Here’s one thing you need to know about Little Rock: We really rock a summer vacation. Whatever you are looking for, whether it’s a relaxing week of sightseeing or a few days of outdoor adventure, you can find it in abundance right here in Arkansas’s capital city. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend an early summer weekend in Little Rock.
Historic Arkansas Museum (HAM) – Situated in Little Rock’s original neighborhood, HAM is now in the heart of a bustling downtown, where living history actors bring a bygone era back to life on the grounds of some of the state’s oldest buildings.
Old State House Museum – Arkansas’s first state capitol building is the oldest standing state capitol west of the Mississippi River, and it served as the backdrop for President Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential acceptance speeches thrusting Little Rock on the international stage.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site – Explore the scene of the 1957 desegregation crisis, where nine brave Black students broke down racial barriers. This is the only National Park Service unit that’s also a functioning high school. A visit here gives you the chance to walk in the footsteps of social justice pioneers.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center – Located in the historic Ninth Street District, this museum chronicles the history of Little Rock’s former “Little Harlem” neighborhood, a thriving area home to prominent African American businesses and entertainment halls like Dreamland Ballroom, where Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and other greats played.
Riverfront Park – This 33-acre green space is home to La Petite Roche (the original “Little Rock”), a massive sculpture garden, pedestrian bridges (colorfully lit every night), a giant postcard selfie station, and so much more.
Little Rock Zoo – There’s nothing wilder than a visit to Arkansas’s largest zoo! While you’re there, ride a fully restored wooden carousel and the Diamond Express miniature train, and check out the zoo’s newest exhibits featuring serval cats and colobus monkeys.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park – You don’t have to travel far from the comforts of downtown Little Rock to get to the heart of adventure. Here you can scale central Arkansas’s highest peak and get a bird’s eye view of downtown Little Rock. While you’re there, hop on a bike and explore the Pinnacle Mountain State Park Monument Trails – one of Arkansas’s newest mountain biking trail systems!
Arkansas River Trail – Check out 15.6 miles of fun along the scenic Arkansas River. The loop is connected by multiple pedestrian bridges, including the Big Dam Bridge, North America’s longest pedestrian- and bicycle-intended bridge. Rent a bike or kayak for a leisurely way to experience central Arkansas’s piece of Natural State goodness. Be sure to check out the other 1,200 miles of cycling trails, too!
Rock Town River Outfitters – Channel your inner river otter and rent a kayak on the Arkansas River or its calmer tributary, the Little Maumelle. Both solo adventures and guided group tours are available. If cycling is more your thing, they’ve got bikes and helmets you can rent by the hour.
Once you get to Little Rock, you’ll see why Livability.com and Outside magazine each named it one of the top places to live. Be sure to explore our series of self-guided tours so you can take a deeper dive in the history and culture of Little Rock. It won’t take long to see that if you’re big on fun, you’re BIG on Little Rock!