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Fayetteville, Arkansas
City of Fayetteville
Clockwise from top: Fayetteville skyline around the Historic Square, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Old Main, Wilson Park, the Fayetteville Depot, and the Washington County Courthouse.
Clockwise from top: Fayetteville skyline around the Historic Square, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Old Main, Wilson Park, the Fayetteville Depot, and the Washington County Courthouse.
Official seal of Fayetteville, Arkansas
"Track Capital of the World", "The Hill", "Athens of the Ozarks"
Regnat Populus (the people rule)
Location in Washington County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Washington County and the state of Arkansas
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
County Washington
Township Fayetteville
Founded 1828
Incorporated 1836
Rechartered 1867
Named for originally George Washington, renamed after Fayetteville, Tennessee
 • Type Mayor-council
 • City 143 km2 (55.2 sq mi)
 • Land 139 km2 (53.8 sq mi)
 • Water 4 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
427 m (1,400 ft)
 • City 73,580
 • Estimate 
 • Density 527.5/km2 (1,366.3/sq mi)
 • Urban
295,083 (US: 129th)
 • Metro
491,966 (US: 106th)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (Central)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-23290
GNIS feature ID 0076914
Major airport XNA
Website City of Fayetteville

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census. At 1,400 feet of elevation, it is also one of the highest major US cites between the western Great Plains and the Appalachian Mountains.

Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, the state's largest university. When classes are in session, thousands of students on campus dramatically change the city's demographics. Thousands of Arkansas Razorbacks alumni and fans travel to Fayetteville to attend football, basketball, and baseball games. The University's men's track and field program has won 41 national championships to date. Fayetteville was named the third best place to live in America, coming in behind Denver, Colorado and Austin, Texas in the 2016 U.S. News Best Places To Live Rankings, and one of the best places to retire in the South. Forbes also ranked Fayetteville as the 24th-best city for business and careers in 2016. Lonely Planet named Fayetteville among its top 20 places to visit in the South in 2016. Based in nearby Bentonville, the Walmart corporation has dominated Fayetteville's economy. The city hosts the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meetings each year at the Bud Walton Arena.


Settlement through Antebellum period

South Fayetteville, Arkansas, early 1890s
South end of Fayetteville, early 1890s.

In 1828, George McGarrah settled at Big Spring with his family on the modern day corner of Spring and Willow, founding the town of Washington, and starting work on the courthouse. On October 17, Washington County was established, Washington chosen as the county seat. The Washington Courthouse was finished in 1829, and also contained the post office. Later in the year Postmaster Larkin Newton changed the name to the Fayetteville Courthouse, to avoid confusing with Washington, Hempstead County. Two councilmen selected to name the city were from Fayetteville, Tennessee, which was itself named for Fayetteville, North Carolina (where some of its earliest residents had lived before moving to Tennessee). That original Fayetteville was named for General Lafayette, a French general who helped the colonies gain independence in the American Revolutionary War.

The first store in Fayetteville was opened by John Nye in a small building constructed by James Holmsley. In 1832 David Walker, Chief Justice of the Arkansas supreme court, built a double log cabin on what is now Center Street. In 1822 Archibald Yell, the second Governor of Arkansas, built a house and called it "Waxhaw" after his home in North Carolina. This was on the outskirts of town then but now is a street named after him that connects College and School streets. The first hotels were the Burnside House and the Onstott House. Fayetteville was incorporated as a town on November 3, 1836.

In 1859, a city charter was obtained from the Legislature. During the Civil War the municipal government was suspended and was not reinstated until 1867. P.V. Rhea was the president of the town trustees in 1836; J.W. Walker was the first mayor under the charter of 1859, and M.L. Harrison was the first mayor when the government was reorganized in 1867. The telegraph came to Fayetteville in 1860, strung along the Military Road from Jefferson City, Missouri to Little Rock.

Civil War and Reconstruction

Headquarters House, Fayetteville, Arkansas
The house that served as Union headquarters during the action at Fayetteville is operated today as a museum about the war.

During the American Civil War, the Union General Samuel Ryan Curtis occupied Fayetteville on Feb 18, 1862 and the following week, the Battle of Pea Ridge took place northeast of Fayetteville. The city housed wounded soldiers from the Battle of Prairie Grove in December 1862, and housed injured troops on Dickson Street. Confederate troops besieged Union soldiers in Fayetteville on April 18, 1863 at the present-day intersection of [College Avenue (U.S. Route 71B) and Dickson Street, and at their headquarters. Union soldiers held the city against cannon fire and cavalry attacks, although their headquarters sustained damage. The building was restored and is operated as the Headquarters House, a museum of the Washington County Historical Society. Union forces repelled a Confederate attack in October 1864. After the war, the United States government established the Fayetteville National Cemetery in 1867. A cemetery for Confederate dead was founded in 1873.

Newspapers were established early; in 1859, Elias Cornelius Boudinot, a young half-Cherokee attorney, and James Pettigrew founded The Arkansan. The Fayetteville Weekly Democrat began publishing in 1868. It later developed as the Northwest Arkansas Times, and is still in print today. The Fayetteville Schools District was founded on March 20, 1871 as the first independent school district in Arkansas. The public school system was established by the Reconstruction era legislature; before the war, all education was private. Arkansas had struggled with a state banking crisis, resulting in the illegality of banking until 1868. Following the reinstatement, the Stark Bank became the first bank in the state in 1872, becoming the William McIlroy Bank four years later. This institution remains today as Arvest Bank.


...yet I venture the assertion that nowhere in said country—or for that matter, in any part of the state—could be found a lovelier elevation, or a lovelier grove of graceful oaks, or a more commanding view, or, in fine, a spot better suited and adapted for the purposes designated than the one chosen for said University [of Arkansas] site and farm.

—Noah Putnam Gates, first president of the University of Arkansas


The split between the Springfield Plateau and the Boston Mountains occurs in the center of Washington County, Arkansas very near Fayetteville. The rough, mountainous terrain south of Fayetteville is the Boston Mountains while the more-habitable Springfield Plateau contains the cities of Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers to the north.

Fayetteville is located in the Boston Mountains, a subset of The Ozarks which run through Northwest Arkansas, southern Missouri, and Eastern Oklahoma. The rocks of the Boston Mountains were formed when sandstones and shales were deposited on top of the Springfield Plateau during the Pennsylvanian Period. In the Fayetteville area, following uplift during the Ouachita orogeny, the sediments were eroded to expose the Mississippian limestone formations of the Springfield Plateau, while south of Fayetteville the remaining deeply eroded Pennsylvanian sediments form the steep Boston Mountains.

Fayetteville is also the namesake of the Fayetteville Shale, a geological formation which has recently become an epicenter for natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing.

Metropolitan area

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.2 square miles (143 km2), of which, 53.8 square miles (139 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) of it (2.59%) is water. The city is centrally located in Washington County, Arkansas along Interstate 49/US Route 71. This is the only fully controlled access route through the area, which replaced the winding US 71 (now US 71B) in the 1990s. An interstate connection with Fort Smith to the south and Kansas City, Missouri to the north has contributed to Fayetteville's growth. Within Washington County, Fayetteville is bordered along the north by Springdale and Johnson. At times, this transition is seamlessly urban. Fayetteville is not bordered to its south, instead opening up to scenic country along the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop. Past the rural communities of Greenland and West Fork is Devil's Den State Park. To the west is Farmington along US Route 62 and to the east is undeveloped land in rural Washington County.

The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). Although the Metropolitan Statistical Area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs geography, Fayetteville's adjacent communities include Elkins, Farmington Greenland, Habberton, Johnson, and Wyman.

Districts within Fayetteville

Weather chart for Fayetteville Experimental Station
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
Mount Sequoyah and Fayetteville from University of Arkansas
Mount Sequoyah rises above Fayetteville on the city's eastern side

Fayetteville is entirely contained within Fayetteville Township, as the township and city have identical boundaries. Although Arkansas generally does not use its civil townships for any governmental purpose, they are used for voting boundaries in some places.

Generally the part of Fayetteville west of I-49/US 71 is called west Fayetteville. Another prominent district is Uptown Fayetteville, which encompasses the scores of business and new homes near the Northwest Arkansas Mall in north Fayetteville. The University of Arkansas defines its own part of Fayetteville, with dozens of student apartments and restaurants located near campus. The University's impact is also apparent along College Avenue, which contains hundreds of shops and restaurants. Northeast of campus are the Wilson Park Historic District and the Mount Nord Historic District. The Fayetteville Historic Square is the original city center of Fayetteville, and Dickson Street is the best-known entertainment district in Arkansas. Homes atop Mount Sequoyah in the eastern part of the city encircle Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center. Old structures are also located along the former Butterfield Overland Mail route, a stagecoach route to San Francisco, California now known as Old Wire Road. Fifteenth Street forms the southernmost residential district of Fayetteville, with the Fayetteville Industrial Park to its east.

Annexed communities

Fayetteville has annexed six unincorporated communities within its current corporate limits. Four of them are still listed as "populated places" by the USGS Board on Geographic Names. The other 2 are listed as "historical populated places." Annexations since 1870 are displayed on Fayetteville's website in the interactive maps section. Fayetteville's first annexations took place in 1946 when it incorporated Fayette Junction and McNair into the city. Baldwin was added the following year, with Barbara and Ruckers Grove being annexed in 1967. Fayetteville's most recent annexation occurred in 1982 when White Rock was added to the city limits.


Fayetteville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). Fayetteville experiences all four seasons and does receive cold air masses from the north, however some of the Arctic masses are blocked by the higher elevations of the Ozarks.

August is the hottest month of the year, with an average high of 89.2 °F (31.8 °C) and an average low of 67.8 °F (19.9 °C). Temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are rare but not uncommon, occurring on average twice a year. January is the coldest month with an average high of 46.4 °F (8.0 °C) and an average low of 26.3 °F (−3.2 °C). Highs below 32 °F (0 °C) occur on average thirteen times a year, with 2.2 nights per year dropping below 0 °F (−18 °C). The city's highest temperature was 111 °F (43.9 °C), recorded on July 14, 1954. The lowest temperature recorded was −24 °F (−31 °C), on February 12, 1899.

Precipitation is weakly seasonal, with a bimodal pattern: wet seasons in the spring and fall, and relatively drier summers and winters, but some rain in all months. The spring wet season is more pronounced than fall, with the highest rainfall in May. This differs slightly from the climate in central Arkansas, where the fall wet season is more comparable to spring.

Climate data for Fayetteville, Arkansas (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1892-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 76
Average high °F (°C) 46.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 36.3
Average low °F (°C) 26.3
Record low °F (°C) −23
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.55
Snowfall inches (cm) 2.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.5 7.6 9.1 9.2 12.4 9.4 7.5 7.0 8.5 8.5 7.5 7.5 105.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.8 1.1 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.4 2.6
Source #1: NOAA
Source #2: The Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 425
1850 598 40.7%
1860 972 62.5%
1870 955 −1.7%
1880 1,788 87.2%
1890 2,942 64.5%
1900 4,061 38.0%
1910 4,471 10.1%
1920 5,362 19.9%
1930 7,394 37.9%
1940 8,212 11.1%
1950 17,071 107.9%
1960 20,274 18.8%
1970 30,729 51.6%
1980 36,608 19.1%
1990 42,099 15.0%
2000 58,047 37.9%
2010 73,580 26.8%
Est. 2015 82,830 12.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2014 Estimate
Racial composition 2010 2000 1990 1980 1970
White 83.8% 86.5% 93.92% 93.13% 97.46%
Non-Hispanic 80.7% 84.1% 93.19% 92.24%
Black or African American 6.0% 5.1% 3.18% 3.75% 1.94%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 6.42% 4.9% 1.10% 1.46%
Asian 3.08% 3.1% 1.50% 1.56%
Other race or multiracial 5.86% 4.38% 0.34% 0.42% 0.61%

Fayetteville is the third most populated city in Arkansas. In the 2010 census, Fayetteville had a population of 73,580 and grew by 26.8 percent from the year 2000.

As of the census of 2010, there were 73,580 people, 33,661 households, and 14,574 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,333.0 people per square mile (514.0/km²). There were 38,281 housing units at an average density of 693.5 per square mile (267.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.8% White, 4.0% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. 6.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

While Arkansas as a whole is rated yearly as a state with a poor educational system, Fayetteville was the third best educated city in Arkansas (after Maumelle) in the 2010 Census, proportionately, with 40.5% of adults age 25 or older holding an associate degree or higher, and 24.6% of adults possessing a bachelor's degree or higher.

There were 33,661 households out of which 19.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.4% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no spouse present, and 58.7% were non-families. 45.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out with 16.9% under the age of 18, 23.6% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.8 years. For every 100 females there were 100.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,393, and the median income for a family was $62,258. Males had a median income of $46,004 versus $31,373 for females, indicating a huge income disparity. The per capita income for the city was $26,267. 37.7% of the population and 19.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.0% of those under the age of 18 and 5.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

69.6% of Fayetteville's population describes themselves as religious, above the national average of 48.34%. 50.8% of people in Fayetteville who describe themselves as having a religion are Baptist (37.22% of the city's total population). 15.5% of people holding a religion are Catholic (7.7% of the city's total population). There are also higher proportions of Methodists and Pentecostals above the national average.

Culture, contemporary life, and points of interest

Fayetteville skyline from Old Main lawn
Downtown Fayetteville as seen from Old Main Lawn
See also: Culture of Arkansas

Fayetteville's culture is a combination of a Southern city, college town, and the surrounding Northwest Arkansas metro.

Fayetteville shares many of the characteristics commonly given to Arkansas as a Southern state, yet it has also absorbed cultural influence from the Mid and South West. Located firmly in the Upper South, Fayetteville's culture is distinct and it differs from the southeastern portion of the state and other Southeastern Conference college towns, areas more commonly associated with the Deep South. Many of the city's first settlers came from Upper South states like Kentucky and Tennessee, who found the Ozarks familiar to the Appalachian Mountains back home. The uplands of Arkansas, including the Fayetteville area, did not participate in large-scale plantation farming with slaves like the Arkansas delta, instead electing to settle in small clusters, relying largely on subsistence agriculture and hunting rather than the settlement patterns common in the Midwest and Deep South. The "hillbilly" stereotype given to the Ozarks and Appalachians is largely a derivative of the difficult topography, poor quality or lack of formal education, and mostly cashless self-sustaining economy found in those regions. Fayetteville's large proportion of Southern Baptist and Methodist adherents reflect the trend often associated with the Deep South.

The city also derives a cultural identity from the University of Arkansas, exhibiting many trademarks of a college town such as a prominent arts and music scene, emphasis on local businesses, college-oriented bar/restaurant entertainment district, progressive residents and a focus on environmental sustainability. Fayetteville also shares a passion for collegiate athletics similar to many other Southeastern Conference member institution cities, such as Oxford, Mississippi and College Station, Texas, earning a #15 ranking on Forbes' "Top College Sports Towns" list. Fall 2012 enrollment reports indicate that 82% of UA students were from Arkansas, 5% from Texas, 5% from Missouri, 2% from foreign countries, and the remaining 6% from other states.

Fayetteville has a strong BBQ tradition, earning a #9 ranking on the "Top 10 Best BBQ Cities" by Livability. The majority of Fayetteville's restaurants serve Memphis-style barbecue, with some Texas influence. The Bikes Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally places an emphasis on the city's BBQ heritage.

University of Arkansas

Old Main from the northwest, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas (autumn)
Old Main is the most recognizable image of the University of Arkansas and focal point of the University of Arkansas Campus Historic District.
Old Main Marker
The university's oldest tradition, Senior Walk contains the names of over 120,000 alumni

The University of Arkansas is Fayetteville's biggest attraction, with influence in the social, economic and educational aspects of Fayetteville. The flagship university in the state, the U of A has become integrated with Fayetteville and vice versa. Currently ranked the #135th best university in the country, the University of Arkansas Campus Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places contains 71 acres (29 ha) and 25 buildings within a park-like arboretum. In autumn, hundreds of parents travel to Fayetteville to help their children move into the various residence halls and apartments in the area, with thousands more attending Razorback football home games. Fans return for basketball games to pack Bud Walton Arena, which was the fifth-largest on-campus arena upon completion. In spring the Hogs baseball team can be seen in Baum Stadium, named one of the top college baseball facilities in the South by in 2010 due to the use of a large donation by the Walton family. No matter the season alumni and visitors are drawn to wander the campus in search of special names on Senior Walk, which is a 5-mile (8.0 km) sidewalk record of every graduate from the University of Arkansas.

Dickson Street

Dickson Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas in the fall
Looking down Dickson Street, the primary entertainment district in Fayetteville.

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 11,000 patrons including 3,500 students reached through outreach programs. The theatre was recognized in 2002 by the American Theatre Wing as one of the nation's fifty 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.

Fayetteville Square

Fayetteville Farmer's Market
Fayetteville farmers' market on the Fayetteville Historic Square.
See also: Fayetteville Historic Square and Fayetteville Public Library

The Fayetteville Historic Square has been the center of Fayetteville since the county's first courthouse was located there in 1829. The area is surrounded by wide sidewalks, landscaped gardens, and one-way streets. The Square plays host to a variety of events, including First Thursday on the Square, the Block Street Block Party, the Lights of the Ozarks Festival, Last Night Fayetteville, and Fayetteville Farmer's Market. Containing boutiques, restaurants, music venues, museums, condos, the visitor center, and a convention center, the Square is constituted of both historic structures and new constructions.

The farmers' market began in 1974 and runs 7am to 1pm from the first Saturday in April through the last Saturday before Thanksgiving set in the Fayetteville Historic Square. Over 60 vendors provide locally grown fruits and vegetables in addition to crafts, flower bouquets, music and art, making the Fayetteville Farmers' Market very diverse. Upon receiving a grant in 2011, the Fayetteville Farmers' Market now accepts Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and food stamps. The market has been praised by the Farmers Market Coalition for its formatting which allows farmers to interact directly with customers and also empowering each vendor with a vote before making major changes in market policy. The farmers' market moves to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for Sunday mornings with 20-30 vendors, with some vendors also choosing to attend the Mill District Farmer's Market on Thursday evenings.

The Fayetteville Public Library, founded in 1916, was relocated in October 2004 into a $23 million building, which was the first "green" building in Arkansas. The Blair Library was awarded the 2005 Thomson Gale Library Journal Honorable Mention Library of the Year award, and, as a testament to its popularity, has seen its popularity increase, with twice as many items checked out in 2005 than in 1997. The library includes a local coffeeshop, Arsaga's, and hosts several events, including film festivals, book signings, and public forums throughout the year.

Historic districts and properties

Pritchard House, Mount Nord Historic District, Fayetteville, Arkansas
The Pritchard House, built in 1900, located in the Mount Nord Historic District
See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Washington County, Arkansas

Fayetteville contains 40 listings on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. The University of Arkansas Campus Historic District constitutes the historic core of the UA campus. Residential historic districts with historically and architecturally significant contributions to Fayetteville include the Mount Nord Historic District, Washington-Willow Historic District, and Wilson Park Historic District. The Square is anchored by five NRHP structures; the original Fayetteville post office built in 1911, the Old Bank of Fayetteville Building, the Lewis Brothers Building constructed in 1908, the Mrs. Young Building built in 1887, and the Guisinger Building. The former Washington County Courthouse and Old Washington County Jail are located one block east of the Square.

The Headquarters House served as a command post in the city for both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War, and today serves as a museum. The Fayetteville National Cemetery is also listed on the NRHP. Built in 1867 following the Civil War, the cemetery has been expanded from its original 1,800 interments to over 7,000 interments.

Fayetteville was the first home of Bill and Hillary Clinton while they both taught law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. The house where they were married and lived is now the Clinton House Museum highlighting his early political life and features campaign memorabilia, a replica of Hillary's wedding dress, a photo gallery, and footage from his early campaign commercials.

Parks and trail system

Wilson Park castle and fountain, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Wilson Park Castle
Bridge over Lake Fayetteville
Lake Fayetteville Trail bridge near the spillway
See also: Wilson Park Historic District, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, and Razorback Regional Greenway

The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department maintains 70 parks whose total land area makes up 3,129 acres (1,266 ha). The National Wildlife Federation has listed many parks and trails in Fayetteville as Certified Wildlife Habitats, which provide food, water, shelter, and a nurturing environment for young wildlife. A favorite park in Fayetteville is Wilson Park, which anchors the Wilson Park Historic District. The park was the city's first, and today contains a swimming pool, two playgrounds, a baseball field, picnic areas, and a 1981 castle in addition to courts for volleyball, basketball and tennis. The National Register of Historic Places-listed historic district encompasses 47 homes constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century along the southern edge of the park.

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 12 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.

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