Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas, a state in the United State, it is known to be the most populous city in Arkansas.
- The name of the city, Little Rock was given to it in the 1720s by Jean-Baptiste Bernard de la Harpe, who was a French explorer.
Jean Baptists derived the name from a rock formation named “Little Rock” which is along the river, there are quite a lot of things to do in Little Rock which makes a vacation here worthwhile.
You will love this city, regardless of the fact that it is a state capital, it has scenic parks, unique historic attractions, great museums and romantic inns.
Amongst other things, you will enjoy going for a stroll through Riverfront Park, riding the River Rail Electric Streetcar and visiting some of the beautifully restored houses that are at Historic Arkansas Museum.
Some of the places your kids are going to love include the Bernice Garden, the Museum of Discovery, and the Little Rock Zoo. Below are some of the best things to do in Little Rock.
Things to Do in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1. The Arkansas River Trail System
The Arkansas River Trail System is quite remarkable, it is an 88-Mile long loop found in the state of Little Rock.
It passes through cities like Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, and Conway.
The trail goes from the Clinton Presidential Bridge through North Little Rock, Big Dam Bridge, and Little Rock thereafter it returns to the Clinton Bridge.
Amongst other places, the Train links six diverse museums, 38 parks, several passes by Big Rock Quarry, the Presidential Library and Museum, the Docket Stephens Ball Park and the Medical Mile and so many other important points.
You will find the Trail always busy for it is used by thousands of people who are either hikers, cyclists, joggers, skaters, and those who love outdoor activities.
You may take a hike or a jog through this Trail each morning as a form of exercise.
2. Big Dam Bridge
One of the top things to do in Little Rock is a visit to the Big Dam Bridge which is one of many Little Rock attractions.
The Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in all of the country and was specifically built for that reason.
This beautiful bridge connects about 20 miles of scenic trails at the riverside in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
It also serves as a link to more than 70,000 acres of city, county, state and also federal parks.
Amongst other things, the bridge brings the community together for it acts also as a venue for events, recreation, and competition.
For example, amongst the popular events held in Little Rock is the Big Dam Bridge 100 bicycle tour and it is held on this bridge, in the last competition, 3,000 riders participated.
Other events held on the bridge include Race the Base, Full Moon Walk, and the Ronde com Burns Criterium Series.
Address: 1818 North Taylor Street, Suite B, PMB #157, Little Rock, Arkansas.
3. River Rail Electric StreetcarAdd to your list of best things to do in Little Rock a fun ride in the River Rail Electric Streetcar.
The River Rail Electric Streetcar is an old streetcar system which is found in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
It became operational in this city in the year 1876 and ended its service in the heart of 1947, however, in 2004, it was established again.
The system started as a 2.5-mile long line, but today, it is a 3.4mile-long line that connects Little Rock with North Little Rock which is on the other side of the Arkansas River.
It is a place well-loved by adults and kids, making a fun way to explore the city.
The streetcars used are replica vintage electric trolleys, similar to the Birney-type streetcars which was used until 1947.
Some of the points where the streetcars stop are most popular attraction, two major stops are Clinton Library and the River Market.
You can ride the streetcars every day for they are in operation daily.
4. Arkansas State Capitol Building
The Arkansas State Capitol Building is a historic structure m that serves as the house of the government for the state of Arkansas, it is located on Woodland Street.
This historic building was constructed between 1899 and 1915 on the site of the state penitentiary with it’s labor force being mostly prisoners.
In making the building, marble, and limestone where used, it’s covering is a 24-carat gold leaf cupola which is marvelous to behold.
Amongst the things you will find inside the building, are few memorials which includes a replica of the Liberty Bell, the Confederate War Prisoners Memorial, and the Little Rock Nine Civil Rights Memorial.
You can also watch the legislators as they work from the public galleries. If you like to explore every corner, do get on a guided tour through this building.
This makes one of the best things you should consider for your list of things to do in Little Rock.
Address: 500 Woodlane Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
5. Museum of Discovery
Museum of Discovery is a history and natural science facility located in President Clinton Avenue at the downtown region of Little Rock.
This museum, which is also the oldest in the city is a good spot the whole family will love to explore.
This makes one of the fun things to do in Little Rock.
Museum of Discovery was established in 1927 as the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities by Bernie Babcock.
When it was moved in 1998 from its previous location to the River Market, its name was changed to the Museum of Discovery, which it still bears till date.
In the museum’s collection, you will find 14000 cultural-historical artifacts and also get to see live insects and many other animals.
The museums do hold several programs that cut across educational programs, interactive and science exhibits showcase, and summer camps.
You can as well rent this place for special events like birthdays.
Address: 500 President Clinton Avenue, #150, Little Rock, Arkansas.
6. Old State House Museum
Another attraction spot you should add on your list of best things to do in Little Rock is the Old State House Museum, This Little Rock tourist attraction makes one of the things to see in Little Rock.
Old State House Museum is famous because it was the place where President Bill Clinton’s election night celebration in 1992 was held.
The old state house is the oldest state capitol building all through the west of the Mississippi River. As old as its name, it was built between 1833 to 1842.
The building was still in use till 1912 when a new capitol building was constructed. Today, it is recognized as a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
The items which are housed and displayed in the building include artifacts related to the history and culture of Arkansas.
Some of these items in the collection include the African-American quilts, Civil War battle flags, and Arkansas art pottery.
Address: 300 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
7. Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park is located on La Harpe Boulevard which is along the Arkansas River. It is a downtown park that has sculptures, playgrounds, trails, and historic markers.
The park alone covers eleven blocks and about 33 acres of land, which can be used for outdoor events, and activities. It offers opportunities to learn about the state’s history.
Some of the popular features which you will find in the park include the Little Rock Civil War Marker, La Petit Roche Plaza, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, and the Riverfront Park History Pavilion.
For kids, there is the Peabody Splash Park, which is a playground for children.
There is the Witt Stephens Jr Central Arkansas Nature Centre, where you will be educated about the wildlife of the Arkansas wetlands.
You will also find, featured in the park an amphitheater and the Vogel Schwartz, Sculpture Garden.
8. Rock Town Distillery
If You are interested to learn how to turn grains like corn and wheat into a hot drink like gin or vodka, visit Rock Town Distillery.
Rock Town Distillery is a craft artisan distillery, It is situated in the downtown of Little Rock.
This distillery is an award-winning distillery and it uses grains grown 125 miles from the distillery.
You can taste the passion, knowledge, and experience used in making these outstanding spirits.
When you are done touring the facility, and understanding the whole process, you can order for a drink. Don’t forget that you must be older than 21 to have these drinks and you are not to drive after drinking.
The whole tour is going to last for 30 mins, taking you through the place to stop at the gift shop where you can buy some of the award-winning products.
Address: 1216 E 6th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
9. William J. Clinton Presidential Library and MuseumClinton Presidential Library and Museum is a section or part of the Clinton Presidential Centre and Park located in Little Rock.
In the Center, you will find the Little Rock’s office of the Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
The Clinton Presidential Library and Museum houses so many collections and archives that are extensively used by so many researchers.
You will find the museum interesting for it is a replica of the White House Cabinet Room and the Oval Office.
You are free to enter the replica of the Oval Office and even take a photo of yourself in it as a souvenir.
It will amaze you, for the room replicates the same furnishings and decorations of the Oval Office when President Clinton served his term as president.
The library and Museum do organize special events, school programs and exhibits, all of which will interest you.
Address: 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas.
10. ESSE Purse MuseumLocated on South Main Street is a Museum whose purpose is both strange and interesting.
The ESSE Purse Museum is a Museum devoted to purses and the history of purses (or handbags), It is the only museum in the United States dedicated to purses exclusively.
In this museum, you will find a permanent display which is entitled A Century of Women and Handbags 1900- 1999.
It tries to educate you on how handbags evolved, You will also learn about the women who carried them and the purpose why they did.
Under the Temporary exhibits at the museum, you will find Pinafores, Purses and Pigtails, Handbags for Hillary, Common Threads: A Special Exhibits Woven of Four Parts, and many more.
Address: 1510 South Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
11. Heifer Village
Heifer Village is located in the Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock.
It is a mix of galleries, interactive hands-on exhibits, activities, and videos each of which is used to show the strategy that Heifer used to combat and end hunger and poverty.
In this place, you can learn so many stuffs about major global issues and the possible solutions to them.
The impact of Heifer has been felt since 1944 till date, they have assisted more than 22.6 million families in over 125 countries.
They aid the families by improving the quality of life they live and making them self reliant.
You are allowed to take part in the half-hour guided tour of the village, or browse on your own, you will also like the communal garden that is in the complex.
Address: 1 World Ave., Little Rock, Arkansas.
12. Historic Arkansas Museum
The Historic Arkansas Museum is a State history museum which is located on East 3rd Street in Little Rock, this area brings some of the things to see in little rock during your visit.
The area is made up of so many historic buildings like Hinderliter House, which is also the oldest building in the city, as well as the capitol building of Arkansas before the Old State House was constructed.
The museum was opened in the year 1941 under the name Arkansas Territorial Restoration and it contains half-block of houses which were beautifully restored.
Aside the restored houses, it also contains gallery Spaces and log buildings that were brought in from several locations within the state of Arkansas.
Address: 200 East 3rd Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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13. River Market DistrictA revitalized area of Little Rock, the River Market District is located on President Clinton Avenue which is on the south bank of Arkansas River.
Initially, this area was just filled with empty and abandoned buildings but from the 1990s, the district did undergo developmental projects which transformed it into what it is today.
In the center of this district, you will find the Ottenheimer Market Hall which is a popular and buzzy public food market. It has both local and international vendors that operate in stalls.
There is also the Farmers’ Market which opens on Tuesday and Saturday starting from May and ending in October.
Other places you are going to find in the district that will interest you are the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Centre, the River Market Tower, and the Arkansas Studies Institute.
14. MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is a museum whose purpose is to preserve the state’s military heritage.
The museum is located on the East 9th Street in the heart of downtown Little Rock, which is also the birthplace of Douglas MacArthur, a visit here makes one of the fun things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas if you are a history lover.
The museum has rotating exhibits that are displayed on its historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal.
Opened in 2001, you will find in this museum (which is also an educational facility), a mixture of both permanent and temporary exhibits of artifacts, photographs, uniforms, documents and lots more.
Temporary exhibits that you will find there include Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II and Vietnam, Undaunted Voyage, and America’s Conflict.
You will be fascinated by the museum, its a place to spend a fun time appreciating history.
Address: 503 East 9th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
15. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center
Located on President Clinton Avenue right in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park is the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. It is along the Arkansas River, this area makes one of the things to see in little rock.
The building is a 16,232 square foot building which is situated on a 3.4- acre site.
In this Center, you will find exhibits that give instances of wildlife and fish that can be found in the state of Arkansas.
As it is situated along the river, you can see live examples of the wildlife displayed in the urban park.
Some of these animals you might see include turtles, butterflies, and pelicans. You will also find in the an aquarium, a theatre, and native Arkansas plants in this center.
Address: 602 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas.
16. The Root Cafe
The Root is a very small and local cafe located in the SoMa neighborhood, It is quite a popular cafe.
Their food is very delicious and they are made fresh using locally sourced ingredients.
Some of the dishes Root serves includes the Vietnamese Banh mi sandwiches which are prepared perfectly.
Root Cafe works directly with the food growers and the local farmers for they believe in the quote that quality food starts with quality ingredients and those who grow them.
It is worth noting that their dishes are seasonal, thus, you won’t find any dish there when it is not its season.
They also offer drinks, which are mostly non-alcoholic, natural, and fresh though they also serve locally crafted beers as well on request.
Address: 1500 S Main St, Little Rock, Arkansas.
17. Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Arkansas Repertory Theatre is a Theatre located on Main Street established in 1976 and housed in a historic building in downtown Little Rock.
Also known as the “Rep”, the theatre presents different types of productions which range from classical plays to contemporary comedies and they feature in about eight to ten productions per annum.
Aside productions, they also offer educational programs for young people throughout the state of Arkansas.
Some of these programs include the Young Artist Program and the Student Matinee Program.
The as well have a playwriting residency program called the Voices at the Ricer. Every year, more than 70,000 people attend these performances, it is one worth checking out during your visit to Little Rock.
Address: 601 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
18. South on Main
South on Main offers both good music and good food, this combo keeps its visitors happy.
Are you bored and would like to know what to do in little rock Arkansas for fun, i will suggest you pay a visit to this spot.
You will love how this restaurant is decorated, even the beautiful light southern touches which creates an atmosphere suitable for any performance.
Some of the performances hosted here include jazz shows, movie screening, and literary readings which is organized by the Oxford American Magazine.
All these performances make an already superb food created by Chef Mathew Bell to even taste more superb.
Chef Mathew makes all his food from locally sourced, fresh, and ingredient. Sometimes, he invents special dishes which is capable of makOMG someone ask for more.
There is also a bar in the restaurant where you can get drinks like the mint julep and so many other southern favorites.
Address: 1304 South Main St., Little Rock, Arkansas.
19. Arkansas Arts Center
Located in the East 9th Street in MacArthur Park, is the Arkansas Arts Center, a cultural center which is amongst Arkansas popular attractions.
In 1914, it was established as the Fine Arts Club of Arkansa, It wasn’t until 1960 that the Arkansas Arts Center was officially founded.
Some of the permanent collections which you will find in this art center include drawings by renowned artists like Picasso, Degas, Rembrandt, Wyeth, and Redon.
You will also get to see a collection of watercolors and drawings by the great artist Paul Signac, which makes the Art center famous.
Other things featured by this center include a children’s theatre, a restaurant, a Museum school, a research library, and lots of others.
They also offer classes in Art education for everyone, the lecture hall and the main auditorium can both be rented for special occasions like weddings, parties etc.
Address: 501 East 9th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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20. The Pantry
The owner and the chef of this restaurant is from Czech Republic, and he makes some of the best Central European dishes, which he serves with a beer.
In The Pantry, you have a spacious bar, two large dining rooms, and an outdoor patio that is regularly packed by those who patronize it.
Some of the dishes they serve include potato dumplings, red cabbage, apple strudel, cheese spaetzle, goulash, sauerkraut, and bratwursts.
Some of these dishes may be strange to you, but they are all standard dishes in Europe, yet, when they are prepared by the pantry, they taste superb!.
You can visit the Pantry with your friends and loved ones, this is definitely a fun place to spend time with them.
Address: 11401 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Little Rock, Arkansas.
21. Little Rock Zoo
Would you love to know what to do in little rock Arkansas with kids?, visit the Little Rock Zoo situated on 33 acres of land that is on Zoo Drive, it is the largest zoo in Arkansas state.
This zoo, which is home to more than 725 animals, from over 200 species was founded in the year 1926.
The zoo is divided into four sections or Zone, in the South Zone, you will find areas like the Elephant Barn and the Children’s Farm.
In the North Zone, you will find exhibits such as Big Cats and the African Veldt. The East Zone contains Great Apes, Primate Islands, and many other exhibits.
In the West Zone, you will see the Beard, the Giraffes, and the small carnivores.
Aside from these, the zoo offers so many other educational programs such as Zoofari, Zoo to School, and Zoo to You.
Address: 1 Zoo Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Located in Hillcrest is a nicely but casually decorated restaurant called Kemuri.
This makes what to do in little rock Arkansas for a romantic time with a loved one.
Adorned with soft blue colors and a very peaceful atmosphere, you will enjoy all Kemuri has to offer.
Amongst several things, the restaurant specializes in fresh seafood which they fly in daily and also robata a Japanese grilling style which involves cooking food slowly over charcoal.
The sushi they serve comes from their sister restaurant called Ocean. The name of the Chef at Ocean is Chef Alex, and he is known for his skill in providing his subtle interpretation of traditional and classic dishes.
If you seek for a place where you can spend a romantic time with the one you love, then Kemuri is that place for you.
I suggest that you get out his signature Ceviche or his Hamachi tartar, this will be a perfect addition to your checklist of top things to do in Little Rock.
Location: 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd, Little Rock, Arkansas. Phone No: 501-660-4100
23. The Bernice Garden
Located on South Main Street is a privately owned Garden which is open to the public, Bernice Garden.
Bernice Garden was founded in 2007, it features both temporary and permanent sculptures which were made and designed by artists from Arkansas.
You will also see branches, rock formations, and mosaics in this garden. The plants in the garden include both perennial and annual flowers like zinnias and cosmo, there are also herbs like rosemary and lavender and so many other native plants.
Dragonflies, moths, and butterflies can be easily spotted in the garden because they are attracted to wildflowers.
Sometime within the year, the garden hosts a farmers’ market known as a vintage market.
The garden can be rented for special events such as parties, concerts or weddings, your question of what to do in little rock Arkansas can be answered with exploring this gardern.
Location: 1401 South Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. Phone No: 501-617-2511
24. Learn about the Civil Right Movement at Little Rock Central High School
Little Rock Central High School is quite popular when matters concerning civil rights are brought up due to an incidence that once happened in this school.
In 1957, when the Little Rock Nine tried to attend a class on their first day at Little Rock Central High School, they were stopped from entering.
The incidence was so serious that President Eisenhower was forced to intervene on their behalf.
In the school, you will be given a tour where you will learn a lot about this period which is important in African American history.
This tour will be given through the National Historic Site’s visitor center, therefore, you must make sure you book the tour at least 24 hours in advance.
Tours are only given any day between Monday to Friday and also between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
25. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The sole purpose of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is collecting, preserving, interpreting, and also celebrating African American history from the year 1870 till date.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center teaches the people about the African-American’s feats and impacts in politics, arts, business e.t.c
The inside of the museum is about 35,000 square feet space, and in it you will find a classroom, staff offices, exhibits and auditorium which can contain about 400 people.
On arrival, you will me opportuned to learn, the important role the African American population played in the forming and shaping of the state Arkansas and its culture.
You will find two permanent exhibits collection here, both of which are most inspirational and informative.
These exhibits are the “Brotherhood and the Bottom-line” and “African Americans in Arkansas”.
This makes one of the best places to visit in Little Rock and worth adding your list of things to do here.
Location: 501 W 9th St, Little Rock, AR 72201. Phone No: 501-683-3593
26. H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden
H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden is an impressive gate and garden which is located at the far end of Main Street Bridge just at the center of Little Rock.
This gate and garden serves as a symbol of friendship between South Korea and America, it is also a symbol of the ancient tradition of martial arts.
The gate and garden is named after American Taekwondo Association Eternal Grand Master HaengUng Lee.
Master Lee is considered the grandfather of martial arts in all parts of the World.
You can easily identify the gate when you see it for it is painted in traditional Korean colors. Visit the garden if you desire to escape the bustle and hustle of the city streets.
You will find a reflective pool which is situated in the center of the garden and front of a walk of black granite, you will find a bust of the Eternal Grand Master Lee.
27. Wildwood Park For the Art
Wildwood Park is a park meant for performing arts and music, designed for outdoor and indoor performances.
This park, which sits on 104 acres of land has smaller facilities and many gardens in it.
Inside Wildwood, you will find the Butler Arboretum which contains native trees, and daffodils.
You will also find the Gertrude Butler Gazebo which is close to it which contains a daylily garden and also has a scenic view of Swan Lake.
Some other gardens in the Wildwood park worth exploring include the Bruce Garden which is home to native perennials and decorative grasses.
There is also the Asian Woodland Garden which has a ceremonial tea house in it and an array of Japanese plants.
Location: 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock, Arkansas.
28. Governor’s Mansion Historic District
Located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is the Governor’s Mansion Historic District, a district that covers a very large historic neighborhood.
This district was first listed on the National Register of historic places in 1978, it’s borders were increased in 1988, it’s and later in 2002, it was increased again.
In this district, you will get to see so many well-preserved houses from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
You will also find a set of residential buildings which were designed by Little Rock’s renowned architect Charles L Thompson.
It is the oldest neighborhood in the city which still retains its residential character.
29. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
The Pinnacle Mountain, which is more than a feet tall above the river valley that surrounds it can be found just over 15 miles from northwest of downtown Little Rock.
In the mountain, you will notice two trails that can lead you to the summit where you can get an extraordinary view of the city.
The park is named after this mountain that stands in its center. Other fun activities and amenities in the Pinnacle Mountain park include boat launches, picnic sites, and interpretive programs.
It is worth noting that you can’t camp in this park, regardless of that, it’s beauty makes it worth the view.
Location: 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road, Little Rock, Arkansas.
30. Quapaw Quarter
Quapaw Quarter is a section of Little Rock that contains the most historic and oldest residential business neighborhoods.
It was first given its name in 1961 in honor of the Quapaw Indians that lived in the area centuries ago.
You will find about fifteen sperate National Historic Register Districts that are contained in Quapaw Quarter. You will also find more than 200 separate buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This makes one of the fun things to do in Little Rock today if you will wish to appreciate historic architecture.
31. Community Theatre of Little Rock (CTLR).
The Community Theatre of Little Rock was founded in 1956 and it is arguably the oldest and finest theatre in Central Arkansas.
It is located in the Studio Theatre and lobby bar where since it’s inception, It has presented over 200 mini stage production.
You can watch one of their superb production with your loved ones. Do check out their website for upcoming events as you plan your vacation to Little Rock.
32. The Robinson Center
Located at Statehouse Plaza in downtown Little Rock, The Robinson Center is performance, exhibition and convention space.
You will love the architectural feature of the south side of the Robinson Center Music Hall which was designed by Eugene Stern of Wittenberg and Delony in 1939.
This makes a place for some of the best events in Little Rock, will you like a theater time during your visit, here is the place to visit.
The auditorium is worth the view, it makes great pictures so you can as well come with your camera to save the memory.
Location: 426 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72203, United States. Phone: +1 501-244-8800
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Start Planning Your Trip to Little Rock
This city has everything that will make you love it, from parks to restaurants and then sightseeing spots, it has all it takes to fulfill a tourist’s dream.
During your visit, you can take to exploring this city, from the above-mentioned attractions and activities, make a list of places you will like to visit.
Also, do make the right preparations for your journey, park the necessary things you will most likely make use of during your vacation, when packing, take only the necessary items.
Before heading on your trip, do get in touch with your travel agent to check the availability of items on your list of things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas, this will enable you book the necessary reservations before going on your trip.