SEARCY, Ark. – It’s important to know the town you live in. New students at Harding University, located in Searcy, Arkansas, will have the chance to experience everything this charming little town has to offer over their four years at school. But, it’s always nice to know just where to look from the get-go. With that in mind, here are some places in Searcy that every Harding Student should know.

Where to get your coffee fix

Searcy has plenty of options to fuel one’s energy. While there are several coffee shops available on campus, there are some great places to grab a drink around town. Next to Harding’s main entrance on Race Street is Midnight Oil, which prides itself on bringing “a sense of home to college students, families and locals alike.”

Other off-campus local options include Stu’s Brew Coffee & EspressoMr. Postman Expresso, and Rise and Grind Coffee Co.

Photo by: Caroline Meiners | Rise & Grind Coffee is located inside the Natural Food Store in Searcy, Ark.

Where to grab a bite

Harding students love to eat good food. There are countless restaurants to visit in Searcy with mouth-watering meals that would give Grandma’s cooking a run for its money. Searcy has some of the larger chain restaurants like Chili’s, Taco’s 4 Life, and McAlister’s Deli. But if you’re really looking for the best of town, you’ll want to go local.

There are downtown favorites like Burrito Day, and the Cookie Basket. There are great spots for breakfast, like Wild Sweet William’s and Chit, Chat, and Chew Cafe. There’s some great BBQ from Glenn’s Smokehouse and the Knightfire food truck. If you’re looking for something really unique then hit up Slader’s Alaskan Dumplings or Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant.

For more great “Eats” in Searcy, visit the Eats section on

Photo by: Phillip Slavin | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or something completely different are all available at Chit, Chat, and Chew Cafe in Searcy, Ark.

Where to enjoy your free time

When you’re not up to your neck in schoolwork, its good to get out and do something you enjoy. With that in mind, Searcy offers a range of options in entertainment that are sure to excite.

Take a walk through the downtown Art Alley and marvel at the artistic talent of Harding students and local artists alike. Catch a movie at the Rialto Theater. Test your quick-thinking and puzzle-solving skills in Searcy’s Hourglass Escape Room. Show off your skating prowess at Searcy Skate or score a perfect game at Searcy’s bowling alley, The Super Bowl.

Photo by: Al Fowler | The historic Rialto Theatre is located in downtown Searcy, Ark.

Which teams to cheer for

Searcy is home to four fantastic fanbases!

For those who prefer collegiate sports, there’s the Harding Bisons. For those who like more of the small town, high school feel, there’s the Searcy Lions, the Harding Academy Wildcats, and the Riverview Raiders.

For Harding students, the University prides itself on offering a wide variety of athletic activities available to each student. You don’t want to graduate without experiencing the Rhodes Rowdies at a Men’s Basketball game at least once! Or cheer on a football team that’s developed a winning tradition both on and off the field.

The Ganus Activities Complex or GAC, is open to all students and hosts many recreational activities including basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, ping pong tables, and a recently renovated workout facility.

Photo courtesy: Harding Sports

Which events you don’t want to miss

What truly makes a small town shine are the cultural events that bring the community together. Searcy is home to many of these events that are looked forward to the whole year-round.

On occasion, students and locals alike will attend Beats & Eats, one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year. Local musicians make their debut on the main stage while crowds flood the streets of downtown to rock out in an atmosphere that makes Searcy’s community shine.

Also held downtown is the annual Holiday of Lights festival which includes thousands of lights, hot chocolate, and Christmas joy.

Another exciting annual event that Harding and Searcy share, is Harding’s annual Spring Sing production. Thousands of students dedicate months to preparing a theatrical spectacle that raises money for local nonprofit organizations and deserves to be noticed.