Ready for a road trip? Dying for some down time? Short weekend trips from Little Rock are the best way to exercise your travel muscles without using up all your vacation days. Whether you’re wanting to hit the road or hop on a flight, the following list of destinations take a handful of hours (or less) to reach from Little Rock. Start planning your weekend trip away from Bowman Pointe with these helpful tips!
- Dallas, Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s the truth in a big place like Dallas. There, you will find bigger food, entertainment venues, museums…. There’s something for people of all ages to enjoy. Visit the Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas Arboretum, or Reunion Tower to see what we mean. Sports are always in season, so you can easily get tickets to an amazing Cowboys (football), Mavericks (basketball), Rangers (baseball), or Stars (hockey) game.
If you aren’t in Dallas for a specific reason (a concert, conference, sporting event, etc.), we suggest you spend your weekend neighborhood-hopping and splurge on a couple of great meals. Blind Butcher, Rapscallion, and HG Sply Co. in the Lower Greenville neighborhood (on Greenville Avenue) are out-of-this-world good. Knox-Henderson is full of yummy spots, like Velvet Taco and The Old Monk. Cane Rosso has multiple locations around Dallas and serves next-level pizza out of their brick oven. One of their locations is in Deep Ellum, which is an up-and-coming neighborhood with funky bars, restaurants, and live music venues.
Bonus Day: If you decide to take a day off and add on to your weekend getaway in Dallas, you must spend it shopping. The Dallas metro area has more malls per capita than any other city in the country. You literally cannot find that anywhere else!
- Fayetteville, Arkansas
The foliage in Northwest Arkansas is incredibly beautiful in the fall. You can take a weekend trip from Little Rock just to explore the Ozarks, where amazing outdoor adventures await you: rock climbing, hiking, you name it! If you enjoy biking, the Razorback Greenway is a beautiful trail that winds through the area. You can easily take pit stops at breweries and coffee shops along the way to explore nearby Bentonville and Springdale.
No first-timer’s weekend trip to the Fayetteville area would be complete without a visit to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It’s completely free (thanks to the Waltons)!
Bonus Day: If you plan on visiting Fayetteville for game day, you need a bonus day included in your trip. This college town gets packed during home game weekends, which will leave little time to do anything else if you don’t give yourself more time. So, if you plan on going to a baseball, basketball, or football game, give yourself a full day to tailgate and cheer on the Razorbacks. Then, explore the city on your extra day.
- Hot Springs, Arkansas
Just an hour away from Little Rock is the peaceful outdoor oasis of Hot Springs. It is surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains, which you can get a great view of from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. There is so much to see and do at the local lakes, as well. Lake Catherine, Lake Hamilton, and Lake Ouachita are seriously stunning!
If you decide to visit Hot Springs between January and April, you’re just in time for racing season at Oaklawn. Go spend a day betting on the ponies! After the last race, relax with a stay at the historic Arlington Hotel. On weekend nights, they have live entertainment in the lobby so you can enjoy an evening of drinks and dancing.
For grub, we hear that Deluca’s Pizzeria is incredible. Superior Bathhouse Brewery has great craft beer. Fisherman’s Wharf sits right on Lake Hamilton and offers all kinds of seafood. The Ohio Club is a cool place to grab drinks and burgers—gangsters like Al Capone are historically well-known patrons, which you can learn more about at the Gangster Museum down the street!
Bonus Day: Hot Springs is known as Arkansas’ “Spa City,” so any extra time here would be well spent relaxing at one of their renowned spas. Bathhouse Row on Central Avenue in Downtown Hot Springs is home to several (including the spa in the Arlington), and you can’t go wrong with any one. Get a massage – you deserve it!
- Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is just a couple hours away from Little Rock, so you could easily leave town after work on a Friday and hit Beale Street that night. Go paint the town red! Memphis is the birthplace of the blues, so you need to check out one of Beale Street’s blues clubs like BB King’s. You can also find great places to listen to jazz, rock, and country music, or sing some karaoke.
Take your music history lesson a step further by making a pilgrimage to Graceland, the former home of “The King” Elvis Presley. Then, make a stop into Sun Studio, where Elvis—as well as legendary performers like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis—recorded music. If you like that spot, you will find even more music memorabilia at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Cap your day off with some award-winning Memphis-style barbecue at Rendezvous and you will undoubtedly go home feeling more than satisfied.
Bonus Day: The Memphis Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country. Go ahead and tack an extra day onto your trip just to visit Ya Ya and Le Le, the Memphis Zoo’s giant pandas!
- Nashville, Tennessee
You’re not a true country music fan if a visit to Nashville is missing from your bucket list! Everyone that lives there either works in the music industry or knows someone who does. It’s called “Music City” for a reason. Spend a night in the Downtown/SoBro (South of Broadway) neighborhood, hit up Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and see the next Miranda Lambert sing her heart out!
During the day, you need to visit the city’s most important landmarks. Get a tour of the Ryman Auditorium and catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Absorb the exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Then, wash down the experience with a couple of beers and Nashville’s signature hot chicken at Hattie B’s.
Bonus Day: About an hour south of Nashville, you will find a little town called Lynchburg. In that town, you will find a little distillery where Jack Daniel’s is made. Enough said.
- St. Louis, Missouri
Traveling to St. Louis will make for one of the longest (in terms of miles) weekend trips from Little Rock on this list, but it is definitely worth it. Catch a baseball game at Busch Stadium and cheer on the Cardinals. Venture to the top of the Gateway Arch and explore the local history museum located at its feet (currently undergoing renovations expected to be completed in Spring 2018).
Check out Forest Park, home to the Saint Louis Art Museum, World’s Fair Pavilion, Saint Louis Zoo, and more. The park also features areas for tennis, golf, boating, fishing, and biking (and sledding and ice skating in the winter!).
Outside of these major landmarks, you really need to walk the streets of each St. Louis neighborhood to get a feel for the cultural diversity of the city. In Central West End, you have to see the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Laclede’s Landing has fun riverfront bars and restaurants. Neighborhoods like The Loop and The Grove have funky shops and dive bars. Then, The Hill is known for its Italian cuisine – don’t leave without trying some toasted ravioli!
Bonus Day: Should you happen to have an extra day in St. Louis, we suggest you make it a boozy one. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery offers tours (featuring the Clydesdales!) all day long, including a complimentary beer of your choice at the end. You could also check out St. Louis’s infamous craft beer brewery—Schlafly’s Beer—for a tour. The food served in their tap room is also delicious, very reminiscent of what you will find at Little Rock breweries like Lost Forty or Diamond Bear.
Did we miss one of your favorite weekend getaways? Want more restaurant recommendations for one of these cities? Let’s talk about it in the comment section!