Things to Know about NWA / Things to Do in NWA
Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau with rolling hills and forests. Recreation areas include Beaver Lake, the Hobbs Conservation area, and Devil's Den State Park that has nice hiking trails. The metroplex is made up of four major cities: Springdale (the industrial center of the region), Fayetteville (a university town with mandated green space), and the Rogers/Bentonville area (the home to Walmart and more upscale amenities, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art built by Alice Walton).
The region has worked hard to position itself as a biking destination. The Walton family has invested in an extensive trail system and there are mountain biking locations in Fayetteville. That said, NWA is very much a car culture. Ozark Transit has a bus system, but it is limited. Be careful crossing streets, even at crosswalks. Don't assume the driver is paying attention. Uber and Lyft run in the region, but drivers are not as plentiful as in major cities. Plan accordingly.
In the past Springdale was clearly the working class town of the four with lots of factories and poultry plants, and concrete and pavement. Over the past few years and anchored by Tyson's Foods, whose headquarters is located in Springdale, the city has begun a revitalization program, particularly in the downtown area. Here you can see public art, including a mural by a Marshallese resident. There are also many small businesses and restaurants that reflect the largely Hispanic and increasingly diverse population. Fayetteville, as the liberal college town, has generally paid attention to aesthetics and quality of life issues. Dickson street is the hub of the college scene. Bentonville and Rogers grew exponentially over the past two decades reflecting the growth of Walmart, the world's largest retailer and its edict that all major vendors open an office in the area. This has brought in a diverse and affluent population.
The area has lots of restaurants, dives, food trucks and major chains. Check out Finding NWA foods and drinks for an extensive list. Here are some of our favorites:
World's Best Java and Pies - an MEI favorite serving breakfast and lunch; sandwiches and pizza
617 E Emma Ave, Suite C, Springdale, AR 72764
Marketplace Grill - a family-style restaurant near the conference hotel with an extensive menu (and they put chicken on everything - Springdale style)
1636 S 48th Street, Springdale, AR 72762
Hugo's - a Fayetteville "dive" just off the square; steps take you down to a basement restaurant
25 1/2 N. Block Ave., Fayetteville, AR
Things to Do
Visit Crystal Bridges or walk the grounds of the museum (Bentonville)
Visit the Museum of Native American History (Bentonville)
Walk the grounds of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) for a good cardio workout, or check out the trails system that links the major cities
Visit Lake Fayetteville or Beaver Lake
Drive the winding road to Eureka Springs and visit the eclectic businesses there