How to Spend a Perfect Weekend: Things to Do in Bentonville, Arkansas

A Dive into Bentonville’s Unique Attractions

When considering things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas, one cannot overlook the city’s unique blend of commerce and culture. Bentonville is famously known as the birthplace of Walmart, the retail giant that has become a household name globally. The Walmart Museum in the city offers an intriguing look into the history and evolution of this retail empire, providing insights into its humble beginnings and subsequent rise to prominence.

But Bentonville is not just about Walmart; it’s a city that has invested heavily in the arts and culture. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a prime example, featuring an extensive collection from colonial times to contemporary works. This museum is a feast for the eyes and an educational experience, offering a comprehensive look at American art history.

In addition, Bentonville is home to other noteworthy museums like the 21c Museum Hotel, which combines the concept of a museum and a hotel to offer a unique experience to visitors. There’s also the Museum of Native American History, which delves into the rich cultural heritage of indigenous peoples, making Bentonville a diverse and enriching destination.

Exploring the Multifaceted Museums and More

When it comes to places to visit in Bentonville, Arkansas, the city’s museums undoubtedly take center stage. However, each museum offers something distinct, catering to different interests. The 21c Museum Hotel, for instance, is a modern art museum that also functions as a boutique hotel, offering art installations in the guest rooms. It’s an immersive art experience unlike any other.

The Museum of Native American History provides a different kind of enrichment. It offers a deep dive into the history, culture, and contributions of Native Americans, featuring artifacts and exhibits that span thousands of years. This museum is not just a place to visit; it’s an educational journey that enlightens and informs.

Beyond museums, Bentonville offers other attractions that add to its appeal. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, with parks and trails that provide opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The Slaughter Pen Trail and the Back 40 are popular among adventure enthusiasts.

Shopping is another activity that you can indulge in while in Bentonville. From high-end boutiques to local artisan shops, the city offers a variety of shopping experiences that cater to different tastes and budgets. Bentonville has something to offer whether you’re looking for designer labels or unique handcrafted goods.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

If you are an art fan, visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. This is one of the largest and most renowned museums in the state.

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in late 2011 in northwest Arkansas near Bentonville. It features contemporary and colonial art.

The museum is located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, with 120 acres of woodlands and spring-fed ponds. You can enjoy hiking, biking, and walking paths around the complex. Several trails are free to use. There is also a restaurant and gift store.

Best places to visit in Bentonville - Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Best places to visit in Bentonville – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

In addition to its permanent collection, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art offers temporary exhibits, educational programs, and special events. In addition, visitors can attend art classes and film screenings.

The Walmart Museum

The Walmart Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, is a great place to learn more about the history of Walmart. It’s free to enter, and you can tour the exhibits and learn about the history of the Walmart store.

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The museum is in the exact location of the original Sam Walton five-dime store. This is where the history of Walmart began.

You can learn about Sam Walton’s life and how he became a global leader. There are also several other exhibits at the museum. Among them are the original floor tiles of the store.

Best tourist attractions in Bentonville - Walmart museum
Best tourist attractions in Bentonville – Walmart museum

Other items include a soda fountain modeled after the store’s glory days. You can also visit the Spark Cafe.

21c Museum Hotel Bentonville

If you’re looking for a unique hotel with a contemporary art museum, you’ll love 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, Arkansas. This multi-level boutique hotel offers a vibrant atmosphere and a variety of art galleries. It’s also home to a restaurant showcasing Arkansas’s unique culinary identity. Guests can also enjoy a 24-hour fitness center and laundry service.

The 21c Museum has been a pioneer in the world of contemporary art. Since its inception in 2006, it has hosted over twenty special exhibitions. Some artists it has exhibited include Chuck Close, Sam Taylor-Wood, Yinka Shonibare, Tony Oursler, and Bill Viola. Throughout the years, the museum has also sponsored traveling exhibitions. In addition, you’re invited to take a tour of the museum during select hours.

In addition to the museum, 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville hosts live art events yearly. Guests can attend dynamic installations and thought-provoking art galleries. The hotel also offers guests a stylish restaurant, chic bar, and six luxury suites.

Places to visit in Bentonville - 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville
Places to visit in Bentonville – 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville

Rooms at the Museum Hotel 21c Bentonville feature contemporary decor and furnishings. They offer amenities such as high ceilings and large windows. A flat-screen TV is also available. Guests can also enjoy upgraded bath amenities like Malin + Goetz products. Guests can even upgrade to a suite with additional living space. Those who want culinary offerings will appreciate the hotel’s on-site restaurant, The Hive.

Located on the northeast corner of the town square, 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville is a part boutique hotel, cultural center, and contemporary art museum. Whether visiting for business or leisure, you’ll feel at home at this modern-day retreat.

Museum of Native American History

The Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, Arkansas, is a private, nonprofit organization that exhibits the history of Native Americans. It is a relatively small museum, but it is packed with information. In addition to its collection, the museum displays artifacts from throughout the Americas. There is even a gift shop.

Things to do in Bentonville - Museum of Native American History
Things to do in Bentonville – Museum of Native American History

The museum’s website has a wealth of information about its offerings, including a full calendar of events. The museum is open to the public and is free. A museum visit is a great way to learn about the past and to see what native people were like before Europeans invaded their land.

One of the most impressive features of the Museum of Native American History is the audio component. This is a great feature for large groups.

Slaughter Pen Trail

Slaughter Pen Trail in Bentonville, Arkansas, is one of the most famous mountain biking trails. This trail will satisfy any rider with over 40 miles of singletrack and a unique urban mountain bike experience.

The first phase of the trail features wooded areas, hollows, and wooden elements. This trail is also very steep and perfect for expert riders.

Places to go in Bentonville - Mtn Biking at Slaughter Pen Trail
Places to go in Bentonville – Mtn Biking at Slaughter Pen Trail

Another popular trail is The All-American trail, which connects the Slaughter Pen Trail to the Downtown Bentonville square. The All-American Trail features ladder bridges, small gap jumps, tabletops, and native stone rockwork.

The Back 40 and Blowing Springs trails are great choices if you’re looking for more singletrack. These trails offer a mix of old-school cross-country and modern-day flow.

Concluding Thoughts: The Best Things to Do in Bentonville, Arkansas

Bentonville, Arkansas, is a city that effortlessly blends its commercial roots with a rich cultural tapestry, making it a destination that should be on everyone’s travel list. From its iconic Walmart Museum to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the city offers many things to do and places to visit.

Each museum in Bentonville serves as a lens through which different facets of American history, culture, and commerce can be viewed. They offer exhibits and experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain.

But the city is not just about indoor experiences. Bentonville is surrounded by natural beauty, providing a perfect setting for outdoor adventures. From hiking trails to cycling paths, the city offers a range of activities that allow you to connect with nature. The shopping scene in Bentonville is also worth mentioning. It’s diverse enough to satisfy the tastes of luxury seekers and those looking for unique, locally-made products.

In summary, Bentonville has something to offer to cater to your interests, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, an adventure seeker, or someone who enjoys exploring new places. It’s a city that has successfully managed to preserve its history while embracing modernity, making it a unique and enriching destination for all.

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