18+ Things to Do in Northwest Arkansas on Razorback Game Day Weekends

Photo by Wesley Hitt

There’s nothing like the excitement of an SEC football game day! Anticipation of a win and high energy levels fill the air in Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.

While Fayetteville is known as home to the U of A — it was named by Travel + Leisure as #16 of 22 America’s Best College Towns in 2013 — it’s full of history, arts and culture, live entertainment and parks and trails, too.

Whether you’re an Arkansan rooting for the Razorbacks or an out-of-towner cheering for the opposing team, Fayetteville has plenty to offer fans during their weekend stay.

Here’s your list of don’t-miss fun in Fayetteville and the surrounding region:

  1. Dickson Street – An eclectic gateway to the university, Dickson Street is the place for unique retail shops, restaurants, bars, and live music venues. You’ll find people shopping, eating, and drinking here before, during, and after the game.
  2. Downtown Square – It’s known for its beautiful landscaping and the Fayetteville Farmers Market that runs three days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – beginning in spring and ending in early autumn. One of the longest running in the state, this is not your average farmers market. Everything from local coffee, breakfast joints, brunch, and Bloody Marys await you in addition to the fresh produce, pottery, fine art, retail shops and a lively throng of folks milling around the historic square. It’s a great way to start a game day!
  3. Live music – Stages, big and small, let you feel the heartbeat of Fayetteville. Some offer free music, while others require a cover charge. George’s Majestic Lounge is the king of live music with two stages and a history dating to 1927. Jose’s outdoor patio is always a lively place. Kingfish is popular for its outdoor stage with free music and a large deck and lawn. Smoke & Barrel and Powerhouse Seafood & Grill are also known for their great music vibes. The Walmart AMP in Rogers brings in big name acts from across the country to its state-of-the art outdoor music pavilion – the largest of its kind in the state.
  4. Fayetteville Ale Trail – Arkansas’ first craft beer tasting adventure, this self-guided beer tour lets visitors experience the award-winning craft beer culture of the Ozarks. Pick up an ale trail passport and have it stamped at each brewery to receive a commemorative bottle opener. There are more than eight breweries on the tour in both Fayetteville and neighboring Springdale. Need a designated driver? Let Hogshead Tours take you.
  5. Escape Rooms – Free your inner sleuth. Solve puzzles, piece together information and race against time to escape the room you’ve been “locked” in at one of these two new adventure spaces. Ozark Escape has three rooms of various sizes, each with its own theme, and a Game Master tracking your progress. The NWA Escape Room offers two different rooms, each with a different scenario. Both venues allow a range of players from two to 10 depending on room size.
  6. Terra Studios – An artsy wonderland, this is the home of the world famous Bluebird of Happiness. Enjoy the whimsical art park, buy unique gifts in the gallery of 100-plus regional artists, enjoy coffee or a snack, play giant games, take a mini-class, and walk the labyrinth.
  7. Dickson Street Book Shop – Call the maze runner to guide your through aisle after aisle of floor-to-ceiling books on every subject in the universe. This city landmark offers 100,000 used and out-of-print books, antique and rare volumes, and specializes in literature, poetry, Irish Studies, and Americana. You don’t even have to know how to read to be in awe of the loaded shelves and stacks of reading material.
  8. Golf – The toughest decision golfers will have to make is which course to play – there are over 30 in Northwest Arkansas. Or, Gator Golf offers two 18-hole mini-golf courses on a wooded hillside. Lokomotion Family Fun Park has mini-golf, video games, and go-karts.
  9. Arkansas and Missouri Railroad – Travel in the style of a bygone era in refurbished antique passenger or parlor coaches over trestles with views for miles, through a quarter-mile tunnel, to the top of the scenic Boston Mountains, and into the historic Arkansas River Basin. Choose from three popular excursions. For Razorback games, you can catch the train in Rogers or Springdale and ride it to the stadium.
  10. Clinton House Museum – Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham married in the living room of this home in October 1975. Nestled in a quiet neighborhood just steps away from the University of Arkansas, the 1930s English-style bungalow showcases the life and times of the Clintons’ Fayetteville years and their first home. Listed on the National Historic Registry, this museum features photographs, memorabilia, vintage campaign materials, and a gift shop. Take a tour and also see the First Ladies Garden containing the favorite flowers of the first ladies from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama.
  11. GamesModern Mission uses the latest equipment for laser tag games for all ages with outdoor and indoor battlefields. Arkadia Retrocade goes old school with video games such as Pac Man, Galaga, Asteroids, Joust, and much more.
  12. Outdoors – Take a hike at nearby Devil’s Den State Park, Lake Fort Smith State Park, or Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. Or, located inside the city limits, Lake Fayetteville offers a paved trail and a mountain biking trail.
  13. History & Heritage – While Fayetteville is without a doubt the place for arts and entertainment, it is also rich in Civil War history with the National and Confederate cemeteries and Headquarters House. Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is about 20 minutes west of Fayetteville and Pea Ridge National Military Park is about 45 minutes north.
  14. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks – Located on 42 acres adjoining Lake Fayetteville, the garden contains the Carl A. Totemeier Horticulture Center, plaza and great lawn, 12 themed gardens and the region’s only butterfly house. Educational programs for all ages, concerts, and plays take place here. Plus, it serves as a trailhead for the multi-use trail around Lake Fayetteville and the Razorback Regional Greenway.
  15. Razorback Regional Greenway – Walk, bike, or hike this 36-mile-long, shared-use trail that extends from the Bella Vista Trail in Bentonville to the Frisco Trail in Fayetteville. The paved trail contains impressive bridges, follows along several creeks, runs through farmland and wooded areas, and connects to other trails, lakes, and parks. While the greenway offers plenty of scenic beauty, it also links dozens of popular community destinations, including six downtown areas, arts and entertainment venues, restaurants, historic sites, playgrounds, and residential communities.
  16. Arkansas Air and Military Museum – See the history of Arkansas aviation through original artifacts and memorabilia. Static displays range from the golden age of aviation to the jet age. The museum features world-famous racing planes from the 1920s and 1930s, Vietnamese-era Army helicopters, and a Navy carrier fighter. The museum is housed in a vast, wood hangar that was former headquarters for one of the United States’ many aviator training posts during WWII.
  17. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Located in Bentonville, the world-class museum’s permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from the Colonial era to current day and is enhanced with visiting exhibitions. Sculpture and trails link the museum’s 120-acre park to the downtown. Also enjoy the museum store, library, and restaurant. Nearby is the Amazeum, a hands-on interactive experience for kids, and the Walmart Museum, chronicling the rise of the retail giant and serving coffee, treats, and ice cream.
  18. Arkansas Helicopters – Take a sky tour over the University of Arkansas or several other places offered by this company based out of Springdale.

For lodging and dining information in Fayetteville, visit www.experiencefayetteville.com.Fayetteville_Joses_Patio

Parking information: You’ll find pay stations in and around the Dickson Street area. Use these stations to pay for your on-street and gated lot parking. Just enter your number, pay with either cash or a credit card and you’re done. You can even add time from any machine, no matter how far you’ve ventured from your original parking space. To sign up for a free Pay-By-Phone account, you can register your cell phone number by visiting verrus.com/verrus/signup.aspx or by calling 888-450-PARK(7275).

If you’re staying in a surrounding towns, click on these cities to see even more to do: Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville.

by Jill Rohrbach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *