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The Essential Insider’s GuideAnd Monthly Newsletters

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Stack of Purse Wallets

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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Fully Loaded Burger with Fries

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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Woman Hiking the Woods with Baby

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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Paintbrushes on a painted canvas

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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Fireworks Celebration

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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American Flag Against Blue Sky

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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man strumming a banjo

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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little rock arkansas old state house

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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Girl Experimenting at Science Museum

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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Little Rock trolley

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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