Some of the many things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun depend on your – travel type, purpose, and budget.
Being the second-largest city in Arkansas, Fort Smith is a place with a lot of history, tradition, and culture to learn from, from the historic streetcars sited at the Smith Trolley Museum to the Italianate-style Clayton House mansion, there’s a lot for you to discover in this city.
Fort Smith, Arkansas is one of the two county seats of Sebastian County with various natural landscapes like the one found at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
That being said, this article hopes down 20 amazing fun things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas.
Best & Fun Things to Do in Fort Smith Arkansas
Below are some fun things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas:
1. Explore Fort Smith National Historic Site
Your quest for fun in Fort Smith should start at the city’s National Historic Site. Here you will find many exhibits that focus on the city’s military history and western expansion.
This is definitely one of the first places to visit on entering Fort Smith as you’d get a pretty clear understanding and a glimpse of the city’s history, and the various chains of events that led to what the city is today.
Fort Smith National Historic Site is located at 301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901. Here you’ll find the remains of some very important structures of the city – like the commissary building from 1838, and the gallows that were once reconstructed and used by the federal court.
You can also decide to take a short stroll on the park’s walking trail that stretches along the Arkansas River.
2. Go Out and Explore the Parrot Island Waterpark
If you’re looking for some really fun things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas, then you should definitely try out the city’s Parrot Island Waterpark today.
There are several attractions worth exploring here, such as the Caribbean Splash wave pool filled with over 85,000 gallons of water, as well as the Toucan’s Cove activity pool that links to the Crocodile Creek lazy river where you can jump and play in with family and friends.
The kids will also love it here!
They can have fun here with the other little beachgoers in the age-appropriate waterfalls, slides, and the Tiny Turtle Island filled with lots and lots of climbing toys.
Some of the fun slides here include the Tangerine Twist, Pineapple, and Pelican Plunge which catapults you way deep into the pool at high speeds; it’s definitely an experience worth enjoying!
3. Take yourself out for a treat at the Rolando’s Restaurante
If you’re looking for a place to get the best of cuisines in Fort Smith, then Rolando’s Restaurante is the place for you!
The restaurant serves some of the very best nuevo Latino cuisines which is sure to take you to a whole new different dimension with every taste
The building housing the restaurant can be dated back to the early 1850s. It also houses some really beautiful antique stores, taverns, and a variety of other businesses.
In Rolando’s Restaurante, there are a lot of yummy foods with really exotic flavors to try out, some of these include the restaurant’s handmade tamales, shrimp quesadillas, its Platfo De Adventura that contains a mix of quesadillas, enchiladas, taquitos, tamales, black beans, and rice, and guacamole.
The restaurant is located at 917 N A Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
4. Have a Taste of the Best Steaks and Tamales at the Doe’s Eat Place
The restaurant started back way back in the early 1940s when Dominic Doe Signa started preparing cooked steaks and tamales for family and friends in Mississippi.
The tradition and flavors of Doe’s amazing cooking are also seen being passed on in the city of Fort Smith as both residents and new visitors of the city are daily offered a refined dining experience like no other.
Every steak at Doe’s Eat Place is freshly cut from aged whole beef loins to give diners that natural flavor that comes with it.
You can be sure of getting the very best in high-quality beef for every visit to Doe’s Eat Place.
The restaurant also offers diners its very own handmade beef tamales or broiled shrimps, properly seasoned with a variety of Doe’s secret blend of spices.
The fun doesn’t just end there…
You can also choose from a variety of well-flavored T-bones, sirloin, porterhouse, filet, or ribeye, all of which go pretty well with a lovely glass of fine wine or beer being served also in the restaurant.
Doe’s Eat Place is located at 422 N 3rd Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
5. Pay a Visit to Clayton’s House
Clayton’s House is commonly attributed as the living history book of the Victorian period of the city of Fort Smith.
Located at 514 N 6th Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901, Clayton’s House was once the home of William Henry Harrison Clayton.
The lovely Italianate-styled mansion in the Belle Grove neighborhood houses the really beautiful antebellum masterpiece that’s definitely worth exploring.
A visit to Clayton House will give you a proper insight into the place, such as the added coal-burning fireplaces in each room of the house since its construction, and in a time when there were no indoor electricity or plumbing facilities.
This is definitely a site worth exploring.
6. Pay a Visit to Miss Laura’s Visitor Center
This place used to also be regarded as Miss Laura’s Social Club and is sited close to the Arkansas River in the historic downtown area of Fort Smith.
Specifically, Miss. Laura’s Visitor Center is located at 2 N B Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
This building is actually one of the few seven rows of houses from the district’s old red-light neighborhood that’s still standing today.
In fact, Miss Laura’s Visitor Center is also listed in the city’s National Register of Historic Places, thus, housing so many artifacts and exhibits that are definitely worth exploring.
7. Pay a visit to Fort Smith’s Museum of History
Fort Smith’s Museum of History was established in 1910 as a place for visitors to come and have a better understanding of the city’s history and culture.
The museum is housed in the 1906 Atkinson-Williams’s Warehouse, which is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Fort Smith.
The museum makes consistent efforts to find and collect, preserve and share all sorts of notable artifacts and exhibits to give both local visitors and guests a glimpse of Fort Smith’s.
Paying a visit to the Fort Smith Museum of History is definitely one of the many things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
After exploring the many beautiful exhibits in the museum, be sure to take a walk through the 1920s pharmacy, at the old-fashioned soda fountain and enjoy some really yummy ice-cream floats, sundaes, or ice-cream sodas.
Fort Smith’s Museum of History is located at 320 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
8. Explore Janet Huckabee’s Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
This is one of the few four (4) centers owned and run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; and yea, there’s really a lot to enjoy in this place.
The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is a 14,000-square-foot natural center that is surrounded by more than 170 acres of land containing lakes, pine forests, wetlands, upland forests, and valleys.
You and your family or friends can come and engage in some of the center’s many fun activities such as canoeing, fishing, hunting, boating, and archery.
This is definitely of the many things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
Janet Huckabee’s Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is located at 8300 Wells Lake Road, Fort Smith, AR 72916.
9. Pay a visit to the Saint Scholastica’s Monastery
Previously known as the Saint Scholastica Convenient, the Saint Scholastic Monastery is one of the most notable religious facilities in the city of Fort Smith.
The Saint Scholastica building is almost a century-year-old, as the building was designed and constructed by Oklahoma’s architect, F.W. Redlich in the year 1923. The building is also listed in the city’s National Register of Historic Places.
Initially, the monastery operated as a chapel, school, and humble abode for its resident convent.
Definitely, if you are one of the many architectural aficionados visiting the city, then visiting Saint Scholastica would be one of the best things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
The monastery is located at 1301 S Albert Pike Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72903.
10. Take a Tour Around Creekmore Park
Touring Creekmore Park is also one of the many things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
This place is perfect for the whole family, specifically those that just want to spend the day outdoors.
Apart from walking some of the park’s long trails and having the kids have an undeniable session of fun, the park also has a few other facilities that are guaranteed to make your stay quite memorable.
Don’t forget to get on one of the park’s three (3) complimentary miniature train rides, which is one of the most loved by visitors coming in every year.
The Creekmore Park is located at 3301 S 31st Street, Fort Smith, AR 72903.
11. Go Shopping at the Most Notable Market in Fort Smith
Now if you shop green, then spending a few dollars at the city’s most notable farmer’s market sounds like one of the few things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
The Fort Smith Farmer’s Market is vendor-driven and always open for anyone to come and buy and sell all throughout the year.
An average of 100 merchants, farmers, and artists come here to sell their goods, all created with love and care.
This place also offers visitors different blends of foods and flowery products to choose from, reflecting the unique flavors of the city of Fort Smith.
You can also come here every Saturday to enjoy good sounds of music from various local musicians and entertainers that come to thrill visitors, displaying amazing performances on the streets of the market.
The market is open from 7 am to noon every Wednesday and Saturday, and is located at the Garrison Avenue of Fort Smith.
12. Take a Peek at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM)
This place will appeal to the art person in you; it is definitely one of the few things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
The museum is over 74 years old, originating in 1948, and housed in a 16,000-square-foot building, there’s really a lot to get out of this place.
There are a lot of really beautiful artworks for you to feast your eyes on here, some of which include the Ventana Series by Modern Master David Hayes and the Pop Geometry by Todd Gray.
You can also engage in the few educative lectures, receptions, artist-led workshops, programs, and classes being hosted here.
The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is located at 1601 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
13. Pay a visit to Fort Smith’s National Cemetery
The National Cemetery of Fort Smith expands over 22 acres of land that initially stood as a frontier fort for the city, and was established in 1817.
There’s a lot to learn from this place…
You will also come across some marble memorials for some of the unknown Confederate dead, including the graves of notable individuals like Alexander E. Steen, and Brigadier General James M. McIntosh.
You’ll also find a granite memorial erected in honor of some of the most notable Veterans of the Vietnam war, and interments to Word War II veteran and professional golfer, Jack Fleck, alongside that of Civil War Confederate, Richard C.Gatlin.
The Fort Smith National Cemetery is located at 522 S 6th Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
14. Pay a Visit to the Chaffee Barbershop Museum
This happens to be the place where the late popular American singer/actor, Elvis Presley, got his first Army buzz cut on the 25th of March, 1958.
In fact, a celebration is being held here annually on that day to commemorate the late artist, thus attracting lots of Elvis fans from all over the United States for a 50s-style festival yearly.
That being said, if you’re a huge fan of Elvis Presley, then a visit to this place is definitely one of the many things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
You’ll also get to see many nice artifacts and memorabilia of your favorite artiste’s stay in the city, including some of his really rare photographs.
There are also lots of military and refugee-related artifacts up for display here, some of which can be dated way back to the 1940s.
The Chaffee Barbershop Museum is located at Seaton, Pl, Fort Smith, AR 72916.
15. Go and Have Fun at the Park at West End, Fort Smith
As discussed earlier, there are a lot of things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun, and it even gets better for the kids and little ones at the Park at West End, Fort Smith.
The Park at West End, Fort Smith is one of the town’s most attractive parks with numerous fun activities for visitors, some of which include exploring the vintage carousel that was hand-painted in the city of Treviso, Italy; you can as well decide to go on a fun ride with the family on the parks’ most notable Ferris Wheel that’s been in existence since the 1935 San Diego World’s fair.
Your stay here won’t be complete if you don’t have one or two treats with the family at the Double Decker Bus concession stand or the park’s well-refurbished Pullman railcar diner.
A visit to the Park at West End is definitely one of the best things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
The park is located at 115 Garrison Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
16. Go and Have a Bite at the Calico County
Now, if you’re a foodie like me, then a visit to Calico County would sound like one of the best things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun.
The restaurant serves some of the best traditional American foods, well-prepared with recipes that have been tried and tested over the years.
The Calico County restaurant has been in existence since 1984, satisfying the taste buds of guests with so many patron favorites.
This is a perfect place to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with family and friends, for an amazing dining experience in breakfast meats, eggs, and sides.
Don’t forget to also try out their very popular bar-b-q ribs that are served with a roll and two sides, all in St. Louis style.
The Calico County restaurant is located at 2401 S 56th Street, Fort Smith, AR 72903.
17. Have a Taste of Good Meat at Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ & Catering
We’ve been talking a lot about food and going out for some fine dining as one of the best things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun, but nothing really beats the quality of meat and steak being served at Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ & Catering.
There’s a lot to choose from here… And my advice?
Please do not leave this place without having a taste of the pulled pork sandwich that’s comes often served on a bun; this is also one of the favorite meals here by local residents of the town.
The pulled pork sandwich is prepared with meat from the full shoulder of pork, slowly smoked with oak and hickory.
You can also try out their six-rib dinner that consists of smoked baby back ribs that have been dry rubbed and garnished with a yummy light glaze.
The best part?
Every side dish served here is always freshly prepared that day.
Other choices of food to choose from here include their baked beans, cheesy taters, BBQ, Southwest mac & cheese, coleslaw, and potato salad.
Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ & Catering is located at2801 Old Greenwood Road, Fort Smith, AR 72903.
18. Pay a visit to Fort Smith Brewing Company
Now, how about we wash down some of that lovely steak that you just had?
Fort Smith Brewing Company is dedicated to providing the town with the most quality and flavorful craft beers.
The company has also been featured on some notable publications and media outlets like KFSM, and Untappd Arkansas Business. This can be attributed to the company’s award-winning ales and brews.
Its delicious flavored beers are well-crafted in small batches.
Fort Smith Brewing Co. also has available on tap its 1817 Pale Ale, the Trailblazer IPA, and the Dat Nguyen Stout.
Available on the menu here are some really delicious homemade sides, pizzas, and sandwiches.
Forth Smith Brewing Company is located at 7500 Fort Chaffee Boulevard, Fort Smith.
19. Explore the Massard Prairie Battlefield Park
The park was the exact site of a surprise attack against the Union soldiers led by Confederate troops on the 27th of July, 1864.
This is one of the things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun because a visit to this place will give you a clear view of one of the town’s most victorious attacks on Union troops.
The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park is also listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places.
The experience of walking on the same historic grounds that remain a resemblance of the town’s historic battle and to those who lost their lives is something like no other.
You can also explore the four (4) preserved areas of the camp used in the war; these include the parade ground, the camps of Companies B and D, and the kitchen.
The amazing historical markers, monuments, memorial flags, and lots more are some of the other nice things that are really worth beholding while enjoying a nice walk through the park’s trail with the family.
The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park is located at Red Pine Drive and Morgans Way, Fort Smith.
20. Host an Event at the Riverfront Park Events Building
Lastly, how about you leave a mark for yourself here by hosting an event worth remembering?
The Riverfront Park events building consists of the:
- Riverfront Glass Pavillion that offers an extensive view of your surroundings,
- Riverfront Park Amphitheater that’s well known for hosting some of the most famous performers
- Smaller event areas that are properly fitted with amenities like its fully-equipped kitchen.
The Riverfront Park events building is located at 121 Riverfront Drive Fort Smith, AR 72901.
What is the Cost of Living in Fort Smith, Arkansas?
While enjoying one of the above-listed things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas, it’s also important to take note of your spending.
The average cost of living in Fort Smith, Arkansas monthly include:
- For a tourist – $2,765
- For a family – $4,078
- For an ex-pat – $1,616
- For local residents – $1,165
This should better help you estimate your budget to know what best activities to engage in all through your stay in the town.
But still, there are always a lot of things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas for fun, for both you, your friends, and accompanying family members.
Truth be told, a trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas doesn’t cost that much, especially when you compare it with the many fun activities you tend to gain from it.
Both you and the family can take this holiday period as an opportunity to bond with each other, and generally just take a break from all of life’s stress-filled activities.
Remember, it’s stories like this that are really worth telling!