35 Cool Things To Do In Little Rock – With Interactive Map

Little Rock Skyline. Photo Credit: Little Rock CVB

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What is there to do in Little Rock Arkansas? I will give you the lowdown on all the cool things to do in Little Rock after spending a week touring the city with folks from its top-notch tourism center.

I don’t know every Little Rock activity, but based on my personal experience and expert advice, I put this guide together.

We’d love to hear what you think and if we’ve missed anything. So don’t hesitate to let us know how we did!

Broadway Bridge. Photo Credit: Little Rock CVB
Broadway Bridge: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Interactive Visitor Map to Little Rock

Our interactive visitor map to Little Rock has Google goodness baked in. Take a moment to click to see the crowd-sourced pictures and reviews. You can even load it onto your phone and use it as a guide to Little Rock.

We’ve put all of our things to do onto the selectable map layers, so be sure to click around to find what you’re into. It’s a great place to start exploring Little Rock!

If it happens to not load, no worries. Just click the refresh button. We promise it’s worth it or your money back!

Explore the River Market District

The downtown River Market District is Little Rock’s premier entertainment neighborhood, with some of the city’s best shopping, food, and entertainment. While visiting on any given day is lovely, check out the event calendar for even more fun things to do.

The Arkansas River Trail and streetcar connect to the surrounding neighborhoods, so you can park once and explore to your heart’s content. You can even drink an adult beverage from one of the many breweries or cocktail bars if you get a wristband and special carry cup.

River Market District. Photo Credit: LRCVB
River Market District. Photo Credit: Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Discover The Argenta Arts District

The Argenta Arts District is one of North Little Rock’s oldest and most eclectic neighborhoods, with wonderful places to eat, incredible art galleries, theaters, and outdoor venues. Be sure to check out the Argenta Dogtown Throwdown and Third Friday Art Walk, as well as many other events on the Argenta Plaza Calendar.

The Argenta Arts District is North Little Rock’s counterpart to the River Market District. Trails, bridges, and the streetcar connect these two entertainment areas.

Argenta Tulips North Little Rock
Argenta Tulips North Little Rock: Photo Credit: Tourism Arkansas.

The Quintessential Quapaw Quarter

The third neighborhood we’re featuring is the Quapaw Quarter. It’s one of Little Rock’s oldest neighborhoods, with historic homes like the Governor’s Mansion, the Mt. Holly Cemetery, and the Arsenal Tower Building.

Governors Mansion, Quapaw Quarter
Governors Mansion, Quapaw Quarter: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hop on the METRO Streetcar

What’s better than having two premier entertainment districts? How about connecting them with a free-to-ride streetcar? From Metro.org

METRO Streetcar 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 system serves 100,000 riders annually and covers 1,080 miles weekly.

METRO Streetcar is a fun, unique way to take in the downtown sights of central Arkansas’ “twin cities.” Spanning the beautiful Arkansas River, the system links some of the most vibrant destinations in Pulaski County, including the Clinton Presidential Center and headquarters of the global nonprofit Heifer International; North Little Rock’s historic Argenta district; the Little Rock River Market and Creative Corridor; and favorite restaurants, hotels, brewpubs, cultural attractions, shops and more.

METRO Streetcar: Photo Credit LRCVB.
METRO Streetcar: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Ride the Arkansas River Trail

The Arkansas River Trail is a 15-mile loop trail on both sides of the Arkansas River if you cross at the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge and the Big Dam Bridge (the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in North America that has never been used by trains or motor vehicles). You can use the Junction Bridge or Broadway Bridge to shorten the loop or get more miles by taking the trail to Twin Rivers Park.

Need a bike? Look no further than the Rock Town River Outfitters Bike Shop, which also offers guided tours—looking for more world-class cycling? Little Rock is road cycling heaven, with more than 1,200 miles of trails!

See also
Boutique Travel - Everything You Need to Know to Have Your Best Vacation Ever
Arkansas River Trail: Photo Credit LRCVB.
Arkansas River Trail: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Book a Boutique Hotel

What are the best hotels in Little Rock? We’ve curated this list of our favorites. Proceeds from this section help us create and maintain these articles. If you like this city guide, consider booking from these links, which should have no additional cost to you but will help support small media.

Experience the William J. Clinton Presidential Library

The Clinton Presidential Library is the best thing to do in Little Rock, but It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. This attraction is by far the most reviewed “Things to Do in Little Rock” on TripAdvisor, with twice the number of reviews as the next closest attraction. With a composite review of 4.5 stars, many people seemed to have enjoyed their visit.

Even if you hate Slick Willie, you can enjoy a visit to the library. It has replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room among its permanent and revolving exhibits.

Clinton Presidential Center
Clinton Presidential Center: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Preserve the Memory at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Separate but equal “best things to do” are not equal. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is unequivocally the highest-rated thing to do in Little Rock on TripAdvisor. It’s the epicenter of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, which ruled that separating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional.

Central High is still an active high school, so visitors should begin at the National Park Visitor Center, located diagonally across from the campus at 2120 W. Daisy Gatson Bates Drive. Free Ranger-led tours provide entrance into the school, but you should register in advance to guarantee participation.

Little Rock Central High National Historic Site
Little Rock Central High National Historic Site: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Splash Down at Julius Breckling Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is a 39-acre park in downtown Little Rock on the south bank of the Arkansas River, which is the city’s heartbeat. Among its eclectic offerings are the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and a piece of the “Little Rock” that gave the city its name.

Riverfront Park: Photo Credit LRCVB.
Riverfront Park: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Watch the Sunset at Big Dam Bridge

We’ve already said that the 4,226-foot-long Big Dam Bridge is North America’s longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge and has never been used by trains or motor vehicles. What we haven’t said is that the eight viewing platforms 90 feet above the Arkansas River are arguably the best places to see the sunset in Little Rock.

By the way, the name comes from Pulaski County Judge F.G. “Buddy” Villines, who said, “We’re going to build that dam bridge” when questioned about financing. To this day, he insists he was referring to the bridge’s location on a dam and was not using the mild expletive.

Sunset from Big Dam Bridge
Sunset over the Arkansas River: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Tour the Arkansas State Capitol

Not only are the Arkansas State Capital and its grounds intrinsically beautiful, but it’s also home to many permanent and rotating exhibits. You can call 501-682-5080 to reserve a free, 45-minute guided tour or take a self-guided tour of the building or grounds.

Arkansas State Capitol
Arkansas State Capitol: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Step Back in Time at the Old State House Museum

Little Rock has a second State Capital building, the Old State House Museum, the oldest state capital building west of the Mississippi. Your free entry includes seeing the historic building as well as collecting artifacts that aid in the interpretation and preservation of Arkansas history.

Old State House
Old State House: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.

Travel Through Time at the Historic Arkansas Museum

The Historic Arkansas Museum is more than just a building. It’s an entire historic city block with the oldest building in Little Rock, an 1850s Farmstead, galleries of Arkansas-made art and history, and a range of indigenous Arkansans to contemporary artists and artisans.

Admission to the galleries is free, but the guided tours are well worth the nominal $2.50 price.

Historic Arkansas Museum
Historic Arkansas Museum: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Honor Ancestors at Mt. Holly Cemetery

Until the early 20th century, cemeteries were popular places to relax, picnic, and get together near a loved one’s grave. Graves are a memorial to the lives of those who came before us. From 1843, Mount Holly was a microcosm of American history. Today, you arrange thematic tours, including:

  • Arkansas and Little Rock History
  • The Cherokee Removal and Indian Territory
  • Confederate Arkansas
  • Victorian Funerary Art and Symbolism
  • African Americans in Mount Holly
  • Famous Women of Mount Holly
  • The Trees of Mount Holly – See also the Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree Program’s entry on Mount Holly’s Trees

Memorial Day is dedicated to veterans and on the second Sunday in October, local drama students reenact the monologues from the cemeteries’ most famous or infamous residents in full costume.

Mount Holly Cemetery
Mount Holly Cemetery: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Expand Your Mind at the Museum of Discovery

The Museum of Discover is a science center with interactive exhibits and experiences for guests of all ages. That said, there’s definitely a “school-age” slant to their offerings.

Little Rock Museum of Discovery
Little Rock Museum of Discovery: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Peruse The Esse Purse Museum & Store

There are only two purse museums in the world, and one of them is in Little Rock. The Esse Purse Museum and Store is both an eclectic collection of handbags as well as the celebration of an accessory that is an extension of a woman’s personal space, her essence, and the things that make her “her.” Beyond handbags, the museum is becoming a cultural hub for female heritage and storytelling in Central Arkansas.

See also
7 Fun Things To Do in Fayetteville NC Besides Going To Museums
ESSE Purse Museum: Photo Credit LRCVB.
ESSE Purse Museum: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Return to MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

We’ve appeased the women and kids; how about something for manly men? Arkansas has a unique military history that can be seen through the lens of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

The Little Rock Arsenal Tower Building is a National Historic Landmark dating back to 1840 when it was an outpost on the American frontier. Later, it was ceded to the Confederacy during the Civil War and subsequently captured by Union Forces. However, its most enduring contribution to military history happened in January 1880. Douglas MacArthur, future General of the Army, was born here while his father was stationed in Little Rock.

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Float Your Boat at Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is home to another “only in Little Rock” experience. It’s the only place in the world where you can see two floating vessels from the start and end of WWII. U.S.S. Hoga was in Pearl Harbor, and the U.S.S. Razorback was in Tokyo Harbor for the Unconditional Surrender.

Maritime Museum: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas
Maritime Museum: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.

Patron The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts

Little Rock has a thriving art community, including the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. It’s the largest cultural institution of its kind in the state, where guests can enjoy a unique blend of visual and performing arts experiences and educational programming.

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts
Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Do The Little Rock Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo, founded in 1926, is home to more than 725 animals representing over 200 species and covers 33 acres. It is the largest zoo in Arkansas and the only Arkansas zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Little Rock Zoo
Little Rock Zoo: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Picture Yourself at The Old Mill

If you think The Old Mill looks like a jigsaw puzzle or the opening of a movie, you’re not wrong. It was featured in the opening scenes of Gone With the Wind and is the only remaining filming structure. It’s a beautiful place for a picture or picnic, and tours can be arranged by calling 501-758-1424.

Old Mill: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.
Old Mill: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.

Get Back to Nature at The Central Arkansas Nature Center

Arkansas is the Natural State, and the Central Arkansas Nature Center is your introduction to the wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities the state’s fish and wildlife resources provide. Outside, you’ll find watchable wildlife and native plant gardens, while the main building includes an exhibit hall, aquariums, a gift shop, a theater, and special educational programs.

Central Arkansas Nature Center
Central Arkansas Nature Center: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hike Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Arkansas has remarkable geologic diversity, from the world’s only public diamond mine to the 1,000′ conical summit of Pinnacle Mountain. You can hike the 22 miles of trails in Pinnacle Mountain State Park to see the views from the top of Pinnacle Mountain or stay in the shade of the Arkansas Arboretum.

Pinnacle Mountain SP: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.
Pinnacle Mountain SP: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.

Rediscover Burns Park

Burns Park is one of five contiguous parks along the Arkansas River. On March 31, 2023, a tornado ripped through Burns Park, causing massive damage. As of March 2024, much of the park has reopened, including most of the trails. A 3.1 million dollar renovation project was approved for the beloved Burns Park’s Funland, which is scheduled to return on July 4, 2024.

Burns Park Covered Bridge
Burns Park Covered Bridge: Photo Credit North Little Rock CVB.

Kayak The Arkansas River

The Arkansas River is a broad and lazy waterway filled with accessible wetlands beneath the Little Rock skyline. You can also paddle past the Clinton Presidential Library, La Petite Roche, and the U.S.S. Razorback submarine. Rent a kayak or paddle board at Rock Town River Outfitters or book a guided tour for a deeper journey.

Two Rivers Kayaking Little Rock
Two Rivers Kayaking Little Rock: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Savor Waterfront Dining

There’s no wrong way to enjoy the river, including waterfront dining. Brave New Restaurant is Little Rock’s only riverfront dining and a delicious way to enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to save room for the chocolate crème brûlée.

Brave New Restaurant Little Rock AR exterior via Brave New Restaurant
Brave New Restaurant Little Rock exterior: Photo Credit Brave New Restaurant.

Graze the Little Rock Farmers Market

The Little Rock Farmers Market celebrates its 50th anniversary, including almost 30 years in the River Market’s outdoor pavilions. It’s filled with farm-fresh produce, locally prepared cottage foods, and handmade arts and crafts. From the beginning of May to the end of August, there’s no better way to experience Arkansas’s bounty.

Little Rock Farmers Market
Little Rock Farmers Market: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Dine Around the World at Ottenheimer Market Hall

If you like the wide world of food, you’ll love the Ottenheimer Market Hall. You’ll discover everything from down-home Southern cooking to prime-aged steaks. The global dining options include Mexican, Japanese, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine and an array of international grocery selections

Ottenheimer Market Hall
Ottenheimer Market Hall: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Check Out World Champion Cheese Dip

Let’s dip into a bit of history and let the chips fall where they may. In the 1930s, “Blackie” Donnelly added cheese dip to the menu at Mexico Chiquito, introducing the world to this naughty delicacy. Even if you dispute the veracity of this claim, Little Rock hosts the World Cheese Dip Championships, which is reason enough to check out the city’s championship cheese dips.

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Our top choices are:

  • Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro: The award-winning secret recipe cheese dip has over 25 ingredients, but nobody knows what they are
  • El Sur Street Food Co: A champion cheese dip inspired by Honduran and Latin American food
  • Mockingbird Bar & Tacos: Part white queso, part house spices, part pickled jalapenos, and 100% Delicious
  • Red Door: The four-cheese dip with smoked tomato hot salsa will change your world
Dizzy's Cheese Dip Little Rock Arkansas
Dizzy’s Cheese Dip Little Rock Arkansas: Photo Credit Jenn Coleman.

Go Vegan in The Rock

Whether you’re vegan for health or ethical reasons, Little Rock has plenty of vegan options for you. There are non-vegan offerings here, too, for your carnivorous friends so nobody has to go hungry.

Our favorite to save the planet or save your body without sacrificing taste are:

The Root Cafe via Little Rock CVB
The Root Cafe: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Start Your Day With a Great Cup of Coffee

Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks, and we’re your friends. That’s why we pulled together a collection of the best local coffee shops in Little Rock:

Arkansas Coffee: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.
Arkansas Coffee: Photo Credit Tourism Arkansas.

Grab a Pint of Local Brew

Coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in Little Rock. The craft beer scene is taking off with local breweries that are as delicious as they are creative. Here are some of the best of the best breweries in Little Rock:

Stone's Throw Brewery
Stones Throw Brewing Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Sip a Craft Cocktail

Beer and cider are the only libations waiting for your adult enjoyment. The Little Rock craft cocktail scene is taking off, and we couldn’t be happier. Here are some of our favorites:

Rock Town Distillery
Rock Town Distillery: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Listen to Live Music

Where’s the best place to find live music in Little Rock? It all depends on you. Luckily, there are plenty of venues to choose from, including:

Verizon Arena
Verizon Arena: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Enjoy Public Art

Last but not least of our things to do in Little Rock is enjoying public art. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the arts, but these are some of our favorites.

Butterfly Mural: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Butterfly Mural: Photo Credit Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Wrapping Up Things to Do in Little Rock

We didn’t distinguish between North, East, West, or Downtown Little Rock, and neither should you. With the connectivity of the pedestrian bridges and trolleys, there’s no reason to let the river divide the city.

Little Rock is a vibrant community filled with history and teaming with creativity, with no shortage of things to do on any given day in any season!

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Bike in Front of Clinton Presidential Library
Aerial view of downtown Little Rock.
Bike parked riverfront in Little Rock Ar.
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