At the heart of Arkansas you’ll find Little Rock. The capital city’s downtown area thrives with restaurants, art galleries, museums, boutiques, bars, hotels and high-rise condos. State government, banking and financial centers and statewide media are located here, most within walking distance of the bustling River Market District. The William J. Clinton Presidential Center draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, with the headquarters of worldwide nonprofit Heifer International right next door.
Little Rock’s best dining options are spread across the city, with everything from white-tablecloth service to world-famous barbecue. Food trucks, craft breweries and farm-to-table establishments are the latest craze and have already garnered Little Rock national attention—several of which reside in SoMa, an up-and-coming downtown district.
Residents of the capital city find that its pet-friendly patios and dog parks, miles of trails and pedestrian bridges and the renowned arts offerings foster a meaningful, active lifestyle.
JUST BEYOND THE CAPITAL
Along the southern edge of Little Rock next to the suburbs of Benton and Bryant, a boom of new retail is underway, bringing the state’s first-ever outlet mall—The Outlets of Little Rock—and Bass Pro Shop to the new Gateway Town Center.
Across the river, North Little Rock is home to the popular Argenta Arts & Historic District, the 1,700-acre Burns Park (one of the largest city parks in the country), Dickey-Stephens Park (a AAA-baseball stadium with skyline views) and nearby Verizon Arena (host to artists like George Straight, The Eagles and Taylor Swift).
The Little Rock Air Force Base, located in the City of Jacksonville, is the country’s only C-130 training base and it employees more than 4,500 people.
Located within an hour’s drive from the capital are towns like Conway, Scott, Cabot, Searcy, England, Morrilton and Greenbrier—each with their own unique qualities.
Conway, the region’s fastest growing city, has been dubbed the “City of Colleges” with three world-class higher education institutions based here—the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College and Central Baptist College. The colleges keep Conway young and in a constant state of evolution. A charming downtown, 17 city parks, four golf courses, and popular festivals like Toad Suck Daze sped the city’s growth. Over the next 20 years, Conway plans to capitalize on its boom by investing $40 million into their parks with the end goal of every citizen living within walking distance of a park.
Further out, the city of England is known for its farms, and Morrilton for its proximity to the picturesque Petit Jean Mountain State Park. Cabot’s annual Strawberry Festival shouldn’t be missed, and Searcy lures anglers to the Little Red River and college students to distinguished Harding University.
In Central Arkansas you can…
- visit a presidential library.
- bike a 24-mile loop around the Arkansas River.
- hike to the top of a mountain (Pinnacle Mountain).
- eat world-famous barbecue at Whole Hog Café.
- race a sailboat on Lake Maumelle.
- mountain bike an old wagon route (Enders Fault Trail in Greenbrier).
Central Arkansas is known for being…
- a land of opportunity. Forbes gave Little Rock the No. 46 spot on its top 200 list of “Best Places for Business & Careers” in 2014, and the city ranked 47th on Sperling’s list of “Top Opportunity Cities for 2014.”
- tech savvy. In addition to an impressive new tech park in the works for downtown, Little Rock was recognized by Google as an “2014 eCity.”
- Clean and comfortable. The Little Rock Metro ranked No. 6 in the U.S. for “keeping cool” by ApartmentGuide.com and ranked No. 2 on SpareFoot’s “Top 10 Tidiest Towns in America” list.
- a foodie city. Forbes included Little Rock in its 2014 list of “Five Secret Foodie Cities in the Nation.”
- a great place to retire. CNN Money recently named Conway the 24th best place to retire in the nation.
- a recreational paradise. The region has so many options for outdoor fun, but the star of the area’s recreational menu
- is the Arkansas River Trail System, which boasts 5,000-plus acres of parkland and paved paths for walkers, runners and cyclists.
History was made in Central Arkansas at…
- the Big Dam Bridge. Spanning 4,226 feet across the Arkansas River, this pedestrian and cycling bridge is the longest of its kind in the world.
- Little Rock Central High School. The school is recognized for the role it played in the desegregation
- of public schools in the United States in 1957.
- MacArthur Museum of Military History. General Douglas MacArthur was born here, back when it was still operating as the Little Rock Arsenal.
- the Clinton Presidential Library. President Bill Clinton was elected as the country’s 42nd president in 1992. The library and museum opened in 2004.
Visit Central Arkansas to enrich your life with culture and history at the region’s finest arts venues, historical sites and attractions.