Apr 11, 2023 - Things to Do

How to spend a day in downtown Bentonville

First Friday on the Bentonville square in 2021. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

We're back with an installment of our "how to spend a day" series that curates ways you can have your best day in one pocket of Northwest Arkansas.

This time around, we take you through Bentonville.

For the fun-loving

๐Ÿคฃ Sharpen your improv skills and book a workshop with buddies at The Improv Lab.

๐Ÿจ Enjoy dessert first at Trash Creamery. This '80s music-themed ice cream shop features treats like the "867-5309" โ€” vanilla ice cream, peach, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, cinnamon and caramel โ€” or the "I Think We're Alone Now" with chocolate ice cream, Golden Grahams, mini 'mallows and marshmallow cream.

๐Ÿ• Grab pizza at Oven and Tap, plop down at a picnic table at Wright's BBQ or have some classic pub faves at First Seat Pub & Grill.

๐ŸŽธ End the night right with live music at Meteor Guitar Gallery.

Keep it light

๐Ÿง˜ Start the day right with a session at Yoga Story on Second Street or Cocoon Yoga Lab at Eighth Street Market.

๐Ÿ› Peruse shops like Bentonville Mercantile, Remedy Road or Oli and Meg.

๐Ÿฅ— Get brunch at this casual California-inspired cafรฉ Sunny's that has plenty of health-conscious and vegan options.

๐ŸŒฝ Bonus: On Saturdays, check out the farmers market.

๐ŸŒณ Take in the natural beauty with a walk through the Compton Gardens and Arboretum. Watch for art installations.

๐Ÿฃ Try a roll at Aoi Sushi. It's a cool space with seriously good sushi.

Expand your palette

๐Ÿ˜‹ Try a sweet or savory crepe at Crepes Paulette.

๐ŸŽจ Visit The Momentary. This contemporary art museum is sister to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and has free admission.

  • ๐Ÿธ Bonus: Come back after 5pm Tuesday-Saturday for cocktails at Tower Bar on the top floor overlooking the city.

๐Ÿท Sip on an assortment of new wines, whiskeys and rums at Ramo d'Olivo. Pair your refreshment with an appetizer like the caprese bites with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls garnished with basil olive oil and fig balsamic.

๐Ÿ–ผ Explore the eclectic art museum inside 21c Museum Hotel. Take a selfie with one of the trademark green penguins throughout the space.

๐Ÿฅ˜ Stick around and treat yourself to dinner at The Hive inside 21C or venture to The Preacher's Son or Conifer for an upscale dining experience.

Kid-friendly picks

๐Ÿ“š Help the little ones discover a new favorite book at the Bentonville Public Library. Peek at the calendar for story times.

๐Ÿฆ Treat them to an ice cream cone at The Spark Cafรฉ. The menu of sweets is made with Arkansas-based Yarnell's ice cream. Get any topping โ€” like Cocoa Pebbles or crushed Oreos โ€” for 50 cents.

๐Ÿงข Post-ice cream, stay put and learn the history of the world's largest employer, which started right here in Bentonville, at The Walmart Museum. The museum's temporary home is open at The Ledger on South Main Street while the permanent site on the square is being renovated.

๐Ÿค Get a grown-up po' boy or grilled plate for you and a kids meal for them with catfish, shrimp, chicken or a burger with fries at Flying Fish.

โ›ธ Bonus: Bentonville's First Friday festival takes place April through October. It's free and family friendly with vendors and activities all over the square. And, in the winter months, take the youngsters ice skating at Lawrence Plaza.

The Sampler

โ˜•๏ธ Wake up with a cup of coffee from Onyx Coffee Lab. Try the Onyx delight, made with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, espresso and milk.

๐Ÿ“š Find a book you can't live without at this cozy shop, Once Upon a Time Book.

๐ŸŽจ Discover various mediums from local artists at the Art on the Square gallery.

๐Ÿซ Head over to Eighth Street Market and indulge in a chocolate treat or drink at Markham and Fitz. Or snack on some Italian ice at The Happy Wagon.

๐Ÿง€ Take your pick of Lady Slipper, Undercroft, Scotch & Soda or Bar Cleeta if you're in the mood to mix and match small plates that add up to dinner with some stellar cocktails.

Bike enthusiasts

๐Ÿฅฏ Have a bagel for breakfast at Ozark Mountain Bagel. On weekends, dig in to brunch at Pressroom, which has menu items such as avocado toast or chorizo breakfast tacos with eggs, potatoes, cotija and roasted-tomato salsa.

๐Ÿšฒ Visit Phat Tire Bike Shop for all your equipment needs.

๐Ÿšด Once you've got your gear, bike any of the many trails around downtown. See a map.

  • Bonus: Pedal your way up The Ledger, a building you can bike three-quarters of a mile upward to the top. And take in the artwork on the way.

๐Ÿ• Park your bike outside The Pedaler's Pub for some wood-fired pizza or The HUB Bike Lounge, where you can fill up on their trailblazin' chili or a smoked-salmon baguette. These spots are right next to each other on Southwest A Street.

๐Ÿป End the night with a beer at Bike Rack Brewing Co. and maybe some live music at Eighth Street Market.


โ˜•๏ธ Start the day with some Airship Coffee on Fifth Street.

๐Ÿ“– Then, head to Eighth Street Market and peruse Hillfolk for some craft and home goods inspiration, as well as Two Friends Books for your next great read.

๐Ÿœ Stick around for lunch at Yeyo's El Alma de Mexico or CO-OP Ramen.

๐Ÿ’ฟ Walk to the square and discover something new or old at Block Street Records.

๐ŸŽฅ Go see a movie in luxury at Skylight Cinema.

๐Ÿจ Have ice cream before dinner. You deserve it. Try Superfine Sweet Shoppe.

๐ŸŒฎ Grab a Latin American dinner (those slow-roasted pork enchiladas ๐Ÿคค) at Table Mesa, or a sandwich or burger at Table on 6th.

๐Ÿบ Unwind with a black apple cider at Tree House, an eclectic home-turned-bar where you can pick a room and sit on sofas with your friends.


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