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3 must-do road trips less than 4 hours from NWA

Oklahoma City skyline. Photo: Visions of America/Getty Images

Now's the time to make travel plans for 2023, so let's dive into three prime locations to plan a weekend getaway.

1. Kansas City
Photo: Adam Lacy/Getty Images

Known for great barbecue and its two-time Super Bowl champion football team, Kansas City is a lively metropolis about 3.5 hours from Fayetteville.

  • Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in the heart of America.

Stay: Spacious shipping container Airbnb with a rooftop deck for $90+ per night.

Do:

  • Kick off the summer at the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest Celebration at the Station. This year's bash will be Sunday, May 28.
  • Ride the KC Streetcar. It's free and the 2.2-mile route runs through numerous hot spots in the city.
  • Go to a game. KC is home to a trio of professional sports teams: the Chiefs of the NFL, the baseball Royals and Sporting KC of Major League Soccer. College basketball fans can watch the Kansas Jayhawks play at iconic Allen Fieldhouse less than an hour away in Lawrence.

Eat:

  • Head to Kansas City magazine's top-ranked barbecue joint, Harp Barbecue in nearby Raytown.
  • Grab some steak sauce and enjoy a Kansas City strip at Golden Ox.
  • Dine on the rooftop at The Well, located in Historic Waldo.
2. Hot Springs
Photo: Visit Hot Springs

About 3.5 hours south of NWA is Hot Springs, known for its thermal springs, hiking trails and bathing facilities. Here's some tips on how to experience it.

Stay: An upscale Airbnb on Lake Hamilton for 16+ guests.

Do:

  • Attend the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade featuring performances by Justin Moore and The Village People! This year's event will be Friday, March 17. Details.
  • Tour the historic Fordyce Bathhouse, which now serves as the visitors center for Hot Springs National Park.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain and the Diamond Lakes area from Hot Springs Mountain Tower.

Eat:

  • Grab a burger, hot dog, sandwich or salad at Superior Bathhouse, which claims to be the only brewery inside a U.S. national park.
3. Oklahoma City
Photo: Visions of America/Getty Images

Oklahoma City is 3.5 hours west of NWA and has plenty to explore. Here's how to spend your time there.

Stay: A private lakefront villa in The Village for $269 per night.

Do:

  • Put on your cowboy hat and head to the Chuck Wagon Festival. This year's event is May 27–28. Details.
  • Learn the history of the region's native population at First Americans Museum.
  • Hang out in Bricktown, OKC's original warehouse and distribution center turned business and entertainment district.

Eat:

  • Order the Coyote Chicken Sandwich at Cafe 501.
  • Sit down for soul food at Florence's Restaurant, a 2022 James Beard American Classics award winner.
  • Enjoy a prime ribeye, rack of lamb or Australian lobster tail at Mahogany.
Worth Sparkman
Jan 27, 2023 - Politics

Arkansas Capitol diary: What we're watching at the end of week 3

A photo of the Arkansas State Capitol

Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Arkansas' new governor continued to issue executive orders as lawmakers worked through their third week of the 60-day general session.

Catch up quick: As of Thursday, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced four orders for the week.

Worth Sparkman
Jan 27, 2023 - Politics

Arkansas' Holocaust education mandate

Data: National Conference of State Legislatures; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Arkansas is among 18 states that require public schools to teach students about the Holocaust, according to an Axios analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Driving the news: It's International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Worth Sparkman
Jan 26, 2023 - Business

As bird flu continues its spread, experts worry

Data: USDA; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

A highly contagious strain of avian influenza continues to vex the poultry industry and health experts, and is partially to blame for your higher food prices.

What's happening: The disease has affected more than 58 million birds since Feb. 8, 2022, according to the USDA. By comparison, the 2014-15 outbreak impacted 50 million.

Worth Sparkman
Jan 26, 2023 - News

The growing number of medical marijuana patients in the Natural State

Data: Arkansas Department of Health; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Arkansas Department of Health; Chart: Axios Visuals

At the end of 2022, Arkansas had 89,855 medical marijuana cardholders — roughly 3% of the state's population.

By the numbers: Those patients spent a record $276.3 million to buy 50,600 pounds.

Northwest Arkansas' Yeyo's chef is a James Beard semifinalist

Photo: Courtesy of Rafael Rios

Bentonville's Rafael Rios of Yeyo's El Alma de Mexico was named a best chef in the South semifinalist Wednesday by the James Beard Foundation.

Why it matters: A cool and award-winning culinary scene will help continue to raise NWA's national profile, drawing tourists and new residents.

Alex Golden
Jan 25, 2023 - News

FBI arrests former Arkansas officers seen in violent arrest video

Illustration of a spotlight shaped like a police badge.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Former deputies Levi White and Zack King were arrested Tuesday in connection with an incident where they were filmed apparently beating a suspect last August.

Details: The former officers are charged with civil rights violations of using excessive force.

Bella Vista's Cafe USA is home to comfort food

A plate of French toast.

The French toast. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

We met our copy editor James Gilzow to share tall tales, reminisce and enjoy breakfast at Cafe USA in Bella Vista last week.

The setup: This place will remind most anyone from a small town of the cafe they grew up with: understated decor, lots of hot coffee and staple breakfast dishes made with varieties of bacon, eggs, sausage and bread.