When you think of Little Rock, Arkansas what comes to mind? Over the past decade this Capital City has experienced somewhat of a rebirth with arts and culture leading the way, and it is our focus for this latest “Destination Spotlight” in our ongoing series.
Just named again as one of America’s Top-50 Best Smaller Cities, Little Rock was also characterized as a “hidden gem” by Outdoor Magazine who added it to one of its 2019 “Top-12 Best Places to Live” list.
To get acquainted with the essence of Little Rock, we suggest one of your first stops should be the SoMa neighborhood. Southside Main Street is a historic district that has seen a strong revitalization and is a walkable, family friendly hot spot. Arkansas’ award winning distillery, Rock Town Distillery, is located here and new shops and businesses have been steadily moving in. Many of the restaurants serve locally sourced food and craft beer and there are vintage shops and antique shops to keep you busy as you stroll the area. SoMa is also home to the ESSE Museum — one of only three purse museums in the world!
Little Rock is a good getaway for all types of outdoor activities and adventures, that’s why it fits nicely into our focus on lesser known locations that are worthy of your travel dollars. During the warm weather months, there’s plenty of hiking, including the popular Arkansas River Trail which offers 17 miles of river view and runs along both the north and south banks of the Arkansas River. A fun fact is that the five pedestrian bridges connected to the River Trail, make Little Rock the only city in the country with 5 pedestrian bridges stretching over a navigable body of water. In the winter, there’s ice skating and a popular activity with locals and tourists is the Eagle Lake Cruise or a Winter Discovery Lake Cruise — where visitors look to spot wintering bald eagles and other wildlife around Lake Maumelle. These cruises run in January and February.
A trip to Little Rock would not be complete without a ride on one of the METRO Streetcars. This is a 3.4 mile streetcar system connecting the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. With 10 operators manning three historic replica streetcars along the route, the METRO Streetcar is a fun way to take in the downtown sights. The system also links to destinations in Pulaski County, including the Clinton Presidential Library and Center. The street cars are enjoyable and add a fun layer of the overall experience of a trip to Little Rock.
The holidays are celebrated heartily in Little Rock with dozens of activities including the 52nd Annual Christmas Frolic at the Historic Arkansas Museum, one of Little Rock’s oldest and most popular holiday traditions. This year, Moscow Ballet’s Russian Nutcracker and multi–platinum international sensation Celtic Woman are among some of the performers coming to Little Rock. And of course, the downtown area will be decorated with its dazzling holiday lights the month of December like so many cities across the U.S.
Next time you’re seeking a getaway to someplace offering a fresh vibe — consider Little Rock. It’s family friendly, artsy, historic and is experiencing a revitalized energy that’s evident in the food scene, the lodging and the overall atmosphere. And drop us a line when you do go with your thoughts!
Safe and Happy Travels!
Robert & Mary Carey, Hosts
America’s #1 Travel Radio Show
Photo credit: Photos provided by Robert & Mary Carey