Are you thinking about moving to Northwest Arkansas and want to choose the town that best suits your lifestyle? In this episode of Naturally NWA, I’m going to give you an overview of Northwest Arkansas to help you determine where you should live when you relocate here. I’ll provide a quick breakdown of the lifestyle of each town within the NWA so you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Northwest Arkansas is a very special place to live. But what town suits your lifestyle the best? Are you looking for entertainment, shopping, or dining? Or, would you prefer to be away from people and all of those things? To help you find the perfect place, we’re going to start at the northern border in Benton County and work our way south to Washington County.
Our first stop is in Bella Vista, which borders Missouri. Bella Vista was originally a retirement community called Bella Vista Village, named after its beautiful views. Bella Vista actually means “beautiful view” in Italian. This area has started to become a destination for young professionals who want to be close to Bentonville while cultivating an outdoorsy lifestyle.
Bella Vista is home to seven beautiful lakes and golf courses along with miles and miles of some amazing mountain biking trails. The golf courses and mountain biking trails are open to the public, but you have to be a POA member to have access to the lakes. That membership also gets you a discounted green fee at the golf courses in Bella Vista.
It’s important to note that Bella Vista doesn’t have any nightlife and is pretty limited on dining and shopping options. The whole town bascially shuts down around 8:00 pm. Housing is cheaper in Bella Vista compared to Bentonville, and you tend to get a little bit more privacy there due to the hilly and windy terrain. The one thing weird about Bella Vista is there are no schools there, so your kids will either go to Pea Ridge, Bentonville, or Gravette schools depending on what part of the town you live in.
Just south of Bella Vista is the home of Walmart: Bentonville, Arkansas. Most of the residents of Bentonville either work for Walmart’s home office or one of the many suppliers that support Walmart’s operations. If you were looking for dining, shopping, and entertainment, Bentonville is a pretty good place to be.
The cost of living in Bentonville is higher than any other city in Northwest Arkansas in regards to housing and taxes, as the demand is very high. Most of the neighborhoods in Bentonville are cookie-cutter with everything packed pretty close together. This city has crowned itself the mountain biking capital of the world, and there are plenty of people visiting here every year because of that.
It’s a lot like a ski town here because one block off the Square is the Slaughter Pen Trailhead. Bentonville also has the best schools in the entire state of Arkansas.
Just to the south of Bentonville is Rogers, a very popular city in Northwest Arkansas because of everything it has to offer. The Pinnacle Hills area of Rogers, which is on the west side of Interstate 49, has all the dining, shopping, and entertainment options you could ever ask for. There has been commercial development going on in this part of Rogers at an astounding rate the last few years, and many of the Walmart suppliers and vendors are moving their operations to this part of town.
Most of the housing in this area is pretty pricey compared to the rest of Northwest Arkansas. A lot of it is owned for those Bentonville schools that everybody wants to be in. Rogers is very spread out and it feels like a different city on the east side—where Beaver Lake, Lake Atlanta, and Hobbs State Park are located—when you compare it to the west side’s Pinnacle Hills area.
There are plenty of outdoorsy activities to do on the east side of Rogers, and the housing is more affordable on that side compared to the west side. Additionally, the downtown area of Rogers has been undergoing some pretty major innovations and is on track to be an extremely popular place to hang out for Northwest Arkansas residents. Rogers is a great city to live in if you want to get a little bit of everything in one town.
Before we slide on down to Washington County, I wanted to make mention of some of the smaller surrounding towns that you might want to check out if you’re looking for more seclusion or affordability.
To the east of Bellavista just north of Rogers is Pea Ridge, a sleepy little town with easy access to Bentonville and Rogers. It’s located about 15 minutes from the downtown area of each of those cities, but there’s just not much going on there. Still, Pea Ridge is a great place to call home if you’re looking for a slower pace of life.
Centerton, Gravette, and Gentry
Similar to the west of Bentonville just south of Bella Vista are the towns of Centerton, Gravette, and Gentry. Centerton borders Bentonville and has mostly cookie-cutter neighborhoods just like its neighbors.
A lot of the residents of Centerton also work for Walmart or one of the suppliers or vendors, but the commercial development in Centerton hasn’t kept up with the pace of the residential development. This means there are mostly just neighborhoods in Centerton. Finally, Gravette and Gentry are more rural, similar to Pea Ridge.
Siloam Springs And Lowell
If you’re looking for some acreage with your property, just south of Gentry is Siloam Springs. Siloam Springs is a small farming town that borders Oklahoma. I have several relocation clients that have ended up in Siloam because they like that small-town vibe and the beautiful landscape that Siloam provides. The Illinois River cuts through Siloam Springs, and the residents have a lot of fun floating and canoeing it in the warmer months.
Lastly, just south of Rogers on the east side of Interstate 49, is a small town called Lowell. This town is very centrally located to everything in Northwest Arkansas. It’s also home to a lot of the industrial businesses in NWA. Additionally, Beaver Lake borders Lowell on the east side.
If we travel south of Lowell, we’ll run right into Springdale. Much like Rogers, Springdale is very spread out and is located in both Benton and Washington counties. The east side of Springdale, similar to the Lowell area, has a lot of industrial businesses. Many of the Tyson processing plants are located on this side of Springdale. The southern tip of Beaver Lake also dips down to this part of town.
Springdale is very much a blue-collar town with a very diverse population. Some of the best Mexican restaurants in Arkansas are located in Springdale. The cost of living in Springdale is some of the most affordable in Northwest Arkansas. Also, like Rogers, the housing options on the west side of Springdale get more pricey when you compare it to the east side.
Just south of Fayetteville is my favorite city in Northwest Arkansas: Fayetteville. This city is home to the University of Arkansas and is just a cool place to live. I’ve said this in several of my other videos about Fayetteville, but I’ll say it again; there is more of a sense of community in Fayetteville than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. Most of the residents here choose to support local businesses over national chains when possible.
Fayetteville has a bunch of dining, shopping, and entertainment options to choose from while still being very close to outdoorsy activities—if you want the best of both worlds. The cost of living in Fayetteville is higher than most other cities in Northwest Arkansas, kind of like Bentonville. The housing options are mostly packed very close to each other no matter what side of town you’re on. The west side, being newly developed, is less than 20 years old and features more cookie-cutter neighborhoods.
The central and east sides of Fayetteville are very highly desired areas with more established neighborhoods. You can check out some of my other videos to get the deets on Fayetteville.
Small Towns Surrounding Fayetteville
Fayetteville also has some nice smaller towns surrounding it as well. To the east, you have Goshen, Elkins, and Huntsville. To the south, you have Greenland, West Fork, and Winslow. To the west, you have Farmington, Prairie Grove, and Lincoln.
Just like the smaller towns up in Benton County, these towns don’t have much going on in regards to dining, entertainment, or shopping. However, they do offer more affordability. You’re also more likely to find homes with acreage and privacy than you will find in the larger cities like Fayetteville and Bentonville.
Plenty Of Options In The NWA
I hope this helped give you a brief overview of the cities and towns that make up Northwest Arkansas. Naturally, there is a ton of stuff that I did not cover in this video. So if you have any specific questions about any of the places I’ve mentioned, please feel free to call me, shoot me an email, or connect with me on social media and I’ll be happy to get you more information.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Naturally NWA, my show all about living in Northwest Arkansas. See you next time!