Axios Northwest Arkansas

Picture of the Fayetteville skyline.

January 28, 2023

Hello, Saturday! Axios' Maxwell Millington here.

Today's special edition is dedicated to providing suggestions for some fun and refreshing weekend getaways.

  • Now's the time to make travel plans for 2023, so let's dive in.

Today's newsletter is 452 words — a 2-minute read.

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 city hot spots.
  • 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 in Historic Waldo.

2. Hot Springs

Photo: Visit Hot Springs

About 3.5 hours south of Northwest Arkansas is Hot Springs, known for its thermal springs, hiking trails and bathing facilities. Here are 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 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.
  • Sit down at J&S Italian Villa for pasta, veal or grilled lamb chops.
  • Try a plate of "frychos" at Taco Mama.

3. Oklahoma City

Photo: Visions of America/Getty Images

Oklahoma City is 3.5 hours west of NWA and has plenty to explore. Here are some ways 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 here.
  • 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.

Safe travels!