Little Rock is Arkansas’s historic capital city. It’s filled with fun attractions to suit every type of visitor. One of the best things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas for couples is to visit the River Market District. Home to many restaurants and cultural attractions, pick up some food from the market hall and have a romantic picnic in Riverfront Park. A visit to the River Market District is also one of the best things to do in Little Rock at night, as it’s live music central.
As for family things to do in Little Rock this weekend and beyond, check out the Funland Amusement Park in Burns Park, or the local zoo. Continue reading for many more amazing things to do in Little Rock today.
1. William J. Clinton Library and Museum
The William J. Clinton Library and Museum is the presidential library of Bill Clinton, America’s 42nd President. Located at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service, the state-of-the-art library and museum are filled with artifacts from Clinton’s presidency. This includes his Cadillac One presidential limousine and full-sized replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. There’s also a timeline depicting key events during Clinton’s two terms as President. Visitors will also find an award-winning restaurant and the Museum Store onsite.
2. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Standing tall in the middle of this state park is Pinnacle Mountain itself; an iconic Arkansas landmark. Pinnacle Mountain State Park is known for its outdoor adventures, as it’s also home to the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. There are 40 miles of hiking trails and over seven miles of challenging mountain biking trails. Don’t miss checking out the park’s Arkansas Arboretum and its visitor center as well, with interactive exhibits and a wildlife viewing area.
3. Big Dam Bridge
One of the top things to do in Little Rock is to go for a walk or bike ride along Big Dam Bridge. Why? Well, it’s North America’s longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge, which has never been used by trains or motor vehicles. At over 4000 feet, Big Dam Bridge is built atop the Arkansas River and the Murray Lock and Dam. At either end of the bridge, you’ll find Murray Park and Cook’s Landing Park.
4. Little Rock Zoo
Founded in 1926, Little Rock Zoo was originally home to only two animals: an abandoned timber wolf and a bear from the circus. Today, visitors can see over 700 animals from 200 different species. This includes elephants, tigers, a black rhino, and a gorilla family. Other zoo attractions include the Lorikeet Landing, where you can feed lorikeets; the Safari Trader Market for unique souvenirs; and the Arkansas Diamond Express Train, which takes you on a journey around the zoo.
5. Museum of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery is located in a historic building in the city’s River Market District; overlooking the Arkansas River. It’s the state’s premier science center and has even been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Some of its permanent exhibits include the Earth Studio, which highlights the features that make Arkansas unique. Then there’s the Tinkering Studio for a hands-on experience and Amazing You, which focuses on just that – what’s inside amazing you!
6. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Little Rock Central High School is the only operating high school in the United States to be designated a National Historic Site. It received this designation because of the Little Rock Nine – a group of nine African-American teenagers who enrolled in the previously all-white school in 1957. They were only allowed to attend the school after intervention from President Eisenhower. Today, visitors can do guided tours to learn more about this desegregation crisis and its role in the Civil Rights Movement.
7. Arkansas State Capitol
One of the most important things to do in Little Rock is to visit the Arkansas State Capitol building, which is home for the Arkansas General Assembly. The neo-classical building was designed as a replica of the US Capitol and has some stunning features, including three chandeliers created by Tiffany’s of New York and a 24-karat gold plated dome. On the Capitol grounds, you can also visit the Little Rock Nine monument and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
8. Burns Park
Burns Park is a 1700-acre park located in North Little Rock. It’s full of fun attractions, like two golf courses (including an 18-hole FootGolf course), several sporting fields, Victory Lake, hiking trails, a camping area, and Funland Amusement Park. The amusement park is open from April until October and has many family-friendly rides, including a bungee jump, a carousel, and a mini Ferris wheel and coaster. It’s one of the best family things to do in Little Rock this summer.
9. River Market District
Located in the heart of downtown, River Market District is the city’s entertainment hub. It’s filled with restaurants and bars, shopping boutiques, art galleries and. museums (including the aforementioned Museum of Discovery). It’s also home to Riverfront Park and the Ottenheimer Market Hall. With over 15 permanent vendors, the market hall is stocked with excellent food options. At night, the River Market District is abuzz, thanks to live music being heard left, right and center.
10. The Arkansas River Trail
The Arkansas River Trail is a 17-mile rail-trail that runs along the river’s north and south banks. Anchored by both the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge and the Big Dam Bridge, there are actually five pedestrian/bicycle bridges connected to the trail (the most in any American city). Along the way, you can pass 38 parks and five museums. Other attractions to look out for include The Medical Mile, Big Rock Quarry, Two Rivers Park and the Clinton School of Public Service.
11. Junction Bridge
Another one of the pedestrian/bicycle bridges mentioned above is Junction Bridge. Built over the Arkansas River, it is a part of the Arkansas River Trail. It was converted into a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge in 2008. However, it has been a significant city landmark for over 100 years, as it was once part of the Union Pacific Railroad. You can easily access Junction Bridge from behind the River Market pavilion in the downtown area.
12. River Rail Electric Streetcar
Established in 2004, Metro Streetcar is a heritage electric streetcar system that makes designated stops in both Little Rock and North Little Rock. The Metro Streetcar operates two routes and you can only board at designated stops – highlighted on this map. It’s a fun and affordable way to see the city’s sights, as it stops by the River Market District, the Historic Arkansas Museum, The William J. Clinton Library and Museum, and the Old State House Museum.
13. Riverfront Park
Located in the River Market District, Riverfront Park stretches for eleven blocks along the south bank of the Arkansas River. Notable attractions at Riverfront Park include Junction Bridge, La Petit Roche Plaza, The Medical Mile, Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, and the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. It also has a pavilion and amphitheater, which regularly host events. The Peabody Splash Park at Riverfront Park is popular with kids when the sun is shining as well.
14. Rock Town Distillery
Rock Town Distillery is the state’s first legal distillery since prohibition. The multi award-winning craft distillery uses only Arkansan-grown grains to produce a range of spirits, including vodka, flavored vodka, bourbon, whiskey, and gin. Rock Town Distillery does daily guided tours, which takes you behind the scenes and through the entire distilling process. There’s also an onsite shop and tasting room, where you can sample cocktails made from their spirits, as well as local craft beer and wine.