20 Best Things to Do in Little Rock, AR

Little Rock, AR
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Arkansas is a popular tourist destination, with thousands of people flocking to it to enjoy its many museums, parks, and awesome art galleries.

Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, remains its prized jewel and was named the United States of America's third-most travel-worthy state capital.

The city is a blend of contrasts.

It's a cosmopolitan bustling with the hustle of modern life.

At the same time, it's packed with beautiful sights of natural beauty, providing ample opportunities to indulge in adventurous outdoor activities.

The city is a prominent art center; if you are an art aficionado, Little Rock should be on your travel bucket list.

If you are planning to visit anytime soon, check out this list of the best things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas:

Visit the Remarkable Capitol Building

Astronishing view of Capitol Building during twilight
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Located on Woodlane Street, the Capitol Building dates back to 1899 and houses Arkansas' state government.

It's one of the city's historical hallmarks.

Interestingly, this building was originally constructed to serve as a state prison.

House of representatives at the Capitol Building
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The mammoth edifice has a detailed limestone façade and a gold leaf cupola.

It's topped by an imposing dome used by many Hollywood studios on a budget as a proxy for the US Capitol in DC.

The Capitol Building is packed with amazing exhibitions.

Nine Civil Right Monument at Capitol Building
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You can also catch a glimpse of the state's history with the many monuments and memorials on the wide expanses of its main grounds.

You should definitely check out the Liberty Bell replica on the building's outer periphery.

This is a historical memorial to the Nine Civil Rights of Little Rock and is a tribute to the brave Confederate War Prisons of yesteryear.

Geek Out at the Museum of Discovery

Exterior view of Museum of Discovery
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There is a colorful backstory to the Museum of Discovery.

It was apparently constructed as a fitting response to an Arkansas critic who belied the state's lack of cultural sophistry.

As its name implies, the Museum of Discovery is the perfect geek den for all science and math lovers.

The museum boasts an impressive 90 galleries filled with amazing scientific contraptions and devices.

You can lay your eyes on one of the famous Tesla musical coils and get some practical fun by participating in the many available hands-on chemistry, biology, and anatomy activities.

There's also a tinkering studio to let you break open and tweak all sorts of crazy technological artifacts.

The Discovery Hall here is unique; you should explore its amazing math section.

Check out the Amazing You gallery to dive deeply into your body's functions and some of its interesting quirks.

For kids, the Room to Grow is perfect for playing around with many educational exhibits.

You can find the Museum of Discovery along President Clinton Avenue.

Meet the Animals at the Little Rock Zoo

Chimpanzee at Little Rock Zoo
Nngowen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated along Zoo Drive, the Little Rock Zoo is home to 700 beautiful animals representing more than an impressive 100 species.

You will feast your eyes on almost all life forms with their beautiful diversity and unique abilities.

This zoo started from humble beginnings with only two animals in 1926.

The administration has worked diligently over the years, and now, this impressive animal habitat spans an area of more than 33 acres.

The zoo is divided into several sections by theme, each housing animal species related to that theme.

You can wander around in the African Savannah, Asian Elephants, Big Cats, Great Apes, and Heritage Farm themes, among many others.

There's also a mini train to carry you around the facility on a fun ride.

You could have hours of interesting fun while watching farm shows, keeper chats, or animal feeding session demos in this zoo.

Some of the most interesting animals housed in this zoo include lemurs, zebras, and antelopes.

Stop and Smell the Flowers at the Bernice Garden

Enjoy a sumptuous visual feast of the earth's flora in the majestic Bernice Garden on South Main Street.

This beautiful privately owned garden is situated in downtown Little Rock and is open to the public.

This garden also salutes the local craftsmen and artists by displaying many of their exquisite works on its campus.

Beautiful dragonflies, butterflies, and moths hover around the plants and flowers, adding to the garden's visual richness.

You could have even more fun here by planning your visit when the Bernice Garden organizes any of its regular community events or festivals.

Spend a Relaxing Day at Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is a perfect destination for those who like to spend endless hours exploring the outdoors.

This 33-acre park is located on President Clinton Avenue, along the Arkansas River's southern bank.

It's one of Arkansas's most popular gathering joints, where people hang around to have fun on a budget.

You can walk over the historical bridge or marvel at the imposing Historical Pavilion.

Visit the beautiful sculpture garden or simply enjoy the murmur of the glowing Arkansas River waters flowing alongside.

There are ample physical activities available at Riverfront Park to keep you fresh.

You can also take a dip and have crazy water fun in one of the splash parks!

Enjoy the Views from the Big Dam Bridge

View of Big Dam Bridge
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The Big Dam Bridge on Cook's Landing Road is one of Little Rock's impressive engineering feats.

This mammoth bridge stretches out for over 14 miles with feisty sceneries on both sides from North Little Rock to Little Rock.

It's the world's longest pedestrian and bike bridge.

The sheer expanse of its gigantic construction will leave you breathless at first sight.

A woman jogging on the Big Dam Bridge
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On both sides of the bridge, you can enjoy stunning sights of Murray Lock and Dam and the scintillating Arkansas River traversing both Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The Big Dam Bridge comes alive at night with a world-class display of sparkling LED lights designed for the ultimate visual beauty.

You can enjoy some great blood-pumping jogs here, starting from Little Rock's Murray Park.

Feast your taste buds on delicious dishes at one of the many nearby restaurants.

The view of the sun setting behind the river is a special sight and a must-watch for visitors.

Admire the Extensive Handbag Collection Displayed at the ESSE Purse Museum

Exterior viw of ESSE Purse Museum
Toniklemm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Main Street, the ESSE Purse Museum exhibits the prettiest purse designs from the 1900s to 1999.

It takes you through a timeline of women's purse designs and their changing trends over the past century.

The museum's founder was inspired by folk art and decided to pay tribute by displaying her huge collection of personal handbags numbering in the thousands.

This amazing museum is much more than a designer's heaven; it symbolizes the strong women who struggled over the last century to earn women the rightful position they now enjoy.

Each handbag, piece of jewelry, and accessory displayed here has an interesting story about how women struggled and came out on top with amazing accomplishments in the past century.

The ESSE Purse Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of an important social issue while feasting your eyes on elegant designs.

Shop till You Drop at The Promenade at Chenal

The Promenade at Chenal is the go-to destination for those who want to indulge in their guilty pleasures by shopping, dining, and having fun.

This shopping center in Chenal Parkway is packed with awesome goodies manufactured locally.

The fashion collection is particularly impressive, and you must pick up an exotic clothing item to take back with you as a souvenir.

You can enjoy the shopping center's many beautiful boutiques and interesting specialty shops.

Nibble on some of the tastiest local and world culinary delights at one of the many restaurants in this shopping space.

The Promenade at Chenal has something to offer for people of every fashion taste.

Sample the Spirits at Rock Town Distillery

Rock Town Distillery is Arkansas' oldest legal distillery and is world-renowned for its specialty artisan-crafted spirits.

The distillery has a beautiful process that involves painstaking steps to extract the world's finest liquors from its homegrown high-grade corn, wheat, and rye.

You can also enjoy the delicious tastes of the cocktails, beers, and wines coming out of the stable at their tasting room.

Visiting Rock Town Distillery can be an absolute pilgrimage for the true brewmaster.

You can find this place along Main Street.

Catch a Live Performance at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Located on Main Street, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the longest-running non-profit theater, delighting drama lovers with its amazing shows since 1976.

This world-famous theater is affiliated with the Actors' Equity Association and attracts an incredible 70,000 patrons annually!

It's known for producing amazing world-class performances on various themes and settings.

If you plan to visit Little Rock, schedule your trip in time to see one of their productions.

You would miss out on an amazing experience if you return from Little Rock without having watched one of the plays at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Snap Photos of the Enchanting Wildwood Park for the Arts

Wildwood Park for the Arts is a perfect pleasure for your senses with its well-maintained landscapes and forest spaces.

Walk around in these natural heavens and breathe in sumptuous organic beauty.

Alternatively, you can caress your artistic sensibilities with the many stage productions, musical programs, or art activities available.

Wildwood Park for the Arts is located on Denny Road.

Explore Heifer Village

Interior view of the Heifer Village
Żwirko1, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Heifer International Headquarters is committed to helping low-income people find strength and self-reliance through its various initiatives.

Heifer Village showcases some of its work through interactive exhibits and hands-on videos.

You can learn how this organization is executing its noble mission to fight world hunger and get as many people out of poverty as possible.

In addition, take a guided tour where the docent will educate you about the significance of all the exhibits.

At the end of your sojourn, you can recuperate by resting in the beautiful garden on the premises at Heifer Village.

Wander around the City on the METRO Streetcar

River Rail Electric Streetcar
Justin Baeder from Seattle, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy some old-age city travel with a ride on the METRO Streetcar, formerly known as the River Rail Electric Streetcar.

These streetcars date back to 1876.

They were shut down in the 1940s before eventually being reopened in their modern avatar in 2004.

METRO Streetcar in Little Rock
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In the METRO Streetcar, you can travel for 3.4 miles through Little Rock and surrounding areas.

These streetcars are designed in the vintage style reminiscent of the original streetcars of the 19th century.

Along the way, enjoy glimpses of famous monuments such as the Clinton Library.

METRO Streetcar crossing a river
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Discover the State's Past at Historic Arkansas Museum

Situated on East 3rd Street, Historic Arkansas Museum opened in 1941.

It displays artwork, antiquities, and replicas of historic structures from the state's past.

Discover more about Little Rock and Arkansas by checking out the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Historic Arkansas Museum's exhibit halls and outdoor gardens highlight the history of the state's early settlers and the local Native American community.

In addition, you can watch reenactments performed by costumed interpreters portraying different periods and experience Little Rock's pre-Civil War architecture and history.

You may visit these reconstructed buildings from the early 1800s and learn the tales of the people who formerly lived there.

Step Back in Time at the Old State House Museum

Entrance to Old State House Museum
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The Old State House has functioned as the state capitol since its establishment in 1842.

It opened to the public as a museum in 1947 and has retained its original displays of historical items, pictures, clothes, flags, and chambers.

If the Old State House Museums' walls could talk, they would entertain you with many tales from Little Rock's past.

By exploring the building and its grounds, you can learn about the state's vital part in American history.

House of Representatives with old school chairs at Old State House Museum
Cliff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As you go from room to room and up the creaky, old-school stairs, you'll feel transported back to the 19th century.

Hop in a guided tour or explore on your own using the provided map.

Also, don't miss the cannon and artillery pieces dating back to 1861 displayed in the front yard.

The Old State House Museum is located on West Markham Street.

Learn about the Life of a President at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum

Exterior view of William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
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The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum houses the most extensive archives of former president Bill Clinton.

Visit this attraction on President Clinton Avenue to learn more about Bill Clinton's two presidential terms.

In addition to images, emails, communication, and other items from Clinton's presidency, the museum also displays life-size recreations of Clinton's Oval Office and Cabinet Room.

Interior view of William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
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Head to the lower level to see Bill Clinton's presidential limousine.

Then, head upstairs to see a recreation of the White House Cabinet Room and displays highlighting the accomplishments of his presidency.

Cabinet room in William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
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On the third level, visitors may see a recreation of the Oval Office and other exhibits depicting White House life through the years.

Those interested in learning more about American history will find the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum fascinating.

Peruse the Shops and Catch Performances at the River Market Entertainment District

Established in 1996, the River Market Entertainment District's indoor market spans 10,000 square feet.

It's a fantastic place to dine after spending the morning seeing Little Rock's tourist attractions.

The market's cuisine, live music, and boutiques have kept the downtown area afloat for almost 20 years.

Wine, dine, and shop while taking in the breathtaking river vistas.

The downtown area also features five historic missions, museums, and galleries for the culturally curious.

The clubs, pubs, and live performances of various musical styles that make up the nighttime scene in the River Market Entertainment District are well-known across the city.

You can find this attraction on President Clinton Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have a Romantic Time at An Enchanting Evening

An all-in-one cabin, winery, and wedding venue, An Enchanting Evening is the perfect destination for the Cupid-struck.

This beautiful lovers' sanctuary is located on a hill in Roland, 45 minutes from downtown Little Rock.

It has a warm and rustic theme that will provide the most romantic scenery for all couples.

You can have a romantic stay in An Enchanting Evening's cozy log cabin, partake of their delicious wines, and enjoy amenities like a hot tub and fireplace.

Pinnacle Mountain Park

Landscape of Pinnacle Mountain Park
David7 / Shutterstock.com

Pinnacle Mountain is more than 1,000 feet tall, and Pinnacle Mountain Park is spread across a vast 2,350 acres.

You can hike on 40 miles of exquisite trails that provide just the right challenge for every hiker.

Some of the easier trails include the Kingfisher Trail for light walks.

Pinnacle Mountain Park during fall
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If you are a seasoned hiker, try completing the East Summit Trail and sit pretty at the summit of Pinnacle Mountain.

You can also travel through water across the park by following the Little Mountain Water trail.

Enjoy sumptuous visuals of the landscape on all these journeys.

Pinnacle Mountain Park is located in Roland, 22 minutes from Little Rock.

Horses at Pinnacle Mountain Park
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Final Thoughts

Even though Little Rock is the state capital, it still has plenty of scenic natural scenery and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Whether you're more interested in art or exploring the great outdoors, you'll fall in love with the city's beauty, museums, parks, and trails.

If you're considering visiting this city to check out the state's lakes, parks, museums, and art movement, bookmark this list of the best things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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