Why the Wal-Mart Town Is Your Next Weekend Escape

Sacha Strebe

When you’re writing a wish list of places to visit for your next getaway, Arkansas doesn’t usually make the cut. However, a tiny town called Bentonville is making a lot of noise. This cultured community is a symbol of modern suburbia in the southeastern state, with gourmet restaurants, a world-renowned modern art museum, and trendy food trucks.

So what makes this town so different? Since the 1980s, Bentonville has been home to Wal-Mart's headquarters, which has about 28,000 employees. The retail giant’s founder, Sam Walton, and his family have invested heavily in the town. Just last year, the Walton Family Foundation funded $27 million in grants. Walton's daughter, Alice, spent billions on creating the town’s major tourist attraction, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and thanks to the family's continued sponsorship, there is no cost to visitors. Other attractions are on the way.

In a bid to attract young professionals (the home office usually has around 1,000 jobs open), Troy Galloway, Bentonville's community and economic development director, told The Washington Post “there’s a major effort regionally and locally to step up our game,” with plans to create a “place where people want to live, where they can spend their free time doing things they enjoy.”

Scroll down to see why you should consider Bentonville as your next getaway.

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