Our family just got back from visiting Little Rock, AR, and we seriously had the best time! Little Rock is a big, little city and it has a lot to offer! The first thing we took away from Little Rock is how friendly the people are. Seriously, every place we went people approached us with kind words or suggestions on what we should do or eat in their city. Another thing we noticed was how wonderfully loyal they are to their local resources. We loved that every bottle of water, kombucha, or bag of nuts that we saw was made in Little Rock. Another great thing about Little Rock is that it’s not outrageously priced! Traveling can often seem intimidating, especially when you factor in prices and admissions to museums and such. BUT Little Rock is one of those great cities that has their prices either free or extremely affordable. Often times with kids’ their impatience or shorter attention spans, mean that you don’t get to spend as much time as you’d like in a museum so that guilt free financial visit really helps a parent out!
Here are our top 5 things to do in Little Rock.
- River Market District – this area of the city was walkable from our hotel and from many other hotels as well. But the great thing about Little Rock is their public transportation is extremely convenient and cute (hello, trolley). A quick walk will bring you to dozens of restaurants, the library, museums and a children’s park right alongside the Arkansas River. If you drive down to that area, don’t worry there is plenty of parking. 1 1/2. If you happen to be down in the River Market District during evening time, you’ll want to make your way towards the river so you can get a view of the three bridges that cross over the Arkansas River. They have nightly light shows that reflect onto the river and its a beautiful and serene sight. The children really enjoyed seeing the lights every evening. The Trolley will also make its route over one of the bridges, so you can enjoy the show from inside the trolley, as well.
- MoD- The Museum of Discovery was incredible! We have a really great STEM museum in Boston, so the kids have high expectations, and Little Rock really held its own amongst the ones we have visited. They have so many great exhibits, but our favorite for sure was the tornado simulation. You sit in, what is seemingly a basement, and you are shown the lights, sounds and even motion of what a tornado would be like under the eye of a storm. We loved this because it didn’t just give us an experience of what it would be like, but it also opened up the kids awareness of what a life in Arkansas can and has looked like in Tornado Season. Learning about the hardships of others’ elsewhere in the world, is one of the most important reasons why we travel. Introducing our kids’ to others’ hardships creates empathetic learning and an overall appreciation for all of our good days.
- Arkansas State Capital – This was Liam’s (age 9) favorite place, he loved that it reminded him, architecturally, of our Nation’s Capital. The State Capital is free admission. While inside you can see modern day law makers at work, but also learn about the history that sets Arkansas apart from its neighboring states.
4.Historic Arkansas Museum – This museum has a couple of free exhibits inside their main building (when we visited the children’s section was closed for maintenance, but they had wonderful exhibits about Native Americans and their history through Arkansas) and then they also have an hour long tour (for a small price) that takes you through the very first settlement in Little Rock. The little buildings are 100% authentic and the tour is told to you by character actors! We absolutely love these types of tours, they’re engaging for every single one of us, regardless of our age.
5. The Trolley – We actually didn’t use the trolley as our means of transportation, but as an actual excursion for an hour or so. There are two trolley routes that you can take. The trolley only goes in one direction, so it’s easy to get on and stay for the whole route, approx. 20 min, but our children loved it so much we stayed on through nap time and enjoyed the view. The trolley driver also narrates what he’s passing and that was such a fun way to learn things about the city! Plus, its air-conditioned, so if you visit in summer, this would be a great break from the heat.
The food in Little Rock was incredible! Here is our can’t miss list of good eats!
The Capital Bar and Grill, we had dinner here – though I wish we had been able to try every single meal here. For dinner we highly recommend the Caesar Salad (my choice) and the Cheeseburger and fries. The children loved the sliders!
Loblolly – we love trying out local ice cream shops when we are in new cities. Loblolly was terrific, we went twice! Our favorite flavors were, fresh mint chip, milk chocolate, salted caramel, carrot cake, strawberry buttermilk. All of these flavors tried is in thanks to traveling with a large family 😉
The Fold – these tacos are delicious! My favorites in order were the Diablo Shrimp, Texas, Al Pastor, and Pollo Y Poblana
@ the corner – We had breakfast here and it was delicious. I loved the pancakes and Sam loved the Chicken and Waffles. We meant to circle back in again and try their poutine! So, next time, for sure! But if you go and order it, let me know what you thought!
The Root Cafe – We had breakfast here which was really good! We loved the breakfast sandwiches on biscuits. We also loved a brand of Kombucha sold here, Teaberry kombucha co., which is also sold at various places throughout Little Rock. We loved the Ginger Peach and the Strawberry!
Flying Fish – This restaurant is located down in the River Market District, it has a cute dive feel with the decor and has all kinds of seafood and po’boys. This place made us totally miss New Orleans!
Where to stay, that’s always the most important question, I think. And here, in Little Rock, I think there’s only one answer. Well, there’s probably more than one answer, but the only answer for us is the Capital Hotel. This place is gorgeous, old world perfection. The staff, the service, and the decor are second to none! Our stay was hosted by the hotel, but this place will forever hold a strong recommendation from all of us. When we make it back to Little Rock, this is absolutely where we will stay again. It’s so wonderful you don’t even feel the need to leave the Hotel! Plus, it’s just drenched in History and has been repaired to look like its original design!
Although the children were fascinated about the elevator made large enough for General Grant’s horse to ride up in, they were mostly proud to stay in a place that brought toys to the room, tiny robes for after baths, and best of all, freshly baked cookies and big glasses of milk for late night treats.
All though there is lots of other hotels to choose from, the only other one we checked out is on the complete opposite of what the Capital Hotel offers, because this one is a hostel! The Firehouse Hostel & Museum is a former firehouse located in a really pretty park and walking distance to the Arkansas Arts Center . The original firehouse has now been turned into a museum/hostel. Admission is free for the museum and the prices to stay at the hostel are very low, they even offer a room private for families. So, if you’re looking for the most cost efficient way to visit Little Rock, this is here for you.
All in all, Little Rock was a complete surprise with how much we liked it and we feel pretty confident in saying we think you’ll feel the same way!
* Our stay was hosted and in partnership with Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, but all of our thoughts are completely honest. Promise.