see in each area. We won’t always be encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing. So, as businesses and restaurants begin opening back up, consider a day trip and let this be an insider’s guide for you.

 

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hours and operations of most merchants, facilities and events have been impacted. Please consult with each business and management before visiting.

 

Destination: Fayetteville

Discover all the reasons why this funky little town ranks high in “Best Places to Live” rankings

 

In 2019, Fayetteville was fourth on U.S. News & World Report’s“Best Places to Live” list, the fourth straight year the city ranked in the top five. Factors are quality of life, job market, value for the money and desire to live here.

 

Fayetteville offers a small-town feel with a range of attractions, but what makes it great? Without even talking about the Arkansas Razorbacks, read on to find out many of the reasons!

 


EAT

Let’s start with a few national award winners – Hammontree’s (best grilled cheese in all 50 states, USA Today, 2018), Wood Stone Craft Pizza & Bar (best pizza in Arkansas, The Daily Mail, 2018) and Rymolene’s Pies (best pie shop in every state, USA Today, 2018).

 

Another favorite is Leverett Lounge, serving flavorful dishes from an ever-changing menu. Café Rue Orleans serves Cajun and Mockingbird Kitchen features innovative comfort-food dishes. And, of course, don’t miss the classics at Hugo’s, Doe’s Eat Place and Herman’s Ribhouse. New to the local food scene are Atlas, Feed and Folly and Tula – all delicious options to try.

 

Other popular picks are Farmer’s Table Café, Rolando’s, Nomad’s, Bordinos, Mojito’s, Rick’s Iron Skillet, A Taste of Thai, Penguin Ed’s, Mango’s, Formosa, Marley’s Chicago Style Pizza, Whole Hog Café, Green Submarine, Juicy Tails, U.S. Pizza, El Camino, Khanna Indian Grill, Pesto Café, Emelia’s Kitchen, Mermaids and Theo’s.

 

On Dickson Street, Shulertown is a food truck park with offerings from Tex-Mex to vegetarian to barbecue. If you’re looking for food trucks on College Ave., the tasty offerings at the Yacht Club will not disappoint.

 

Rick’s Bakery, Little Bread Company and Alchemy Macarons are local favorites for those craving something sweet and freshly baked.

 

Need a caffeine fix? Make time to sample coffee from Arsaga’s, 7 Brew, Jammin’ Java, Onyx Coffee Lab and Six Twelve Coffeehouse & Bar. For something stronger, local breweries include Fossil Cove, JBGB and Columbus House.

 


SHOP

Casual, upscale, trendy or homemade – it’s all here in Fayetteville.  

 

Several options can be found around the downtown square and on Dickson Street. Center Street Mercantile offers handmade goods, specialty foods and luxury bath products; Distinctive Dwelling specializes in unique home décor; Tatum Rose, Lola, W@nder Boutique and Fox Trot Boutique feature women’s clothing and gifts; Dark Star Visuals stocks beads and gemstones for custom creations; Block Street Records is an independent shop selling new and vintage vinyl, CDs and tapes; and Collier Drug Store, which has been here more than 100 years, sells bath products, accessories, home décor and more.

 

Other specialists are Houndstooth Clothing, Himalayan Mountain Shop, The Mustache Goods & Wears, Riffraff, Path Skate Shop, E. Leigh’s Contemporary Boutique, Underwood’s Fine Jewelers, City Supply, Romance Diamond and French Metro Antiques.

 

Dickson Street Bookshop is a must, whether shopping for a specific title or only browsing.  

 

For outdoor gear and clothing, check out Pack Rat, Lewis and Clark, Uncle Sam’s Safari, Bearded Goat, Fayettechill and Gearhead. 
 

ART & CULTURE

Walton Arts Center is known for bringing Broadway to the area with entertainers from around the world. Special events have included the Art of Wine and Voice Jam festivals, the Starlight Jazz Series and LOL @ WAC.

 

TheatreSquared is a professional company presenting comedies, dramas and musicals at its new location on the corner of West Avenue and Spring Street; and Arts Live Theatre offers professional and educational opportunities for young actors.

 

The Arkansas Air and Military Museum, at Drake Field in south Fayetteville, houses the state’s largest aviation collection.

 

The Fayetteville Farmers Market starts with fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants, but it also offers much more with meats, eggs, baked goods, crafts, art, music and street performers. 

 

The Clinton House Museum, Headquarters House and National Cemetery draw visitors each year who are interested in history and national events. 

 

A Pottery Studio, Art Emporium, Art Ventures, Nadine Baum Studios, Fenix Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center are among the many studios supporting area artists.

 

 

PLAY
 

Dickson Street is the place for music and more, featuring George’s Majestic Lounge, the oldest and longest-running club and live music venue in Arkansas, and Smoke & Barrel, a laid-back bar with board games and live music. Maxine’s Tap Room, on Block Avenue, was third on Esquiremagazine’s 2019 “Best Bars in America” list.

 

The 112 Drive-In Theater, open March to October, shows new and old releases on weekends.

 

Bikes, Blues & BBQ began as a charity poker run in 2000 and annually draws more than 300,000 riders from across the country. 

 

First Thursday (of the month) transforms the square into an outdoor arts district with live music, street performers, children’s activities, food trucks, a craft beer garden and more.

 

Other annual events include the Gulley Park Concert Series, Artosphere, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Square2Square Bicycle Ride and Lights of the Ozarks on the square.

 

Arkadia Retrocade, Gator Golf, Lokomotion Family Fun Park, Starlight Skatium, Ozark Bowling Lanes and NWA and Ozark escape rooms offer other fun activities.

 

 

STAY

For overnight accommodations, you can choose a B&B, luxury suite, economy options, camping or an RV park. Inn at Carnall Hall, Staybridge Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Graduate Fayetteville and Dickson Street Inn are among popular choices.  

 

 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Fayetteville recently was ranked No. 10 in the nation in PeopleForBikes’ ratings of the best cities for bicycling. 

 

The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway starts at Kessler Mountain Regional Park in south Fayetteville. The recent completion of the Cato Springs Trail expanded the greenway’s path to 40 miles. For a shorter trek, consider the four-mile Walker Park Loop, 7.8-mile Uptown Trails from Gordon Long Park, 8.7-mile Kessler Mountain Southtown Lollipop or the 19.8-mile Greenway Day beginning at the square.

 

Kessler Mountain features 11 miles of soft-surface trails for running or hiking. Lake Fayetteville is another option, while Devil’s Den State Park is just south of the city.

 

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, on the shores of Lake Fayetteville, features 12 displays, a demonstration garden, and hosts events, classes, workshops, concerts and more.

 

 

HIDDEN GEM

The Fayetteville Ale Trail is a self-guided brewery and cidery tour of Northwest Arkansas. Pick up a passport at the Experience Fayetteville Visitors Center for an “Arkansas original craft beer tour.” 

 

Created in 2013, it features Fayetteville stops at West Mountain Brewing, Ozark Beer, Bike Rack Brewing and Fossil Cove Brewing. 

 

Visit www.experiencefayetteville.comfor more information.

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