10 Exciting Things To Do In Van Buren

Arkansas state is known as the “Natural State” due to its abundant natural beauty. And if you are in the State, you can not miss out on visiting one of its most beautiful cities, Van Buren! 

They don’t call it “The City of Roses” for nothing, and the wonderful city surely lives up to the name.


Nicknamed for its long history of selling roses to the whole of America, The City of Roses is filled with beautiful historical architectural structures, including many preserved Victorian-era buildings. 

So if you are new to Van Buren –or even if you are not–  and you are looking for exciting things to do in the city, then look no further. Here we list the 10 most exciting things to do in Van Buren. Relax, and let’s take a tour of the famous City of Roses.

10 Exciting Things to Do in Van Buren.

1. Explore the Historic Main Street District

Main street district Van Buren
Credit: David Killen

The Historic Main Street is a preserved area that runs through the heart of downtown Van Buren and showcases the city’s rich history and culture. It features a beautiful lineup of restored historic buildings from as far back as the late 1800s. 


Various historic buildings litter the street with different architectural styles, including the famous King Opera House built in 1880 and the Crawford County Courthouse in 1901. They are both impressive examples of the architecture of the time.

The Van Buren River Valley Museum is another attraction in the Historic Main District, located in the Old City Hall building built in 1927, which served as the city’s municipal building for many years.

The museum has exhibits on the history and culture of the area, including displays on the Civil War and the city’s transportation history.

The area has been preserved and restored to its former glory, allowing visitors to appreciate the architecture and culture of the late 1800s and early 1900s. A walk on the street feels like a walk back in time!


2. Visit the Drennen-Scott Historic Site

The Drennen-Scott Historical site
Source: Archipedia

The Drennen-Scott Historic Site is just off Main Street in Van Buren and is the next place to see after taking in the wonderful buildings on Main Street — especially if you have taken an interest in the area’s history. 

The site consists of two restored homes, the Drennen-Scott House and the Pioneer House, which offer visitors a peek into how the early settlers in the region lived. 

The Drennen-Scott House was erected in the 1800s and named after the original owner, Archibald Drennen who was a local businessman that was instrumental in the development of the town. 

The house retains the original look, with furniture and decor preserved, allowing visitors to experience what life was like for early settlers in the area.

The Pioneer House, located on the same property, is a log cabin built in the 1840s. The cabin has been restored to its original appearance and features exhibits on the history of the region and the daily lives of early settlers.

The Drennen-Scott Historic Site also has a beautifully landscaped garden with a variety of plants and flowers that were common in the area during the 1800s. 


For lovers of history and art, the site is open to visitors throughout the year and offers guided tours of the homes and grounds. 

3. Take a scenic drive along the Arkansas River

The Arkansas river

One of the things that Van Buren is famous for is the Arkansas River. The City is located along the Arkansas River on the north bank of the river, and the view of the river and the bank is just phenomenal. 

A drive along the banks will leave you plenty of room to take in the beautiful town. The river stretches over 1450 miles, from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado all the way to its confluence with the Mississippi River in the eastern part of Arkansas.

You can also take breaks in between the drive-through to partake in many of the recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, or visiting any of the various parks like the Riverfront Park, the Leecreft Park, or any of the other parks available. 

4. Go fishing in the Frog Bayou

A man fishing in the river
Credit: Greysen Johnson

The frog bayou is a small creek just outside of Van Buren. It is a popular spot for fishing as the creek is home to a variety of fish species.

Because of its location around water, fishing, and boating are some of the top things to do in Van Buren. The best time for that is the spring when the water is cool, and the fishes are active.

If you are on a budget and don’t want to break the bank just because of a Vacation, then this is the best option for you. You can always use your catch from fishing as dinner –if you’re actually good at fishing and you caught something. Be sure to bring your own fishing gear. 

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There are also plenty of other activities to partake in, like hiking, birdwatching, or having a classic picnic with the wonderful waterside view.

5. Take a hike at the Van Buren Nature Reserve 

things to do in van buren
Credit: Toomas Tartes

If you are not all for the peace and quiet of a fishing trip and you are looking for wild and fun activities to do in Van Buren, you can step it up by going on a hike at the Van Burnen Nature Reserve. 

The beautiful thing about the reserve is that it has something for everybody. From the newbie hiker to the seasoned veteran experienced hikers. There is a trail that satisfies every need. 


It also has a stunning view of the Arkansas River if you take the most popular trail, the Mulberry Point Trail. If you are feeling adventurous and don’t want to follow the crowd, you can try any of the many trails and still get a fantastic hiking experience.

It also has abundant wildlife everywhere, with sightings of deer and rabbits everywhere. It has several picnic areas for relaxing, and even more amazingly, it is open all year round and is definitely worth a visit, especially since admission is totally free.  

6. Attend a live performance at the King Opera House

Things to do in Van Buren
Source: TripAdvisor

The King Opera House is a historic building that is over a century old as a theatre and even older as a building. It is located in downtown Van Buren and is a popular entertainment spot, hosting countless performances, including plays, movies, concerts, and shows.

The King Opera House is the best place to watch movies in the city as it is equipped with a state-of-the-art digital projection system that uses the latest digital technology to project movies onto the theater’s large screen, providing crystal-clear images and vibrant colors.

One amazing feature of the King Opera House is its intimate seating arrangement that allows an up-close and personal experience with the performers. The theater also has a bar and concession stand, making it easy to grab a drink or snack during intermission.

From music, to movies, to live shows, to plays and concerts. The King Opera House offers Entertainment for everyone, and you can even rent the place for a private event.

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7. Visit the Van Buren Public Library

A man looking for a book in a library
Credit: Devon Divine

If you’re into books and you love reading, then taking a quick – or not-so-quick– stop at the public library is a fun thing to do while in the city.

The library has an impressive collection of over 60,000 materials, including audiobooks, DVDs, and a wide selection of both fiction and non-fiction books.

The library’s interior also has an inviting look, with a modern design, warm colors and comfortable seating areas.


8. Play a round of golf at Eagle Crest Golf Course

Things to do in Van Buren
Source: eaglecrestgc.com

If you’re a golf enthusiast, Van Buren offers several options for you to enjoy a wonderful game. You can play a round –or two– of golf at the Eagle Crest golf course.

If you’re looking for a championship-style course course with well-maintained greens and a beautiful scenery, then you’ve found your place. It spans over 6,500 yards and features 18 holes with four sets of tees designed to challenge even the most experienced golfer.

It also has a 9-hole par-3 course that is perfect for beginners looking for a quick game. It also has a lot of experienced instructors to help you get the hang of things if you are looking to learn.

After golfing, you can relax at the clubhouse, which has a very comfortable atmosphere for unwinding or grabbing food.

9. Attend the annual Old Timers Day festival

Things to do in Van Buren, old timers festival

There is no way to compile a list of 10 exciting things to do In Van Buren without including the iconic Old Timers Day festival.

The festival happens once a year to celebrate the rich history and culture of the city. It features various exciting activities, from historical reenactments to live music and performances and a thrilling antique car show with varieties of vintage cars on display.

You can keep track of when the next festival will be happening on the website. 

10. Visit Frank’s Italian Restaurant

A plate of italian food at a restaurant
Credit: Jane Wennington

If you are looking for one of the best places to eat in Van Buren, you should visit Frank’s Italian Restaurant. It is a  popular family-owned Italian restaurant serving classic pasta dishes, pizza, and seafood.

Apart from having very authentic tasting Italian cuisine, the ambiance of the restaurant and the friendly atmosphere makes it the talk of the town. With recipes that are almost four decades old, you can expect your tastebuds to be in for a treat. 

And if you are confused about what to order from the variety of seafood dishes or their impressive lineup of almost all the forms of pasta you can imagine, you can try their pizza, which has been said to be one of the best pizzas in town. 

With a population of about 25,000 people, Van Buren has the feel and looks of a dainty and cozy city, though it is one of the largest cities in the state. It is a great place for a cozy vacation with family and friends. 

Visiting the City is something that you are not going to regret. In fact, you just might end up staying there longer than you planned to!