While Bentonville, Arkansas visitors may often be people heading to town to have meetings at the Walmart Corporate Headquarters, I’m here to tell you that there are so many other fun things to do Bentonville! So whether you’re heading there on a work trip or just passing through the area, try to take an extra day or so to hit some of the hot spots below while you’re in town!
Places to Visit
Walmart Museum / Walton’s 5 and Dime – I was going to stop by the Walmart Museum just because it seemed like something you had to do in the town famous for being the hometown of Walmart’s corporate headquarters; but I honestly loved the Walmart Museum! Not because it was trendy, or Instagram worthy, it actually is quite small and you could easily breeze through it in less than hour. But there is so much information there if you take your time and read every single little piece of information they put on the walls. I stayed for a few hours because I was honestly just so inspired by Sam Walton and his story!
Most of us only think of Walmart as the massive conglomerate that it has become today but it was really cool to go back to the roots of Walmart with Sam and his brother opening their Walton’s 5 and dime. I read about how the whole business was created with an intention to cut their own margins in order to ensure that people who couldn’t really afford a lot, had the opportunity to buy everything they needed at every day low costs. Sam Walton was also so focused on his people and employees and making sure they felt appreciated. I think that is one of the most important things in business that is easily lost sight of. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the Walmart Museum and think it is an absolute must do in Bentonville. Also, outside of where you enter the museum it is set up to look like the original Walton’s 5 and Dime with Sam’s pick up truck parked out front! There’s even a small 5 and Dime store where you can buy all sorts of things for very low prices.
Bentonville City Square – This is the adorable main square downtown which has the Walmart Museum as well as the Walton’s 5 and Dime! Its a very cute little square, perfect for sitting to catch up with a friend over a coffee or ice cream.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Crystal Bridges is a renowned art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas created as a passion project of Alice Walton (daughter of Sam Walton). The museum features art from extremely famous and well known artists such as Chihuly, Warhol, Rockwell, etc. Also, both the grounds and the architecture of the building itself are even fantastic. I took my time and walked every inch of the museum including the gorgeous outdoor sculpture garden.
One of the most striking and standout sculptures of the museum is the Louise Bourgeois “Maman” which is a massive sculpture of a spider towering way overhead that you need to walk under its legs to enter the museum – people with arachnophobia beware! Spiders totally creep me out so I was a little apprehensive but it really is an incredible piece of art.
Just 2 weeks later, I was surprised to happen upon a temporary exhibit of a similar Louise Bourgeois “Crouching Spider” sculpture in the garden of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam! Astonished at seeing a Louise Bourgeois spider in Amsterdam just after seeing the one in Bentonville, I decided to look up how many there are and where they are located! Turns out there are seven “Maman” spiders in total located in the below countries:
- Tate Modern, UK
- National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
- Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
- Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, South Korea
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, USA
- Qatar National Convention Center, Doha, Qatar
Hopefully this helps portray the extremely high level of art that the Crystal Bridges museum has! Especially since its free to enter, definitely make time to walk through the museum when you’re in Bentonville. However, make sure you plan ahead because the Crystal Bridges museum is closed on Tuesday’s!
The Buttered Biscuit – Such a cute southern aesthetic! Its quite big but its decorated so well with such a homey southern vibe. I had avocado toast with eggs on some incredible sourdough bread. I was trying to be healthy and didn’t get any of the dessert biscuits but they sounded amazing.
Crepes Paulette – An adorable little crepe food cart (they have a restaurant location as well) with both sweet and savory crepes! I am typically always a sweet crepe kinda gal, but my friend said they have the best savory crepes everrr and convinced me to try one. I was quite impressed! You have GOT to try the “Arkansauce”. I mean, first of all, the name is EVERYTHING! Also, it just tastes delicious!
The Back Porch – Another cute southern brekkie spot downtown! I absolutely loved the sign on the wall that said, “Where wasting time is considered time well wasted.” They stop serving breakfast after 10:30 am though and they close at 2 pm so don’t go too late! Unless its Saturday, then you’ve lucked out and they serve breakfast all day until they close at 3 pm.
Oven & Tap – Amazing pizza place right downtown named for having a custom built wood fired oven & tap wall! They have amazing salads as well that are perfect to share before indulging on the yummy pizza.
The Preacher’s Son – This was my personal favorite restaurant in Bentonville and I think had the best food in town! It is inside of a restored church so it has beautiful stained glass windows. There is a really cool bar with delicious cocktails and the whole place has such a cool vibe! Plus, the food was just incredible. You’re meant to share family style so we ordered a million different dishes, each more amazing than the next. Some favorites were the cornbread to start, followed by burrata with peaches, and then a shaved brussels sprouts, almond, blue cheese & honey salad – my mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. If you only have one meal in Bentonville, go to The Preacher’s Son.
The Spark Cafe – On the corner of the block – immediately next to the Walton’s 5 and Dime storefront which also happens to be the exit from the Walmart Museum – is The Spark Cafe which is named after Walmart’s logo. They serve delicious ice cream at crazy low prices; its only 99 cents for one scoop in a cone! One of Sam Walton’s favorite things was eating Butter Pecan ice cream and so the Spark Cafe was opened as a tribute to that. They serve Yarnell’s ice cream which is another family owned business from Arkansas and was the first ice cream brand that Sam ever sold. I had the featured flavor which happened to be Chewy Brownie and it was amazing.
Onyx Coffee Lab – Right off of the main Bentonville City Square is the Onyx Coffee Lab. It has a clean trendy aesthetic that is totally Instagram worthy where they make fresh coffee & tea. There is even a bar with Ozark Beer Co on tap! I loved the experience and the vibe of hanging out there and wished I’d had my laptop to just hang, soak up the good vibes and make use of the free wifi!
Heroes Coffee & Roastery – I actually saw this place on the side of the road as I was driving to breakfast one day… it has this really cool looking drive up window that intrigued me so much I had to stop on my drive back! I am soo happy that I stopped in because not only did it have the coolest vibe and but I had the best cookie ever! Its called their Monster Cookie which is comprised of oats, M&Ms, peanut butter & chocolate chips. Possibly the best cookie I’ve ever eaten in my life… Apparently I was feeling really decadent that day because I also ordered a warm Peanut Butter Cup Chai Latte with Almond Milk which tasted like a second dessert in a cup. It was really good and such a big drink – which along with the cookie I just couldn’t finish in the moment – so I asked them if they had a to go cup for me and if I could ice it to see what it tasted like that way. They were SO sweet and put it in a huge to go cup with a ton of ice which was basically the equivalent of a second drink. I ended up drinking it while I was outside all afternoon and it was the perfect refreshing dessert drink!
Mountain Biking – There are so many amazing and easily accessible mountain biking trails in Bentonville because Tom and Steuart Walton (grandsons of Sam Walton) are passionate mountain bikers. They have spent insane amounts of money getting some of the best mountain bike trail builders in the world to come to Bentonville and set up trails for all levels of riders! There were trails close enough to my friends house that we could ride our bikes straight from her house to get on to the mountain biking trails! This was my first time ever mountain biking and for the most part, I could handle the easy trails. However, I may have had a spill or two on the uphill parts… I’m still claiming the toppling over was due to renting a men’s bike that was slightly too big for me but who’s to say! Regardless I’m glad that we went and if you’re outdoorsy and adventurous I’d say you should give it a try!
River Float in the Ozarks – My amazing friend took the day off from work one day when I was in town so we’d have the full day to drive deep into the Ozarks to do an all day river float! I highly recommend this as it was so relaxing, fun, a little active and nice to be at one with nature. There are multiple different rivers you can float in the area some of which are apparently more of a party scene with a lot of drinking and floating but we chose a more chill route and drank flavored sparkling water while we kayaked down the river with our pups on board! We went to Kings River Outfitters and had a great experience with them!
Well my friends, that is the Alli Lehr guide to Bentonville, Arkansas! I love to see people going to places I’ve recommended so definitely shoot me a message on Instagram @travelislovexoxoalli if you go to any of these places and let me know what you think!