Welcome back to our Arkansas Adventures series, where we highlight some of the best summer fun to be found in cities across the great Natural State. This week’s locale? Little Rock, Arkansas.
With its central location and status as the state capital, most Arkansans have visited the city of Little Rock at some point in their lives. But whether you’re a first-time tourist or seasoned resident, we think you’ll find something new to love in our list below.
Outdoor Attractions in Little Rock
Pinnacle Mountain State Park: You’ll want to wake up early to climb this cone-shaped peak, but the view from the top will be worth it. Choose between a fairly easy hike up the marked path of the western slope, or challenge yourself to climb the rocks of the eastern side. No matter the path you choose, you’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery. You’ll also find more than 40 miles of hiking trails, a playground, picnic area, and the Arkansas Arboretum.
Arkansas River Trail: While the full River Trail System spans an 88-mile loop, we recommend focusing on part or all of the trail leading from the Clinton Presidential Bridge to the Big Dam Bridge and back again. Round-trip, you’ll cover 15.6 miles of primarily flat land. Rent bikes in Little Rock’s downtown River Market area and enjoy the ride. You’ll find plenty of options for coffee and dining downtown once you’ve worked up an appetite.
The Old Mill: Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, this replica of an old water-powered grist mill has an interesting claim to fame. It appeared in the opening scene of Gone With the Wind, and it is believed to be the only remaining building from the movie. The structure itself is fascinating, and the surrounding park provides plenty of shade and seating.
Indoor Attractions in Little Rock
Little Rock Central High School: While Central is still an active school, it’s also a National Historic Site where history was made in the Civil Rights Movement. When President Eisenhower ordered the desegregation of schools, Arkansas Governor Faubus ordered National Guard troops to stop “The Little Rock Nine,” as the students came to be known, from entering Central High School. Though they were eventually allowed inside, the battle did not stop there. Today you can hear more details of this important, sobering moment in our nation’s history on a free tour of the campus, led by National Park Rangers. Admission is free, but tours are by reservation. Begin your visit at the National Park Visitor Center, which offers exhibits with additional information.
Esse Purse Museum: Did you know that Little Rock is home to one of only three purse museums in the world? The Esse museum pays homage to the history of the handbag, looking at 100 years of history. The exhibition offers commentary on social change as much as fashion trends and explores the role that purses have played in the expanding rights and freedoms of the American woman. Visitors overwhelmingly agree that it’s worth the price of admission.
Museum of Discovery: Your aspiring scientists and artists will love to spend an afternoon at the Museum of Discovery. The oldest in the state of Arkansas, the museum’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Kids can explore the human body in the “Amazing You” exhibit, visit the “Extreme Weather Station,” and make their way through “Discovery Hall” where they’ll find lessons in engineering, physics, and math lessons. Learning is made fun in an interactive environment.
Arkansas Arts Center: Enjoy free admission to this distinguished art institution. You might be surprised to learn how many renowned works of art are represented in the Arts Center! Artwork spans from the 1400s to the current day and includes a wide variety of genres, including paintings, photography, and prints. You’ll find pieces from Monet, Renoir, and Redon, to name a few, as well as an award-winning Children’s Theatre. Whether you’re traveling with your family, significant other, or a group of friends, you’ll find the Arts Center is well worth visiting.
Eating in Little Rock
If your family plans a summer excursion to Little Rock, we can guarantee you won’t go hungry! The city is home to many thriving local restaurants; from tacos and tapas to locally-sourced burgers and gourmet popsicles, there is truly something for everyone. Below, we’ve listed a few of our own favorites. What are some of yours?
The Root Cafe: With a mission to “build community through local food,” The Root is a favorite for many Little Rock locals. They offer fast-casual service for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, while dinner is full-service. One unique aspect of the restaurant? They source 100% of the meat, eggs, and bread they serve (as well as many of the fruits and vegetables) from small, local farms. There are many vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Regular customers agree that brunch is where the menu truly shines. A quick scroll through their Instagram feed seems to confirm.
South on Main: For another unique, local dining experience, consider South on Main. The menu offers creative twists on classic Southern cuisine, and the bar offers Southern favorites as well, such as mint julep. But what really sets it apart is the performance aspect. Local entertainers provide live rock and jazz music, literary readings, film screenings, and other programs. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Loblolly Creamery: Rounding out the trio of local options, Loblolly makes small-batch ice cream, sodas, coffee, and other treats. While you can find Loblolly offerings at many businesses in Little Rock, why not visit the Scoop Shop and go straight to the source? They build each recipe from scratch, incorporating local tastes, with flavors like Rock Town Bourbon Pecan and Dunbar Garden Fresh Lavender that you truly won’t find anywhere else in the world. With a slogan like Arkansas Handcrafted Happiness, you can’t go wrong.
Bradi Bear Chimes In
Bradi Bear had some great recommendations to share for pup-friendly fun in Little Rock: “Murray Park Off-Leash Park is just what it sounds like: an Off-Leash Dog Park. Big and little pup friends have separate areas to run free, so all are welcome here!”
Taylor King Law: On Your Side, By Your Side in Little Rock
While we hope that all of your summer travels bring you home safely, we also know that accidents happen. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car wreck in Arkansas, you’re not alone. Taylor King Law is here to help.
Stop by our new Little Rock office opening in July at 820 W 3rd Street in downtown to begin your FREE, no-obligation consultation. You can also call us toll-free at 1-800-227-9732 or submit a case form on our website.
Click HERE to read our previous Arkansas Adventure in Springdale.
Photo Credit: Alphasuit