Are you planning a trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and wondering what this charming city has to offer? Look no further! Jonesboro, nestled in the northeastern part of the state, is a vibrant destination with a diverse range of activities for every traveler. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or an art lover, Jonesboro has something to captivate your interests. In this article, we’ll explore the top things to do in Jonesboro, Arkansas, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience. Let’s dive in and discover the hidden gems of this beautiful city!
1. Craighead Forest Park
Kickstart your adventure by immersing yourself in nature at Craighead Forest Park. This sprawling park offers an abundance of recreational opportunities and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. With over 700 acres of land, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy here.
Activities at Craighead Forest Park:
- Hiking: Take a leisurely stroll or embark on an invigorating hike along the park’s scenic trails, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife.
- Fishing: Cast your line and try your luck at fishing in one of the park’s serene lakes.
- Picnicking: Pack a delicious lunch and savor it in one of the designated picnic areas, perfect for a relaxing day out with family and friends.
- Playgrounds: If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the playgrounds equipped with swings, slides, and climbing structures.
- Disc Golf: Challenge your companions to a game of disc golf on the park’s well-maintained disc golf course.
2. Forrest L Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
For a deeper understanding of the unique natural heritage of the Crowley’s Ridge region, a visit to the Forrest L Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is a must. This educational center offers interactive exhibits, walking trails, and various programs that enlighten visitors about the local flora and fauna.
Highlights of Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center:
- Exhibits: Discover the region’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife through engaging exhibits suitable for all ages.
- Observation Tower: Climb the observation tower for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and the chance to spot birds and wildlife.
- Educational Programs: Check the center’s schedule for workshops, guided hikes, and other events that enhance your knowledge of the area.
3. ASU Museum
Delve into the history, culture, and art of Arkansas at the ASU Museum. Located on the campus of Arkansas State University, this museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits that showcase the state’s rich heritage.
Highlights of ASU Museum:
- Arkansas Dinosaur Exhibit: Marvel at the fascinating dinosaur fossils that once roamed the region millions of years ago.
- Native American Artifacts: Learn about the indigenous cultures of Arkansas through an extensive display of Native American artifacts.
- Changing Exhibits: The museum regularly features rotating exhibits, ensuring there’s always something new to see and experience.
4. Fowler Center
If you have a passion for performing arts, the Fowler Center will delight your senses. This state-of-the-art venue hosts a wide array of cultural performances, including concerts, plays, dance shows, and more.
What to Expect at Fowler Center:
- Live Performances: Check the schedule and book tickets in advance for a chance to witness outstanding live performances by renowned artists and local talents.
- Art Gallery: Before or after the show, explore the art gallery in the center, showcasing works by regional artists.
5. Bradbury Art Museum
For an enriching art experience, head to the Bradbury Art Museum, also situated on the campus of Arkansas State University. This museum features contemporary artworks from both emerging and established artists, making it a hub for creativity and artistic expression.
Highlights of Bradbury Art Museum:
- Rotating Exhibits: The museum continuously refreshes its exhibits, ensuring each visit offers a unique encounter with contemporary art.
- Public Programs: Participate in workshops, artist talks, and other events that provide deeper insights into the world of art.
6. First National Bank Arena
If you’re in the mood for some sports or entertainment, the First National Bank Arena is the place to be. This multi-purpose venue hosts a wide range of events, including concerts, sports games, trade shows, and more.
Events at First National Bank Arena:
- Concerts: From chart-topping musicians to local bands, the arena welcomes a variety of musical acts to cater to diverse tastes.
- Sports Games: Catch exciting basketball games, wrestling matches, and other sporting events featuring local teams and university teams.
7. Lake Frierson State Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind at Lake Frierson State Park. This tranquil park offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and nature appreciation, providing the perfect retreat for relaxation.
Things to Do at Lake Frierson State Park:
- Fishing: The lake is well-stocked with catfish, bass, and crappie, making it a favorite spot for fishing enthusiasts.
- Boating: Bring your own boat or rent one from the park and enjoy a peaceful ride on the calm waters.
- Hiking: The park features several scenic trails, inviting visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area.
8. Centennial Bank Stadium
For sports enthusiasts, a visit to the Centennial Bank Stadium is a must. This stadium is the home of the Arkansas State University Red Wolves football team and offers an electrifying atmosphere during game days.
Experience at Centennial Bank Stadium:
- Football Games: Immerse yourself in the excitement of a college football game and cheer for the Red Wolves alongside passionate fans.
9. The Skirmish at Jonesboro
History buffs will find intrigue in the Civil War heritage of Jonesboro. The Skirmish at Jonesboro was a pivotal moment during the Civil War, and today, you can explore the battleground and learn about its significance.
Discover The Skirmish at Jonesboro:
- Historical Markers: The site features informative markers that provide context and details about the skirmish and its impact.
- Educational Experience: Take a step back in time and gain insights into the events that shaped Jonesboro’s history.
10. Culinary Delights in Jonesboro
No travel experience is complete without indulging in the local cuisine, and Jonesboro won’t disappoint you in that regard. The city boasts a variety of restaurants and eateries offering delectable dishes that cater to diverse tastes.
Must-Try Food in Jonesboro:
- Southern Comfort Food: Treat yourself to classic Southern comfort food, including fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, and cornbread at local eateries and diners.
- BBQ Joints: Jonesboro takes pride in its barbecue culture. Head to one of the renowned BBQ joints and savor tender and smoky ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, complemented by flavorful sauces.
- Farm-to-Table Delights: Explore restaurants that emphasize farm-to-table dining, serving fresh and locally sourced ingredients in innovative and mouthwatering dishes.
11. Jonesboro’s Historic Downtown
Immerse yourself in the city’s history and charm by taking a stroll through Jonesboro’s historic downtown district. The well-preserved buildings and architecture offer a glimpse into the past and provide an excellent backdrop for shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
Explore Historic Downtown:
- Local Boutiques: Browse through unique boutiques and specialty shops, where you can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs, gifts, and handmade items.
- Art Galleries: Discover local art galleries showcasing the talents of regional artists, and perhaps take home a captivating piece of artwork as a memento of your journey.
- Dining and Cafes: Enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the charming cafes or restaurants, each offering its own distinct ambiance and culinary delights.
12. Festivals and Events
Timing your visit to coincide with one of Jonesboro’s vibrant festivals or events can add an extra layer of excitement to your trip. Throughout the year, the city hosts a variety of gatherings that celebrate music, culture, food, and more.
Popular Festivals in Jonesboro:
- Delta Jubilee: Celebrate the region’s Delta heritage at the Delta Jubilee, featuring live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and a carnival atmosphere.
- Bikes, Blues & BBQ: If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, don’t miss Bikes, Blues & BBQ, a popular event that combines a motorcycle rally, live music, and mouthwatering barbecue.
- Jonquil Festival: Held during spring, the Jonquil Festival showcases thousands of blooming jonquils, along with arts and crafts, live entertainment, and family-friendly activities.
13. Jonesboro’s Local Breweries
Craft beer aficionados will be delighted to discover Jonesboro’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Several local breweries offer a wide range of beer styles, providing a refreshing way to unwind after a day of exploration.
Craft Beer Experience:
- Brewery Tours: Take a guided tour of the breweries to learn about the beer-making process and enjoy tastings of their finest brews.
- Beer Gardens: Relax in the laid-back ambiance of beer gardens, socializing with fellow travelers and locals over a cold pint.
14. Escape Room Adventures
For a dose of excitement and team-building fun, consider trying out one of Jonesboro’s escape rooms. Test your problem-solving skills and creativity as you work together to solve puzzles and escape within a set time frame.
Escape Room Challenges:
- Themed Rooms: Choose from various themes, such as historical mysteries, thrilling adventures, or mind-bending puzzles, and enjoy an immersive experience with friends or family.
Jonesboro, Arkansas, offers a captivating array of activities that cater to every traveler’s interests. From immersing yourself in nature’s beauty at Craighead Forest Park and Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center to exploring the city’s cultural heritage at museums and art galleries, there’s never a dull moment in Jonesboro. Don’t forget to savor the local flavors, experience the city’s historic charm, and join in the festivities that make this city a vibrant and welcoming destination. With an abundance of enriching experiences, Jonesboro is sure to leave you with cherished memories and a desire to return again and again to discover even more hidden gems in this charming city.