If you have an idea to visit in Little Rock, one of Arkansas’s most beautiful destinations, we’ll tell you the most attractive places in Little Rock and the most interesting things you can do there. William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park, outdoor recreation at nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and artistic institutions like the ESSE Purse Museum are some places most tourists visit. Then, let’s start our tour of Little Rock.
1. Clinton Presidential Center and Park
William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. It is home to the William J. Clinton Presidential museum and library. There are many interactive exhibits in this three floors complex. If you visit there, you can see more than one million photos, artifacts, presidential itineraries, and gifts that Clinton received as president. It will take two to three hours to see the complex.
If you like to see the architectural details of the building, you should visit the Great Hall. The full-scale replica White House rooms of the Cabinet Room and Oval Office is another highlight of the building. You can also walk through the grounds outside the Clinton Presidential Center. You can see the sculptures, fountains, and restored wetlands to support local wildlife there. The Cafe 42 Grille is a great place to have lunch. You can also walk across the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge.
- Visit: 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/
2. Central High School
This is the center of school desegregation in 1957 after the case of Brown v. Board of Education. Nine African-American teenagers were the focal point of the desegregation debate. They called the Little Rock Nine. They tried to enter Little Rock Central High School when it was legalized. The incident of nine students walking into school, escorted by the U.S. Army is one of the great moments in Civil Rights history. If you want to visit this site, you need to reserve a ranger-led tour. You can walk around the outside of the school on your own. If you only want to admire the towering architecture, it’ll be enough. Little Rock Central High is still an active school as well.
- Visit: 2120 W. Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive and Park Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.nps.gov/chsc/index.htm
3. Arkansas River Trail
Arkansas River Trail runs through Little Rock. You can run, walk, or bike ride and experience some of the best sites and attractions in the city. Because it connects different pedestrian bridges that cross the Arkansas River, and more than 23 attractions and parks. The trail is a 15.6-mile loop and it is popular with runners and bicyclists. It connects to more than 70 miles of additional trails as well. Some of the attractions that you can visit through the trail are Riverfront Park, the Clinton Presidential Center, Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.
You can walk through the Big Dam Bridge, the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the world. It connects North Little Rock to Little Rock on the opposite banks of the River. Visit the bridge in the evening and you will see a great view at that time. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is another highlight of the trial. It was built in 1899 and repurposed into a pedestrian walkway. The bridge is especially pretty at night. If you visit there, you can see a great view of downtown, the Clinton Presidential Center, and the Arkansas River.
4. River Market
River Market District offers 10,000 square feet of shops, stalls, and tables that sell food and many unique products. It is an open-concept building with groceries, food stalls, take-out options, and coffee vendors. Do you think the River Market District only offers things to buy? Of course not. It offers more than just shopping. It consists of more than 30 acres of green space and art. As well as you can visit art galleries, the River Market Entertainment District, and Riverfront Park.
You can also have a ride on the Rock Region METRO Streetcar. It is a vintage electric streetcar that offers free rides. The River Market District also has easy access to the Arkansas River Trail. Then you have the opportunity for walking or bike. River Market District hosts special events throughout the year. If you visit there on the fourth of July, you can see fireworks over the river.
- Visit: 400 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.rivermarket.info/
5. State Capitol
Arkansas State Capitol is made based on the design of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. It has been made with white marble and granite. The front entrance doors of the building have been made of bronze. Arkansas State Capitol is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. The most popular areas of the building are the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Governor’s Reception Room.
The building is home to many permanent and rotating exhibits. As well as, the outside of the building is ground with walking paths and commemorative statues. There are bronze sculptures made to commemorate the Little Rock Nine. These brave nine students played a significant role in the desegregation of city schools in 1857. You can have a scheduled tour and explore the Arkansas State Capitol.
- Visit: 500 Woodlane Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/state-capitol/
6. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
If you like to have a little outdoor fun, Pinnacle Mountain is the best place for it. It is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. It stands over a thousand feet above the surrounding river valley. It offers two main hiking trails that provide amazing views. They also offer other multi-use trails wind through the nearly 2,500 acres of the state park. Not only that, the park features some other popular activities like interpretive programs, boat launches, and picnic sites. You can find more than 100 campsites in Maumelle Park less than five miles away, even though camping is not available at Pinnacle Mountain.
- Visit: 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain/
7. ESSE Purse Museum in Little Rock
This unique and engaging museum features women’s history through handbags. Many exhibits are categorized by decade. They show the social and pop culture scene of each decade. You can learn how women’s handbags evolved to reflect the culture, by visiting there. The collection belongs to Anita Davis. The name of the museum, “ESSE,” which translates to “essence,” highlights the importance of women’s handbags as more than just storage containers for their belongings but also as extensions of themselves.
- Visit: 1510 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://essepursemuseum.com/
8. Old State House
The Old State House is one of the best examples of Doric architecture in the southern states. It was designed by Gideon Shryock. The museum commenced in 1833 and was completed in 1842. Some alterations were done in 1885 as well. The museum is located in the center of Little Rock. You can stop by there when you heading to the River Market District. You can visit the museum without paying and it is a great place to learn about important historical events. Many exhibits related to decorative arts and inaugural gowns of governors’ wives.
- Visit: 300 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.oldstatehouse.com/
9. Schwartz Sculpture Garden
The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. You can see the most inspiring art displays there. It allows you to enjoy the art at your own pace as well. The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is home to the majority of the downtown riverfront’s nearly 90 public works of art. It’s simple to identify the huge statues by the river that appear to highlight the bridges behind them, but it takes a careful eye to find the smaller, more delicate statues as well.
- Visit: Riverfront Park, Little Rock, Arkansas
10. Museum of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock and an ideal family destination. There are many interactive displays to see. As well as many experiments encourage both children and adults to participate. Bed of Nails, Pet Clinic, Tesla Coil, Tinkering Studio, Amazing You, and Earth Journeys are popular attractions in the museum. Tornado Alley Theater is another interesting exhibit on the premises. You can get many important educational experiences from there as well.
- Visit: 500 President Clinton Ave., Suite 150, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: www.museumofdiscovery.org
11. Mosaic Templars Cultural Centre in Little Rock
If you visit to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Centre, you can learn about the African American life experience in Arkansas. The name came from a fraternal organization in Little Rock, Arkansas. The building used to be a practical use for the organization and now it uses as a public museum. Many exhibits display the African American history in America. The history of the building, a children’s gallery, and a theater are some of the permanent exhibits. If you are looking to find historical information, the cultural center is here always help you. They offer educational programs at the center throughout the year as well.
- Visit: 501 W. 9th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.arkansasheritage.com/mosaic-templars-cultural-center/mtcc-home
12. MacArthur Museum
The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. It is housed in the historic Tower Building. The building is one of the oldest in Arkansas. It was the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur as well. There are many artifacts, photographs, documents, uniforms, weapons, and other military items that explore military history. MacArthur Park surrounded the museum. The park has attractions like contemplation gardens and veteran memorials. You spend the night at the Little Rock Firehouse Hostel & Museum within the park.
- Visit: 503 East Ninth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.macarthurparklr.org/military-history-museum
13. Little Rock Zoo
The Little Rock Zoo has a collection of animals, with about 200 different species from around the world. The zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as well. If you visit there you can see large and exotic animals like elephants, giraffes, big cats, rhinos, and bears. The zoo maintains a good collection of large animals, even though it is not a huge zoo. The Arkansas Heritage Farm pavilion is one of the popular features of the zoo. You can have hands-on interactions with animals there. Fish feeding and lorikeet landing stations are also popular among tourists.
- Visit: 1 Zoo Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.littlerockzoo.com/
14. Museum of Fine Arts
The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is receiving a $150 million restoration, reinforcing the city’s dedication to the visual and performing arts. If you are interested in rare art and art history, you should visit there. Private collections of artwork are on display in the museum. Through performances of music, dance, and theater, the center places a strong emphasis on the performing arts.
- Visit: 2510 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.arkmfa.org/
15. Arkansas Museum
The Historic Arkansas Museum houses some of the oldest buildings in Little Rock. It is an 1850 farmstead. If you want to experience life in Arkansas in the mid-19th century, this is an ideal place to visit. The renovated structures provide information about Little Rock’s historic past. You should schedule your visit when there are performers on-site trying to depict residents and historical figures to bring this era to life since it is a living history museum.
- Visit: 200 E. Third Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: https://www.arkansasheritage.com/historic-arkansas-museum/historic-arkansas-museum-home
16. Wildwood Park
Wildwood Park is a park for the performing arts and music. It is designed for indoor and outdoor performances. The park has several gardens and smaller facilities as well. The Butler Arboretum garden has daffodils and native flowering trees. The Gertrude Butler Gazebo features a daylily garden and scenic views of Swan Lake. The Bruce Garden is home to decorative grasses and native perennials. The Asian Woodland Garden has a ceremonial tea house and an array of Japanese plants. The park is an ideal place to go for a hike with your kids. Also, you can enjoy a picnic lunch under one of the lakeside gazebos. Sometimes the resident swans make an appearance.
- Visit: 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://www.wildwoodpark.org/
17. Maritime Museum
The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is one of the most attractive places in Little Rock. It is located alongside the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. Two floating vessels involved in World War II and the USS Razorback submarine are the main attractions of the museum. The USS Razorback submarine was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered the war. Two floating vessels are recognized as a Historic National Landmark. You can take a guided tour of the operational submarine.
- Visit: 120 Riverfront Park Drive, North Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://aimmuseum.org/
18. The Old Mill
The Old Mill was made famous from the opening scene of the 1939 classic, Gone with the Wind. It is a scenic recreation of an 1800s grist mill surrounded by three acres of landscaped settings. Admission is free and you can have a guided tour for groups of 10 or more.
- Visit: 3800 Lakeshore Drive, North Little Rock, Arkansas
- Official website: http://friendsoftheoldmill.org/
Those are the most attractive places in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you plan to tour to Little Rock, don’t forget to visit these places. You will be able to get an amazing experience in Little Rock.
Hotels to stay in Little Rock
If you visit Little Rock, you can stay in the below highly-rated hotels. They are close to the most attractive places in Little Rock.
- The Capital Hotel: Located near the River Market District and The Discovery Museum, large rooms and suites
- Little Rock Marriott: Located within walking distance of some of the city’s top sites, modern and contemporary rooms, good views over the city, on-site restaurants
- The Courtyard by Marriott Little Rock Downtown: Located in the heart of downtown
- Residence Inn Little Rock Downtown: Located in the trendy River Market District, not far from the Clinton Library, two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, an indoor pool, free breakfast
- Empress of Little Rock: One of the best bed-and-breakfasts in the city
- La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Downtown Conference Center: Located in a good downtown location, offers comfortable rooms, a seasonal pool, complimentary breakfast
- Wingate by Wyndham: About 10 to 12 minutes west of the city center
- Econo Lodge Inn & Suites: 15 to 20 minutes southwest of downtown, modest and comfortable rooms
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Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Little Rock well-known?
The “Little Rock Nine,” a group of African American teenagers who made civil rights history in 1957, call this thriving city home. The “Little Rock Nine” helped lay the foundation for desegregation during the period of school segregation, despite being challenged by an angry mob at the Little Rock Central High School.
Why do people travel to Little Rock?
Arkansas’s capital city is well worth a visit since it is full of gorgeous natural scenery, rich history, amazing state parks, famous landmarks, museums, and more. On the southern bank of the Arkansas River, Little Rock is a charming city with bike trails, farmer’s markets, gardens, and other attractions.
Why is it referred to as Little Rock?
The “Little Rock,” a little rock feature on the south side of the Arkansas River, is where Little Rock gets its name (French: La Petite Roche). Early river traffic used the Little Rock as a landmark and it developed into a well-known river crossing.
What was the fame of Little Rock 9?
In 1957, nearly 400 students at a black high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, volunteered to be among the first to integrate all-white Central High, three years after the Supreme Court eliminated school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. Only nine were selected.
What part of Little Rock is the best?
The Heights, Riverdale, and Hillcrest are the greatest neighborhoods in Little Rock for living.