Moving to Fort Smith

Welcome to the gateway of Wild West adventure and Southern hospitality! Contemplating a move to Fort Smith, AR? You're in for a treat! This comprehensive relocation guide is packed from cover to cover with indispensable tidbits and intriguing insights about life in Fort Smith. Known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant community, this city is a hidden gem waiting for you to uncover. Get ready to embark on a journey as we delve into the heart of Fort Smith, AR, helping you turn a new leaf with excitement and ease.

Moving to Fort Smith, AR landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Fort Smith

1. It's your Gateway to Outdoor Adventures

If you love the great outdoors, then Fort Smith, Arkansas, is the perfect place for you. Nestled between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, it's an ideal launching point for hiking, river rafting, camping, and mountain biking. Plus, the town features several parks, lakes, and a riverfront for those who prefer more casual strolls or relaxing picnics.

2. A Serious Slice of American History

History buffs rejoice! Fort Smith is renowned for its rich history dating back to the Wild West era. You can plan a visit to the famous Fort Smith National Historic Site or the Fort Smith Museum of History, which offer a unique insight into our nation's past. Adding a pinch of ancient drama, the town was once a significant player in frontier justice - think Judge Parker's Court.

3. Festivals Galore

Get ready to mark your calendars, because Fort Smith knows how to party! Whether it's the yearly Peacemaker Music Festival bringing in amazing acts, the Hanging Judge Rally celebrating the biker community, or Unexpected, the street art festival that transforms the downtown area into a vibrant canvas, there's always something happening!

4. A Secret Foodie Destination

Yes, you read that right! Fort Smith may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think "foodie destination," but it might surprise you! Home to an array of locally-owned, diverse food establishments, it offers everything from scrumptious soul food to tantalizing tacos and artisan bakeries. A must-try is the half-pound burger at Ed Walker's Drive-In - a local favorite!

5. The Unexpected Art Scene

While not commonly known, Fort Smith boasts a surprisingly vibrant art scene. The city serves as canvas to world-renowned mural artists, all thanks to the Unexpected Project. This yearly event transforms ordinary buildings into exquisite works of public art. Plus, the city houses art galleries, theaters, and music halls, nurturing cultural growth and innovation. So, if you're a lover of the arts - be it visual or performing - you're in for a treat!

6. The Challenge of the Changing Weather

Finally, it's worth noting that Fort Smith's weather can be quite volatile. With all four seasons fully represented, temperatures can swing dramatically from hot and humid summers to icy and snowy winters. Luckily, Arkansans have a saying about their unpredictable weather: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes, and it'll change!". So, don't forget to pack a diverse wardrobe.

In conclusion, Fort Smith Arkansas is a beautiful combination of vibrant city life, history, culinary delight, art, and adventure, nestled in natural beauty. Its tight-knit community prides itself on southern charm and hospitality, making any newcomer feel right at home. There's certainly more to this town than meets the eye, and you're bound to fall in love with all it has to offer.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Fort Smith

Pros of Living in Fort Smith

Affordable Cost of Living

The cost of living in Fort Smith, AR is generally lower than national average. This greater affordability extends to all facets of living from housing to grocery costs. This cost effectiveness allows residents to enjoy a comfortable quality of life without the heavy financial burden that comes with living in larger metropolitan areas.

Cultural and Historical Interests

Fort Smith is a city rich with American history. The city boasts exciting attractions such as the Fort Smith National Historic Site, the Fort Smith Museum of History, and the "Miss Laura's Visitor Center", the first former bordello listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Living in Fort Smith means you're never too far from a quick and enlightening history lesson.

Nature and Outdoor Activities

The city is located near the Ozark National Forest and other natural sites, offering an abundance of outdoor activities. You can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and more all within a reasonable drive from your home. This makes it a perfect place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Strong Sense of Community

Fort Smith is known for its strong sense of community where neighborhoods are typically friendly and people know each other. This strong community vibe can make living there feel like a warmer, more personal experience when compared to larger cities.

Low Traffic

Unlike bigger cities that are plagued by constant traffic, Fort Smith generally has less congestion on its roads. This can allow you to get to work, school or other places quicker and make for an overall smoother commute.

Cons of Living in Fort Smith

Lower Availability of High Paying Jobs

While cost of living in Fort Smith is low, so are income levels, with many people earning less than the national median. This might be a potential drawback for individuals searching for higher paying job opportunities.

Lack of Public Transportation

Fort Smith does not have a well-developed public transportation system, which means you might need a private vehicle to get around. This could potentially lead to additional expenses for car ownership and maintenance.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Fort Smith experiences extreme weather conditions throughout the year. From sweltering heat in the summer to chilling cold and occasional snow in the winter, the city's weather can be a bit of a rollercoaster.

Limited Nightlife Options

If you enjoy a vibrant nightlife, you might find the options in Fort Smith a bit limited. Though it does have some bars, restaurants and cinemas, the choices available might not rival those of larger urban areas.

Slow Pace of Life

The slower pace of life in Fort Smith may not be for everyone. While some people thrive in the tranquility and calmness, others who crave bustling city life might find this unexciting or even dull.

Modern day picture of Fort Smith, AR highlighting pros and cons of living in Fort Smith, AR

Is Fort Smith a Good Place to Live?

Fort Smith, AR is a great place to live because of its rich history, vibrant cultural arts scene, and access to beautiful, natural landscapes such as the Ozark National Forest. The city also boasts low cost of living, friendly neighborhood communities and plenty of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. From its charming downtown area to the engaging festivals, Fort Smith has, indeed, something for everyone.

What Is Fort Smith Famous For?

Fort Smith National Historic Site

This important location resonates with rich historical significance. From being a military post during the "Trail of Tears" to a thrilling plot of the wild west with "Hanging Judge" Isaac Parker's courtroom, the Fort Smith National Historic Site retells riveting tales of America's past.

Miss Laura's Visitor Center

Miss Laura's Visitor Center is a jewel of Fort Smith which is actually one of the only former brothels listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it charmingly serves as the city's official visitor center, welcoming guests with warm southern hospitality.

Unexpected Murals Project

Every corner of Fort Smith is a canvas for art! The Unexpected is an annual event that invites world-renowned artists to create magnificent outdoor murals, transforming the beautiful city into a vibrant, ever-changing art gallery.

Belle Grove Historic District

Step back in time into the 19th century at the Belle Grove Historic District. This 22-block area harbors a well-preserved collection of Victorian and Antebellum homes, making the district a visual feast for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Capital building of Fort Smith, AR in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Fort Smith, AR as of 2023, the average property tax rate is around 0.61% of the property's assessed fair market value. While quite low compared to the national average of 1.07%, it's worth noting that these rates can fluctuate between the city and individual counties.

Sales Tax

The total sales tax rate in Fort Smith is currently 9.75%, which consists of a 6.5% state tax, and a local tax of 3.25%. This is higher than the average sales tax rate in the United States, which sits around 7.12%.

Income Tax

As of 2023, residents of Fort Smith, AR fall under the Arkansas state income tax rate. The top marginal rate is 6.6%, while the lowest rate for those earning less is 0.75%. The overall average tax burden in Arkansas is considered slightly below the national average.

Housing Market

The housing market in Fort Smith, AR is appealing, displaying relative affordability compared to the national average. The median home value is $112,000, compared to the national average of $231,200. Renters can also find attractive options, with average rent sitting at $475, significantly cheaper than the US average of $1,470 per month. However, annual home appreciation is slower in Fort Smith than the national rate. Prospective buyers and renters should take advantage of the local affordability, while being aware of the comparatively slower home value growth.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Fort Smith, AR currently ranks below the national average, making it a more affordable place to dwell in comparison to many other U.S. cities. While housing is notably less expensive, other essentials such as groceries, healthcare, and transportation are also typically lower. This budget-friendly atmosphere matched with a burgeoning local economy, makes Fort Smith an appealing destination for families and individuals seeking a high-quality, yet cost-effective lifestyle.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Fort Smith, Arkansas, nestled in the heart of the Southern United States, experiences a climate characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. Temperatures range from an average low of 31degF in winter to an average high of 93degF in summer. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, with heavier precipitation from late winter to early summer. Like many parts of Arkansas and the broader South, Fort Smith is susceptible to a variety of natural disasters. The city sits in "Tornado Alley" and faces occasional tornadoes, particularly in the spring. Additionally, it is prone to floods from the Arkansas River. Despite these challenges, Fort Smith residents have adapted to this dynamic climate, making the city a vibrant and resilient community.

Typical weather in Fort Smith, AR

Economy & Job Market

Healthcare and Social Assistance


Retail Trade

Education Services

Construction and Transportation

Fort Smith, AR is a city with a rich history and a thriving economy. In the past, the major economic pillars of Fort Smith were attributed to its strategic location on the Arkansas River. This aspect nurtured industries like trade and transportation, and to date, they remain to be significant contributors to the economy. In this lively city where the wild west and southern charm meet, you'll find manufacturing taking the lead, making Fort Smith the manufacturing hub of Arkansas. The city is also the epicenter of healthcare and social assistance, with the Baptist Health Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Fort Smith major employers. Moreover, education services and retail trade are other layers adding texture to this economic mosaic.

If you are planning on packing your bags and heading to Fort Smith, AR, there are important aspects to consider about the job market. The city boasts an employment rate that hovers around the national average, but don't let that spook you. Instead, focus on the sectors that are rife with opportunities! If your career lies within manufacturing, healthcare, or education, then you're in for a treat. Numerous leading manufacturing companies, several hospitals, and the presence of institutions such as the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith provide plenty of job opportunities. Retail trade also offers a plethora of positions, especially during the holiday season. So whether you're an experienced professional or fresh graduate, Fort Smith, AR has just the job market you might need to thrive!

Traffic and Transportation

Getting around in Fort Smith, AR? Well, buckle up mate! Revered for its surprisingly breezy commute times, locals here commonly spend just about 17 minutes to whisk from home to work, a refreshing reprieve from national averages! Bus, your prefered chariot? Fort Smith Transit serves up a smorgasbord of public transit routes for residents and visitors alike. This nifty network of city buses ensures everywhere you need to be is just a comfy ride away. More of an avian traveler? Spread your wings and fly out of Fort Smith Regional Airport, the city's main gateway to the skies, offering daily commercial flights. Yep, whether you're commuting by car, soaring the skyways, or preferring the bus' rhythmic rumble, Fort Smith has you covered, making every journey a joyride!

What is the traffic like in Fort Smith, AR?

Best Neighborhoods in Fort Smith

1. Chaffee Crossing

If you love nature and history combined, Chaffee Crossing is your perfect sanctuary. This former military base has transformed into a charming neighborhood complete wellness amenities like cycling paths and running trails. It boasts the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, an educational hub for environmental appreciation and outdoor skills. Partake in the community spirit here and join annual events like the Fort Smith Marathon and Chaffee Crossing Fall Festival. With its balance of residential amenities and outdoor activities, it's an ideal place for adventurers in need of some home comforts.

2. Fianna Hills

Settle into the tranquil and posh suburban living of Fianna Hills. Surrounded by lush hills and serene landscapes, this neighborhood has an enticing assortment of recreational facilities such as the Fianna Hills Country Club and Harry E. Kelley Riverfront Park. From its luxurious homes overlooking scenic rolling hills to its friendly and active community, Fianna Hills offers an all-around residential haven for those who appreciate beauty and tranquility.

3. Belle Grove Historic District

Step back in time in the Belle Grove Historic District! This neighborhood exudes the perfect quaint charm with its historical significance etched in every corner. You'll find elegantly preserved Victorian homes and artifacts of Fort Smith's rich history as it was once part of the original 1817 frontier plan. Experience an extensive range of cultural activities in the area, like visiting the Fort Smith Museum of History or watching a play at the Fort Smith Little Theatre.

4. Downtown Fort Smith

A thriving cultural hub and an urbanite's delight, Downtown Fort Smith is the epicenter of the city's charm. Engaging in this vibrant environment means always having something to do and see! Get a taste of local artwork at places like the Unexpected Murals, witness captivating performances at the ArcBest Performing Arts Center, or enjoy the 24/7 action with a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. Living in Downtown is living in the heart of Fort Smith's bustling life.

5. Free Ferry

If a serene, family-friendly environment is what you're after, the Free Ferry neighborhood should be your top pick. This area offers spacious yards and cozy homes, perfect for families looking for a peaceful place to raise their children. With its complement of local parks, recreational centers, and top-rated schools, it's the epitoma of small town charm with ample city conveniences.

In conclusion, each neighborhood in Fort Smith, AR has unique offerings. Whether you're drawn towards nature-rich amenities, historical landmarks, cultural epicenters, or quiet suburban living, there's certainly a neighborhood that would perfectly suit you. This charming city with its range of residential options and vibrant community life is ready to provide you with a place you can call home.

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Things to Do

Welcome to Fort Smith, the second-largest city in Arkansas! This city is steeped in history, filled with vibrant culture, and boasts of numerous fun activities. For anyone moving to the city, here are seven top things to do in Fort Smith that will make your life thrilling and enjoyable in this beautiful city.

1. Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site

A visit to Fort Smith isn't complete without exploring the Fort Smith National Historic Site. This site will take you back in time to discover the history of the city, and its enticing and varied past that ranges from the days of the wild frontier to its growing significance during the civil rights era.

2. Explore the Unexpected

This quirky initiative by 64.6 Downtown has transformed the city's walls into outdoor art galleries. You can easily get lost in the vibrant murals artists from all over the world have painted on Fort Smith's old brick walls. It's truly an unexpected, whimsical facet of downtown Fort Smith.

3. Visit the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

This beautiful nature center is a perfect place for nature lovers. With interactive exhibits and trails overlooking the picturesque Arkansas River, you can learn about the local ecosystem while taking in the beauty of your surroundings. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some native wildlife.

4. Marvel at Miss Laura's Visitor Center

No ordinary visitor center, Miss Laura's is actually a former brothel, and it's the only one on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it serves as the official visitor center for Fort Smith and offers tours that share tales of the city's colorful past. A hidden gem, indeed!

5. Roam Around Chaffee Barbershop Museum

This is truly one for the books. The Chaffee Barbershop Museum is the place where Elvis Presley got buzzed into the Army in 1958. It was restored to look exactly as it did when The King had his iconic hair sliced off. This piece of hidden history is a must-visit for Elvis fans.

6. Stroll Along the Greg Smith River Trail

For those who love the outdoor and scenic view, the picturesque Greg Smith River Trail is impossible to resist. Cyclists, walkers, and joggers enjoy this twelve-mile trail that winds alongside the Arkansas River with the stunning Ozark Mountain as the backdrop.

7. Enjoy Shopping at the Farmers Market

No list would be complete without mentioning Fort Smith's Farmers Market. Not an unknown per se, but the Farmers Market on Garrison Avenue is truly a treat. Fresh fruits, vegetables, loaves of bread, sweet treats, and local craftsmanship are the order of the day here.

From exploring the unexpected art scene, strolling along a beautiful river trail, or learning about historic events that shape the city, no matter what brings you joy, Fort Smith has something to captivate you. This list is just the tip of the iceberg, the city is teeming with spots to discover and experiences to share, so get ready to create unforgettable memories in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Things to do in Fort Smith, AR?

Find Movers for Your Fort Smith Relocation

As you plan your move to the vibrant city of Fort Smith, let Great Guys Moving simplify your moving process. Known for connecting people with the industry's most reputable movers, Great Guys Moving has built its reputation on quality service and affordable pricing. Submit the basics about your move, and be instantly connected to licensed, insured movers ready to service your relocation. Now that your decision to move to Fort Smith is set, why not take the next step? Make your move as seamless as possible by requesting a free moving quote from Great Guys Moving today. It's your turn to enjoy a hassle-free moving experience.

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