Fayetteville, Arkansas fall foliage. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Best Things to Do in Fayetteville, Ark.

BY Fifty Grande Editors | May 13, 2021

Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Fayetteville? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Fayetteville?”

Beautiful Fayetteville, Ark., can go toe to toe with the best of the up-and-coming weekend getaway destinations around the country. Visit and you’ll find superb craft breweries, primo food options and street art galore, and the 27,000 University of Arkansas students add nightlife and music scenes. But where Fayetteville really shines is with its over-the-top outdoors beauty. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains right in the northwest corner of the state, it’s not a stretch to say Fayetteville is awash in natural beauty. If hills, lakes, parks and gardens are your thing, so is Fayetteville. And along with neighboring Bentonville (home to Walmart), Springdale and Rogers, it’s part of a growing cultural hub. If you follow these types of things, U.S. News & World Report listed Fayetteville as one of the top five best U.S. places to live from 2016-2018, citing affordability, livability and job options. We’re more into beer, music and outdoor activities, but c’est la vie. Point being: put Fayetteville on your weekend getaway list.

 

You’re here for barbecue

It’s the South (OK, there’s some debate about that) so, naturally, there’s some great barbecue. Indulge.

Herman’s Ribhouse
#1
Herman’s Ribhouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Herman’s Ribhouse

2901 N College Ave, Fayetteville, AR, USA

A mainstay since 1964, Herman’s is Fayetteville famous for its delicious meats and fresh, handmade sauces, including a special barbecue blend. Hand-cut steaks, bone-in rib-eyes, burgers, burger steaks as well as barbecue chicken and half racks of ribs fill the menu. Pair the latter with some Southern coleslaw. 

Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Que in Fayetteville, Ark.
#2
Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Que in Fayetteville, Ark.

Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Que

2773 E Mission Blvd, Fayetteville, AR, USA; 230 S. East Ave., Fayetteville, AR

Penguin Ed’s is another old-school Fayetteville stalwart. There are two locations in the city, and the first turns 25 in July ’21. The menu is stacked with barbecue sandwiches — pork shoulder, chopped beef, brisket, pulled chicken, Polish sausage — racks of ribs, chicken, vegetarian options (for the vegans who’ve gotten lost and found themselves eating in a barbecue restaurant) and more.

Sassy's BBQ and Grille in Fayetteville, Ark.
#3
Sassy's BBQ and Grille in Fayetteville, Ark.

Sassy's BBQ and Grille

708 N College Ave, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Sassy’s gets our vote for the restaurant with the funnest name. Not just in Fayetteville, anywhere. Sassy’s! It’s fun to say. Anyway. Sassy’s offers everything from full plates to sandwich combos. Ask for your barbecued pulled pork on a bun or by itself, and enjoy the delicious taste of meat that has been smoked for 13 hours. Or you can mix it up a bit and order a barbecue beef brisket, smoked barbecue turkey sandwich or even a barbecue burger. Make sure to order the traditional possum pie for dessert.

You’re Also Here for the Pie

Speaking of pies, Fayetteville is home to some of the most delicious pies in the South. While the state may be well-known for its rich, creamy possum pie (not made with real possums), you can find dozens of equally delicious pie flavors across the city. 

Rymolene’s Pies in Fayetteville, Ark.
#4
Rymolene’s Pies in Fayetteville, Ark.

Rymolene’s Pies

955 North Shiloh Drive, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Rymolene’s Pies is small, but locals rave about the number of options. You can order a classic like the Dutch apple pie or opt for something more daring like Arkansas green tomato pie. They even offer sugar-free options and delicious pie cakes.

Where to Drink

Columbus House Brewery and Taproom in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#5
Columbus House Brewery and Taproom in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Columbus House Brewery and Taproom

701 W North St, Fayetteville, AR, USA

At Columbus House Brewery and Taproom, you’ll want to try the delicacies such as the Weekend Warrior, the holiday Twinter Ale or Nutty Runner Nut Brown Ale. The company is completely dog friendly, so the pooch is welcome to tour with you.

Fossil Cove Brewing Co. in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#6
Fossil Cove Brewing Co. in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fossil Cove Brewing Co.

1946 N Birch Ave, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Named after a spot at the brewery’s water source, nearby Beaver Lake, Fossil Cove Brewing opened its doors back in 2012. Their tasting room has 13 taps with rotating selections of year-round, seasonal and experimental beers. In 2016 they launched Frost Fest, a celebration of craft beer from the Ozarks area that also supports Northwest Arkansas nonprofits. (The 2021 fest was cancelled due to Covid.)

Crisis Brewery in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#7
Crisis Brewery in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Crisis Brewery

210 Archibald Yell Boulevard, Fayetteville, AR, USA

With a focus on craft, community and Fayetteville, Crisis Brewing is a small-batch brewer that offers 12 brews (five rotating).

How to Spend a Day in Fayetteville, Arkansas

What will you do to fill in the gaps between eating your fill of scrumptious barbecue and pie? Parks, museums, shops. Fayetteville’s got plenty for you to see.

Parks

Southern states are always hot and humid with flatter terrain, right? Wrong! Arkansas makes a part of the Ozark mountain range and has breathtaking mountainous views. With such attractive natural settings, Fayetteville offers numerous parks for visitors and locals to enjoy. 

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
#8
Fayetteville, Arkansas - Pale and bright pink lotus flower and 5 lily pads in with reflection in the water, taken at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

4703 North Crossover Road, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Grab your friends and family and get lost in the beauty of this park’s 12 gardens. You can enjoy exquisite flowers, plants and the only native butterfly house in the entire Northwest Arkansas region. If you’d like something a little more hands-on, the garden offers numerous learning opportunities, like gardening classes for adults or Earth Day programs for kids. 

Lake Fayetteville in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
#9
Lake Fayetteville in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Lake Fayetteville

1330 Lake Fayetteville Road, Fayetteville, AR, USA

While the name may imply that this park is just a lake, it actually houses numerous sections, including a softball complex, a disc golf course and a memorial park. On top of all those activities, visitors can rent bicycles or boats and enjoy a relaxing day in nature. With 458 acres, you can explore the vast terrain on foot or on a bicycle. Plus, the 194-acre body of water is ideal for fishing, kayaking and other water activities. 

Wilson Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#10
Wilson Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Wilson Park

675 Park Ave Parking, North Park Avenue, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Are you looking for a park that everyone can enjoy? Wilson Park is your answer. With plenty of picnic areas, tennis courts, a pool and beautiful gardens, you can enjoy the outdoors with the whole family. When you visit, don’t forget to stop by the iconic castle built by the sculptor Frank Williams.

Museums

When you visit, you want to take in the rich history of the surrounding area. From participation in wars and key battles to being a home for prominent politicians, this small town has some incredibly insightful history that is proudly portrayed in local museums.

Arkansas Air and Military Museum in Fayetteville
#11
Arkansas Air and Military Museum in Fayetteville

Arkansas Air and Military Museum

4290 S School Ave, Fayetteville, AR, USA

This unique museum perfectly combines history, aviation and awe with its incredible collection of wartime artifacts. Peruse some of the first aircrafts — that are still in working condition — or check out a few of the well-preserved military vehicles, all while learning more about various wars. 

Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#12
Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Clinton House Museum

930 West Clinton Drive, Fayetteville, AR, USA

The Clinton family, one of the most famous political families in the U.S., started right in the state of Arkansas. There are several museums dedicated to them across the state, but this Clinton House Museum is extra special because it was where Hillary and Bill were married in 1975. While the home may be small, walking through the well-preserved rooms will give you a new perspective on the beginnings of the famous family.

 

Where to shop

Get ready for store jumping. 

Hill City Popcorn in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#13
Hill City Popcorn in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Hill City Popcorn

240 E Joyce Blvd, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Hill City Popcorn is a specialty store that makes and sells unique popcorn flavors and gifts. From a tiny, three-cup bag to a giant, 6.5-gallon bucket, this store can fulfill all your popcorn needs. Don’t forget to check out the care-package options and the many flavors, including Woo Pop Sooiee, Chocolate Sea Salt and Jalapeño Ranch.

French Quarters Antiques in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#14
French Quarters Antiques in Fayetteville, Arkansas

French Quarters Antiques

11 N Block Ave, Fayetteville, AR, USA

When you walk in the door of French Quarters Antiques, you’ll be transported to 18th- and 19th-century France. While you may not think of French fineries on your trip to Fayetteville, the owners of this store fill the shop with only the best antiques straight from France.

Must-Try Live Music Spots

George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#15
George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas

George’s Majestic Lounge

519 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, AR, USA

You’ll find out quickly that Dickson St., which is located near the university, is a hub of what happens in Fayetteville. George’s Majestic Lounge has been a mainstay on Dickson since it first opened in 1927, and it stakes its claim as the “oldest and longest-running live music venue in Arkansas.” Artists from Animal Collective to Pat Green and the Little River Band have graced at least one of the two stages at George’s.

Piano Bar in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#16
Piano Bar in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Piano Bar

230 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Previously known as Willy D’s, the Piano Bar is just a few blocks down from George’s on Dickson in the midst of Razorback territory. While it’s not Fayetteville’s place to catch big-name acts passing through town, it should be your pick for your friend’s bachelorette party or any Friday night, really. Expect audience participation here. The pianists are all-in on engaging the crowd. 

Other Faves

TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#17
TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas

TheatreSquared

477 W Spring St, Fayetteville, AR, USA

See a show. This theater company holds 220 performances a year in normal times.The building itself has won multiple awards for its design and it includes two theaters, a café, workshop areas, outdoor seating, apartments and more.

Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market in Fayetteville, Arkansas
#18
Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market

693 W North St, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Housed in a 110-year-old depot, here you’ll find offbeat, eclectic vendors from the Ozarks selling the usual and unusual flea market goods. You can expect everything from clothes and music, to antiques and furniture.