Central to a number of Little Rock’s attractions is a single thing: it’s the past. Learn about the city’s civil rights past when you visit The Central High School National Historic Site and then discover its Clinton history through The Clinton Presidential Center. There’s even more to learn about women’s past through an excursion to the Esse Purse Museum.
You don’t have to take your entire excursion in Little Rock inside. Once you’ve had enough of museums, stroll around Riverfront Park to admire its sculptures. Then, go to The River Market district to refuel with one of the food stalls. When you’re ready to go to bed for the night, make sure to enjoy a glass of wine at Rock Town Distillery, which serves its own spirit straight up or as a delicious cocktail.
Central High School National Historic Site
In 1957, there were nine Black students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School. The school was predominantly white since it was built in 1927. Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Wells were the first Black students in the school after the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which declared that school segregation was not constitutional.
On the day that the students were to go to school, they were confronted by a racial mob of white students and approximately 270 soldiers who blocked the way to the school. It took two weeks until the Little Rock Nine were able to gain access to the school. Although they were allowed access at the school they were subject to brutal physical and verbal abuse during their entire high school years. Their remarkable and courageous acts helped inspire an era of civil rights. They also raised the profile of the U.S.’s racism.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s summit exceeds 1,000 feet. The park’s area covers 2,351 acres. The park has over 40 miles of trail that cater to every kind of outdoor enthusiast. The hiking trails vary from simple hikes, such as the trail that is paved Kingfisher Trail and more strenuous trails, like The East Summit Trail, which leads to the summit on Pinnacle Mountain.
More extensive trails that run over three and more miles are accessible. Two mountain bike trails are available, one designed for novice riders and another for more advanced riders. If you prefer to float in the park, take a look at the Little Maumelle Water Trail. (Note that you’re able to go with a guide in the fall or spring.)
In addition to the outdoor activities, visitors are able to relax at the picnic area on site which has bathrooms, playgrounds, and vending machines. It’s also the starting point of a couple of trailheads and the boat launch in the park.
Visitors can also visit the visitor centre which houses permanent exhibits on the wildlife and ecology of the park and restrooms as well as a gift shop, as well as a wildlife observation area. The arboretum and the garden are also available for visitor enjoyment.
Clinton Presidential Center
The Clinton Presidential Center is an educational centre named for and dedicated to the former president Bill Clinton. Visitors will be able to visit an exhibit space of 20,000 square feet that showcases various aspects of Clinton’s presidency covering all the way from Clinton’s presidential run to the Clinton family’s existence within The White House – as well as replicas of the White House Cabinet Room and the Oval Office.
There is also the William J. Clinton Presidential Library that houses presidential papers, and is situated on the premises. It is possible to end your visit with a visit to the museum’s gift shop, and enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant 42 Bar and Table.
The previous museum visitors enjoyed their visits. They stated that the museum has a well-designed layout and gives an informative review on what happened during the Clinton administration. Some were unhappy, stating that the library of the president “pales in comparison to other presidential libraries” across the United States.
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Located in the River Market district and spanning 11 blocks, is Riverfront Park, a 33-acre oasis of outdoor activities within the heart of downtown. The park has an area for kids to splash in; La Petite Roche Plaza that showcases what is known as the “little rock” from which the city’s name was derived from French explorations; an amphitheatre and a sculpture garden that houses more than 80 works of artwork. Nature lovers will be delighted as well. Riverfront Park is also home to The William E. “Bill” Clark President’s Park Wetlands as well as the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
Many reviewers agree that the park is an absolute must-see and consider it a perfect spot to capture some pictures. A lot of people also appreciated the variety of options available, and also took advantage of the trails to get some outside exercise.
Riverfront Park is open daily all year round, however individual attractions might have different opening times.
River Market District
Tourists looking for a buzzing scene should visit the fashionable River Market district. This area of downtown offers many amenities, including Little Rock’s top tourist sights like The Clinton Presidential Center to parks and playgrounds for children, as well as shopping. People can stop for a snack at the Ottenheimer Market Hall, which includes 15 shops offering everything from sushi, coffee to hamburgers. The area is also a hub for a variety of concerts, performances as well as the annual farmers market.
Although River Market is a great place to spend the day, don’t overlook it as a place to go for evening entertainment. There are a variety of bars and clubs in this area that you can explore. The area is also home to the River Market Entertainment District, where visitors can purchase alcohol and drink these within the boundaries within the area.