48 Hours in Bentonville, Arkansas
It's been said that Bentonville, Arkansas is a dream city for aesthetes, full of amazing design and gorgeous restaurants. Known as the birthplace of Walmart, Bentonville is quickly emerging as one of the hottest art and food cultures in the Mid-South. Whether you’re in town for business with America’s Largest Retailer or crossing off your 50 States Bucket List, here’s how to make the best of 48 hours in Bentonville. Visit these places, do these things -- and you know what? You may never leave.
48 Hours in Bentonville
Spice it up at Oven and Tap
The second you land in Northwest Arkansas (pronounced Ar-kan-saw, not Ar-Kansas), you’re going to want food. It’s a fact. After paying $3 for bottled water and chewing on dry airline crackers, you need a quick meal done right. Oven and Tap, named for its custom built wood fired oven & tap wall, delivers good, tasty food. Fast. Share an appetizer of Wood Fire Edamame and Shishito Peppers with the table so that you can eat your Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich in peace with your local Bike Rack draft beer.
Bike the Bentonville Greenway
Now that your belly is full, it’s time to see the real natural beauty that is Bentonville. Biking in Bentonville has its own culture and some of the best singletrack trails, paved pathways, and on-road routes in the country. You’ll be sure to see the highlights of the town against an Autumn backdrop of gold and burnt sienna. Take your time and keep an eye out for local movers and shakers around town. They been known to take their lunch breaks on the trails.
Get Happy at Fred’s Hickory
Follow the smoke signals over to Fred’s Hickory Inn for a stiff drink with the locals. Warm yourself by the fire pit as the sun sets or stay cozy under a blanket inside the cottage where a young Arkansas senator announced his bid for President of the United States. You’ll only be allowed to leave when you can demonstrate a proper hog call (Hint: Wooooo Pig Sooie) Order an Ozark Mule and plate of Fred’s Signature Ribs, slow smoked over aged hickory for 10 hours.
Taste Hog Heaven at Tusk and Trotters
Every major American city has its mavens and movers, but Bentonville supports its culinary luminaries, people who think deeply and well about food culture. It's about amazing ingredients, layered flavors and simplicity. Tusk and Trotter exemplifies Bentonville’s food scene, inspired by deeply rooted family food memories and simple ingredients for soulful Ozark cooking. Owner and Executive Chef Rob Nelson delivers upscale-casual with an inventive High South menu that highlights NE Arkansas’ delicious local ingredients. Start with a Charcuterie & Cheese Board loaded with thick Arkansas bacon, country paté, butcher’s bologna, duck cherry & black walnut sausage and local artisanal cheeses. Don’t fill up before your HUGE coffee marinated Duroc double chop arrives.
Learn Shuffleboard at 8th Street Market
The nights not over. Don’t let the small town feel fool you. The party’s just getting started and in ways you didn’t expect. Familiar with a little game called Shuffleboard? If you think its for grandma’s and cruise ship decks, you’d be mistaken. Do a quick google search of the rules before stepping into the 8th Street Market because it gets serious. Enjoy more local brews with the locals and show off your new hog call.
Recharge at the Pressroom
After recovering from your shuffleboard smackdown, get the drop on all the hot bruncht gossip at the Pressroom. Get energized and ready to tackle the day with a remedy Gingerslap shot, made with ginger, lemon, apple, and raw honey. Enjoy a fresh Avocado toast and some buttermilk beignets. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the quiche of the day. The Gravalox platter with cured salmon is the go to dish for the Gluten Free.
Take In the Local Art Scene
Clear your morning and afternoon to take advantage of the art and culture at the Bentonville museums. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Scott Family Amazeum, Museum of Native American History (MONAH), Peel Mansion and Meteor Guitar are just a few of the institutions that open their doors free of charge. Save a huge block of time for all that is Crystal Bridges. Founded by Alice Walton (granddaughter of Sam Walton) , every inch of the 120 acres of museum, trails, sculptures and gardens oozes art. From the architecture of Moshie Safdie and surrounding ground to and the exhibits and food housed within, there’s so much spectacular in one space.
High South at the Hive
There are so many dinner options in Bentonville for impressing with a meal that it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite; the range of global cuisines is amazing. If you like a little art with your meal, visit The Hive, located inside the 21C Museum Hotel. Here you can stroll the halls on the 24 hour gallery that is the lobby, with a cocktail in hand. Have a sit down meal in the dining room turned beehive art installation, created from found materials. Here you get a taste of refined country cuisine that earned Chef Matthew McClure his fourth James Beard finalist nomination in 2018.
Bike Rack Records
A place to experience some Southern hospitality, this local brewery in the center of downtown doubles as a music venue for NW Arkansas’ up and coming musical acts. The local musicians hang out and belt out what they've been working on in the nearby recording studio, gathering on the weekend to share sultry tunes with an eager public. It's got tons of character and you're sure to have a great night meeting some colourful characters.
Wander the Walmart Museum and Walton’s 5 & 10
Rise and shine as early as you can; you only have a few hours left in this beautiful city. Make your way to the Walmart Museum for a quick rundown of the most well known shop the country. Afterward tracing the Walton roots and ogling some excellent flair (Fifteen is the minimum, okay?), pop into the Walton 5 and 10 for some Walmart themed souvenirs and old school candies and novelties. The museum is also home to a delish malt shop.
Get Chocolate Wasted at Markham and Fitz
Before rushing off to the airport, fill your carry on with as many chocolate bars and cookies as it can handle. Markham and Fitz knocks it out of the cafe with their signature chocolate—the Spinach Asparagus Leek and mint chocolate tea. The atmosphere is blissfully twee and Instagrammable in pops of teal and pink—a perfectly whimsical and artful start to your day. It's billed as a neighborhood shop, but it's more of a neighborhood experience, a warm, welcoming space with a lot of ambiance and charm to send you on your way.