Hello new people and students, and welcome to our beautiful city! Fayetteville is one of my absolute favorite places on the planet — and so you won’t get bored — I’m here to tell you about some awesome ways you can fill your free time. We may seem like a small town, but there is no shortage of stuff to do here.
1. Dickson Street
I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Dickson. The main stretch in Fayetteville, it holds most of the bars worth going to in Fayetteville. But fret not, O ye under-21 younglings, for there are many restaurants and things you can do as well. Places like Emelia’s Mediterranean Cafe and Jose’s have been staples of Dickson Street since I was a kid. Hookah Java is also a fun place to hang out, though you kinda have to like Hookah. There are also shows and club things that happen regularly over at Dickson Street Theater.
2. The Square
One of Fayetteville’s many historic areas, located right up the road from Dickson Street, the Fayetteville City Square offers a lot, from shops like Sound Warehouse and Flying Possum Leather, to the many historic buildings. most over 100 years old. We also have the nation’s top Farmer’s Market, which happens every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On top of all of that, on the first Thursday of every month they host something called, fittingly, First Thursday, where local artists come and sell their wares. The cherry on top of the Square Sundae has to be the Lights Of The Ozarks, a fantastically beautiful display put up around the entire square during Christmas time.
3. Fayetteville Public Library
Have you guys seen the library in Fayetteville!? It’s gigantic! It’s also one of the top libraries in our nation. That’s something to be excited about for sure. Go forth, young ones, and lose yourself in the wonderful world of books. “We have one of the most cultural resources in the world that is the Fayetteville Public Library workshops,” said Brian Hembree, music director of Fayetteville Roots Festival. “If you only went to the Library’s programming, you’d have a treasure trove of cultural offerings.” Grab a coffee from the Arsaga’s inside, another staple for locals, and relax with a nice book. Have you heard that library cards are free? Because library cards are free!
4. The Parks
Fayetteville has some truly awesome parks inside the city. Wilson park, over by Dickson Street, has one of the best features around: a big random castle. There are also tennis courts, basketball hoops, and a walking trail that circles the park. Over off of Township, Gulley Park is a wide open space a great place to take the dog for a long walk. On the south side of Fayetteville is Walker Park, where the Skate Park is located, and where several local high school students painted a mural of the history of southeast Fayetteville on the racquetball courts.
5. Terra Studios
Technically this one isn’t in Fayetteville, but being only 15 minutes away, it’s close enough. Home to the Bluebirds of Happiness, Terra Studios is best summed up by one word: Magic. An artistic community, Terra Studios is a living fairy tale, with gnomes and fairies and trolls all gallivanting around, wonderful scenery, and a labyrinth all on the grounds. And again, it’s free to go and walk around, but bring a little cash and get a Bluebird of Happiness, they are famous for them after all.
6. Campus: In General
You guys are arriving on one of the most beautiful places in Fayetteville, so all you really have to do is go outside. Go grab a cuppa joe and sit on the lawn in front of Old Main. Take a walk and see if you can find the oldest name on the sidewalks, where graduate’s names have been carved, a tradition started by the class of 1905 (though the class of 1904 added theirs a year later.) Guys there is some amazing history on campus, I urge you to seek it out. Also, there are some fantastic trees to climb.
7. Local Shops
We have some fantastic locally owned businesses here. I’ve already mentioned some of the ones located on Dickson Street and The Square, but they are by no means limited to that location. For my fellow nerds, you will want to seek out Rock Bottom Comics or Realms Anime. Shoppers can head up to the square or to one of the many locally owned boutiques off of College. I saved the last one for this section because I cannot undersell how great this place is, but The Dickson Street Bookshop is a must-see. Packed to the brim with old books, you can smell that wonderful old-book smell every time you open the door. Wandering the stacks in this old shop is an experience in and of itself.
8. Devil’s Den State Park
About 15 minutes outside of town, on your way down I-49 to Ft. Smith, you’ll see signs for Devil’s Den State Park. Here lies some of the best scenery in Arkansas as a whole. Walking the Yellow Rock trail, which is 3 miles up a mountain, get’s you to an overlook that is absolutely breathtaking. Alongside that view, there are caves to explore, rocks to climb, campsites to camp at, creeks to creek in, and a really cool visitor’s lodge. This is definitely a place you want to check out.
There is so much to do and see in NWA in general. Outside of Fayetteville itself there’s Bentonville, and the new Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Rogers has a sprawling outdoor shopping mall, too. Roughly 45 minutes away is Eureka Springs, an eccentric town, artistic community, with some of the best mountain scenery around, and an awesome haunted hotel called the Crescent Inn. Welcome to Fayetteville, everyone, I hope you love it here as much as I do.
- Parking on Dickson is $2, but only after 2 p.m. so you should be good during lunch.
- A lot of students think Campus Cops are just security, but no, they are the UAPD, so don’t act a fool around them and get yourself in trouble.
- Jimmy John’s definitely delivers to campus.
- Roads to know: North/Wedington, Mission Blvd., Crossover, and College; these wil lead you any and everywhere in Fayetteville and have most of the major stuff located off of them.
- The Square can get confusing with all of it’s one way streets, so make sure you pay attention to whether or not you are allowed to go the direction you want
- Game Day is… tumultuous in this town. SEC games tend to bring out a lot of people out, so your best bet is to walk to the stadium from campus rather than mess with the traffic, trust us.
- The bike path in Fayetteville is a pretty great thing to check out, it stretches across the entire town and makes for a great afternoon activity, and you can rent bikes from the university to use.