By Sarah Cory of University of Arkansas
Top Places to Eat, Drink, and Explore
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas and can be found deep within the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Being such a small college town, Fayetteville often gets overlooked and underrated. But this quaint town has so much variety and beauty to offer. Follow me, as I will walk you through the city and share with you the best places to visit.
Seated on and surrounded by mountains, Fayetteville is in the perfect location for those seeking outdoor adventure. There are countless hiking trails at your disposal, ranging from a five minute to a hour drive away. Some of my favorites nearby include Mount Kessler, Devil's Den's Yellow Rock Trail, Lake Fayetteville trails, and the trails around Lake Lincoln. All of these are within thirty minutes of Fayetteville's center. Not only are these trails hiking friendly, but also great for mountain biking or trail running. Besides hiking, there is also easy access to kayaking, canoeing, and rock climbing here in Fayetteville. Basically, this area is absolutely gorgeous and an outdoor enthusiast's dream.
One of my favorite things about Fayetteville is their focus on local small businesses. It really gives the town a unique atmosphere that you cannot find anywhere else. It also provides a fantastic food scene. A cafe you cannot miss during your time here is called Petra, named after the world wonder in Jordan. This tiny cafe is owned by a Jordanian who knows his Middle Eastern food very well! Not only is the menu filled with delicious and authentic dishes, but the friendly atmosphere of the place is what really makes it worth a visit.
Another restaurant I highly recommend is The Farmer's Table. This is an ideal place to go for brunch. Focused on local seasonal produce and ingredients, The Farmer's Table offers incredible home cookin' breakfast and lunch items. What really makes it unique though, it that it is located in an old hollowed out house that has been renovated to have the appearance of a farm home. Very comfortable and cozy.
This only scrapes the surface of all the great restaurants located here in Fayetteville, but let's move on to something else that the city does very well...
Coffee is more than a drink in the city of Fayetteville. It is viewed as an art form and has a culture all its own. With an abundance of coffee shops, I am going to narrow it down to the two best ones that you must put on your list to try. First, we have Arsaga's Coffee Roasters. They have multiple locations including: on campus, at the public library, and two cafes down town. The ones located down town are my favorite locations because not only do they focus on coffee, but they each specialize in different types of food as well. Arsaga's at the Depot, is located in an old freight building along the railroad tracks. Their coffee is locally roasted and they focus on making crepes, both sweet and savory! Their other downtown location is named Arsaga's on Church and Center. Same coffee at all locations, but this one specifically focuses on making specialty toast. So delicious!
My other favorite coffee shop is called Onyx Coffee Lab. Not only do they have their own cafes, but there coffee is sold at other coffee shops in the area too. Most people from Fayetteville will tell you that this is some of the best coffee you will ever have. They make their basic drip brew and pour over very well, but not only that, they also offer incredible seasonal specialty drinks. During the winter time they have an espresso shot with steamed milk topped with a piece of graham cracker and a house-made torched marshmallow. Incredible.
You can't come to Fayetteville without checking out the University of Arkansas. It is a gorgeous campus and great to explore on an afternoon walk. As you meander around its many brick buildings and lawns, be sure to stop by Old Main. This is the iconic building that the university is known for. It was the original school, and everything used to be located inside of it including classrooms, dorms, and the cafeteria. It is a gorgeous structure that you can't miss... you can literally see it from a mile away. Another must see is the Greek Theater, located quite close to Old Main. This is a great place to end your walk and relax in the evenings. It is located right next to Dickson Street, which is home to most of Fayetteville's night life. Let's head there next.
On Dickson Street you will find an abundance of boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Relaxed during the day, it can get quite bumping in the evenings. Head on down for some dinner and drinks. Some of my favorite bars on Dickson include Puritan Brewing Co and Cannibal and Craft. Kind of like coffee, people in Fayetteville take beer very seriously. So get ready to taste some exceptional brews.
Dickson is also the home of our local music venue, George's Majestic Lounge. It is growing in popularity and is starting to be frequented by larger and larger artists. Check out their line up for the upcoming season if you pass it by.
Finally, I cannot mention Dickson Street without giving a shout out to the Dickson Street Bookshop. This used bookshop goes on and on and I could spend hours perusing its isles. You have to pop in and explore their collection, if you only for a few minutes.
The Square is located near Dickson and is also a part of downtown Fayetteville. It is filled, again, with the local boutiques and restaurants that give Fayetteville its flair. But the main reason I am mentioning it is because they hold an awesome Farmer's Market on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. If you are on the hunt for some fresh produce, flowers, handicrafts, or live music, you have to check it out!
Fayetteville is a one-of-a-kind town that is so easy to fall in love with. Come experience it and see for yourself!