12 Best Places to Live in Arkansas (By Quality of Life)

by Jem
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Arkansas is more than just a place on the map; it’s a hidden gem full of amazing sights and friendly people. From its beautiful mountains to its rich farmlands, Arkansas has something for everyone. But with so many choices, picking what are the best places to live in Arkansas can be tough. That’s why I’ve made this guide to help you find your perfect spot in Arkansas.

I’ve traveled all over Arkansas, and let me tell you, it’s full of surprises. From the relaxing hot springs to the cool art in Bentonville, and from the busy life in Little Rock to the outdoor fun in Eureka Springs, Arkansas has it all. Whether you love nature, crave city life, or want something in between, there’s a place in Arkansas just for you.

So, what’s most important to you? Good schools, being close to nature, or maybe low living costs? Everyone’s ideal spot is different, and that’s what makes it exciting.

Come along as I show you Arkansas’s best cities to live in, based on what you care about most. I’ve done the homework, talked to locals, and checked out all the stats to make a list that fits any lifestyle and budget. Ready to find your dream place in the Southeast? Let’s go!

The top places to live in Arkansas for all

The Best Places to Live in Arkansas

Eager to explore the most charming places to call home in Arkansas? Nestled in the Southeast region, this state has a spot for everyone. Keep scrolling to uncover the best living options Arkansas has to offer.

Searching for your dream location in Arkansas? Whether you have specific plans or are open to anything, Arkansas has a place that will meet your needs.

  • Best for outdoor enthusiasts: Bella Vista
  • Best for art and culture: Bentonville
  • Best for family living: Centerton
  • Best for college students: Conway
  • Best for job opportunities: Fayetteville
  • Best for historical charm: Fort Smith
  • Best for relaxation and wellness: Hot Springs
  • Best for community events: Jonesboro
  • Best for urban living: Little Rock
  • Best for suburban feel: Maumelle
  • Best for business and innovation: Rogers
  • Best for diversity: Springdale

Read on to get the inside scoop on the top places to live in the Natural State.

1. Bella Vista

Bella Vista is where natural beauty meets suburban comfort. Imagine waking up to the chirping of birds and a view of the Ozark Mountains right from your window. This city is one of Arkansas’s best places to live in, especially for those who love the great outdoors. With lots of treehouse rentals, seven lakes and multiple golf courses, it’s a paradise for nature lovers and golfers alike.

The community vibe here is strong. Neighbors know each other, and there’s a sense of collective responsibility towards preserving the natural beauty of the area. The public schools are top-notch, making it a wonderful place for families to settle down.

Local farmers markets, art shows, and seasonal festivals keep the community engaged. The cost of living is reasonable, and the real estate market offers a variety of options, from cozy cottages to luxurious estates.

So, whether you’re a retiree looking for a peaceful abode or a young family seeking an active lifestyle, Bella Vista has something for everyone. It’s not just a city; it’s a community that offers a quality life amidst nature.

In Bella Vista, suburban comfort blends with the beauty of nature.
In Bella Vista, suburban comfort blends with the beauty of nature.

2. Bentonville

Picture a city where modernity and tradition coexist in perfect harmony. That’s Bentonville for you. Known as the birthplace of Walmart, this city has evolved into a hub of innovation and culture. It’s one of the best places in Arkansas to live, especially if you’re into art and technology.

The city is home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where you can immerse yourself in the world of contemporary and historical art. The local food scene is a gastronomic adventure, offering everything from farm-to-table eateries to high-end restaurants.

What sets Bentonville apart is its focus on education. The public schools are some of the best in the state, and the city itself is a playground for lifelong learners. With a low unemployment rate and a booming economy, it’s the best city to live in Arkansas for young professionals and families alike.

The downtown area is vibrant, filled with boutiques, cafes, and galleries. It’s a city that offers a high quality of life, blending the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city.

Imagine living in a city where heritage and modernity blend harmoniously together.
Imagine living in a city where heritage and modernity blend harmoniously together.

3. Centerton

Ever dream of a place that combines the best of both worlds? Centerton is one of the coolest places to live in Arkansas, offering the charm of a small town along with modern conveniences. Located just a stone’s throw away from Bentonville, this city is a suburban dream come true.

Centerton’s public schools are a highlight, boasting high ratings and a range of extracurricular activities. The city also offers a variety of housing options, from quaint cottages to sprawling estates, catering to all budgets and lifestyles.

The community is tight-knit, and local events like farmers markets and holiday parades are the norm rather than the exception. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name, adding to the city’s allure.

With its proximity to Bentonville, residents enjoy the perks of a larger city while maintaining a small-town atmosphere. It’s one of the best cities to live in Arkansas, especially if you’re looking for a balance between tranquility and activity.

Living in Centerton, Arkansas, is one of the best things you can do.
Living in Centerton, Arkansas, is one of the best things you can do.

4. Conway

Ever wondered where the heart of Arkansas beats the loudest? Look no further than Conway, a city that’s always buzzing with activity. From vibrant street fairs to serene parks, Conway offers a lifestyle that’s both dynamic and relaxed.

Conway is often asked, where is the best place to live in Arkansas? With a low cost of living and a range of recreational activities, it’s a contender for sure. Cadron Settlement Park and Thunder Road Grand Prix are just a couple of the attractions that make this city a hotspot for families and young professionals alike.

Education is a priority here, with top-rated public schools and three higher education institutions, including the University of Central Arkansas. Job opportunities are plentiful, especially in the tech and healthcare sectors, making it an ideal place for career growth.

With its mix of urban excitement and suburban peace, Conway offers a balanced lifestyle that’s hard to beat. It’s a nice city to live in Arkansas, especially if you’re someone who enjoys a blend of action and relaxation.

Conway provides a lively yet laid-back manner of living.
Conway provides a lively yet laid-back manner of living.

5. Fayetteville

Imagine a city where intellect meets Southern charm. That’s Fayetteville for you, a city that’s home to the University of Arkansas and a melting pot of cultures. It’s a place where you can attend a Razorbacks game in the afternoon and enjoy a symphony concert by evening.

Fayetteville stands out as one of the best areas to live in Arkansas, particularly if you value education and cultural diversity. The city is a hub for academics, with the university attracting students and faculty from around the globe. This educational focus spills over into the public schools, which are among the top-rated in the state.

The local food scene is a gastronomic adventure, offering everything from farm-to-table eateries to high-end restaurants. The city’s Farmers Market is a local treasure, providing fresh produce and artisanal goods every weekend.

With its blend of intellectual pursuits and a vibrant arts scene, Fayetteville offers a unique lifestyle that’s both enriching and entertaining. It’s a city that promises a high quality of life, blending the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city.

Fayetteville, a culture-mingling city near the University of Arkansas.
Fayetteville, a culture-mingling city near the University of Arkansas.

6. Fort Smith

Step back in time while embracing the present in Fort Smith, a city that’s as rich in history as it is in modern amenities. From the historic sites of the Fort Smith National Historic Site to the bustling downtown area, this city offers a unique blend of the old and the new.

Fort Smith is the best Arkansas town to live in if you’re a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast. The city is home to the Arkansas River, providing ample opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and other water sports. The local parks are well-maintained, offering hiking trails, awesome cabin rentals, and picnic spots for a perfect weekend getaway.

Job opportunities are abundant, especially in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. The public schools are commendable, and the city has a strong sense of community, often hosting events like music festivals and art shows.

In Fort Smith, you’ll find a harmonious blend of historical charm and modern convenience. It’s a city that offers a high quality of life, making it an ideal place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike.

Fort Smith is a city rich in both history and contemporary conveniences.
Fort Smith is a city rich in both history and contemporary conveniences.

7. Hot Springs

Craving a life that’s equal parts adventure and relaxation? Hot Springs is your answer. Famous for its thermal water baths, this city is a haven for those seeking a rejuvenating lifestyle.

Hot Springs is one of those top cities in Arkansas to live if wellness is a priority for you. The city is home to Hot Springs National Park, where you can soak in natural thermal baths or hike through scenic trails. It’s a city that invites you to unwind, whether it’s through a spa day or a nature walk.

The local dining scene is eclectic, offering a mix of traditional Southern cuisine and international flavors. From cozy cafes to elegant restaurants, there’s something for every palate.

Job opportunities are plentiful in the tourism and healthcare sectors, and the city has a range of housing options to suit different budgets. In Hot Springs, you’ll find the perfect blend of leisure and excitement, making it an ideal place to call home.

This city is a sanctuary for people looking for a revitalizing way of life.
This city is a sanctuary for people looking for a revitalizing way of life.

8. Jonesboro

Looking for a city that’s growing both economically and culturally? Jonesboro is your ticket to a life full of opportunities. Located in northeastern Arkansas, this city is a hub for agriculture, manufacturing, and education.

Jonesboro is the best town to live in Arkansas, particularly for those seeking career growth. Home to Arkansas State University, the city has a youthful energy that’s palpable in its vibrant arts scene and bustling downtown area.

The city offers a variety of recreational activities, from hiking in Craighead Forest Park to fishing in the numerous surrounding lakes. It’s a place that encourages an active lifestyle, making it perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

With its strong sense of community and focus on development, Jonesboro is a city that promises a bright future. Whether you’re a young professional or a family looking to settle down, Jonesboro offers a high quality of life that’s hard to beat.

This city serves as a center for manufacturing, education, and agriculture.
This city serves as a center for manufacturing, education, and agriculture.

9. Little Rock

Ever thought about living in a city that’s both the state capital and a cultural powerhouse? Little Rock is that city. It’s where politics meets art, and where history meets the future.

Little Rock is often considered one of the most livable cities in Arkansas, and for good reason. The city is home to the Clinton Presidential Library and the Arkansas Arts Center, making it a hub for both politics and culture.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to love here as well. The Arkansas River Trail and Pinnacle Mountain State Park offer a plethora of activities, from hiking to kayaking. It’s a city that invites you to be as active or as laid-back as you wish.

With a diverse job market that includes sectors like healthcare, technology, and government, Little Rock offers a balanced lifestyle for people from all walks of life. It’s a city that promises a high quality of life, blending the excitement of a metropolis with the charm of Southern hospitality.

Politics and the arts, as well as the past and the future, converge in Little Rock.
Politics and the arts, as well as the past and the future, converge in Little Rock.

10. Maumelle

Dreaming of a suburban lifestyle with a touch of natural beauty? Maumelle is the place to be. Located just a stone’s throw away from Little Rock, this city offers the best of both worlds: suburban comfort and easy access to urban amenities.

Maumelle is a good place to live in Arkansas, especially if you’re looking for a quieter lifestyle without sacrificing convenience. The city is known for its well-planned residential areas and excellent public schools, making it a top choice for families.

Outdoor activities abound, with Lake Willastein and Maumelle Park offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking. The city also has several golf courses and sports complexes, catering to both young and old.

With its strategic location and focus on community well-being, Maumelle is a city that offers a high quality of life. Whether you’re a young professional looking for a peaceful abode or a family seeking a nurturing environment, Maumelle has something for everyone.

Maumelle provides easy access to urban facilities and the comforts of the suburbs, making it one of the best places to live in Arkansas.
Maumelle provides easy access to urban facilities and the comforts of the suburbs, making it one of the best places to live in Arkansas.

11. Rogers

Imagine living in a city where community spirit is as vibrant as the cultural scene. Rogers, located in the Ozarks, offers just that. It’s a city where you can enjoy the arts, indulge in culinary delights, and engage in outdoor adventures—all in one place.

Rogers stands out as one of the best areas to live in Arkansas, particularly for those who appreciate a strong sense of community. The city is home to the Walmart AMP, an outdoor music venue that hosts a variety of concerts and events, adding a lively touch to the local culture.

The outdoor scene is equally impressive, with Beaver Lake offering a plethora of water activities, from boating to fishing. The Ozark Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and camping, making Rogers a haven for nature lovers.

With a robust job market in sectors like retail, healthcare, and technology, Rogers promises a balanced lifestyle. It’s a city that offers a high quality of life, making it an ideal place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike.

One of the best places to live in Arkansas is Roger. Engage in outdoor experiences, savor gastronomic pleasures, and appreciate the arts in this metropolis.
One of the best places to live in Arkansas is Roger. Engage in outdoor experiences, savor gastronomic pleasures, and appreciate the arts in this metropolis.

12. Springdale

Picture a city that’s both a commercial hub and a gateway to natural wonders. That’s Springdale for you, a city that effortlessly balances business and leisure, making it a compelling choice for a wide range of lifestyles.

Springdale is a great place to live in Arkansas, especially if you’re someone who values a dynamic environment. The city is home to the world headquarters of Tyson Foods, and its economic impact is palpable. Yet, Springdale isn’t all business; the arts and culture scene is thriving, thanks in part to institutions like the Arts Center of the Ozarks.

For the outdoor aficionado, the nearby Ozark National Forest offers a natural playground for hiking, camping, and fishing. The city is also a stone’s throw away from the Buffalo National River, perfect for kayaking and canoeing adventures.

In Springdale, you’ll find a community that’s both welcoming and ambitious, making it an ideal place for both families and young professionals. With its strong economy and proximity to natural wonders, Springdale offers a lifestyle that’s hard to beat. So, if you are still not sure where to live in AR, maybe you can consider Springdale.

With its ability to seamlessly blend work and play, Springdale is a desirable option for a variety of lifestyles.
With its ability to seamlessly blend work and play, Springdale is a desirable option for a variety of lifestyles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Arkansas   

Looking to expand your knowledge about the best places to live in Arkansas? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Arkansas places to live in.

What part of Arkansas is the best to live in?

The nice part of Arkansas to live in can vary depending on your lifestyle, needs, and preferences. However, Northwest Arkansas, particularly cities like Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Springdale, is often cited as a top choice. This region offers a blend of urban and natural attractions, from thriving job markets to scenic beauty. Central Arkansas, with Little Rock as its hub, offers a mix of cultural amenities and is ideal for those who prefer a more metropolitan lifestyle. Hot Springs is perfect for those looking for a more relaxed, resort-like environment. Ultimately, the best part of Arkansas for you will depend on what you’re looking for—whether it’s outdoor activities, career opportunities, or a strong sense of community.

What is the nicest city in Arkansas to live in?

Determining the “nicest” city in Arkansas is subjective and depends on individual preferences. However, Bentonville often tops the list for its high quality of life, excellent schools, and abundant cultural amenities, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Fayetteville, home to the University of Arkansas, offers a vibrant, youthful atmosphere with a mix of academic culture and natural beauty. Little Rock, the state’s capital, provides a range of urban amenities, including museums, parks, and a bustling nightlife. Hot Springs is known for its spa-like atmosphere and natural beauty. Each of these cities has its own unique charm and set of advantages that could make it the “nicest” place for you to live.

Where is the most beautiful place to live in Arkansas?

Arkansas has a lot of beautiful places to visit. Each of these places offers its own unique form of natural beauty, whether it’s mountain views, lakes, or unique geological features.

  • Hot Springs: Known for its stunning natural hot springs and the Ouachita Mountains, this city offers a spa-like atmosphere amid natural beauty.
  • Fayetteville: Home to the Ozark Mountains and the University of Arkansas, it offers a mix of natural scenery and youthful energy.
  • Eureka Springs: A unique Victorian town set in the Ozark Mountains, famous for its charming architecture and natural springs.
  • Bella Vista: Located in the Ozarks, it offers beautiful lakes, forests, and a strong sense of community.
  • Mountain Home: Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, it’s close to both Bull Shoals Lake and the White River, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Arkansas is a hidden treasure that is just waiting to be found, frequently eclipsed by its more well-known neighbors.
Arkansas is a hidden treasure that is just waiting to be found, frequently eclipsed by its more well-known neighbors.

Is Arkansas a beautiful place to live?

Absolutely, Arkansas is often referred to as “The Natural State” for good reason. The state is a treasure trove of natural beauty, offering a diverse range of landscapes from the mountainous regions of the Ozarks and Ouachitas to the fertile plains of the Mississippi Delta. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or someone who simply enjoys scenic views, Arkansas has something to offer. The state is dotted with rivers, lakes, and forests, providing ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, and boating. Cities like Hot Springs and Eureka Springs are renowned for their natural beauty and spa-like atmosphere, while Fayetteville and Bentonville offer a mix of natural scenery and cultural amenities. So, yes, Arkansas is not just a beautiful place to visit but also a beautiful place to live.

Is it expensive to live in Arkansas?

Compared to the national average, the cost of living in Arkansas is generally lower. Housing, utilities, and transportation tend to be more affordable here. Best Arkansas cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville may have slightly higher living costs due to their urban amenities and cultural attractions, but they are still more affordable compared to other major cities in the U.S. Smaller towns and rural areas offer even more cost-effective options. Groceries and healthcare are also relatively inexpensive, making Arkansas an attractive option for both families and retirees looking for a budget-friendly place to live.

Does Arkansas have snow?

Yes, Arkansas does experience snowfall, but it varies depending on the region. The northern parts of the state, particularly the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, receive more snow compared to the southern regions. Snowfall in these areas can range from a few inches to more substantial amounts, especially at higher elevations. However, snow in Arkansas is generally not as heavy or as frequent as you would find in northern states. Cities like Fayetteville and Bentonville in the northwest are more likely to see snow than places like Little Rock or Hot Springs in the central and southern parts of the state. Overall, if you enjoy a mild winter with occasional snowfall, Arkansas offers a balanced climate.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Arkansas                             

Arkansas, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. From the bustling energy of Little Rock to the serene landscapes of Hot Springs, the state offers a diverse range of living experiences that cater to all lifestyles and budgets. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or someone looking for a peaceful retreat, you’ll find a place in Arkansas that feels like home.

The state’s affordability is one of its strongest suits making it one of the ideal places to move in Arkansas. You get to enjoy a high quality of life without the hefty price tag that comes with living in other parts of the U.S. This makes it an ideal destination for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. And let’s not forget the natural beauty that Arkansas offers. With its diverse landscapes, ranging from mountains and forests to lakes and rivers, the state provides endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

In answering the frequently asked questions, it’s clear that Arkansas has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the most beautiful place to live or wondering about the weather, this state doesn’t disappoint. It’s a place where you can enjoy the best of both worlds: the excitement of city life and the tranquility of nature.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re contemplating a move, give Arkansas a closer look. It might just be the perfect place you never knew you were missing. If you’re still wondering where to live in Arkansas, this guide has hopefully given you some great options to consider.

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