Fort Smith, Arkansas, a charming and historic city in the heart of the Natural State, offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors of all interests. From exploring historical sites to indulging in outdoor adventures, Fort Smith has something to cater to every traveler’s preferences. Here are ten must-visit places to include in your itinerary:
1. Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site: Immerse yourself in the rich history of the city at this renowned site, which offers a glimpse into Fort Smith’s role in the frontier era.
2. Explore the Belle Grove Historic District: Take a stroll through this district known for its beautiful Victorian architecture and charming streets lined with shops and restaurants.
3. Take a Scenic Riverboat Cruise on the Arkansas River: Embark on a leisurely cruise along the picturesque Arkansas River and enjoy breathtaking views of Fort Smith’s natural beauty.
4. Discover the Fort Smith Museum of: Delve deeper into the city’s past at this museum, showcasing exhibits and artifacts that highlight the diverse cultural heritage of Fort Smith.
5. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Lake Fort Smith State Park: Engage in hiking, fishing, boating, or camping amidst the stunning natural surroundings of this scenic state park.
6. Visit the Unexpected Art Gallery: Immerse yourself in the local art scene at this unique gallery, showcasing various forms of contemporary art from talented regional artists.
7. Explore the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center: Connect with nature at this expansive nature center, offering educational exhibits, nature trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
8. Shop and Dine at the Fort Smith Downtown Historic District: Browse through charming boutiques and savor delicious cuisine in the historic downtown district, known for its vibrant atmosphere.
9. Attend Events at the Fort Smith Convention Center: Check out the schedule of events at this modern convention center, hosting a variety of concerts, trade shows, and conferences throughout the year.
10. Experience the Fort Smith Trolley Museum: Step back in time and take a ride on vintage trolleys while learning about Fort Smith’s transportation history at this engaging museum.
Fort Smith boasts a rich history, scenic landscapes, delicious dining options, and a plethora of outdoor activities. With so much to explore, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories in this charming Arkansas city.
Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site
When visiting Fort Smith, Arkansas, it is essential to visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site. This site provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the city’s history and presents various activities for visitors to enjoy.
- Explore the historic buildings and structures that have been preserved from the 19th century at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.
- Learn about the role that Fort Smith played in the expansion of the United States by visiting the Fort Smith National Historic Site.
- Discover the compelling stories of the Native American tribes, outlaws, and lawmen that shaped the area at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.
- Take a guided tour at the Fort Smith National Historic Site to gain a deeper understanding of its significance and historical context.
- Participate in educational programs and events at the Fort Smith National Historic Site that offer hands-on experiences and interactive learning.
Visiting the Fort Smith National Historic Site is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history of the region. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about the area, this site offers a fascinating and educational experience. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site during your time in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Explore the Belle Grove Historic District
The Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith, Arkansas offers a rich cultural and historical experience. Visitors can explore the beautifully preserved buildings that date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This district is home to various architectural styles, including Victorian, Georgian, and Greek Revival. The meticulously maintained gardens and streets add to the charm of the area. Don’t miss the Belle Grove Historic District Museum, which provides fascinating insights into the history of the region. Additionally, take a stroll along the scenic Arkansas River, just a short distance away from the district. The Belle Grove Historic District is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those who appreciate architectural beauty.
When visiting the Belle Grove Historic District, consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the specific buildings and their historical significance. Explore the Belle Grove Historic District to admire the intricate details of the architecture and the careful preservation of the district. Don’t forget to visit the museum to delve deeper into the history of Fort Smith. Take plenty of photos to capture the beauty of the buildings and gardens. Remember to be respectful of the area and its historical value by following any regulations or guidelines in place. Exploring the Belle Grove Historic District is a unique opportunity to step back in time and appreciate the rich heritage of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Take a Scenic Riverboat Cruise on the Arkansas River
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Take a scenic riverboat cruise on the Arkansas River for a delightful experience filled with breathtaking views and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Marvel at the majestic landscapes as you cruise along the Arkansas River, taking in the lush greenery and tranquil waters. Observe the diverse wildlife that calls the river home, from graceful birds soaring overhead to playful fish swimming beneath the surface.
Captivating and serene, the Arkansas River provides the perfect setting for a relaxing and enjoyable riverboat cruise. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful getaway or an exciting adventure, this experience is sure to leave you with lasting memories.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a scenic riverboat cruise on the Arkansas River. Allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty of the surroundings and immerse yourself in nature’s wonders.
Discover the Fort Smith Museum of History
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Discover the Fort Smith Museum of History and delve into the rich history of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The museum showcases the captivating stories of this historic city through engaging exhibits and artifacts.
Step into the past as you explore the various exhibits that highlight significant events, such as the Trail of Tears, the Indian Territory, and the frontier era. Learn about the diverse communities that shaped Fort Smith and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage.
Immerse yourself in the displays that depict life in the Old West, including the legendary Judge Parker’s courtroom and the compelling stories of outlaws and lawmen. Marvel at the collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that bring these narratives to life.
With its informative exhibits and knowledgeable staff, the Fort Smith Museum of History offers a fascinating journey through time. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply curious about the city’s past, this museum is a must-visit destination.
During a visit to the Fort Smith Museum of History, a family discovered a hidden treasure in the form of their ancestor’s diary. The diary provided firsthand accounts of life in Fort Smith during the late 1800s, including anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of everyday life. The family was thrilled to uncover this precious piece of their history, and the museum staff was equally delighted to add it to their collection, ensuring that this personal story would be preserved for future generations to explore and appreciate.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Lake Fort Smith State Park
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Lake Fort Smith State Park is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy a wide range of activities. Whether you are a hiking enthusiast or simply enjoy immersing yourself in nature’s beauty, this park has it all. Embark on the park’s scenic trails and be prepared to be mesmerized by the breathtaking views that surround you.
For those who want to extend their adventure, the park offers well-maintained campsites and facilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted to know that the park’s picturesque lake is home to a variety of fish species, providing the perfect opportunity to test your luck.
If you prefer water sports, Lake Fort Smith is an ideal spot for boating and kayaking. Embrace the thrill of gliding across the crystal-clear waters while enjoying the serene environment.
For those seeking relaxation, the park provides designated picnic areas and shelters where you can enjoy a peaceful and rejuvenating picnic. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere and let all your worries melt away.
Nature lovers will be in their element as they explore the park’s diverse wildlife and bird-watching opportunities. Capture memorable moments and witness the wonders of nature in this captivating oasis.
Lake Fort Smith State Park is the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts. With a plethora of activities and opportunities to explore, this is the perfect destination for anyone looking to reconnect with nature and create unforgettable memories. So come on, immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Fort Smith State Park and let the adventure begin!
Visit the Unexpected Art Gallery
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The Unexpected Art Gallery in Fort Smith, Arkansas is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. Visit the Unexpected Art Gallery and marvel at the vibrant paintings, intricate sculptures, and thought-provoking installations. This gallery showcases a diverse collection of artwork from local and international artists. With over 100 unique pieces on display, there is something to captivate everyone’s interest. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, providing an opportunity to engage with the art community. Immerse yourself in the creativity and talent on display, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world of art. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Unexpected Art Gallery and be inspired by the incredible artworks on show.
Explore the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
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When you visit Fort Smith, Arkansas, make sure to explore the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center. This nature center offers a wide range of activities and experiences for nature enthusiasts.
- Discover the diverse wildlife: The nature center is home to various species of animals, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish. You can observe them in their natural habitats and learn about their behaviors.
- Explore the trails: Take a hike along the well-maintained trails that wind through the scenic landscape of the Arkansas River Valley. Enjoy the fresh air and explore the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
- Engage in educational programs: The center offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages. Join a guided tour, attend a nature-themed workshop, or participate in hands-on activities to learn more about the local ecosystem and explore the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
- Visit the exhibits: The nature center features interactive exhibits that provide insight into the region’s flora and fauna. Learn about the plants, trees, and insects that are essential to maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
- Enjoy recreational opportunities: The center has facilities for fishing, boating, and picnicking. Spend a relaxing day by the river or try your luck at catching fish in the designated fishing areas at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
Exploring the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and wildlife of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Shop and Dine at the Fort Smith Downtown Historic District
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If you’re visiting Fort Smith, Arkansas, make sure to shop and dine at the vibrant Fort Smith Downtown Historic District. Here are some activities you can enjoy:
- Shop at local boutiques and stores offering a wide range of unique products, from clothing and accessories to artwork and antiques.
- Dine at the district’s diverse array of restaurants, offering a variety of cuisines to satisfy any food lover’s palate.
- Indulge in the local flavors and specialties at charming cafes and bakeries that are perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely meal.
- Explore the historic architecture and landmarks surrounding the district, providing a glimpse into the rich history of Fort Smith.
- Attend lively events and festivals that often take place in the district, showcasing local talent, arts, and culture.
- Engage in the vibrant nightlife of the area, with bars, pubs, and entertainment venues offering a lively atmosphere and live music performances.
Whether you’re looking for unique shopping experiences, delicious food, or a chance to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Fort Smith, the Downtown Historic District is the perfect destination.
Attend Events at the Fort Smith Convention Center
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Attending events at the Fort Smith Convention Center is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and community.
- The convention center hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, including conferences, trade shows, concerts, and exhibitions.
- By attending these events, you can expand your knowledge, network with professionals in various industries, and discover new products and services.
- The convention center’s state-of-the-art facilities provide a comfortable and convenient environment for attendees.
- You can expect to see engaging presentations, interactive exhibits, and opportunities for hands-on learning.
- Participating in events at the Fort Smith Convention Center allows you to support local businesses and contribute to the economic growth of the community.
- Whether you’re interested in professional development, entertainment, or cultural experiences, the convention center has something to offer for everyone.
- Make sure to check the event schedule and plan your visit accordingly to make the most of your time at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
- Attending events at the convention center can broaden your horizons, inspire new ideas, and create memorable experiences.
Experience the Fort Smith Trolley Museum
The Fort Smith Trolley Museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors. By visiting the museum, you can truly immerse yourself and experience the history and charm of trolleys in a unique and interactive setting. Learn about the fascinating development of the trolley system and how it greatly impacted transportation. One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of beautifully restored vintage trolleys, which allow you to see these iconic vehicles in their original glory. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the rich history of trolleys and discover the important role they played in Fort Smith’s past by visiting the Fort Smith Trolley Museum.
What Is the History of Fort Smith, Arkansas?
The history of Fort Smith, Arkansas is rich and varied, dating back to its establishment in 1817. What Is the History of Fort Smith, Arkansas? Here are some key historical aspects:
- Establishment: Fort Smith was founded as a military post on the western frontier of the United States.
- Frontier era: During the 19th century, Fort Smith played a significant role in the expansion and settlement of the American West.
- Trail of Tears: In the 1830s, Fort Smith was a key departure point for Native Americans who were forcibly relocated along the Trail of Tears.
- Civil War: In the mid-19th century, Fort Smith was a strategic location during the Civil War, with changing hands between Union and Confederate forces.
- Law and order: Fort Smith gained prominence as a center for federal law enforcement in the late 1800s, with the establishment of the famed “Judge Parker’s Court.”
One fascinating story from Fort Smith’s history involves Bass Reeves, the first African-American deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. Known for his exceptional investigative skills and marksmanship, Reeves served in Fort Smith during the late 19th century and became a legendary figure in law enforcement.
What Are Some Other Attractions in Fort Smith, Arkansas?
When visiting Fort Smith, Arkansas, there are several other attractions worth exploring:
- Fort Smith National Historic Site: Discover the rich history of the region at this preserved fort and courtroom.
- Belle Grove Historic District: Explore the charming neighborhood with its beautiful Victorian homes.
- Arkansas River Scenic Riverboat Cruise: Take a leisurely cruise along the Arkansas River and enjoy the scenic views.
- Fort Smith Museum of Learn more about the city’s past through their exhibits and artifacts.
- Lake Fort Smith State Park: Engage in outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping in this scenic state park.
- Unexpected Art Gallery: Immerse yourself in the local art scene by visiting this unique art gallery.
- Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center: Experience the beauty of nature in this educational and recreational center.
- Fort Smith Downtown Historic District: Shop for souvenirs and enjoy delicious dining options in this vibrant district.
- Fort Smith Convention Center: Attend various events and gatherings at this modern convention center.
- Fort Smith Trolley Museum: Step back in time and learn about the history of trolleys in Fort Smith.
These attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history, culture, and natural beauty of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Where Can You Find the Best Dining Options in Fort Smith?
Are you wondering where you can find the best dining options in Fort Smith? Look no further, as you have a variety of choices to satisfy your culinary cravings. Here are some suggestions:
- R&R’s Curry Express: Indulge in flavorful Indian cuisine with a range of authentic curry dishes.
- Bricktown Brewery: Enjoy craft beer and mouthwatering pub fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.
- Taliano’s Italian Restaurant: Experience the taste of Italy with delicious pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and traditional Italian desserts.
- The Vault: Dine in a historic bank building and savor their upscale American cuisine, featuring dishes like steak, seafood, and gourmet burgers.
- Thai Garden: Discover the vibrant flavors of Thailand with their extensive menu of Thai favorites, including curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.
These dining options offer a diverse range of flavors and atmospheres to suit any palate. Whether you’re in the mood for international cuisine, classic American dishes, or something in between, Fort Smith has you covered. So, why wait? Embark on a culinary journey through the city’s vibrant restaurant scene and enjoy the best dining options it has to offer.
What Outdoor Activities Can You Enjoy in Fort Smith?
Fort Smith, Arkansas offers a variety of outdoor activities that you can enjoy. So, what outdoor activities can you enjoy in Fort Smith?
- One option is to visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site for a glimpse into the area’s rich history.
- Another option is to explore the Belle Grove Historic District and admire the architectural beauty of the buildings.
- You can also take a scenic riverboat cruise on the Arkansas River for breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.
- For those who prefer more active pursuits, Lake Fort Smith State Park is the perfect destination. You can enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing.
- If you are interested in nature, the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center offers a great opportunity for nature exploration.
These outdoor activities in Fort Smith allow you to appreciate the natural beauty and historical significance of the area. Whether you enjoy history, architecture, or outdoor adventures, Fort Smith has something for everyone.
Are There Any Annual Events or Festivals in Fort Smith?
Yes, there are several annual events and festivals that take place in Fort Smith.
- The Old Fort Days Rodeo is a popular annual event that showcases exciting rodeo competitions and entertaining performances.
- The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival features a diverse lineup of musicians and artists from various genres.
- The Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Festival is a must-attend event for blues music enthusiasts, with talented musicians performing live.
- The Fort Smith Juneteenth Celebration commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people with educational and cultural activities.
- The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum’s annual Art on the Border event showcases the works of local and regional artists.
Additionally, the city hosts various holiday-themed festivals throughout the year, including the Fort Smith Riverfront Fourth of July Celebration and the Fort Smith Riverfront Pumpkin Patch Festival.
These events not only provide entertainment and cultural experiences for residents and visitors alike, but they also contribute to the vibrant atmosphere and sense of community in Fort Smith.
How Can You Get Around Fort Smith?
To get around Fort Smith, there are several transportation options available. The Fort Smith Public Transit System operates buses throughout the city, providing an affordable and convenient way to travel to various destinations within Fort Smith.
Taxis are another option for getting around Fort Smith. There are several taxi companies that operate in the city and can be easily hailed or called for pick-up.
If you prefer to drive, there are car rental services available in Fort Smith. Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore the city at your own pace and visit multiple attractions.
For those who enjoy two-wheeled transportation, Fort Smith has a bike-sharing program. This program allows you to rent a bike for a specific period of time, giving you the freedom to cycle around the city and explore its sights.
Walking is also a great way to get around Fort Smith, especially if you’re staying in the downtown area. Many of the city’s attractions, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of each other, making it convenient to explore on foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some popular historical attractions in Fort Smith, Arkansas?
Fort Smith offers a variety of historical attractions for history lovers. Some popular options include:
- Fort Smith National Historic Site
- Clayton House
- Fort Smith Museum of History
- Fort Smith National Cemetery
- Chaffee Barbershop Museum
What are some recommended outdoor activities in Fort Smith?
If you enjoy the outdoors, Fort Smith has plenty to offer. Here are some recommended outdoor activities:
- Massard Prairie Battlefield Park
- Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
- Creekmore Park
- The Park at West End
- Parrot Island Waterpark
Where can I go for live entertainment and art in Fort Smith?
Fort Smith has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. Check out these places for live entertainment and art:
- Fort Smith Little Theatre
- Fort Smith Regional Art Museum
- The Unexpected Murals Project
- Downtown Fort Smith galleries
- Miss Laura’s Visitors Center
Are there any unique attractions or experiences in Fort Smith?
Yes, Fort Smith has some unique attractions and experiences that you won’t find elsewhere. Here are a few:
- Ferris Wheel from the 1935 World’s Fair at The Park at West End
- Vintage streetcars at Fort Smith Trolley Museum
- Beer tasting at Fort Smith Brewing Company
- Historic homes like The Clayton House and Belle Grove Historic District
- Elvis Presley’s barbershop at Chaffee Barbershop Museum
Where can I find local products and souvenirs in Fort Smith?
If you’re looking to buy local products and souvenirs, check out these places in Fort Smith:
- Local farmers market
- Gift shop at The Clayton House
- Fort Smith Museum of History
- Prints of The Unexpected Murals Project at Miss Laura’s Visitors Center
- Fort Smith Regional Art Museum gift shop
What are some highly recommended attractions according to TripAdvisor travelers?
According to TripAdvisor travelers, some highly recommended attractions in Fort Smith include:
- Fort Smith National Historic Site
- Fort Smith National Cemetery
- Parrot Island Waterpark
- Fort Smith Museum of History
- Miss Laura’s Visitors Center
Jennifer Ian is a 28-year-old neurotic Jew from New York who overcame her anxiety and embarked on life-altering backpacking trips to 18 different countries, proving that even risk-averse individuals can find joy and therapy in the challenges of travel.