15 Best Things to Do in Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville, AR
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Northwest Arkansas has no shortage of exciting things to see and do.

From natural attractions and historic sites to outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in Northwest Arkansas.

Fayetteville, in particular, is the best destination for fun and adventure.

This vibrant city in Washington County is an incredible destination for outdoor activities and nature viewing.

Historically, before the city was named Fayetteville, it was initially called Washington Courthouse in the early 1800s.

Today, the city has a bustling economy and is home to the University of Arkansas, where thousands of students study every year.

From a visitor’s perspective, Fayetteville offers top-notch entertainment, leisure, and exciting activities.

It has numerous museums, shopping centers, galleries, and restaurants that offer a wide range of activities.

You might be wondering what's in store for you in this city.

So, read on to find out the 15 best things to do in Fayetteville, AR.

Enjoy Leisure Time at the Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens

Exterior of a building along Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens
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The Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens is one of the focal points in the city.

The area is packed with unique shops, historic buildings, restaurants, bars, and modern offices.

Its square gardens are filled with colorful flowers that add more beauty to this spot in Fayetteville.

Shops along Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens
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Constructed in 1978, the Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens was utilized as a plaza area in the city and eventually became one of the favorite spots for people to hang out.

Each year, thousands of people gather at this place and enjoy its scenic atmosphere while having leisure time at the adjacent restaurants and bars.

It’s also where the Ozarks Festival happens every year at the Fayetteville Convention Center, gathering more than 200,000 people from all around Arkansas.

In addition, it’s also where the farmer’s market is located.

Paved path surrounded by flowers at Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens
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Walk through the Confederate Cemetery

Front gates of Confederate Cemetery
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Are you interested in more history?

Well, Fayetteville has so many historical places to visit, and one of them is the Confederate Cemetery along E. Rock Street.

Contrary to your expectations, the cemetery isn’t that scary to visit.

In fact, it has a tranquil atmosphere that gives you peace away from the city noise.

Statue at Confederate Cemetery
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This 3.5-acres cemetery is situated in a beautiful setting that overlooks Fayetteville’s skyline.

If you want to learn more about the American Civil War, this cemetery is the best place to visit.

In addition, the cemetery has been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Headstones at Confederate Cemetery
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Drop by at the Experience Fayetteville Visitor’s Center

Name sign of Fayetteville Visitor’s Center
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The Experience Fayetteville Visitor’s Center is the one-stop shop for everything essential while you travel there.

Like most visitor’s center, this one offer tourists in Fayetteville all the information about the city, its highly-recommended attractions, and activities to do.

In addition, this visitor’s center situated along S. Block Street has a bicycle rental available for those who want to tour Fayetteville on a bike.

Moreover, the visitor’s center has a retail store that features local merchandise and souvenirs.

So, once you arrive at Fayetteville, make sure to head to the Experience Fayetteville Visitor’s Center to get acquainted with the city’s vibes.

Check Out Vintage Military Aircraft at the Arkansas Air & Military Museum

Exterior of Arkansas Air & Military Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Arkansas Air & Military Museum along South School Avenue is not your typical museum.

It is because this one in Fayetteville offers you a colorful history of Arkansas’ aviation history through different exhibits.

These exhibits feature the original artifacts and memorabilia of Arkansas’ aviation history.

The featured items there range from vintage racing planes made in the 1920s and 1930s, a vintage airliner, and many more.

A military jet displayed inside Arkansas Air & Military Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Remarkably, most of the vintage planes displayed at this museum are still functioning today.

It’s where you’ll learn how the golden age of aviation in the United States flourished until reaching the jet age.

In addition, various military aircraft were displayed and were utilized during the Vietnam War.

Overall, stepping inside this museum and roaming through its vast halls and hangars is an unforgettable experience in Fayetteville that you shouldn’t pass on.

A military aircraft displayed inside Arkansas Air & Military Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Appreciate the Beauty of Lake Fayetteville

Calm waters of Lake Fayetteville
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If you’re looking for the locals’ favorite spot to relax and enjoy outdoor activities, then head to Lake Fayetteville.

This charming lake situated on the northern edge of Fayetteville is surrounded by parklands that span through 640-acres that are popular for outdoor and waterborne activities.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Lake Fayetteville, engage in various activities such as boating, hiking, fishing, and sand volleyball.

A trail beside Lake Fayetteville
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Or perhaps, have a picnic with your loved ones.

The entire lake has a size of 194-acres, which also is abundant in bass and panfish, making it an excellent fishing location.

In addition, it has a boat dock and ramp to make your fishing experience a lot more convenient.

Moreover, it’s also where the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and several parks are situated, making it the best place to visit in Fayetteville.

The calm waters of Lake Fayetteville
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Take Photos in Front of the Clinton House Museum

Exterior of the Clinton House Museum
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Currently, the Clinton House Museum along Clinton Drive is temporarily off-limits to the public.

However, you can still visit its outside premises and take excellent photos of the house.

This museum was home to William Jefferson Clinton or Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, and his wife, former state secretary Hillary Clinton.

It features memorabilia, photographs, campaign videos, documents, and political speeches of the Clintons.

One of the best features of the museum is its First Ladies Garden at the back of the house.

It is a perfect setting to snap gorgeous photos, either with yourself or your loved ones.

Stroll through West Dickson Street

Fall trees along West Dickson Street's road
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West Dickson Street is considered the commercial hub of Fayetteville, while many consider this the downtown area.

It’s located just off the University of Arkansas, and it’s one of the most popular places in the city for leisure.

The entire stretch of West Dickson Street is lined with restaurants, bars, local shops, entertainment, and services.

Exterior of a restaurant at West Dickson Street
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Strolling through this street to indulge in leisure activities like dining, drinking, and even partying since most restaurants and bars have regular live music weekly.

One of the best places to have fun and party, check out the oldest club in Arkansas, the George’s Majestic Lounge.

For a cozy and relaxing experience, there are many coffee shops and patio restaurants to choose from along West Dickson Street.

Restaurants along West Dickson Street
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch Live Performances at the TheatreSquared

This professional theater company in Fayetteville has already produced and performed more than 200 productions, making it one of the must-see attractions in Fayetteville for entertainment.

Today, TheatreSquared continues to entertain its audience with top-notch live theater shows at the 175-seater Walton Arts Center along West Spring Street.

In addition, the company has been recognized as one of the United States’ ten most promising emerging theaters, according to American Theatre Wing.

Aside from the live stage plays, the theater also has an educational program for aspiring stage performers.

It’s also home to several professional playwrights who create compelling scripts for the Arkansas New Play Festival.

Relax at Wilson Park

Castle area and fountain at Wilson Park
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Wilson Park, situated in the heart of Fayetteville, is the first and oldest park in the city.

It offers visitors a beautiful and well-maintained urban space where you can relax or do various outdoor activities.

Constructed in 1906, Wilson Park spans for 23-acres, featuring a wide range of amenities from a basketball court, tennis court, softball field, and a swimming pool for those who want to engage in sports.

In addition, it has a playground, a castle area, swings, and vast green lawns for a picnic.

Furthermore, Wilson Park has a walking trail that leads you to scenic views of the city.

If you’re looking for an afternoon of relaxation with your family, Wilson Park is the best place you need to go.

Hike through the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway

The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway trail near Lake Fayetteville
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The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway is a popular hiking destination in Fayetteville.

It stretches for about 36 miles or 58-kilometers and has a mixture of off-road and paved trails traversing the north-south axis of Northwest Arkansas.

The Greenway, which opened in 2015, connects Fayetteville to the neighboring Bentonville through Walker Park and Lake Bella Vista.

If you’re up for some hiking activity in Fayetteville, this trail won’t fail you with excitement and fun.

Set Out on an Outdoor Adventure at Kessler Mountain Regional Park

Kessler Mountain Regional Park is situated in southwest Fayetteville.

This 620-acre mountain park is another popular outdoor destination in Fayetteville to visit.

This mountain park has an elevation of 1,856-feet above sea level.

It’s known for its outdoor sports facilities such as soccer and baseball fields, hiking trails, and nature viewing.

Aside from the abovementioned sports facilities, Kessler Mountain is widely known for its top-notch mountain bike trails.

Volunteers built a 13-mile expert-level biking trail throughout the park, which many riders around Arkansas love to visit to test their skills on them.

Overall, the Kessler Mountain Regional Park is an excellent outdoor attraction in Fayetteville to stretch your muscle and sweat out.

Wander through the Charming Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

A flower on a lily pad at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
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The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, situated along North Crossover Road in Fayetteville, features a beautiful collection of 12-themed gardens and a butterfly house.

Established in 1994, this botanical garden that spans 44-acres is aimed to provide Fayetteville’s locals and visitors the best place for relaxation and recreation.

Indeed, this garden is a top-notch place for recreation and relaxation for all ages.

Lovely vibrant flower at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
LA Thomas / Shutterstock.com

Wandering through its beautiful gardens is an incredible experience you and your loved ones should not miss.

The garden offers various educational programs, classes, and workshops about conservation and horticulture for all ages.

So, don't forget to spend some time at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

Learn the History of the Headquarters House

Exterior of the Headquarters House
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The Headquarters House along East Dickson Street in Fayetteville is a historic building you can visit to learn about some fascinating history.

During the American Civil War, the Headquarters House served as a garrison for both the Union and Confederate armies.

Despite the brutality and devastation of the American Civil War, the building survived and still standing today, offering visitors the stories of both sides of the Union and Confederates.

For history enthusiasts, the Headquarters House is a treasure chest full of rich information about the American Civil War history.

The Washington County Historical Society, which currently manages and maintains the Headquarters House, offers guided tours, while walking tours are available to its surrounding grounds and gardens.

Climb Mount Sequoyah

View of Mount Sequoyah from Fayetteville
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Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville is an iconic location frequently visited by many.

It’s known for its historic cross that illuminates after during nighttime every day.

Its hilltop is a popular place to get an excellent vantage point of Fayetteville aside from being a religious retreat for the Methodist Assembly members.

Visiting Mount Sequoyah is a nice experience that you can add to your itinerary in Fayetteville.

Climbing the hilltop offers you a bird’s eye view of Fayetteville and its stunning scenery, especially the city lights during the evening.

And before heading down, don’t forget to take photos or selfies of the illuminated cross of the Methodist Assembly.

Get Busy at Gulley Park

Gulley Park is one of Fayetteville’s busiest parks.

It is mainly because of outdoor activities happening there regularly.

The entire park, which spans about 27-acres, has numerous natural features such as the Niokaska Creek, trees, a pond, and open fields.

In addition, it has a 1.5-mile trail that takes you around the park.

Moreover, the park has sports facilities, park amenities, an art garden, a dog park, etc.

If you have more time for another round of outdoor activity with your loved ones, Gulley Park has everything you need.

Final Thoughts

There are dozens of reasons for you to include Fayetteville as your next travel destination.

This city has an identity of its own, making it one of the best places to visit in Northwest Arkansas.

Despite being a developed city, Fayetteville maintained its small-town charm and natural beauty.

If you’re ready to travel to Fayetteville, don’t forget to refer to this trusty post.