In Northwest Arkansas, we have quite a few cities. Fayetteville, Springdale, Lowell, Rogers, Bentonville, just to name a few.
Dickson Street is the primary entertainment district in the region, including musical and stage performances, shopping, bars and restaurants. The West Dickson Street Commercial Historic District includes several blocks along its namesake street as well as a few blocks of West Avenue lined with unique shops, restaurants and bars. Adjacent to the University of Arkansas campus, several of Dickson Street's establishments cater to students. The district has been enjoying a rejuvenation began in the 1980s by Dickson Street merchants who had watched the street turn into a dilapidated, crime-filled area. Many businesses had relocated onto College Avenue, leaving Dickson Street empty and in disrepair. The improvements lured the Walton Arts Center, today Arkansas' premier center for arts and entertainment, to locate on Dickson Street, a decision that proved beneficial to both parties.
The center is the result of a joint effort between the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas to bring arts to the city. The center is located on Dickson Street halfway between the University and the town square. It currently features a full Broadway theatre season, arts camps, continuing education opportunities for teachers of the arts, University-sponsored performances in addition to serving as a host for community events. A considerable donation from the namesake Walton family assisted greatly in the construction of the building.
TheatreSquared, Northwest Arkansas's only year-round professional regional theatre, is located just off Dickson Street, with an annual audience of 18,000 patrons including 7,500 students reached through outreach programs. The theatre was recognized in 2011 by theAmerican Theatre Wing as one of the nation's ten most promising emerging theatres.
Bikes Blues and BBQ (BBBQ) has taken place annually on Dickson Street since its inception in 2000. The motorcycle rally benefits local charities and is scheduled for a fall weekend when the Razorbacks football team is not playing in Fayetteville. Although scheduled for four days, motorcycle enthusiasts will often come early and stay late, unofficially extending BBB into a weeklong event. During the event, motorcycles will form an impromptu parade down Dickson Street for onlookers. Musical performances and many other unofficial events also accompany BBB each year.
A new addition to the Fayetteville parks scene is the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. First envisioned in 1993, the Botanical Garden Society of the Ozarks raised funds for the facility until beginning construction in 2003. Planned to be built in three stages, the first stage has been completed and includes a visitor center, cafe, and garden gateway. Stage one also includes ⅓ of the total planned gardens and 1⁄2 the maintenance facilities.
Fayetteville takes pride in its trail system, and has been named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists since 2010. Trails in Fayetteville are well-marked with signs along the route in addition to road crossings. The city maintains trails within the city limits and segments of inter-city trails such as the Razorback Regional Greenway. The Razorback Greenway is a 36-mile (58 km), primarily off-road, shared-use trail that connects Fayetteville with Bella Vista via Johnson, Springdale, Lowell, Bentonville, and Rogers.
The Fayetteville trail system is anchored by the Scull Creek Trail, a north–south paved trail which is 3.93 miles (6.32 km) in length and 12 feet (3.7 m) wide. It crosses the namesake creek six times on arching steel bridges and also uses a 650-foot (200 m) tunnel, at one time the only pedestrian tunnel in Arkansas. A trail of 3.7 miles (6.0 km) named the Dickson Street/U of A loop links around the campus of the University of Arkansas and ends at the corner of Dickson Street and College Avenue. The Fayetteville Master Plan includes provisions for over 100 miles (160 km) of multi-use trails in the city. Approximately 2 to 3 miles (3.2 to 4.8 km) are added to the system per year.
The University of Arkansas was founded in Fayetteville in 1871 as Arkansas Industrial University. The land-grant/space-grant, high-activity research institution is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System. Enrollment for the 2010 fall semester was 21,406 total students. Approximately 67% are Arkansas natives, with about 6% being international students. Although it offers over 200 degree choices (excluding doctorate fields), the university is noted for its strong architecture, history, creative writing, poultry science, and business programs. Because of the University of Arkansas' large presence in many aspects of the city's economy, culture, and lifestyle, Fayetteville is often portrayed as a college town.