Finding NWA - Entertainment in Northwest Arkansas

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Entertainment

Arts

Artinfusion Members | c/o: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Getting Involved

Crystal Bridges also offers a unique young patrons program, Artinfusion. Artinfusion is an affinity group designed to provide social networking and art experiences, especially for Crystal Bridges members ages 21 to 40s. Artinfusion offers events like Black Hearts Ball, art talks, art-making activities, live music, gallery tours, and specialty food and drink.

There are several great maker spaces for artists of all mediums who are looking to improve their craft. Community Creative Center provides a full spectrum of visual arts classes to children and adults along with specialized workshops, summer, after school and intersession arts camps, and gallery and studio space for local artists.

The New Design School offers certificates and courses in graphic design if you’re looking to further your craft or expand your arts education. The University of Arkansas and NorthWest Arkansas Community College are good resources for continued arts education.

In addition, all theaters welcome volunteers, which can be a great way to meet people.

Artinfusion Event | c/o: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Stephen Ironside

Performing Arts

If you’re someone who’d prefer to be at a Broadway show, symphony, or another form of performing arts, the wonderful opportunities to enjoy the arts in Northwest Arkansas are hard to match. Theaters of all sizes welcome diverse, world-class performances throughout the region.

Under the direction of Steven Byess, The Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) provides professional performance opportunities for local musicians, educational concerts for young people, and an after school string program.

Walton Arts Center is Northwest Arkansas’ leading performing art center, located in Fayetteville. The center which opened in 1990, completed an impressive $23 million renovation in 2016.

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas also performs at Walton Arts Center. The symphony is a fantastic part of regional arts offerings.

TheatreSquared, a regional professional theatre, is another important part of our performing arts community. In 2011, Fayetteville-based TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation’s 10 most promising emerging theaters. A permanent home for the theatre company is being built in Fayetteville.

There are fantastic, smaller theaters across the region, including Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers, the Sager Creek Arts Center in Siloam Springs, the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale and Trike Theatre in Bentonville.

 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is an incredible cultural force located in Northwest Arkansas, and it’s one of the most significant museums to open in the U.S. in the past decade. Famed art historian John Wilmerding has said Crystal Bridges’ “quality and its range and depth already place it among one of the very best.”

The permanent collection at Crystal Bridges includes pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, John Singer Sargent, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Roger Edward KuntzGeorgia O’Keefe and other world-renowned artists.

The museum sits above Crystal Springs, in the heart of an Ozark forest. Walking trails wind around the grounds with the purpose of encouraging museum-goers to experience art and nature simultaneously. Along the trails you’ll see wonderful installations such as Robert Indiana’s “Love.”

Crystal Bridges announced the appointment of Lieven Bertels as director of an innovative arts venue under development in downtown Bentonville. The venue, named The Momentary, is an adaptive reuse project that will transform a former Kraft Foods plant south of Crystal Bridges into a multi-disciplinary space for visual and performing arts and an artist-in-residency program.

“The Momentary is poised to be an international destination that demonstrates how contemporary American art and artists intersect with daily life around the globe. The Momentary will push boundaries of creativity, blur urban and rural lines, and provide access to arts-based experiences in a comfortable and well-designed social space. This is a truly exciting project not just for the region but for arts communities at large.” – Lieven Bertels

Frank Lloyd Wright House, Nancy Nolan Photography | c/o: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Food & Drink

Food brings people together. There’s no shortage of chefs working hard to do that at fantastic restaurants in Northwest Arkansas.

Local Favorites

A few of the region’s favorite places include Eleven at Crystal Bridges, Pressroom, The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel, Tusk and Trotter and Oven and Tap, all in Bentonville; The Farmer’s Table, Herman’s Ribhouse, Bordino’s, Doe’s Eat Place, Cafe Rue Orleans and Apple Blossom, all in Fayetteville; Foster’s Pint and Plate, Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse, Theo’s, Crabby’s Seafood Bar and Grill, all in Rogers; and Susan’s Restaurant and Neal’s Cafe, both in Springdale.

Special Diets & Markets

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are becoming easier to find by the day. Veggie dishes are being served in food trucks and five-star dining spots, so it shouldn’t be hard to find your local “go-to.”

Northwest Arkansas has Indian Markets, Korean Markets, Asian Markets, and Supermercados. The local farmer’s markets provide fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruit, eggs, honeys, jams, meats, and flowers. All markets are open on Saturday, and many offer Sunday and weekday markets as well.

Beyond the Table

The 8th Street Market – formerly the Tyson Foods fry plant – in Bentonville’s Market District has become a mecca for foodies throughout the region and beyond. The market encompasses approximately 10 acres along 8th Street within the Bentonville Market District and houses “Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food” the culinary school operated by NorthWest Arkansas Community College Bike Rack Brewing Co., Markham & Fitz Chocolate, and Yeyo’s Mexican Grill. The 8th Street Market is just another layer to the region’s strategic effort to become a world-class culinary destination.

Local Brewery Scene

A new brewery opens in Northwest Arkansas every few weeks as what started out as just a couple has blossomed into more than a dozen. an. In fact, from 2011 – 2015 craft beer production is up 778%. Every community has pride in its own breweries, but they are also widely supported by the region. Beer festivals such as Foam Fest and brew tours with Hogshead make for a great weekend if craft beer is of interest. The Fayetteville Flyer writes a great regional column on beers for more information.

Dinner and a beer at the Farmers Table Cafe
The Farmer’s Table Cafe, Stephen Ironside | c/o: The Farmer’s Table Cafe
Cocktails and conversations at Pressroom in Bentonville
Pressroom | c/o: Blk Elk
Vanilla pretzel ice cream cone from Burton's Creamery in Fayetteville
Burton’s Creamery Ice Cream | c/o: Burton’s Creamery

 

 

 

 

By supporting our local producers, those who toil daily to provide our community food, we are creating a robust food system and a healthier community.

Rob Shaunfield

Pressroom | c/o: Blk Elk

Festivals

“It’s a perfect location, a great American town. I’ve been coming here for over 20 years, and the changes over that time are nothing short of spectacular.”

Trevor Drinkwater, Co-Founder of Bentonville Film Festival

Staple Events

People in Northwest Arkansas are energetic about the local culture, which fuels new, unique events frequently. The blog’s Weekend Plans series will focus on weekly events. Here, we’ll discuss the region’s most prominent festivities.

Like any strong local music scene, Northwest Arkansas supports some great music festivals. People here are particularly proud of the Fayetteville Roots Festival, a four-day urban music festival taking place August 22-26, 2018. The Roots element of the festival is dedicated to showcasing what makes the Ozarks so amazing. Elements of community represented at the festival will include local artisans, live art performances, local non-profit organizations and community action groups.

Another must-see event is the Bentonville Film Festival. The festival, through it’s partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, is open exclusively to female and minority filmmakers. Their mission is “championing women and diversity in media.” Starts such as Robert DeNiro, Rosie O’Donnell and Soledad O’Brian were in Northwest Arkansas for the inaugural festival.

The Walton Arts Center puts on a beloved community event called ArtosphereThe event takes place across Northwest Arkansas along the Razorback Regional Greenway. Artosphere is Arkansas’ Arts and Nature Festival, celebrating artists influenced by nature, who inspire us to live more sustainable lives. There’s something for everyone.

Cities produce some great events for the community, too. Out of the many the locals enjoy, two that are particularly popular – the Lights of the Ozarks and Bikes, Blues & BBQThe Lights of the Ozarks is a popular holiday attraction. Every year, the community comes bundled up to see more than 400,000 lights turned on at the Fayetteville Square. Bikes, Blues & BBQ is one of the nation’s largest motorcycle rallies. Some estimates are that as many as 300,000 riders attend the event to enjoy the fall weather and scenic rides.

War Eagle Mill Fall Arts and Crafts Fair and the Little Craft Show are both popular events for makers and creatives. Hundreds of makers booths go up at these events, and both are well known throughout the South. The Little Craft Show happens twice a year, once in Bentonville and once in Fayetteville. War Eagle Mill Arts & Crafts Fair takes place over four days in Rogers.

Crystal Bridges produces some amazing events that serve the whole family. For example, their Noon-Year Celebration geared towards children, or the Black Hearts Ball, a Valentines Day Celebration for adults. Check here for a full listing of Crystal Bridges Events & Programming.

Music

Northwest Arkansas is known for attracting touring artists who are on the verge of taking the nation’s music scene by storm. Those artists have typically played in smaller venues, which locals love. Now that the region has the Walmart AMP outdoor music venue in Rogers, it’s able to welcome major touring artists, too.

Two of the most well-known venues in the region are George’s Majestic Lounge and the AMP. George’s, located on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, opened their doors in 1927. George’s has established industry relationships and the locals are proud of the caliber of show that comes out of such a beloved, local spot. George’s was recently named as 1 of the Top 100 Music Venues in America by Consequence of Sound. 

The Walmart AMP, which had been in Fayetteville, relocated in 2014 to Rogers. The AMP is a welcome addition as bigger acts that draw thousands of fans can make stops at what’s now the largest music venue in the state. The AMP welcomes rock, pop, rap, country, folk and indie artists to the stage.

There are other great venues in the region, welcoming a full range of talent. It’s possible to find a show just about any night of the week.

Northwest Arkansas has maintained its musical originality by supporting its many cool local artists. Great spots to see locals play include local farmers’ markets, First Thursday and First Friday events.

There will be more information and event information on the blog and #FindingNWA social page.

 

Walmart AMP credit Clayton Taylor1
The AMP, Clayton Taylor | c/o: The AMP

 

Farm dinner by Apple Seeds in Fayetteville
Farm Dinner, Meredith Mashburn | c/o: Apple Seeds
George's Majestic Lounge, Jeremy Scott |c/o: George's Majestic

Northwest Arkansas' location in the center of the country, and the diversity of our community make our music scene unique.

Brian Crowne

Classical

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra offer a classical musical element to the region. SoNA, directed by acclaimed music director Paul Haas, presents classical and pops performances for symphonic music lovers. SoNA is a resident company of Walton Arts Center. Founded in 1954, SoNA started playing in the region nearly 60 years ago. The New York Times has said the director, Paul Haas, “is surely on the brink of a noteworthy career.” Time Out New York calls him a “visionary.”

Events & Extras

Nightlife

Pressroom | c/o: Blk Elk

Each city in Northwest Arkansas has an individual personality. You’ll definitely find great patios, unique craft breweries and plenty of happy hour specials wherever you are.

Fayetteville

Fayetteville’s entertainment district is the most robust, thanks to the University of Arkansas campus that’s within walking distance of the popular Dickson Street area. The city’s nightlife offers a full range of options. The whole district is walkable and bicycle friendly.

Spots such as Maxine’s Tap Room, Apple Blossom Brewery, Puritan Brew Co., Kingfish, Fossil Cove Brewing Company and Theo’s keep Fayetteville fun for everyone. There are more recommendations than we can provide here so check out the blog if you’re looking for a last-minute recommendation.

Bentonville

Bentonville has many quality cocktail offerings and the city’s nightlife scene keeps getting better. Pressroom, for example, has recently joined the rounds of Bentonville favorites. The restaurant/bar frequently offers wine and beer tastings, and it certainly serves great food. Within the hip (or should we way “totally groovy?”) 21c Museum Hotel, there’s a restaurant and bar called The Hive, and it’s the place where residents and visitors are most likely to spot famous people in town to do business with Walmart. The Hive is known for its tasty, cleverly named cocktails like “Hey Girl.” Ingredients? Rye n’ goslings.

The Bentonville community also hosts events such as First Friday, transforming the Bentonville Square into a themed community block party with live music, outstanding food and family friendly activities.

Springdale

Springdale is home to Core Brewery, a Northwest Arkansas original that’s widely available throughout the state. The first location, and its original brew pub is in Springdale.

Springdale is also home to the state’s first cider house, called Black Apple Crossing and located in downtown Springdale. The Downtown Springdale Alliance frequently hosts family-friendly community events such as the Moonlight Movie Nights which run from March to October. All of the movie nights are free and open to the public.

Rogers

You can catch live music in Roger’s hotspots like JJ’s Bar & Grill, Levi’s Gastropub, Lowbar, and The Grove. Ozark Beer Company Taproom, New Province Brewing Co. and Brick Street Brews offer the best of local breweries and frequently have live music, trivia nights and happy hours.  

Regional

The Ale Trail, a craft beer tour, gives visitors and locals alike a glimpse into the unique craft brewery culture of Northwest Arkansas. Go at your own pace, or get driven around in an old-school Volkswagen van driven by a knowledgeable local who occasionally leads Ale Trail tours.

There is more than can be written in a few paragraphs, but we’re confident it won’t be hard to find a go-to place for after-hours entertainment.

Dickson Street | c/o: Fayetteville Visitors Bureau

Shopping

Shopping

Northwest Arkansas has developed a conscious community effort around supporting local vendors. In fact, it’s so ingrained in our community mentality that last year, a public art project was commissioned and the artist’s choice words were enjoy local.

All of the positive community support has led to a strong presence of local shops in every city. Of course, there is a huge range in shop type. From specialty food markets to women’s boutiques, there is something for everyone.

Personal tastes differ, but one shopping experience unanimously supported by the community are the Northwest Arkansas Farmers Markets. Every Saturday (and on select weekdays), farmers crowd the market stands with fresh produce, flowers, honey, baked goods and cheese.

Fayetteville has the biggest farmers market affair… Actually in 2012, Fayetteville’s Farmers Market was America’s favorite large market. If you go, you’ll see why – dogs, live music, happy children and good coffee everywhere. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself on a Saturday morning at a Northwest Arkansas farmers market.

As the home to Walmart, Northwest Arkansas has Walmart stores to suit every lifestyle need. Stores that offer drive-thru orders, neighborhood markets and super centers are plentiful in every Northwest Arkansas city.

If you’re looking for a more familiar shopping experience, there’s Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers or the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. They offer national retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma, Cabelas, Gap, Forever 21, Banana Republic, Sephora, Dillard’s etc.

@MGBphoto // mgbphoto.com
Lola Boutique, Mallory Berry | c/o: Lola Boutique

 

Fayetteville Farmers Market, Tanner McGinty | c/o: WITH Home Supply
WITH Home Supply, Tanner McGinty | c/o: WITH Home Supply

You could spend a day exploring the whole town, which boasts top-notch independent design shops, passionately supported by local vendors.

Condé Nast Traveler

Sports

Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium | c/o: University of Arkansas

WOO·PIG·SOOIE

Woo Pig Sooie is the chant used to call the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. If you choose to make Northwest Arkansas your new home, you’ll hear this at a lot of local sporting events. Once you’ve settled into Northwest Arkansas, attending a Razorback football game should be on your to-do list.

The University of Arkansas competes as a Division 1 program, and a member of the Southeastern Conference. During football season, it’s tradition to tailgate around the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Southern Living named Fayetteville as one of the best college towns in the South.

The University of Arkansas has one of the nation’s most successful track and field programs. The UA track program has won 42 national championships and Forbes has referred to Northwest Arkansas’ Fayetteville as the Track Capital of the World.  Northwest Arkansas traditionally hosts the NCAA Indoor National Track and Field Championship in Fayetteville.

Professional Sports

The community also enjoys being the home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. If you’re looking to catch a game, The Naturals play at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, which was named Ballpark of the Year by Baseball Parks.  

Pro-sport speaking, Northwest Arkansas hosts pro fishing, golfing, and cycling events throughout the year.

Northwest Arkansas is home to the Joe Martin Stage Race, a pro and elite amateur cycling tour of USA Cycling and the UCI America Tour. More than 750 cyclists from 23 countries are represented each year.

Rogers is home to the Northwest Arkansas Championship, an LPGA tour event that hosts some of the world’s top golfers. The tournament is hosted at the Pinnacle Country Club, but Northwest Arkansas has more than 30 challenging golf courses throughout the region.

If you like to fish, Northwest Arkansas hosts an annual pro-fishing event on Beaver Lake each April – the Walmart FLW TourBeaver Lake provides great fishing opportunities throughout the year.

For more information on golf and fishing as a pastime, check here.

The region’s premier event returns the last week of June for a week-long celebration of the unique spirit found only in Northwest Arkansas. #NWAChampionship Week offers a wide variety of events and activities at affordable prices for the whole community.

NW Arkansas Championship

Since 2007, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has become a premier stop on the LPGA Tour. On June 18 – 24, 2018, the tournament will return for its 12th anniversary with 144 of the world’s best LPGA Professionals teeing it up at Pinnacle Country Club. Players will vie for a $2,000,000 purse and a chance to be named Champion of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Visit the tournament online at www.NWAChampionship.com. The week-long event also includes BITE NW Arkansas food festival, a 5K race, a concert and other community driven events.

Getaways

As great as Northwest Arkansas is, everyone needs a little escape every now and then. That’s easy to do from Northwest Arkansas, with a range of flight and driving destinations available.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport – XNA – serves 14 non-stop destinations throughout the United States, including San Francisco, Denver, and NYC’s LaGuardia Airport. The airport is constantly finding ways to improve the customer experience, and is truthfully one of the most navigable and least stressful airports to manage.

Additionally, we’re a two hour drive from Tulsa, OK, three hours from Kansas City, KS and five hours from Dallas, TX. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, NWA is within a day’s drive from Nashville, TN, New Orleans, LA, and Austin, TX. Staying within the state of Arkansas, Eureka Springs is about a mile from most Northwest Arkansas cities, and has been ranked by Trips To Discover as one of the 9 Best Fall Foliage Getaways in the Midwest.

If you’re looking for more regional tourist information, try Explore Northwest Arkansas or the NWA Visitors Guide.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport | c/o: XNA