Jun 11, 2022 - Things to Do

9 cool things to do this summer in Northwest Arkansas

A photo of a public pool filled with kids on a sunny day.

Wilson Park Pool. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

It's time to get outside. Northwest Arkansas is chock-full of events and things to explore this summer.

1. Kayak Lake Fayetteville.

Rent a double kayak for $20/hour and make it a date with someone who also loves the outdoors.

Read more: 5 date ideas under $25 in Northwest Arkansas

2. Cool down with a refreshing treat.

  • Go for a flavor that shouldn't work but does, like the popcorn PB&J at Superfine Sweet Shoppe in downtown Bentonville.
  • Get an ice cream cone covered in cereal like Fruity Pebbles (the Elton John) or other treats like Oreos and Nilla Wafers (the Michael Jackson) at Burton's Creamery in Fayetteville.
  • Try out some serious ice cream concoctions at Trash Creamery in Bentonville.
Be prepared to be immersed in yellow and pink at Superfine Sweets. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

3. Find a new swimming spot.

We all need ways to beat the summer heat — whether it's a neighborhood pool, a splash pad or a good, old-fashioned hose in your yard.


  • Wilson Park Pool in Fayetteville offers $35 passes that are good for 10 visits. The pool also offers "dive-in" movies — next up is "Encanto" on June 24.
  • Melvin Ford Aquatic Center in Bentonville is open daily with $3 day passes.
  • Mount Sequoyah's pool in Fayetteville has $300 family memberships that allow unlimited visits during the summer months.

Water parks and more

4. Celebrate NWA Pride.

When: June 18.

Details: Expect a parade, live performances, local vendors and more. Plus: an 18+ ticketed event called "Glitterville" at George's Majestic Lounge.

  • Parade at Dickson Street and West Avenue in Fayetteville.
This was just after the Pride parade wrapped up in downtown Fayetteville in 2021. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

5. Get out of town.

If it's too hot for a hike, take a day trip to one of these ~cool~ destinations.

  • Go back in time and check out stalagmites and stalactites on cave tours at Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Missouri, about 3.5 hours away.
  • Head to Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, Oklahoma, about a two-hour drive from NWA.
  • We're fans of Crystal Bridges, but if you want a different collection to gander, try the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, about 3.5 hours by car.

Related Axios guide: 3 quick weekend getaways from NWA

6. Catch a ball game.

When: Through September.

Details: Cheer on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and head to Arvest Ballpark on Thursday for $2 PBR and peanuts or Friday to watch the fireworks show. Other special events include:

  • Kids eat free (and run the bases!) on July 1.
  • July 3 and 4 will have Fourth of July fireworks shows.
  • And Aug. 24 is Harry Potter Night, so get your circular glasses and wands ready.

7. Attend Bentonville Film Festival.

When: June 22-26.

Details: Showings and other events will take place at various Bentonville venues, including The Momentary.

  • In-person passes cost $250, or you can get a virtual one for $175.

Keep reading: More events to mark on your 2022 calendar

8. Explore Springdale's "Boardwalk."

Details: Find your new favorite food truck at the new food truck court. Our favorite so far is Pupuseria Miriams, which serves pupusas, tacos and burritos.

Hours: The Boardwalk is open from 11am-2pm and 4:30-8pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

Keep reading: More food truck options

The Boardwalk is a great spot to take your pick of food trucks. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

9. See a drive-in movie.

Details: 112 Drive-In in Fayetteville is open Thursday through Sunday with two showings a night.

  • This weekend, it's playing "Jurassic World Dominion" and "Firestarter."

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