I’ve known Joe Saul-Sehy of the Stacking Benjamins Show for a few years and listened to his podcast even longer. I think we became such good friends over our mutual hair loss. When I approached Joe about interviewing him for my podcast, I thought we’d talk about his hometown of Detroit or Texarkana, where he’s been living for the past decade. When Joe said he wanted to talk about Bentonville, Arkansas, and the northwest corner of Arkansas, I was intrigued. He was so passionate about the area and you could tell that the area is special to him. Take a listen as Joe shares the best things to do in Bentonville.
Bentonville is known as the home of WalMart. And the airport is one of the smallest airports in the US to see year-round, daily nonstop service to major cities such as New York, LA, and Chicago.
The town is a mecca of outdoor activity and was recently named one of best towns of 2017 by Outside Magazine because of its bicycle trails and art scene. There’s even a 36-mile trail between Fayetteville, Arkanas and Bentonville that is popular with runners and bicyclists.
The best time of year to visit Bentonville for outdoor activities is from mid-May to late September. The peak time to visit is the last week of August. You’ll experience clear, rainless days with expected temperatures in the 65* to 80* during these months.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Bentonville, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Bentonville
Here are some of the best things to do in Bentonville according to our local expert, Joe Saul-Sehy. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and places I’ve visited.
- Bachman-Wilson House (reviews) – this is a Usonian home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was preserved, acquired, and moved to the Crystal Bridges Museum in 2015.
- Buffalo River National Park (reviews) – Joe’s favorite hike. It’s about an hour outside of town.
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (reviews) – one of the best museums Joe has ever been to. Known of the Louvre of American art. Built to look like its floating over the water. Alice Walton has the foremost collection of Georgia O’Keefe paintings. An insider’s tip from Joe is that both the museum and the walking tour with headphones are free.
- Devil’s Den State Park (reviews) – great place for hiking. Joe says “you better bring your quads.”
- Hawk’s Bill Crag/Whitaker Point (reviews) – hike along the upper Buffalo River to find this amazing rock outcropping that is perfect for taking pictures.
- Mount Magazine State Park (reviews) – another great place for hiking. Search for the falls for a place to take a dip and the perfect selfie.
- Ozark Mountain Family Smokehouse – it’s now closed, but check out the 30-ft tall statue “Hogeye” across the street.
- Razorback Regional Greenway (reviews) – 36 miles of primarily off-road shared-use trail in Northwest Arkansas A continuous trail from Fayetteville, AR to Bentonville, AR.
- Sassy the Sasquatch – artist Amanda Willshire spent six months creating Sassy out of steel and bike chains. It is 11 feet tall and weighs about 1,100 pounds.
- The Walmart Museum (reviews) – learn all about the history of this retailer than impacts the life of just about every American.
- University of Arkansas – Joe says that you need to attend a Razorback football game to witness when the stadium “calls the Hogs”. Hearing 50-70K people chant is amazing, even if you’re not a college football fan.
There are plenty of festivals for you to enjoy in Bentonville, Arkansas. During the final weekend in May, there’s the Bentonville Film Festival. And just a few days later during the first week of June, you’ll experience the Bentonville Art and Culinary Week.
In the Fall, the Bikes, Blues and BBQ festival is held during the last week of September.
Here’s a short list of the current events happening near Bentonville that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are an excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Bentonville
The culinary scene in Bentonville is great. Many of the local chef’s have won awards and put local spins on traditional favorites. When you’re in northwest Arkansas, these restaurants should be on your list of the best places to eat in Bentonville.
- Arsaga’s at the Depot (reviews) – Joe says they have an excellent lunch menu.
- Bentonville Farmer’s Market (reviews) – if you’re in Bentonville or Fayetteville during the weekend, stop by one of their farmer’s markets.
- Grub’s Bar & Grille (reviews) – quick, simple and everything is $8.49 for lunch.
- Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese (reviews) – Joe says you need to have their Texas Toast Grilled Cheese sandwiches.
- Hugo’s (reviews) – home of the best burgers that Joe has ever had. It’s in the basement. Best & quirkiest burgers and fries with awesome service.
- Oven & Tap (reviews) – Joe says that the Brussel sprouts dish is amazing.
- Preacher’s Son (reviews) – located inside a renovated church with a locally inspired menu.
- Rick’s Bakery (reviews) – you need to visit Rick’s for their mouth-watering doughnuts.
- The Farmer’s Table Cafe (reviews) – Joe says this place has a wonderful breakfast.
- The Hive (reviews) – amazing food from an award-winning chef. Located inside the 21c Museum Hotel.
- Undercroft (reviews) – an underground speakeasy located beneath Preacher’s Son.
- West Dickson Street (reviews) – Joe’s recommendation for happy hour is to pick a fun bar along Dickson Street. College towns often have the widest variety of choices to grab some drinks.
- Willy D’s Dueling Piano Bar (reviews) – Joe loves dueling pianos. So come here for the drinks, music, and fun.
- Wood Stone Craft Pizza (reviews) – craft pizza with delicious flavors and plenty of local beers to choose from.
For the foodies, you’ll love the James Beard Dinner, held the first weekend in November.
Best places to stay in Bentonville
When you come to this little slice of outdoor heaven, here are the best places to stay in Bentonville.
- 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville (reviews) – art nouveau room decor. The hotel is also a museum of art installations that you can see even if you don’t stay there.
- Aloft Rogers-Bentonville (reviews) – this Marriott category 3 hotel is 15,000 to 20,000 points per night. I like the aloft hotels for their funky design.
- Best Western Plus Castlerock Inn & Suites (reviews) – Best Western category 3 property that is 16,000 points per night.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Bentonville South – Rogers, AR (reviews) – this Radisson category 2 property is 15,000 points per night.
- Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas – Hotel, Spa & Convention Center (reviews) – I love the Manager’s evening happy hour with free drinks from 5p to 7pm. And the free buffet breakfast in the morning is hard to beat. This Hilton category 4 property is 20,000 to 30,000 points per night.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bentonville (reviews) – this Holiday Inn Express is an IHG category 2 property that is only 15,000 points per night.
- Hyatt Place Rogers/Bentonville (reviews) – this World of Hyatt category 1 property is a steal at only 5,000 points per night.
- Rent a cabin at Beaver Lake – Joe rented a cabin here for his family and they absolutely loved it. AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
- Wingate by Wyndham Bentonville Airport (reviews) – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Bentonville
The local airport is Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA). It is about 13 miles south of Bentonville and 24 miles north of Fayetteville. The primary airlines that fly into XNA are Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.
Joe says that, if you’re staying downtown, there’s no need to rent a car. Especially if you’re running or biking everywhere like Joe and many of the other visitors. Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Bentonville – it would have to be Oven & Tap (reviews). Not only are the Brussel sprouts amazing, but they have casual wood-fired pizzas. And there are big garage doors that open to let the outside in.
2) Favorite memory of Bentonville – Joe says that everyone needs to experience the “calling of the Hogs” during a University of Arkansas Razorbacks football game at least once. Joe says its a surreal experience when 50-70,000 fans all chant at the same time. UoA has a special place in Joe’s heart because his daughter, Autumn, ran for their college teams.
3) Happiest Happy Hour – Joe says to pick any bar along Dickson Street in Fayetteville. College towns have the best selection of bars. Two of his favorites are Willy D’s Dueling Piano Bar (reviews) and Grub’s Bar & Grille (reviews).
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza – Joe’s favorite pizza place when visiting Bentonville is Wood Stone Craft Pizza (reviews). Not only do they make amazing pizza with delicious flavors, there are numerous local craft brews to choose from.
Who is Joe Saul-Sehy?
Joe Saul-Sehy is a former financial planner from Detroit that moved to Texarkana about 10 years ago. He is the co-host of the Stacking Benjamins Show that focuses on the lighter side of personal finance. Joe and his co-host “OG” (aka The Other Guy) hold roundtable discussions on current events, review the latest in personal finance technology, and interview awesome guests.
The podcast is recorded “in Joe’s Mom’s basement” and features characters like Neighbor Doug, and Gertrude, who works at the local Sizzler. Frequent contributors include Len Penzo and Paula Pant.
Here are a couple of Joe’s podcast episodes that I love… ok, maybe I love them because I’m in them as a guest or submitting a question for Joe and OG to answer. But they’re still really good!
- Surprising Travel Hacks. (Hacking Like a Pro) with Lee Huffman
- In Pursuit of The Good Life (with Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh)
- Len Penzo’s Annual Sandwich Survey; Question about HSA
Joe likes to call his show a “gateway to personal finance” because they take a light-hearted approach to personal finance. They share some great information, but don’t get into the weeds or speak in technical jargon. Plus, there’s plenty of bad Dad jokes.
When each episode is over… stick around for about 30-45 seconds for a little “dessert.”
If you’d like to see Joe, OG, and the rest of the show in person, there is a 3-city tour happening in the Fall of 2018. They’ll be in Orlando (9/25), Kansas City (10/9), and Detroit (10/24) and tickets are only $10.
You can connect with Joe Saul-Sehy on his website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You should also check out the hijinks in the Stacking Benjamins Basement Facebook group. It’s a good place to give Joe heat for mixing up pigs and hogs or talk about personal finance.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Joe Saul-Sehy about Bentonville, Arkansas. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Bentonville
- Green dots = best things to do in Bentonville
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Bentonville
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – RewardExpert
This episode is brought to you, in part, by RewardExpert.com, which offers financial insights to make life rewarding.
Reward Expert offers three amazing tools that will help you find the best deals based on personalized recommendations, earn more travel rewards or cash back through their shopping portal, and discover how many miles it will take to book your next vacation.
Visit WeTravelThere.com/rewardexpert for more details.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Abby Lewtas of the Wanderluster’s Mind Podcast joins us to share where to see penguins on the beach in Melbourne, Australia. We hope to see you when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Bentonville? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
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