| See & Do | October 09, 2018
The flourishing downtown you see today wasn’t always here. In fact, throughout the 80s and 90s, historic districts were dying out across America, and the historic district of downtown Batesville was one of them.
Around 2013, several community leaders came together to revive downtown, and with Main Street Batesville, a revitalization campaign spurred several projects that brought life back into downtown. After a successful streetscape renovation project, a grand opening of Main Street was held in June 2017. Soon, new businesses followed and set up shop downtown.
Today, historic downtown Batesville is filled with eateries, shops, and recreational venues. It’s packed with places to learn about the history of Batesville—the entire downtown business district of Batesville is on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored historic buildings and charming Victorian homes make up much of the area. Now, downtown is an economic highlight of Independence County, and residents can enjoy all it has to offer.
Ready to shop? You’re in the right place. If you need a trendy outfit or some new accessories, Siloe Boutique and Main Attire have you covered. Both stores carry the latest fashion trends. Like antique shopping? Visit Olde Towne Mall. It has over 4,000 square feet of merchandise, and along with antiques, it has clothes and gifts, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re planning an outdoor adventure in the foothills of the Ozarks, make sure to stop by Village Adventures for your outdoor gear. On Main Street, the shop has a kayak hanging above the door, so it’s not easy to miss.
Hungry? Whether you’re craving comfort food or tacos, you can delight your appetite with downtown’s food options. The Pinto Coffee and Comida just celebrated its two-year anniversary of satisfying residents’ need for coffee and cuisine in an eclectic atmosphere. The Pinto combines Mexican and southern to create dishes like the macaroni and cheese burrito and pork belly tacos. But lunch and dinner isn’t their only specialty, Pinto patrons also love Pinto’s lavender scones and creamy frappes.
If you’re in the mood for something elegant, you can cross the street to 109 Main, where you can appreciate good food and tasty cocktails. Go on a Saturday night and listen to live music, or go Sunday morning and have their award-winning shrimp and grits for brunch. If you’re wanting to go more casual, grab a sandwich and fresh cut fries from Big’s next door—they have a variety of sandwiches and salads, from a traditional ham and cheese to the creative Blue Raptor Burger.
Don’t want to dine-in? Check out the food trucks at the new Food Lot. Located on the corner of College Street and Central, there’s several options to pick and choose. Grab a dish from Mexican Mama's and then have a milkshake from Moore’s Q & Creme for dessert, all while hanging out on the lot. There’s picnic tables, and the lot is just a block away from shops on Main Street.
After you eat, watch a movie at the Melba Theater. Starting as a mercantile store in the early 1900s, the Melba reopened in 1940 as one of Arkansas’s first cinemascope theaters. Today, the Melba is a popular family theater and attraction for downtown Batesville.
If you’d rather be outside, you can visit the meditation garden and waterfall in Maxfield Park. Or you can check out the mural and farmers markets in Pocket Park. On Saturday mornings, local farmers and vendors sell fresh food and hand-crafted goods. Residents can also use the park for events such as fundraisers, parties, and weddings.
These places barely touch the surface of all that downtown has to offer. There is something for everyone of all ages and interests. Come see for yourself the next time you’re in Independence County.
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<p><a href="https://vimeo.com/290073284">Downtown Batesville, Arkansas</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user53210962">Ariel Carpenter</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>