The city of Fort Smith, Arkansas is a treasure trove of possibilities.
This quaint city has something to offer to everyone who comes this way. Whether it’s history, architecture, nature, or adventure, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Fort Smith.
Here are 12 things to do in Fort Smith.
1. Check Out the Elvis Barbershop
Are you an Elvis fan? Then, one of the things to do in Fort Smith is to visit the Fort Chaffee Barbershop, which is located in the Chaffee Crossing museum district.
The quirky 1950s barbershop is famous for giving Presley the iconic buzz cut which eventually became known as “the haircut heard ‘round the world.” The barbershop has been restored to its original condition, so it looks exactly like it did in 1958, when “the King” got his famous haircut.
Pro tip: Visit on March 25 to enjoy the annual 50’s-style festival dedicated to Elvis Presley.
2. Admire Clayton House’s Architecture
Looking for historically rich things to do in Fort Smith?
The Clayton House, built in the early 1880s, was the family home of William Henry Harrison Clayton — the federal prosecutor regarded as “a man of great principle and judicial skill.”
The Victorian-style home was the epitome of modernity in its time and has been maintained to give the architectural enthusiast and history buff a historical overview of the area.
You can take a guided tour to see Clayton House Museum. The Italianate-style mansion has the most charming and vibrant yellow exterior that contains historical exhibits, including original 19th-century period furniture.
It’s open every day of the week except for Mondays.
3. Spend a Sunny Afternoon at the Idyllic Park at West End
The Park at West End is a quaint, charming place that’s designed to have an old-fashioned look and feel.
The Ferris Wheel, which was part of the 1935 World Fair in San Diego, is among the best things to do in Fort Smith.
In addition to peculiar rides, the park has historical exhibits like the hand-painted vintage carousel, an old rail car that’s been converted into a diner, and a double-decker bus with historic memorabilia
There is no entry fee, but you will have to pay for the rides.
4. Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Creekmore Park
Creekmore Park is one of the most fun things to do in Fort Smith for a family-friendly outing.
The park is home to the Creekmore Express Train along with three complimentary miniature trains. The express train is an especially marvelous experience during the Christmas season when it’s decorated with lights, adding to that magical holiday feeling.
It also has a splash pad, a one-kilometer loop trail, a playground, tennis courts, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. It also has a community center where you can host events like birthday parties and reunions.
5. Grab a Refreshing Beer at Fort Smith Brewing Company
Fort Smith Brewing Company is one of the favorite things to do in Fort Smith for residents.
The brewing company has a lively, comfortable taproom filled with an impressive range of craft beers, including seasonal varieties made with the finest of ingredients. With all the varieties on offer, you’re bound to find one that’ll delight your tastebuds.
It also has a patio where you can sip a beer or a glass of wine while eating delicious food like sandwiches and pizzas.
More adventurous visitors can even make their own beer from a wide selection of ingredients!
If you’re considering the brewery as one of the things to do in Fort Smith, keep in mind that the brewing company isn’t open every day, so you’ll have to check the website for its hours of operation.
6. Have a Blast From the Past at the Fort Smith Trolley Museum
If you’re looking for historically related things to do in Fort Smith, the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, located near the convention center, is a one-of-a-kind experience.
The streetcar and railroad museum allows visitors to step back into the past. It features lots of exhibits like electric streetcars and an extensive rail collection — the public mode of transportation at the time. The streetcar routes have been removed, but you should be able to see parts of old tracks around the city. It also has popular exhibits like antique trolleys and broken locomotives on display.
The Fort Smith Trolley Museum also features a functional 1926 Birney Streetcar. It runs every day allowing you to enjoy a leisurely ride alongside “Trolley Cats.” The museum also hosts several events throughout the year, one of which serves mouthwatering, delicious desserts. So, check their website to schedule your visit accordingly.
7. Have a Leisurely Stroll Through the Belle Grove Historic District
The historic significance of the Belle Grove Historic District earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places almost 50 years ago.
It has properties from the mid-1800s to the present, with each structure featuring a different architectural style such as Greek Revival and Victorian designs. Most of these properties have been restored but they still retain several original features that architecture enthusiasts will enjoy.
If you’d like to see the city during different periods of history, include this place on your list of things to do in Fort Smith and tour this 22-block historic district.
8. Cool Off At Parrot Island Waterpark
Parrot Island Waterpark is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Fort Smith.
From a 500-foot Crocodile Creek Lazy River and an 85,000-gallon wave pool to the Caribbean Splash Wave, the waterpark has loads of fun slides, activity pools, and rides that will keep everyone entertained.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, go on high-speed slides like the Pelican Plunge and the Pineapple Plunge.
The outdoor waterpark has an area with deck chairs and lawn spaces where you can relax while your kids splash around. You’ll rest easy knowing that the waterpark has a vigilant team of lifeguards who will help keep your little ones safe. For a complete picnic experience, grab a quick bite from their snack shops.
9. Ride Your Wheels at the Riverfront Skate & Bike Park
The Riverfront Skate & Bike Park is a massive 12,000-square-foot park for avid skateboarders, cyclists, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Located in Fort Smith’s recreational area, the park is open from sunrise to sundown. It has everything from skateboard obstacles and a mountain bike playground to pump tracks and a Plexiglas wall, earning a well-deserved place in our list of things to do in Fort Smith.
While at Riverfront Skate & Bike Park, you can enjoy various recreational activities against a backdrop of the gorgeous Arkansas River and Fort Smith landscape.
10. Check Out The Unexpected Murals Project
The city of Fort Smith began The Unexpected in 2015 hoping to make modern art more accessible to its downtown neighborhoods. It did so by using its urban landscape and downtown neighborhoods as a canvas.
As you walk downtown, notice the graffiti on brick walls, delicate sculptures, and other pieces by renowned artists. The thought-provoking works of art prompted AFAR Magazine to name Fort Smith as one of the Top 8 Surprising Cities for Street Arts that’s sure to appeal to art lovers.
See it for yourself by including the neighborhood in your list of things to do in Fort Smith.
11. Miss Laura’s Visitor Center
Miss Laura’s Visitor Center, formerly known as Miss Laura’s Social Club, is one of the best historical sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The bordello was once one of seven row houses in the city’s red-light district. It has since been restored into a Victorian mansion. Though it retains its unique style of architecture and original grandeur, it serves as a reminder of the city’s lesser-known past.
You can take a guided tour to learn more about its history while admiring its many exhibits and artifacts. Admission is free and guides are discreet, so you can even bring your kids along!
While here, one of the things to do in Fort Smith is to purchase imitation pieces of art from the Unexpected Mural Projects or get maps and other helpful resources to help you explore the area.
12. Shop at the Fort Smith Farmer’s Market
Fort Smith Farmer’s Market is a lovely vendor and artist-driven market located at Garrison Avenue.
Sample and take home delicious food from the food stalls, buy local produce, treat yourself to some gorgeous flowers and homemade candies, shop for art and jewelry as souvenirs, and enjoy the entertainment provided by musicians and street performers for a taste of the genuine Fort Smith lifestyle.
Fort Smith’s Farmer’s Market is open year-round, but timing and market days may change because of the weather.
Wrapping Up the Best Things to Do in Fort Smith, AR
Fort Smith, AR, allows you to journey through its pretty landscapes and riverfront views to see nature at its best.
The city offers a range of recreational activities that will appeal to adventurers and families alike.
Whatever you’re in the mood for, the many things to do in Fort Smith have much in store for residents and tourists. While you’re visiting Arkansas, don’t miss your chance to visit Little Rock, too!