Van Buren has become a shopping mecca for hard-to-find collectibles, one-of-a-kind gifts, original art, local Ozark crafts, home decor and extraordinary antiques. Six blocks of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and historical attractions located along a beautifully restored Victorian Main Street comprise the popular Van Buren Downtown Historic District. Entertainment offerings include excursion train rides, theater productions at the King Opera House and special annual events.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Co. Stagecoach route ran through Van Buren, where the stagecoaches were moved across the Arkansas River on flatboats. Van Buren was a popular stop for steamboats coming upstream. These passageways are now part of the Arkansas Heritage Trails System.
The 1838 restored Drennon-Scott House Museum is open to the public and also serves as a working laboratory for students at UA Fort Smith. The structure is linked to the Trail of Tears, the Underground Railroad, and the Civil War. Surrounding parks and recreation areas, including Lee Creek, afford many opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking and golfing. Van Buren is 5 miles from Fort Smith, 42 miles from Mt. Magazine State Park, and 80 miles from Russellville.