Located in Benton County, Arkansas, Lowell lies within the Ozark Mountain Range in the state’s far northwest corner near Bentonville, Springdale, and Rogers.
The town was founded in the 1840s and saw plenty of action during the Civil War, when its location along the railway made it strategically important for both the Union and Confederacy.
It’s near enough to the neighboring states of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas to make single or multi-day trips easy, and there are plenty of outdoor, cultural, historical and art attractions nearby, making it a convenient place to stay when visiting the area.
Below are 13 of the best things to do in and around Lowell.
1. The Grove
If you’ve never experienced a live comedy show, they can be downright hilarious and entertaining. The Grove – located on South Bloomington Street in Lowell – is one of the region’s few stand-up comedy clubs.
Though some of their entertainers are seasoned veterans, many are locals who’ve got lots of nerve but not a lot of experience.
Monday nights are usually open mic nights; the shows get underway at about 7:30 and last just an hour or so.
The grove offers drink and food specials to encourage locals to join in the fun. It’s an upbeat and entertaining way to spend an evening.
2. Bentonville Whiskey Festival
If you’re planning a trip to Lowell or nearby Bentonville in April and know a good whiskey when you taste one, then mark the 27th on your calendar and line up a designated driver.
Located on South Walton Boulevard at the Peel Mansion, the Bentonville Whiskey Festival highlights nearly 50 different kinds of distilled spirits, including bourbon, tequila, and gin – to name just a few.
Craft distillers from all over the region will be on-hand to offer samplings and tell you about their unique products. In addition to booze galore, there will be plenty of tasty food options from local restaurants.
3. Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas
Taking place over three days in the middle of April, Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas has been ranked one of the best events of its kind in the country.
Think of it as part flea market, part antique store, and part arts and crafts expo. For seasoned shoppers with plenty of time and patience, it’s a great place to spend a few hours looking for that proverbial diamond in the rough.
Vendors from across the country will be onsite selling housewares, collectibles, art, clothes, and health and body products – in addition to hundreds of other goodies. There will also be live entertainment and plenty of food and drinks.
4. Arkansas Derby
Arkansas has always been big horse country, and the Arkansas Derby held at the Hot Springs Oaklawn Racing and Gaming center in Hot Springs is its biggest event.
The race takes place in April, was first run in 1936, and is considered an important event for three-year-old thoroughbreds going into the Kentucky Derby.
Even if betting on the horses isn’t your thing, it’s an all-around fun event which includes food and drinks, arts and crafts, and other live events held over the weekend. It a unique and family-friendly experience that shouldn’t be missed.
If you need overnight accommodation, book it well in advance.
5. Northwest Arkansas Escape Room
Located on North Shiloh Street in Fayetteville, Northwest Arkansas Escape Rooms is the place to go for those looking for an inexpensive, suspenseful, and all-around entertaining way to spend a few hours.
Escape rooms are becoming popular attractions around the country. The idea is to use your brainpower and wits to find clues and answer questions that’ll hopefully save you and your teammates from certain annihilation or a horde of crazed zombies.
Escape rooms are perfect activities for families, birthday and wedding parties, and there is typically a range of options suitable for adolescents, kids, and adults.
6. Code Ninjas
For those traveling with kids, it’s often difficult finding things to do to keep them occupied, especially if you’d rather not plop them down in front of a movie or smartphone for hours on end.
Luckily, Code Ninjas on Southeast Walton Boulevard in Bentonville has a solution.
They provide children from 7-14 the opportunity to meet other kids, learn about computers and programming, and create their very own video games in the process.
It’s such a fun and unique environment that most kids don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills like working with others, problem-solving, and time management.
7. Ozark Axe House
Few activities go as well together as drinking alcohol and throwing axes; if you agree with that sentiment, then a trip to the Ozark Axe House is in order.
Located on North 2nd Street, it’s just a few blocks from the emergency room, and one of those truly unique Arkansas experiences you’ll remember fondly for years to come.
The Axe House is a BYOB facility, so swing by the liquor store before you go, and get ready for a few fun-filled hours of entertainment.
All kidding aside, it’s a safe, fun and relaxed environment that’s probably less dangerous than riding a bus or crossing the street.
8. War Eagle Cavern
War Eagle Cavern near Rogers is slightly off the beaten path, but it’s a fun and worthwhile trip for those interested in exploring the region’s history, myths, and subterranean world.
Guided tours are available, and the local guides will give you a running narration of the amazing geological formations you’re seeing. You’ll also learn about how the caves were used in eras past by outlaws like Jesse James to stash their loot and hide from the law.
Tours take about an hour, and you’ll discover how the caverns were made and about some of the interesting animals that have adapted to life in the nearly lightless environment.
9. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of northwest Arkansas’ cultural gems, and is unique from an architectural standpoint as well.
The building in which it’s housed blends the natural and human-made worlds seamlessly. Whether you’re a fan of traditional or contemporary art, you’ll likely find something you like.
In addition to their permanent exhibits, they also host visiting ones from local and regional artists and museums from time to time. Due to its rural setting, once you’ve seen the art inside, you’ll have a chance to stretch your legs on the forest trails in and around the grounds.
10. Dogwood Canyon
For those with access to a set of wheels and who don’t mind hitting the road for an out of state adventure, a trip to Dogwood Canyon in nearby Lampe, Missouri would be a great day trip.
Well-marked and relatively easy paved trails run by the brook leading into the canyon. Along the way, you’ll have ample opportunity to get some amazingly panoramic views of the surrounding country if you follow some of the trail’s offshoots to the bluffs above.
The entrance fee isn’t exactly cheap, but considering you’ll see waterfalls, wildlife, and plenty of natural views, it’s worth it.
11. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Located on North Crossover Road in Fayetteville, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is the only of its kind in the region; it’s comprised of 12 unique and individual sections, each with its own theme.
During the spring and summer months, there’s also a butterfly house which is a perennial favorite of guests. The gardens include native and non-native plants, flowers, and trees and host an array of instructional and educational activities related to the natural world as well.
They’re open seasonally and post their upcoming events, hours, and prices on their website, so take a look online before heading out.
12. Arkansas & Missouri Railroad
For railroad lovers and history buffs, taking a scenic tour on the old Arkansas and Missouri Railroad would be a great way to spend a few afternoon hours seeing the beautiful countryside; you may feel like you’ve stepped back in time a few decades as well.
The train runs from Springdale to Van Buren and beyond. Many of the cars have two levels – the uppermost is dome-shaped and mainly constructed from glass, allowing guests to get panoramic views.
Considering how much it costs to run a train, the tickets are reasonable, and the cars are clean, comfortable and climate-controlled.
13. The Walmart Museum
Before it conquered the national retail market, Walmart was a rather humble local store chain that started as a 5 & 10.
It would take decades to grow nationally and internationally, and for those interested in learning about Walmart’s rise to prominence, there’s no better place to do it than the Walmart Museum on North Main Street in Bentonville.
The museum’s exhibits are sectioned into three parts and are full of photos, historical paraphernalia, and old marketing and advertising literature too.
There’s a comfortable and inexpensive café onsite, so plan on spending an hour or so then stopping for a slice of pie and some coffee before heading off to your next adventure.