What Is Bentonville, Arkansas Known For? (besides the obvious…)

Sharing is caring!

What Is Bentonville, Arkansas Known For?
Bentonville, Arkansas is best known as the birthplace and global headquarters of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. This small city boasts a rich history and a rapidly growing art scene. The Walmart influence extends into the realm of culture and arts with the establishment of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which houses a significant collection ranging from colonial-era pieces to contemporary works. Bentonville’s charming downtown square, lined with local boutiques, restaurants, and the Walmart Museum, is a popular attraction. The city also offers ample outdoor activities with numerous parks, trails, and the nearby Ozark Mountains. Additionally, Bentonville has emerged as a significant hub for business and economic development in the Northwest Arkansas region.

Nestled in the picturesque Ozark Mountains, Bentonville, Arkansas, has emerged from being primarily known as the birthplace of Walmart to a thriving center for arts, culinary, and outdoor experiences. With a population of around 50,000 residents, this charming town offers a rich tapestry of attractions that cater to various interests, making it a must-visit destination in the heart of the American South.

Bentonville takes pride in its world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which showcases over 500 years of American artwork and was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Moreover, the city has earned its title as the “mountain biking capital of the world” with more than 140 miles of trails, ranked Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association.

In addition to its exceptional arts and outdoor offerings, Bentonville also boasts a vibrant culinary scene, inviting visitors to explore diverse flavors from its myriad of dining establishments. So, whether it’s savoring acclaimed cuisine, immersing oneself in American art, or embarking on scenic outdoor adventures, Bentonville, Arkansas, has something for everyone and should not be missed.


Bentonville, Arkansas, has a rich history that has shaped its present-day identity. The area, initially known as hunting grounds for the Osage Nation from Missouri, saw its first settlers around 1830. Bentonville was originally called Osage and was later renamed after Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, who played an essential role in Arkansas’ statehood achievement.

Arkansas gained statehood on September 15, 1836, with Benton County becoming the first established county. The county, located in the picturesque Ozarks region of Northwest Arkansas, did not have a significant enslaved population before the Civil War. Benton County was home to a single free man of color and 384 enslaved people in 1860. The Civil War had its impact on the area, but the prominence of Cherokee residents and their connection to the Confederate side influenced local life more deeply.

The transformation of Bentonville from a farming community to a thriving city began with Sam Walton, who opened a small store on the town square. Walton’s determination and vision led to the expansion of this store into Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer. The Walmart Inc. headquarters has remained in Bentonville, drawing more businesses, boosting the local economy, and attracting people from across the globe.

The Walton Family Foundation, spurred by Walmart’s success, is dedicated to philanthropy in various sectors such as education, environment, and sustainability. The foundation has contributed significantly to the development of the region, especially in enhancing the quality of life.

Poultry production is another essential part of Bentonville’s history, playing a significant role in the growth of the Northwest Arkansas economy. This industry, alongside retail and other businesses, has contributed to making Bentonville a thriving hub in the region.

In conclusion, Bentonville’s history encompasses its humble beginnings as a hunting ground, its role in the Civil War, and its incredible transformation driven by Sam Walton, Walmart, and the Walton Family Foundation. This vibrant city’s compelling history has shaped its present and will continue to influence its future growth.


Bentonville, Arkansas is best known for being the birthplace of the largest retailer in the world, Walmart. The city is home to the corporation’s headquarters, which was founded by Sam Walton on July 2, 1962. The town provides a strong business foundation for the immense growth and expansion of the Walmart Corporation over the years.

As a testament to Sam Walton’s legacy, Bentonville houses the Walmart Museum. Opened in 1990, the museum exhibits important artifacts and documents, sharing Walmart’s history with visitors. Tourists from around the world are drawn to this museum, providing insight into the birth, development, and influence of the corporation.

Walmart’s foundation in Bentonville has sparked significant economic and cultural development, with the city’s population growing by more than 50% since 2010. The presence of the Walmart headquarters in the city has influenced other businesses to enter the region and has played a significant role in shaping the city’s infrastructure and reputation.

The Walmart Corporation has made a significant impact on the economy and the community of Bentonville. It has established itself as an essential part of the city’s identity, and its headquarters remain a central pillar of the local economy. The success of Walmart in Bentonville has inspired many business ventures and has contributed to the city’s continued growth and transformation.

Art and Museums

Bentonville, Arkansas is well-known for its exceptional arts and museums, showcasing both American and international art. One of the city’s most distinguished attractions is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton and designed by architect Moshe Safdie, Crystal Bridges opened its doors on November 11, 2011, and has since become a renowned institution for American art. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of American artwork, featuring famous artists like John Singer Sargent and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Momentary is another noteworthy contemporary art space in Bentonville. As a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum, the Momentary is committed to exploring the evolving nature of contemporary art through exhibitions, performances, and installations. With its focus on providing a space for innovative and experimental art, the Momentary is an essential destination for contemporary art enthusiasts.

Bentonville is also home to the 21C Museum Hotel – a unique combination of a boutique hotel and dedicated art museum. With rotating exhibitions throughout the year, it offers a dynamic experience for guests looking to be immersed in a creative environment. The hotel’s museum features contemporary art pieces that complement the artistic atmosphere of Bentonville.

In addition to these prominent institutions, Bentonville is rich in history, as showcased through the Museum of Native American History. This museum offers a deep dive into the contributions and heritage of Native American societies, displaying artifacts and exhibits that span over thousands of years.

Other historic sites in Bentonville include the Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens, an Italianate villa constructed in 1875 by Colonel Samuel West Peel, who was the first Arkansas native to be elected to the United States Congress. The mansion serves as a preserved historic landmark, giving visitors a glimpse into the elegance and grandeur of the late 19th-century.

Bentonville’s art and museums truly embrace an array of disciplines, providing a diverse cultural experience for visitors. From traditional American art to contemporary exhibitions, Bentonville’s arts scene is both engaging and enriching for those who explore it.

Outdoor Activities

Bentonville, Arkansas, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is nestled within the beautiful Ozark region, offering a variety of trails and recreational facilities for visitors and residents alike. Here, you will find an abundance of opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

The Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is a popular destination with its 50-acre plot dedicated to mountain biking. It has several different trails catering to riders of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. This preserve is designated as an official International Mountain Biking Association ride center, ensuring top-class facilities and trail designs.

Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile-long, shared-use paved trail, is perfect for biking, walking, and jogging. This linear park extends from Bentonville to Fayetteville, encompassing several parks and picturesque views of the region’s natural beauty.

Osage Park, a 55-acre park in Bentonville, offers various activities such as hiking, trail running, and birdwatching. The park features miles of soft-surface trails that visitors can explore while being immersed in nature.

For fishing enthusiasts, Bentonville has various lakes and rivers to choose from. A prominent spot is the Beaver Lake, a 28,000-acre man-made reservoir filled with crystal-clear water winding through the Ozark Highlands. Anglers at Beaver Lake can catch a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappies, making it an ideal spot for a day out on the water.

For those who prefer hiking, the nearby Siloam Springs offers an excellent opportunity to explore the beautiful waterfalls and diverse landscapes of the area. Hikers can encounter various trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging routes, that showcase the region’s stunning natural features.

Overall, Bentonville and the surrounding area are full of outdoor activities that cater to all interests and skill levels, making it a top destination for those seeking adventure in nature.

Culinary and Dining

Bentonville, Arkansas, has been making its way into the international spotlights with its vibrant culinary scene and diverse dining options. Visitors exploring downtown Bentonville will find some of the state’s most innovative and exceptional restaurants that cater to the cravings of various epicures.

One standout dining establishment is Preacher’s Son, located in a beautifully restored historic church. This elegant yet comfortable restaurant offers a farm-to-table menu, showcasing modern American cuisine and emphasizing locally sourced ingredients. The building’s stained-glass windows and exposed woodwork provide the perfect atmosphere for a delightful dining experience.

Another notable restaurant is The Hive, featuring an innovative menu crafted by its award-winning chef. Located within the 21c Museum Hotel, it presents an elegant yet casual, artistic dining experience focused on locally sourced ingredients combined with traditional Southern flavors.

A short walk from downtown, the 8th Street Market offers a unique culinary experience. This food and beverage destination combines a food hall, artisanal shops, and creative culinary arts classes in one vibrant space. You can taste, learn, and shop while exploring the various flavors and culinary concepts.

For those who are into the bar scene, Undercroft Bar offers a lively and unique experience. Nestled under the Preacher’s Son, the stylish speakeasy-style bar features creative cocktails and an impressive selection of wines and spirits, making it a must-visit destination for an evening rendezvous.

Bentonville undoubtedly triumphs in nurturing a diverse and continually growing food scene. Whether visitors seek a casual meal in downtown cafe; a high-end dining experience at The Osage; or want to delve into the world of culinary arts by attending cooking classes, Bentonville offers food offerings to admirers from all over the world.


Bentonville, Arkansas, is well known for its commitment to excellence in education and offers a wide range of learning opportunities for students at all levels. The city is served by the Bentonville Public School District, a top-rated institution with 18,536 students enrolled in grades K-12. The district boasts a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1, ensuring that learners receive personalized attention to their needs. Students within this district perform well in state tests, with 59% of them being proficient in math and reading.

The city of Bentonville recognizes the importance of higher education as a driver of social and economic growth. University of Arkansas Fayetteville, founded in 1871, is situated nearby and plays a significant role in the educational landscape of the region. As the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System, it offers a comprehensive range of degree programs and serves as a major provider of graduate-level education in Arkansas. Its picturesque hilltop campus overlooking the Ozark Mountains creates an inspiring environment for young learners and researchers.

Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) offers additional opportunities for those seeking post-secondary education in Bentonville. It is a comprehensive, public two-year college that provides accessible, affordable, and quality education to students in the region. NWACC offers a wide array of programs, including associate degrees, technical certifications, and non-credit courses, catering to different educational and career goals.

In summary, Bentonville, Arkansas, is dedicated to providing its residents with an exceptional educational environment through its top-rated public school system, access to a major university, and the offerings of a community college. This commitment to education is a crucial factor in the city’s growth and development.

Entertainment and Events

Bentonville, Arkansas, is known for its wide array of entertainment and events that cater to different interests. Live music, cycling races, group bike rides, and specialty dining experiences are just a few examples of what the city has to offer.

A significant event in Bentonville’s entertainment scene is the annual Bentonville Film Festival. Founded by Academy-Award winning actress Geena Davis, this event focuses on women and inclusion in film, making it a must-attend for movie buffs and industry professionals alike.

The city also offers various opportunities to enjoy public art. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art showcases a comprehensive collection of American art from the country’s founding. In addition to their main museum, their satellite location, The Momentary, serves as a contemporary art space for visual, performing, and culinary arts in downtown Bentonville.

Outdoor enthusiasts can find entertainment in the form of mountain biking and hiking on the trails that begin right in the heart of the city, such as the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve. These locations often host biking and hiking events, providing additional excitement for those who love nature and outdoor activities.

In conclusion, Bentonville boasts a diverse and dynamic entertainment scene that caters to a range of interests, making it a memorable destination for visitors and an engaging home for residents.

Transportation and Accessibility

Bentonville, Arkansas is known for its convenient transportation options and accessibility to major cities and regions. Located near the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA), it provides easy access to air travel for both domestic and international passengers. The airport offers flights to many major cities, including Little Rock, Dallas, and St. Louis.

The city of Bentonville also boasts a reliable public transportation system. Ozark Regional Transit services the area with safe, affordable public transportation for both rural and urban residents in the four-county region. Though Fixed Route 11 is no longer available, On-Demand Transit Services (ODT) are now provided at zero charge, making travel within the city accessible for all residents and visitors.

Road connectivity in Bentonville is well-developed, with major highways such as I-49, US-71, and AR-72 linking it to nearby cities. This gives residents and visitors the opportunity to easily travel to and from Bentonville by car, making trips to Little Rock, Dallas, or St. Louis convenient.

In summary, Bentonville’s reputation as an accessible city comes from its efficient airport services, affordable public transit options, and well-connected road networks. These transportation amenities greatly benefit both the local population and travelers visiting the region.

Demographics and General Information

Bentonville, Arkansas, located in the northwest corner of the state, is part of the larger Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area. The city has seen rapid growth in recent years, with the population increasing 53.4% from 2010 to reach a population of around 52,565 as of 2021. The community is quite diverse, with 34% of residents belonging to minority groups, including a significant Asian population making up 16% of the total population.

Regarding safety, Bentonville is generally considered a safe city for both residents and tourists. Like many cities, it offers a suburban feel with lower crime rates compared to some urban centers. The city serves as a popular travel destination in the heart of the Ozark region, attracting tourists drawn to its natural beauty and various attractions.

Some key attractions in Bentonville include the world-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Walmart Museum, and several parks including the Compton Gardens and Conference Center. The Bentonville Community Center offers a variety of activities and programs for locals and visitors alike to enjoy, ensuring a vibrant and engaging community experience.

Bentonville’s location within the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area means it benefits from the region’s strong economy and balanced growth. As a result, the city has seen a mix of new developments and preserved historic sites, allowing it to maintain its unique charm.

For visitors looking to explore the area, the city offers a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and shopping options, catering to a variety of tastes and budgets. Those planning a visit in April can expect pleasant spring weather and an array of seasonal events and activities that showcase the culture and spirit of Bentonville.

In conclusion, Bentonville, Arkansas is a diverse, progressive, and growing city that retains its small-town charm while offering an array of attractions and amenities.

Family Attractions

In Bentonville, Arkansas, families have plenty of opportunities to bond, learn, and create unforgettable memories. One of the most popular family attractions is the Scott Family Amazeum. This interactive children’s museum offers engaging exhibits, hands-on activities, and creative spaces for children to unleash their imagination and curiosity. With exhibits focusing on arts, science, and technology, the Amazeum is an excellent destination for families with children of all ages.

Another attraction worth visiting in Bentonville is the Thaden Field. Flying enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy this aviation-themed destination that offers plane rides, educational exhibits, and an on-site restaurant. The area also has a beautiful park setting with walking trails and picnic areas, making it a great place for the whole family to spend a day out in nature.

Incorporating both indoor and outdoor options, Bentonville’s 8th Street Market provides a family-friendly environment. The market district features a culinary school, a chocolate factory, a dessert bar, a café, and several restaurants and brewpubs, allowing family members of all ages to indulge in diverse food options or even participate in cooking workshops.

In addition to these attractions, there are plenty of parks, lakes, and history museums scattered throughout the city, enhancing Bentonville’s appeal for families seeking recreation, enrichment as well as outdoor fun. Discovering what Bentonville has to offer will certainly help you create lasting memories with your loved ones in this charming Arkansas town.