Fayetteville is the county seat of Washington County in northwest Arkansas. It is a college town, home of the University of Arkansas, and is surrounded by the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. In recent years, Fayetteville has acquired a strong reputation for job growth and quality of life. Both Forbes magazine and Kiplinger's have included Fayetteville on their respective lists of the 10 best American cities. The population was estimated at just above 72,000, making Fayetteville the third-most-populous city in Arkansas.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
These are some of the notable neighborhoods in Fayetteville:
- Fayetteville's downtown district, compact and highly walkable, centers on the Fayetteville Square, which is bordered by Center Street, East Avenue, Mountain Street and Block Avenue. A farmers' market, held here three days a week (usually from April to November), is just one of the attractions of this town square. The central library and the Walton Arts Center are located downtown, and the university is just a stone's throw to the west. The University of Arkansas campus is like an appendage of downtown, especially on autumn Saturdays when the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium fills for football games.
- The Washington/Willow Historical District, an area with beautiful homes from the turn of the century, is just across College Avenue on the northeast edge of the downtown vicinity.
- Dickson Street, the focal point for nightlife in Fayetteville, runs right through downtown from east to west. The college crowd favors the clubs on West Dickson.
- A few blocks north of the city center is a well-kept urban park, Wilson Park, which anchors another residential district.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
While the University of Arkansas is Fayetteville's largest single employer, the city's economy is vibrant. Three major companies base their corporate headquarters in the area around Fayetteville:
- Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer (in Bentonville)
- Tyson Foods, the poultry giant (in Springdale)
- J. B. Hunt, one of America's largest trucking firms (in Lowell)
Hundreds of companies with national markets have set up offices nearby to coordinate their business with Wal-Mart. Several of these manufacturers are ranked among the city's biggest employers, such as:
- Pinnacle Foods (frozen food)
- Superior Industries (cast aluminum)
- Ayrshire Electronics
- Hanna's (candles)
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fayetteville offers several area attractions:
- The Walton Arts Center is the biggest performing arts venue in the state of Arkansas, funded primarily by the First Family of Wal-Mart. Located downtown on Dickson Street, the center hosts stage productions, dance recitals, artistic exhibitions, receptions, and other events and features two stages, an amphitheater, studio space, and grand lobbies.
- The Blair Library is Fayetteville's public library. It is housed in the city's first "green" building, which was completed in 2004 and received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification for sustainable building and design. Library Journal declared it "Library of the Year" for 2006.
- The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, located in the northeast part of town on Lake Fayetteville, has constructed nine gardens in the first phase of its design. The institution plans to build a visitor center and more interactive trails and exhibits.
- The Clinton House Museum is the house in Fayetteville where Bill and Hillary Clinton were married and had their first home. It is now a museum devoted to the early life of this Washington power couple.
- Headquarters House, located in the Washington-Willow Historical District, was used by both the Union and Confederate armies as each occupied the city in turn. The Washington County Historical Society is now located in the house.
- The North Arkansas Symphony provides a season of music every year in the Walton Arts Center.
- The Arkansas Music Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater used for summer concerts and movies.
- The Arkansas Air Museum (Ozark Military Museum) is an aviation museum, housed in the oldest airplane hangar in Arkansas.
- The Northwest Arkansas Mall is one of the largest commercial emporia in this region of the country.
Fayetteville hosts numerous fairs and other annual events, including:
- War Eagle Fair, a traditional arts and crafts fair of the Ozark region.
- Bikes, Blues and BBQ, an annual motorcycle rally.
- First Night Fayetteville, the community's New Year's celebration.
- The University of Arkansas Razorbacks (a type of boar, leading to the nickname "Hogs") play Division I NCAA sports and have won many national championships. Football is especially popular among sports fans in northwest Arkansas.
- In the off-season, or during the week, the Jerry Jones-Jim Lindsey Hall of Champions is open to relive memories and learn about the history of Razorback gridiron glory.
- Track and field is another Razorback specialty; the university has won 42 NCAA national championships in this sport. The university has now refurbished its field, renaming it in honor of coach John McDonnell, in time to host the 2009 NCAA Outdoor track and field championships.
The University of Arkansas confers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines. The original campus center, Old Main, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other higher education options in the area include:
- Webster University School of Business and Technology
- Northwest Arkansas Community College (Bentonville)
- John Brown University Regional Campus (Rogers)
Residents of Fayetteville have access to several area newspapers:
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is the dominant daily newspaper throughout the state.
- Northwest Arkansas Times is a daily published in Fayetteville.
- The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, a daily, is published in Springdale.
- The Fayetteville Free Weekly is both free and weekly.
Local television stations include:
- KFSM Channel 5 (CBS)
- KAFT Channel 13 (PBS)
- KFTA Channel 24 (NBC)
- KHOG Channel 29 (ABC)