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Rock City's Cooling Summer Cocktails

Summer nights are finally near — settle into Rock City’s best cocktail joints for a soothing seasonal refresher.

South on Main may be known for their power duo productions of food and entertainment, but their house-made cocktail menu is worthy of a visit of its own. Cozy up with their rotating seasonal hot toddy or stick with Southern-inspired spirits such as the Arkansas Rose and the Whiskey Rebellion. Introduce your senses to creative new flavor combinations — and introduce yourself to the creative folks behind them — at Trio’s where the menu tilts its cap to the bartenders behind beverages like Bird of Paradise (think whiskey, Campari and pineapple) and Fraise Prince (a gin drink with a black pepper rim). Sometimes a more traditional craving strikes, but at The Fold, you don’t have to compromise the thrill of the creative cocktail. You can’t go wrong here, where tried and true choices, like the Mai Tai, share the spotlight with marvels like Chill Barbie and When in Doubt, Sage it Out.

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children at science museum

Dive Deeper at the Museum of Discovery

It could be said that wonder, curiosity, and questioning are what make humans unique, and in Little Rock, there’s a perfect place to find all the answers.

Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery—ranked the 6th best science museum in the country—is one of the top go-to spots in the city for tinkerers, thinkers and those with a curious mind, whether kid or adult. Start at the Tinkering Studio where workbenches, resource books, tools, motors, wires and more await for you to experiment with life’s two wonders: science and art. With no right or wrong answers, the adventure of discovery is purely your own. While the bigger kids and grown-ups create things, the littlest ones can roam around in the Room to Grow gallery complete with a dance studio, air cannon wall, climbing structure, and the Discovery Pet Clinic. For fans of the family furballs, head to the Dog Days of Science event to learn about what makes the canines unique!

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gorilla

Finding a Way for the World's Wildlife

Spring is just around the corner and there’s no better way to celebrate the season of life than with a visit to the zoo.

Since 1926 the Little Rock Zoo has made it a mission to bring wildlife and people together in the spirit of preservation. As a member of several conservation initiatives including the Species Survival Plan and Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE), the zoo lives out its purpose of protecting the more than 500 animals and 400 insects that call the zoo home. As you roam the grounds getting to know the residents — be sure to visit Trudy the gorilla, the world’s oldest gorilla under human care — notice the graphics spread throughout that are part of the “Language of Conservation” program. Initially launched in New York City, the program unites poetry and science to serve as a reminder of the beauty of nature and the threat of destruction. It’s a fine balance that the zoo hopes it can play a part in preserving.

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group of women

Celebrate Little Rock's Civil Rights History

In honor of Black History Month and in memory of the moments that have shaped the course of our country, take a tour of Little Rock’s iconic historic locations.

From the Historic West Ninth Street where African-American doctors, dentists, lawyers, barbers, tailors and more built a thriving social and business district in the late 1800s to the Historic Arkansas Museum where a memorial entitled “Giving Voice” stands for the 138 men, women and children enslaved on the property in the 19th century, the Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour covers all the important moments from the state’s past. Highlights of the tour’s 35-plus stops include a series on the iconic Little Rock Nine. Stop by the still-operating Central High School National Historic Site and tour the museum, visit the Daisy Bates home where the Little Rock Nine gathered for pick-up and drop-offs each day, and peer into the faces of the courageous students at Testament, the Little Rock Nine Monument.

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cups of coffee

Rock City's Best Coffee Spots

It’s the New Year and there are probably plenty of goals to keep you busy. Get energized and ready to take it all on with these unique caffeinated experiences.

Voted the best coffee and best barista in Little Rock, River City Coffee specializes in customized caffeine. Each barista has their own personal area of expertise. Ask Regi for a perfect cup of Jeremy’s Trifecta—a blend of dark chocolate, white chocolate and caramel—while Lucas serves up poetry with his coffee skills. Mylo Coffee Co. started as a simple stall at the Farmer’s Market. As people flocked to their flavors, the stall grew into a storefront. Try their rosewater cappuccino, orange blossom hot chocolate or mint lemonade—all ingredients roasted and made in-house. For that satisfying combination of coffee and sweets head to Honey Pies. Sit and enjoy the day with an espresso drink, try the Good Morning, Honey! or Parisian Mocha, and a slice of your favorite pie!

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nutcracker ornament

Special Holiday Showstoppers

When the itch to don that dress and suit-up strikes, there’s no better time of year to scratch that itch than at the holidays. One of the best places to go for that fancy night out is at the theatre.

Keep it classic at Ballet Arkansas’ 40th Anniversary Nutcracker Spectacular. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra joins the company this year in addition to a completely revamped choreography, special holiday surprises, and a meet and greet with the dancers at the Land of Sweets Nutcracker Tea. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has their own show planned this year as well. Home for the Holidays is a feel-good event for grownups and kids of all ages. Guests are invited to come dressed in their favorite holiday sweater with sweets in hand for snacking. Take your family to the Arkansas Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre production of Jack Frost. The festive show even has special performances like the Opening Night Celebration and Pajama Night!

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Little Rock's Curated and Quirky Collections

From museums full of historic memorabilia to curated showcases of classic style, we can’t help but be fascinated by collections. Here are some of our favorite (and slightly quirky) collections in Little Rock.

Take a tour of the 20th-century handbag at the ESSE Purse Museum. It isn’t just about a fashion accessory here—it’s about the art and history of a piece that makes a woman who she is within the context of women’s evolving place in society. After he’d lost everything, Jon Clowers found God and a new hope in the growth of his personal collection turned museum now known as The Galaxy Connection. Find your inner Solo with the Star Wars and Superhero themed sights in this unique collection. Just an hour from Little Rock sits Hot Springs—a town known as “Spa City” and frequent residence to unsavory characters such as Al Capone and “Lucky” Luciano. Learn all about their legacy at the Gangster Museum of America.

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Classic or Creative? Arkansas' Best Burgers

There aren’t too many things more American than handling a juicy, two-handed burger. In a city as American as Little Rock, that burger is a must. And, Rock Town excels at serving up the traditional along with few fresh twists.

For a perfectly classic patty look no further than the Arkansas Burger Company’s double meat, double cheese, “The Rock”—served up in style with chips and a pickle. The Root Café’s nearly 100% locally sourced menu takes the well-known burger to the next level. Try the Pimento Cheeseburger or the Hotmaker—heaped with jalapenos, pepper jack, and hot sauce aioli. The Pantry’s Czech owner creates items with international flair, like the Nuremberger—a brat patty with sauerkraut and whole grain mustard. And, because it’s never too early for a burger, head to True Arkansas Eatery (TAE) for a tasty Arkansas toast, marinated beef and pimento cheese breakfast burger.

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Finding Fall Foliage in the Natural State

Embrace the outdoors and the changing palettes of the trees this fall in Arkansas’ State Parks.

Make Pinnacle Mountain, just outside of Little Rock, a priority. With two rivers, the Arkansas Arboretum, hiking trails, biking trails and more, the park makes for an easy day-trip adventure to escape the bustle of the city and bask in the beauty of the changing seasons. Make your way to the top of the mountain on the short 1.5-mile round trip trail. Be sure to get a copy of the Arkansas Butterfly Checklist and take on the challenge of ticking off the different species you spot. Join a park interpreter for Wild Women Wednesday and get an inside take while exploring the trails; learn about the native bears at National Teddy Bear Day; or, enjoy the night sky with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society’s Star Party.

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Arts, Education and Our Influenced Culture

Educators around the world are realizing the importance of art, and Little Rock’s Arkansas Arts Center has been incorporating the arts into everyday life for more than 100 years.

The center’s permanent collection includes paintings, drawing, photographs and more from renowned artists such as Ansel Adams, William Blake, and Andy Warhol. Temporary exhibits, such as Mark Rothko and Dorothea Lange, have brought in collections from artists and movements that have played a crucial role in shaping culture. Currently, the center is hosting Robert Baines: Living Treasure and Fabulous Follies to celebrate the master goldsmith, jeweler, and craftsman. But it’s the museums’ school—which features a children’s theatre, art classes, community programs, a research library, lectures, tours, family days, tango nights and more!—that sets the center apart and establishes it as an activist for promoting the arts in education. Be sure to save time for a visit, bring the kids and feel your horizons broadened!

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Waterfront Films and Patriotic Fireworks

Unroll your blankets, unpack your picnic baskets, and kick back with your kids or closest friends for Movies in the Park.

This free, family-friendly event, now in its 14th season, runs every Wednesday during June and July right along the waterfront of Little Rock’s River Market. Runs feature clean classics that anyone can get behind. Past years have included The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, and E.T. This year, catch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Night at the Museum, and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. Movies start at sundown but try to arrive early at 6:30 pm to pick your spot and ensure a prime viewing experience.

As the Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year, Movies in the Park will be swapped for a patriotic celebration—the 35th annual Pops on the River. Have a blast with unbeatable food trucks, a Salute to the Troops program, the Oh Say! Can You Sing? Contest and of course fireworks shot off over the Main Street Bridge!

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Patriotism and Culture at the Clinton Presidential Center

If you’re walking through Little Rock along the banks of the Arkansas River on a warm day and need a break from the sun, take a step inside the Clinton Presidential Center.

With a commitment to education and culture, the center has more than 20,000 square feet of exhibit space and houses one of the most expansive archival collections in presidential history. Among the center’s permanent exhibits is the Anne Frank Tree—a sapling grown from the chestnut tree that gave Frank solace while she was in hiding.

Through August, catch “Louder than Words: Rock, Power, and Politics.” The exhibit explores the role that rock & roll plays in our country, from patriotism to peace, and contains memorabilia like costumes, instruments and hand-written lyrics. Or, lounge on the lawn June 16 at the inaugural East Village Street Food Jam. With 25 food trucks, live music, a kid’s zone and more, it’s sure to be the best bash of the summer!

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An Evening Immersion into the Southern Lifestyle

If you’re in need of a solid Southern fix, look no further than South on Main. This fusion experience combines the cuisine of the South with the culture of Little Rock.

Sit back and savor the flavors of chef Matthew Bell’s boiled peanuts, fried green tomato sandwiches, and pimento cheese while you take in the activity on the stage, which takes its inspiration from the pages of the locally-based Oxford American. South on Main is the place where the national publication goes “from the page to stage” with music, readings, film screenings and more. Upcoming events include the Jerry Douglas Band and the annually held Music & Medicine. We guarantee, if you spend an evening here, you’ll leave feeling more in touch with the what the South is all about!

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Dive into the Enduring Moments of Arkansas' Days Past

Did you know Little Rock is home to the oldest state capitol building west of the Mississippi River? Construction on this National Historic Landmark, now known as the Old State House Museum, began in 1833 and to this day has never been completed.

Despite construction status, the building has played host to some of Arkansas’ most important events—from the 1861 vote to secede from the United States to a knife fight between two sitting legislators, groundbreaking research into malaria, and two presidential acceptance speeches.

The museum’s exhibits give visitors a look into Arkansas’ past, including the women who contributed to making the state what it is, the political history, and the politics and culture of the first families. On display through the end of 2018 is “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a collection of artifacts—such as Ming Dynasty pottery and a machine gun taken from Bonnie and Clyde’s car—from the University of Arkansas Museum, which closed in 2003. Stop by any day of the week for a free look into this Southern state’s past. 

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Get Excited About Science at the Museum of Discovery

If you love to learn and you find the world around us fascinating, head up to the Museum of Discovery where you can get a hands-on look at science and how things work.

The museum is a unique spot that holds over 90 years of history in Little Rock: it’s the first museum to open in Arkansas. Plus, it’s rated as one of the top 10 science museums in the country! The permanent exhibits keep kids and adults entertained. Discover the mathematics behind the inner workings of the world; go deep with a look inside the body to better understand how it works; explore the earth’s weather patterns by making rain and learning about tornadoes; hear a song played on the museum’s musical Tesla coil—a Guinness World Record holder. The museum also hosts events and festivals. Coming up: Springfest on April 7th. There will be plenty to do with food trucks, an art market, science shows, a bounce zone and more!

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A leisurely stroll & an afternoon splash

Only four miles away from our hotel, the Little Rock River Market District offers plenty of activities to choose from. If you’re in the mood for a scenic stroll, Riverfront Park stretches for 11 blocks along the southern bank of the Arkansas River.

Here you can explore the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, which features natural terraces and dynamic sculptures intersected by beautiful walkways. Downtown Little Rock also offers a unique array of shopping options. Visit Fringe Clothing for trendy fashions with nostalgic flair, or check out the Freckled Frog for handcrafted jewelry, soaps, and home decor.

Bringing kids along for the ride? Peabody Splash Park will excite them and cater to their imaginations with its unique interactive environment. This playful park includes several aboveground and underground tunnels, native climbing stones, splash pads, water slides, and more. Whether you’re with family or friends, you’ll find yourself with plenty to explore at the River Market District in downtown Little Rock.

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