Whether you were born here or just moved here, though, we’re willing to bet you have yet to enjoy some quintessential Little Rock experiences. Let’s fix that!
There’s no time like a new year to get a fresh perspective and try something out of your comfort zone, so check out our recommendations for things you need to give a go in 2020.
#1: Hike Pinnacle Mountain
Once you arrive, you can choose from an easy hike or a more difficult climb. Either way, it’s a short, fun hike with photo-worthy views at the pinnacle.
#2: Take a Walk in a Park
In Pulaski County alone, you can find 125 parks totaling 5,000 acres of land. That leaves you will plenty of parks to explore across the Little Rock Metro!
The parks we recommend you see first are Burns Park, Two Rivers Park, Allsopp Park, MacArthur Park, and Murray Park.
#3: Kayak Down the Arkansas River
Separating Little Rock from North Little Rock is the mighty Arkansas River, a tributary of the Mississippi River that runs down here all the way from Colorado.
Fun fact: It was on this river that French explorers first noted a collection of rock in 1722. Our city’s name is based on an area of land they called “la Petit Roche.”
To see the river in style, take a kayak tour with Rock Town River Outfitters when the weather is nice. You won’t regret it!
#4: Complete the Arkansas River Trail
Not one for water? There are other ways to see Little Rock from the beautiful Arkansas River!
You can bike, hike, or whatever you like up and down the Arkansas River Trail that connects several landmarks along the river such as Maumelle Park, Riverview Park, the Big Dam Bridge, and the Clinton Presidential Center.
#5: Explore the Clinton Presidential Center
Perhaps the most well-known figure in Arkansas history, former Arkansas Governor and U.S. President William J. Clinton has his presidential library right here in our capital city.
After an afternoon exploring the museum and its exhibits, you should check out 42 Bar & Table for a nice meal.
#6: Visit ESSE Purse Museum
There are only three purse museums on the planet and one of them is located right here in Little Rock!
The ESSE Purse Museum opened in 2013 with a permanent exhibition of purses from throughout the 20th century. You must see the museum store to browse beautiful purses, jewelry, and other accessories up for sale.
#7: Make a Memory at the Old Mill
The Old Mill is a historical landmark most people will recognize from the opening scene in Gone With The Wind.
It’s the perfect place to take pictures you will keep forever!
#8: Take a Ride on the Trolley
To explore Downtown Little Rock the right way, hop on a streetcar! The trolley system can take you from stop to stop seeing all the sights.
You can see the trolley schedule, purchase passes, and map your route here.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
#9: Catch a Play at The Rep
For anyone that enjoys plays and musicals, you will love the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
This month, the show currently running is Ann. But, coming this summer, don’t forget to purchase tickets to catch Bye Bye Birdie.
#10: See a Show at Robinson Center
The recently renovated (and incredibly beautiful) Robinson Center is the place to see all kinds of performances in Downtown Little Rock.
This year, some amazing events are happening here. Don’t miss touring Broadway shows like Waitress, Stomp, and Cats. Brett Young, Shinedown and The Temptations have tour dates scheduled there, too.
#11: Go Out in the Entertainment District
Big news: Just last year, Little Rock got approval to open our very own “entertainment district” just like Beale Street in Memphis!
The River Market Entertainment District (RMED) encompasses several blocks on President Clinton Ave and allows you to carry alcoholic drinks from hot spot to hot spot. For this reason, a lot of businesses along the street are setting up sidewalk bars.
#12: Check Out Movies in the Park
As soon as summertime gets here, something you need to do in Little Rock at least once is go to Movies in the Park.
Every Wednesday at sunset, a different movie will play at the First Security Amphitheater in Riverfront Park (stay tuned for this year’s lineup!).
You can find food trucks and concession stands there or bring your own food and drink to enjoy during the show. Whether you sit in the amphitheater chairs or bring a blanket, you’re in for one nice night!
#13: Attend a Game at Dickey Stephens
Arkansas may not have any major sports teams, but we do have a Minor League Baseball team: the Arkansas Travelers!
The Travs play ball every summer here at Dickey-Stephens Park. If you go catch a game, grab a hot dog on your way to the Beer Garden to enjoy some local brews.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
#14: Savor Our Best Restaurants
The Little Rock food scene is growing in an adventurous direction we have enjoyed experiencing over the last few years. To experience it yourself, prepare to chow down.
Here are few restaurants in Little Rock we highly recommend:
- Allsopp & Chapple
- Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse
- Big Orange
- The Fold
- Local Lime
- Ocean’s at Arthur’s
- One Eleven at The Capital Hotel
- The Pantry
- Petit & Keet
- Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill
- Table 28
- Three Fold
Skip down to #18 to see even more neighborhood restaurants we love!
#15: Hang Out in The Rail Yard
Hanging out at The Rail Yard is like attending a big, backyard barbecue that never ends. It opened just last year and has already become one of the most popular things to experience in Little Rock.
In addition to a rotating schedule of food trucks and local bands, The Rail Yard is the permanent home of Count Porkula BBQ. Go get yourself some food, grab a beer at the bar, play some games, and enjoy live music!
#16: Shop at the River Market
Yes, the River Market is an actual market! If you work Downtown, you’re probably familiar with the Market Hall, where you can try all kinds of cuisines from a number of yummy food stalls.
On the weekends, though, you can also do some shopping!
Every Saturday from May to September just outside the Market Hall under the pavilion, you will find a farmer’s market. You can shop for local produce or pick up arts and crafts from local artisans.
#17: Tour Some Awesome Breweries
Craft breweries are booming here in Little Rock. If you haven’t visited each one yet, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make a list and start checking them off, one by one!
#18: Do Some Neighborhood Hopping
Little Rock has a diverse collection of neighborhoods with all kinds of personality. Each one has plenty to see and do. Plus, they hold their own neighborhood events throughout the year.
In the Heights, for example, you can find great shops and restaurants. We recommend Heights Taco & Tamale Co., Steamroller Blues, Mugs Café (just opened!), Ozark Outdoor Supply, Le Pops, and ZAZA. Don’t miss fun festivals like Cinco de Heights in the Spring and Chili Fights in the Heights every Fall.
Finally, you need to check out SoMa – the South Main Street district. In addition to hot spots like South on Main, Raduno, The Root Café, and Rock Town Distillery, this neighborhood also hosts the Cornbread Festival every Fall, SoMa Mardi Gras Parade every Winter, and SoMa After Dark once a month.
#19: Get Inspired at The Innovation Hub
Have you heard of The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub? It’s an incredible center for artisans and entrepreneurs to find assistance and inspiration. (They also do fun events throughout the year to engage our local community.)
They even offer cool classes like 3D printing, woodworking, welding, logo design, and more. Go sign up today!
#20: Volunteer at a Great Organization
If you really want to be a part of this town, a great thing to do in Little Rock is find a cause you’re passionate about and start volunteering. So many deserving organizations could use your support!
A few we really love are:
- Arkansas Cancer Coalition
- Camp Aldersgate
- Friends of the Animal Village
- Heifer Foundation
- Our House
- Ronald McDonald House
- Thea Foundation
Of course, there are so many other wonderful organizations out there. We encourage you to do a little research and find your own little community here in Little Rock.
If you want any other recommendations, feel free to ask a member of our staff. We hope this list helps you enjoy Little Rock in more ways than you knew possible!