Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Fayetteville, AR

  • Published 2022/11/18

Fayetteville has the best spots that might catch your eye for an academic trip that centers on your recreation.

This city, also the county seat in Washington County, is part of northwestern Arkansas.

Incorporated in 1828, its earliest settlers were the Osage and Cherokee, who made the city a hunting ground.

The seven hills surrounding this place add to its historic allure and picturesque vantage points.

Known as the “Athens of the Ozarks,” it’s also a hub of particular significance because of the numerous notable figures who considered this place home.

Some include President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and architect Fay Jones.

What’s most exceptional about Fayetteville is its range of recreational places at no charge!

Below are some of the free things to do in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for your budget-friendly trip:

Enjoy Sightseeing at Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens

A building at Fayetteville Downtown Square

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Experiencing Fayetteville’s glory starts at Fayetteville’s Downtown Square & Gardens.

This park and shopping district lies at the heart of the city, on West Center Street.

Find yourself dazzled by the eclectic shops and other establishments erected around this place.

Shops along Fayetteville Downtown Square

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From pubs to colorful gardens, Fayetteville Downtown Square & Gardens brings you the best this city has in store for new travelers.

Take a casual walk along the boulevard and experience the scents and sounds of a waking Fayetteville in the morning.

Or, if you prefer to go in the afternoon, why not stop by for a quick bite at some restaurants just down the block?

Trail lined with plants at Fayetteville Downtown Square garden

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Admire the Castle Sculpture at Wilson Park

Castle sculpture at Wilson Park

Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dive deep into one of Fayetteville’s most iconic downtown spots, Wilson Park.

Not only is this park the most famous spot for recreation, but it’s also the oldest.

Since 1906, Wilson Park has become a local favorite because of Trent’s Pond.

The pond was a swimming and boating area for many residents and families looking for a great time.

Spanning 22.75 acres, this park is also home to a pond, a stunning garden layout, and the infamous castle.

The castle, designed by artist Frank Williams, comes with a spring-fed pond that brings more depth.

Its iron door and old rock stair structure make it the perfect backdrop for your little princes and princesses as they pose and play.

There’s also a flower fountain and a bois d’arc tree by the pond, which is approximately 100 years old.

Head to North Park Avenue to see the sights at Wilson Park.

Play with Your Dog at Iams Dog Park

If you’re traveling with your pet, visit Fayetteville’s Iams Dog Park.

This off-leash dog park on North Dartmouth Avenue is on the west corner of Bryce Davis Park.

Walk down about 400 meters along a nature trail from Bryce Davis Park to reach this lovely dog-centered field.

Extending to over three acres, this park has areas for the central recreation area and a fenced one for smaller dogs.

The central area has a pavilion and some picnic areas for you to rest on while your dog sheds their excess energy out in the field.

There are also benches and agility equipment in both areas of Iams Dog Park, set within a grassy land.

If you plan to stay longer, this park’s lighting can add a glow to your and your dog’s night as late as an hour before midnight.

It’s your dog’s world at Iams Dog Park!

See a Replica of Hillary’s Wedding Dress at the Clinton House Museum

Exterior of the Clinton House Museum

Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On West Clinton Drive, the Clinton House Museum tells the story of Fayetteville in American history through the lives of the Clintons.

This modest house is not only famous because of the array of programs and exhibits showcased there.

Most importantly, it’s also the home of one of the most influential families in the US during the 70s.

Bill and Hillary’s story as a married couple started in the walls of this house.

They got married in the living room in 1975 and had it rented in 1983.

The most notable areas in this house are the War Room, the dining room, where most of Bill’s campaigns developed, and the First Ladies Garden, which housed Hillary’s favorite flowers.

Join annual events at this house, including a garden party and an anniversary celebration in honor of the Clintons.

Then, check out collections that were part of the Clintons’ life, like the couple’s photographs and even Hillary’s wedding gown replica.

Learn more about one of America’s most famous families when you visit the Clinton House Museum, without paying a single cent!

Take a Photo of the World Peace Prayer Fountain Sculpture

Daytime view of the World Peace Prayer Fountain Sculpture

Clinton Steeds, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taking a photo is the best way to take a piece of Fayetteville home with you.

With the World Peace Prayer Fountain Sculpture, you get more than you bargained for.

This spherical sculpture spans ten diameters.

Located just outside the Fayetteville Town Center, this bronze-made fountain sculpture is a unique attraction exclusive to Fayetteville alone.

In its sphere are various inscriptions of the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in different languages.

Artist Hank Kaminsky wanted to highlight the importance of world peace in different prayers and versions worldwide.

Visitors can slowly spin the wheel to fully embrace the meaning of coming together to celebrate peace for every person and community.

Is the World Peace Prayer Fountain Sculpture part of your itinerary?

Have Fun at the Splash Pad at Walker Park

Walker Park is an all-around park dedicated to ensuring your visit is worth it.

Built in 1949, this park comes with a mile of a walking pathway that connects to the Razorback Regional Greenway.

In the 1960s, this park was also a household name for baseball teams and athletes.

To aid players in their practice sessions, park facilitators added new dugouts in 2013.

Families are also amazed at this place because of the splash pad and skateboard park.

Bring your little ones to the splash pad for a refreshing time under the sun.

Take a picture of the park mural that depicts the remarkable story of South Fayetteville.

Housing a variety of amenities, Walker Park is not your usual walk around the park, so you should drop by for a visit.

You can find this park on West 15th Street.

Research at Fayetteville Public Library

Exterior of Fayetteville Public Library

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You can never go wrong with the resources at Fayetteville Public Library for your educational and research journey.

This public library on West Mountain Street, established in 1916, is the go-to spot for those who need a bit of serenity and silence while learning something new.

Beyond the reliable reading and viewing materials up for use, there are also rotating art exhibits at the site.

This helps display local artists and their works and highlight different themes and messages.

Moreover, the Fayetteville Public Library contributes to sustainable methods for reducing pollution through its Green Roof.

Beehives are also on the third floor of the establishment, where exhibitions are open to everyone.

Visit this library if you’ve got the time!

Trade in a Book at Dickson Street Bookshop

Exterior of Dickson Street Bookshop

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Fayetteville, the grand mixes with the simple.

At Dickson Street Bookshop, prepare for an hour or more of book browsing with tons of valuable titles on display.

Established in 1978, its history goes as long as the books they shelve.

Learn more about calligraphy, ancient worlds, botany, and a thousand more subjects with its array of books in its downtown environment.

Bring another book you’d like to trade in and get a volume of your choice to add to your bookshelf.

Located on West Dickson Street, Dickson Street Bookshop’s subtle but charming store attracts you with its side murals as you pass.

Marvel at the Outdoor Artworks and Murals at Terra Studios

Situated on Hazel Valley Road, Terra Studios is an outdoor masterpiece waiting for you to see.

This six-acre art park brings together a variety of art designs and outdoor sculptures.

Moreover, it’s also a family-friendly spot set against a rugged nature background on top of Arkansas rolling hills.

Its pond and walking trails make it the best spot to stroll with a partner.

Admire the sculptures and murals made by hundreds of artists over the years as you take a peek at the demonstrative exhibits and stunning fountains.

Your kids will enjoy the activities at the park too.

Terra Studios’ giant chess and checkers and its keepsake map can be a great source of entertainment for their curious minds.

While admission to this park and gallery is free, donations are highly appreciated, too.

Ride a Bike along Razorback Regional Greenway

Lakeside trail of Razorback Regional Greenway

Brandonrush, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You don’t have to worry about missing a workout while traveling to Fayetteville.

Razorback Regional Greenway provides the best recreational biking in a picturesque landscape.

This 36-mile, off-road biking trail serves as the link between a lot of cities, including Springdale, Lowell, and Fayetteville.

Bridge trail at Razorback Regional Greenway

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Most importantly, it promises a mellow ride; whether you’re an experienced biker or still learning the ropes, you can have fun!

The Town Branch trail leads your journey across Razorback Regional Greenway, and you can find it south of Walker Park.

Browse the Exhibits and Displays at Art Ventures

Art Ventures holds a spot on this list because of its artistic relevance to the community through its free-hosted exhibits.

Starting in 2009 in the basement of Fayetteville Square along East Center Street, Art Ventures was once a tiny art venue.

It eventually transferred to South Hill Avenue, where it continued its mission of highlighting local artists and artworks.

Join limited exhibits and art installations and feel inspired by the displayed works.

Why not take your significant other to this one-of-a-kind gallery and make your date out of this world?

Chill by the Water Dock at Lake Fayetteville

A dock at Lake Fayetteville

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Bring the whole family for an afternoon of picnics and lake views at Lake Fayetteville.

This 458-acre property, with an astounding 194 acres of water, is ideal for family gatherings and bonding experiences.

Its amenities may include aquatic recreational activities, like the dock and marina, but it also has a multi-faceted park.

The waters of Lake Fayetteville

Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re not into renting a boat, workout at the disc golf course instead.

Lake Fayetteville also has a softball complex and 5.5 miles of nature trails you can enjoy and get lost in.

This lovely lake doesn’t cost a penny for a quick visit, so what are you waiting for?

A trail at Lake Fayetteville

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Browse the Stalls at Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market

If you’re content with an afternoon of window shopping, you shouldn’t miss Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market.

This flea market brings its name “Funky” to the extreme with its array of collectibles and items for sale.

From clothing and appliances to antique and music-related items, you’ll find game-changing objects to take home as souvenirs.

Moreover, the whole store exudes a bohemian and vintage atmosphere, perfect for your Instagram.

Head to West North Street to find Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have you toured all the attractions mentioned above?

Here are other free things to do near Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Explore the Historic Buildings at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

Exterior of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

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Further north from Fayetteville, you’ll find the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, Arkansas, 17 minutes from Fayetteville.

This regional museum recalls the exciting history of Northwest Arkansas through its old photographs and artifacts.

It started gathering tools in 1965.

It wasn’t until 1991 that the museum opened in its current location at the corner of West Johnson Avenue.

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has seven historic buildings worth visiting.

Here, you will understand life in Northwest Arkansas during the 1800s.

Since it’s also a convenient stop along Razorback Regional Greenway, it’s easily a tourist spot that bikers can visit for a hasty break.

See the Artifacts at the Museum in Prairie Grove Battlefield Park

In the neighboring city of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, prepare to travel back in the past at Prairie Grove Battlefield Park.

Known as one of the country’s still intact Civil War battlefields, this park is an ideal venue to review your history knowledge.

Spanning over 900 acres, it tells the story of the 1862 Battle of Prairie Grove, which ended with almost 3,000 casualties.

At its museum, also called the Hindman Hall Museum, artifacts related to the battle are on display.

Biennial reenactments of the war also occur at this place.

The Prairie Grove Battlefield Park’s vast expanse of grass is also a breath of fresh air and a welcome change of scenery from downtown Prairie Grove.

This park is only 18 minutes from Fayetteville.

Final Thoughts

Fayetteville’s historical significance shows through its museums, parks, and other public recreational sites.

With its penchant for free tourist spots, it’s no wonder it’s a go-to city for many people.

So, Fayetteville is your best option if you’re looking for a city that doesn’t shy away from its history and helps your wallet stay intact.

Bookmark this list of the free things to do in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to help you plan your itinerary.

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