The year 2020 is going to be an exciting one– it’ll see political elections, an Olympic Games in Japan and leap year babies finally getting to have a birthday! Things will be just as exciting in Little Rock, and in case you were still on the fence about a visit in 2020, here are 20 great things happening in the city that you’ll want to be a part of.
Green means go, and with three weeks of performances at Robinson Center, everyone has a chance to go see this beloved Broadway musical in person.
2. William J. Clinton Presidential Center
It may be 2020, but here it’s still 1999 with the museum’s temporary exhibit on all things 1990s, including pop culture memorabilia, period fashion and a selfie station featuring the couch from the Friends TV show. Naturally, you can always see the exact replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room as part of the Center’s permanent collections.
3. Museum of Discovery
Located in Little Rock’s River Market District, the Museum of Discovery takes a hands-on approach to the wonders of the world around us. 2020 is the perfect time to explore its many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related exhibits including its electrifying Tesla coils.
4. Little Rock Zoo
With new exhibits and renovated pathways, Arkansas’s only accredited zoo will look better than ever in 2020. You’ll have a roaring good time learning about the 500+ animals that call the zoo home.
5. Historic Arkansas Museum
2020 is the perfect year for a blast from the past in the form of the Historic Arkansas Museum. The museum’s collection focuses on the period before Arkansas became a state with an emphasis on the lives of Native Americans and early settlers.
6. Arkansas River Trail
The 17-mile loop that connects Little Rock and North Little Rock via pedestrian bridges is a great way to connect with nature during any season. Thousands of people use the trail for walking, running or biking each day and 2020 should be the year that you become one of them.
7. Kayaking on the Arkansas River
Little Rock wouldn’t exist without the Arkansas River, and one of the best ways to see it is from a kayak as you paddle along its banks. Rock Town River Outfitters gives you the chance to cruise the downtown waterway or explore the quieter side of things on the Little Maumelle River.
8. Mountain Biking
Arkansas’s first mountain biking trails were built just outside the capital city, and the sport is still shredding hard in 2020. Current trails in Allsopp and Boyle parks offer fun for riders of all skill levels while new and expanding trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area will bring the city’s total trail mileage to over 100.
9. Rock Town Distillery
Whether it’s award-winning Bourbon, an array of flavored vodkas or one of the country’s most enticing gins, Arkansas’s first legal distillery since Prohibition has something for everyone. Belly up to the bar in its tasting room or book a behind-the-scenes tour to get some insight into the world of distillation.
10. Locally Labeled Passport
Looking to explore the fermented side of Little Rock’s adult beverage scene? Grab a Locally Labeled Passport and use it as a guide to the city’s six craft breweries, two wineries and award-winning distillery. Get a passport stamp from each location and redeem your completed passport for Little Rock branded swag in return.
11. Little Rock Marathon
Things are getting totally tubular for this year’s 1980s Little Rock marathon. Held February 29 to March 1, race weekend sees Little Rock come alive to welcome thousands of runners to town.
Held by the Arkansas Cinema Society, the Filmland film festival is an annual celebration of cinema with a mission to nurture and inspire filmmakers in Arkansas by exposing Arkansans to filmmakers and their art.
13. Fall Food Festivals
With major food festivals like the World Cheese Dip Championship, the annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival and the Main Street Food Truck Festival, September and October are the best months to visit Little Rock on an empty stomach.
14. First Security Amphitheater Concerts
With its setting in Riverfront Park, it’s hard to find a more picture-perfect venue for live music than the First Security Amphitheater. It’ll play host to six concerts throughout the year, so be on the lookout for concert announcements.
15. Six Bridges Book Festival
April’s Six Bridges Book Festival is the largest literary event in the state with almost 100 authors from around the world. It’s a great time to find a new favorite book.
16. East Village
Little Rock’s newest neighborhood is worth exploring. Home to breweries, restaurants, and the headquarters of Heifer International, it’s one of the city’s most bike-friendly neighborhoods.
17. The Food
Little Rock was just named America’s next Hottest Foodie Destination for 2020, and if that doesn’t convince you to come, we’re not sure what will. From avant-garde and award-winning chefs to go ole’ fashioned soul food and barbeque, Little Rock’s dining scene as it all.
18. Bike Racing
If you’re a road racer, then there’s no better (or faster, for that matter) city than Little Rock. Whether it’s the annual Gran Fondo though the Arkansas delta or the Big Dam Bridge 100, there’s always a race to enter and, hopefully, to win.
19. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The invaluable contributions to Little Rock made by African Americans are noted at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. The museum chronicling the history of African Americans in Arkansas is located in what was once known as Little Harlem.
20. The River Market Entertainment District (RMED)
The three-block stretch of President Clinton Avenue that comprises the RMED is Little Rock’s late-night hub. Guests are welcome to take adult beverages into the streets as they savor the city’s unique nightlife.