Arkansas City is located in the state's Delta Region, about 115 miles southeast of Little Rock and 75 miles southeast of Pine Bluff. Situated near the Mississippi River and on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, Arkansas City is irrevocably tied to the Mighty Mississippi. Once a vibrant river town of over 10,000, it was virtually destroyed during the Flood of 1927. Before 1927, the Mississippi River flowed mere yards from the main business district; now the Great River is found a mile to the east of the community.
The proud county seat of Desha County, Arkansas City has several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the recently restored Desha County Courthouse. Visitors can trace the town's history at the Arkansas City Museum, established in an old church building. A section of the museum is housed in a portion of a barracks that was used at Rohwer Relocation Camp during World War II.
Arkansas City is the hometown of John H. Johnson, patriarch of Johnson Publishing Company and publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines. Founded in 1942, Johnson Publishing Company became the largest Black-owned publishing company in the United States. Johnson's childhood home is now the John H. Johnson Museum and tells the story of Johnson's success and preserves his legacy for future generations.
Because of its proximity to the Mississippi River, Arkansas City offers a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Bird-watchers, in particular, can enjoy numerous spotting opportunities in the surrounding countryside such as Choctaw Island, recognized by the Audubon Society as an “Important Birding Area.”