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#42. Fayetteville, AR
Located in northwest Arkansas right near the Ozark National Forest, Fayetteville is a friendly, outdoorsy college town that’s home to the University of Arkansas with a great food scene, a dedication to the arts and a relatively low cost of living.
Fayetteville earned a spot on Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live list because of their solid economy — with an unemployment rate that’s currently at 2.6% — as well as their access to impressive amenities like the Walton Arts Center and the Dickson Street Entertainment District (home to all the quirky restaurants, galleries, clubs and boutiques that make up the heart of Fayetteville).
But Fayetteville’s biggest asset is its proximity to a whole lot of beautiful scenery in the Ozarks, and residents take full advantage of it by biking on their extensive trails, kayaking on the nearby rivers, or simply taking a hike and enjoying the views.
Local Obsession: Like any other college town, life in Fayetteville buzzes around the campus, and most specifically their U of A Razorback football team (Wooooo. Pig. Sooie!)
Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Mostly sunny and generally comfortable
Top Industries and Employers: The top industries in Fayetteville are educational services, retail trade and healthcare. The top employers in the city are the University of Arkansas, the Wal-Mart Optical Lab and Tyson’s of Fayetteville.
Local Dream Job: A horticulturist at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, an organization that is dedicated to conservation and educating the public about environmental awareness.
Quintessential Meal: Though everything at Mockingbird Kitchen is delicious, you could definitely make an entire meal of the Mockingbird Pie, which has a salted pecan crust, chocolate pastry cream, whipped cream and topped with pecans.
Favorite Weekend Activity: If there’s one thing you need to know about Fayetteville, it’s that they love their festivals. In fact, you can check out 180(!) of them every year, ranging from country music festival Fayetteville Roots to the Pesto Fest, which includes a pesto-making competition.
After-Work Meetup Spot: When you need an after-work drink but don’t want to deal with a noisy bar, The Nines is your best bet in Fayetteville. This wine and local beer joint has a relaxed vibe that is great for catching up with friends.
Best Local Beer: The water source for Fossil Cove Brewing’s delicious brews is in a fossil-laden cove on nearby Beaver Lake, which results in some crisp and fresh American and Belgian-style ales.
Beloved Bookstore: Named one of Buzzfeed’s “Bookstores that Will Literally Change Your Life,” you could say that Dickson St. Bookshop is universally loved by Fayetteville and book lovers beyond city limits.
Free Way to Have Fun: Gawk at the Ozark scenery and get some exercise in at the same time on the Razorback Regional Greenway, a 35-mile trail that links nearby Bentonville, historic sites throughout the region, and the University of Arkansas campus.
Truly Hidden Gem: Local burger joint Hugo’s is quite literally an underground location, making it easy to miss when you’re walking by. But once you finally locate it, it’s worth the search — especially after trying the Bleu Moon Burger.
– Jamie Birdwell-Branson
Fayetteville is One of the 10 Best Places to Raise a Family
Why Fayetteville, AR is One of The Best Places to Live
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