2023 Summer Bucket List: 24 ideas for things to do with kids in Northwest Arkansas!

23 things to do with the kids during Summer 2023

Sweet, sweet summertime is here, which means it’s time to get intentional about having fun with your family.

Consider making a “2023 Summer Bucket List” so it doesn’t pass you by without making some memories. At our house, we use an actual bucket for all our summer fun ideas.

Need some Summer Bucket List inspiration? Here are 23 ideas for fun things to do in NWA:

  1. Slip on some skates. There are some fun roller skating options in NWA, including Starlight Skatium in Fayetteville and Great Day Skate Place in Bentonville. You can also ice skate in the summer at the Jones Center.
  2. Freestyle swim. See our big list of 2023 swim spots and splash pads in Northwest Arkansas.
  3. Enjoy Summer in the City events at The Jones Center. There are so many fun things going on at The Jones Center in Summer 2023, including the upcoming Splash Bash on July 8, 2023 (which includes water balloons, a dunk tank, a giant slip-n-slide, music, pool access and more!
  4. Rock out at family-friendly music events. There are so many great live music opportunities for families in Northwest Arkansas. There’s the free summer concert series at Gulley park on Thursday nights in Fayetteville. There are also family concerts at Turnbow Park in downtown Springdale. Another fabulous option is at Crystal Bridges. Every Saturday night they’ll host the Forest Concert Series. The Railyard Live venue also offers a concert series that’s continuing this summer.
  5. Hang out at one of Northwest Arkansas’ historic downtowns. First Friday on the Bentonville Square is always a good time. First Thursday is another great festival held every first Thursday night of the month on the Fayetteville Square. Downtown Rogers is also bustling with events and you’ll find fun in Downtown Springdale.
  6. Consider an ice cream crawl. We have sooo many great options for ice cream lovers in Northwest Arkansas. Here are a few of our faves that are also offer an experience when you visit: Burton’s Creamery food truck on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Pineapple Bliss in Springdale, Spark Cafe Soda Fountain and Trash Creamery in Bentonville, Sweet Scoops Blender Bar in Farmington, and Pure Joy Ice Cream in Siloam Springs.
  7. Visit the archery range. Try your hand at shooting some arrows at the Quiver Archery Range in Bentonville. (Kids ages 8+)
  8. Swim, skate, bike or play at The Jones Center. You can swim and ice skate at the Jones Center. And don’t miss the center’s fun Runway bike park.
  9. Have a blast at summer camp. Check out our big list of NWA summer camps.
  10. Go bowling. Kids Bowl Free is a national movement! Get two free games of bowling each day of summer at Fast Lane Entertainment, Ozark Lanes in Fayetteville, Rogers Bowling Center or Springdale Bowling Center,
  11. Jump the day away. When it’s super hot out, head inside to jump inside at Defy trampoline park in Rogers or Altitude Trampoline Park in Fayetteville.
  12. Be amazed. The Amazeum has Priceless Nights from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. You can visit the Amazeum for free (or pay-as-you-wish admission)!
  13. Get creative. Go make art — or see it — at Crystal Bridges. You can also walk the trails for some fun art surprises along the way. You can also get crafty at the Community Creative Center in Fayetteville and Imagine Studios in Rogers.
  14. Make it a museum day. We mentioned the Amazeum Children’s Museum and Crystal Bridges, but there’s also the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville and the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. The Walmart Museum in Bentonville (which has some fun, old-fashioned candy and toys available for purchase) also has the Spark Cafe next door for your ice cream fix. You can also check out the Rogers Historical Museum, the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the Lowell Historical Museum, the Arkansas Air and Military Museum and Headquarters House Museum.
  15. Watch some baseball. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals play ball at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale all summer. They have lots of fun activities for kids. See the whole lineup!
  16. Tempt your taste buds at a local food truck. We have several food truck “courts” in Northwest Arkansas, spots where you can find multiple options for lunch, dinner or snack attacks. Try The Boardwalk in Springdale. Special shout-out to For the Love NWA, a non-profit food truck on a mission to “feed the hungry, cultivate community, and fight poverty.”
  17. Visit a local farmer’s market. Visit your local Farmer’s Market for fresh food, flowers and events. Here are the links to each: Fayetteville Farmer’s Market; Springdale Farmer’s Market at The Jones Center; Rogers Farmer’s Market (Dixieland Road); Downtown Bentonville Farmer’s Market; Siloam Springs Farmer’s Market
  18. Sign up for the summer reading program at a local library. There are so many great libraries in Northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville. They all have special events in the summer, story times and, of course, lots of books and movies to check out.
  19. Enjoy nature. Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks on free Terrific Tuesday NightsFrom June through August, the botanical garden will be open and free to the public from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  20. Visit a local park. Our early childhood editor has written detailed reviews of local parks so you can choose the best one for your family’s needs.
  21. Cook up some fun. Here’s a loooong list of recipes we’ve curated since nwaMotherlode started in 2008!
  22. Get away for the day. Visit the Tulsa Zoo or another getaway close to Northwest Arkansas.
  23. Go straight to the calendar. You can always find something fun in our monthly Calendar of Events.
  24. Find fun at the fair. The Washington County Fair will be lighting up the summer nights from Aug. 22-26, 2023.