7 Reasons to Move to Fayetteville, Arkansas
At first glance, Fayetteville, Arkansas appears to be a typical college town, similar to dozens of others scattered across Middle America. The people are friendly, full of old-fashioned Southern charm, and their city, with its manicured lawns and picturesque buildings, is one of the most beautiful in the country.
But don’t be fooled by its serene exterior. Fayetteville is an economic and cultural powerhouse. With so much to offer, it’s not surprising the city has become a major destination for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. So if you’re considering a change, here are seven reasons why you should move to Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Competitive Job Market
Fayetteville runs on a mix of private and public money. Walmart, Tyson Foods, and JB Hunt Transportation are all headquartered nearby, just a short drive from the city center. They not only employ thousands of people, but their presence has drawn dozens of other businesses (e.g. Coca-Cola, Rubbermaid) eager to work with them.
In the center of town is the University of Arkansas, one of the leading educational and research institutions in the state ‒ and one of the biggest employers in the region. This mix of government and corporate investment has created a steady demand for workers and made Fayetteville one of the most resilient economic centers in the country. Despite the dip during COVID, Fayetteville is already back on its feet, with unemployment falling drastically throughout 2021.
Low Cost of Living
The cost of living in Fayetteville is high compared to the rest of the state, but low compared to the rest of the nation. Expect to pay less for basics such as healthcare, transportation, and utilities than you would in other major U.S. towns. Best of all, it’s easy to buy a house here. The median home price is $26,000 below the national average.
Highly Rated Schools
The Fayetteville School District is one of the best in Arkansas. Its teachers, college prep courses, and after-school programs provide students with the resources needed to reach their academic potential. In addition, the district employs an English Language Learner Team to assist students who speak a foreign language at home. The team works with over 2,000 kids, helping them participate in school life and keep pace with their classmates.
For a relatively small town, Fayetteville is a busy place. It’s fanatical about sports, especially their beloved Razorbacks. Don’t make plans on game day. The whole town comes to a halt to watch the University of Arkansas football team. Basketball fans will also find a lot to cheer about. The local team regularly sells out Bud Walton Arena, a 19,000 seat on-campus stadium in the center of town.
Art lovers never have a dull moment either. The Walton Performing Arts Center frequently hosts Broadway shows, not to mention major artists such as Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, and the Black Keys. Down the street is Theatre Sqaured, a locally produced, nationally acclaimed performance center that stages innovative and immersive plays and musicals. At Art Ventures (previously Fayetteville Underground) you’ll find local art exhibits exploring modern life and world culture.
People who love great music won’t want to miss the Fayetteville Roots Festival or the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Rally, which features homegrown American music and old-fashioned Southern cuisine. The events also include film screenings, genealogy workshops, and cooking demonstrations.
Finally, in winter, there's the Lighting of the Ozarks. Over 500,000 lights are strung up around Downtown Square, transforming the city into a wonderland. Carols, carriage rides, hot chocolate, and Santa Claus help make it one of the brightest events of the year.
Fayetteville is a college town, so it’s not surprising people here know how to party. While there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and watering holes, the most popular are located in the Dickson Street District, including:
- Hugo’s. A basement bar with old-style comfort food and a huge beer selection, Hugo’s is a place for people who like local brews, homemade French fries, and well poured whiskey.
- Arkadia Retrocade. A place to relax and play old-school arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac Man. You don’t even need to bring any quarters. The entry fee is $5 and machines are all-you-can-play.
- Grub’s Bar & Grille. A favorite of students and locals, Grub’s offers something for everyone: great food, great beer, and a great atmosphere. People come to celebrate birthdays, watch the game, or party after finals.
- Dickson Street Pub. A cozy spot for conversation and live music, it has over 50 craft beers on tap and, for the bravest souls, a jar of their famous Hog Punch. In the summer, visitors like to grab a drink and relax on the rooftop patio.
- Vault. Sleek and modern, this is a place for people who enjoy soothing decor, hand-crafted cocktails, and barrel-aged bourbon.
Nestled in the middle of the Ozarks, Fayetteville has some of the best outdoor recreation in the state. Without a doubt, the city’s biggest attraction is Lake Fayetteville, which offers over 650 acres of water and wilderness where residents can hike, boat, fish, and swim. There’s also a disc golf course and the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, with 12 themed parklands featuring local and exotic flowers, grasses, and shrubs.
More adventurous citizens have miles of forests, wetlands, and mountains to explore outside the city. Thanks to the region’s temperate climate, hiking trails are open year-round!
Fayetteville likes to give back. The city sponsors over 30 boards, committees, and commissions designed to promote its citizens’ quality of life, including:
- The Black Heritage Preservation Commission
- City Board of Health
- Community Development & Assistance Programs
- Environmental Action Committee
- Fayetteville Arts Council
- Fayetteville Public Library Board of Trustees
- Historic District Commission
- Keep Fayetteville Beautiful Committee
- Town & Gown Advisory Committee
- Urban Forestry Advisory Board
There are also a number of private charities, such as the Humane Society and Project 180 (for troubled youth), working to improve the community. It’s a compassionate city, with lots of opportunities for volunteers to donate their time and get involved in civic life.