About This Place
As Arkansas’ capital, Little Rock takes its state motto, “The Natural State” seriously, with plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Little Rock’s parks system has received national recognition for its natural open areas set aside for recreation and leisure. The state's largest city is also home to numerous cultural institutions, including the Clinton Presidential Center and Library, one of the largest collections of presidential items in the country. Shopping, dining and nightlife emphasize the city's southern hospitality, making Little Rock a true gem for visitors from all walks of life.
Named after a well-known Arkansas River landmark and crossing, Little Rock has grown from a tiny French trading post in the Arkansas Territory into a metropolitan area with approximately 710,000 residents. La Petite Roche, the original "Little Rock" for which the city is named, still stands within Riverfront Park, a popular downtown park that hosts the annual Riverfest music festival and connects with the 24-mile Arkansas River Trail for hiking and biking. The Big Dam Bridge, built solely for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, reflects the city residents’ love of nature and outdoor activities.
Located adjacent to Riverfront Park is the River Market district, a top downtown Little Rock attraction and one of the city's most popular entertainment areas. The area is home for the city's bi-weekly open air farmer's market as well as daily operations at Ottenheimer Market Hall, which offers a variety of international foods for dining in or carrying out including Middle Eastern, Japanese and Mexican cuisine. Visitors can tour the area by trolley or stroll along President Clinton Avenue to sample the many dining and shopping options.
The Clinton Presidential Center and Library, also located in the River Market district, sits on the banks of the Arkansas River within Riverfront Park. The center houses former president Bill Clinton's archives, as well as the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and offices for the Clinton Foundation. Permanent museum exhibits include information about Clinton's years in the White House and artifacts from his campaign trail.
Another important city park, MacArthur Park, contains the city’s cultural heart—the Arkansas Arts Center—a must-visit Little Rock attraction for visitors interested in experiencing cultural arts programs and special events. The Arkansas Museum of Art and Arkansas Children's Theater, both located in the center, feature live theatrical productions, public lectures, art classes, film presentations and a world-renowned drawing and craft art collection.
A trip to the capital city is not complete without a visit to the Governor's Mansion and Arkansas State Capitol. The capitol building is a beautiful example of Little Rock's Neo-Classical architecture, while the Governor's Mansion is a Georgian Colonial style home, complete with two adjacent cottages and 8.5 acres of herb and vegetable gardens. The Old State House Museum of Arkansas History, built in 1836, is the oldest existing capitol building west of the Mississippi. The Greek Revival building became a museum in 1947 and features historical documents, period furnishings and exhibits focusing on Arkansas state history.