Little Rock, Arkansas is a city that is filled with a variety of historic attractions. If you’re planning a trip there, you’ll find plenty of things to do and your biggest problem will be deciding between them. This is a nice problem to have, but to make things easier, we have a few pointers on the best places to visit first while you’re there. Here are the ten top places to visit if this is your first time visiting Little Rock.
1. Tour the Old State House Museum
The Old State House Museum is located on West Marham Street in a historic building. This is the place that Bill Clinton spent his celebratory evening on election night after winning the 1992 presidency. Construction began on the building in 1833 and did not complete until 1842. It is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and within the museum walls, you’ll find an interesting collection of artifacts from the Civil War, African-American quilts, Arkansas art pottery and much more.
2. Next, visit the ESSE Purse Museum
While you’re touring museums, you might as well make a day of it and visit the ESSE Purses Museum, located on S Main Street. This is a heaven on earth locale for purse enthusiasts. Here you’ll learn a lot about the history of purses and see some of the most amazing displays in the country. The museum is solely dedicated to showing the history and evolution of purses and handbags. You’ll find displays that show you examples of purses carried by women in the early 1900s along with information about what the average woman carried in her bag years in the past.
3. Rock Town Distillery
The Rock Town Distillery is an interesting place to tour if you have an interest in how grain is converted into gin, vodka or bourbon. Rock Town Distillery falls into the craft artisan genre and they use locally sourced grains in the creation of award-winning spirits and you can find out how they do it. .They offer facility tours that allow visitors to watch the entire process of making spirits from preparing the grain to pouring it in the glass. You have to be at least age 21 to sample the goods, but if you are, you’ll get to taste the fruits of their labor. The entire tour takes about a half hour.
4. Visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
The Clinton Presidential Library and Museum allows visitors to walk into a section that is a replica of the Oval Office that President Clinton once worked from. Here you can also find out what the White House Cabinet Room looked like down to the smallest detail. A variety of different exhibits and events are held in the Library and Museum, and it’s also open to the general public when there are no events in session.
5. Walk through the River Market District, Little Rock, AR
The River Market District sits on the banks of the Arkansas River and the area once littered with condemned empty buildings underwent a revitalization project. It’s now a thriving district featuring a public food market along with tons of international vendors operating out of stalls. If you’re there on a Tuesday or Saturday, you can get in on the Farmer’s Market, but there’s always something cool going on in the River Market District and it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat or buy a few souvenirs.
6. Visit Heifer Village
Heifer Village offers a fun and interesting day of viewing galleries and experiencing interactive fun through the hands-on exhibits. There are always videos, activities and informational booths that show visitors how concept Heifer is fighting in the effort to end world hunger and poverty. The project sponsoring Heifer Village aims to help make people from impoverished areas more self-reliant and they’re always looking for anyone who’s interested in helping no matter how big or small the ways. Guides will take you on a half hour tour of the village and communal garden that is located within the complex.
7. Visit the Historic Arkansas Museum
This museum is situated on East 3rd Street in Little Rock and it is a state history museum for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Arkansas. The museum is actually a complex of many historic buildings that take up a half-block and includes the Hinderliter House, known as the oldest building in town. The Museum first opened its doors in 1941 and inside you’ll find log buildings transported from various locations throughout the state, gallery spaces and much more.
8. Visit the Museum Of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery is the oldest museum in Little Rock. It offers fun and interesting activities for the whole family with more than 14,000 cultural artifacts, live insects and a variety of animals. Here you’ll find a variety of educational programs along with interactive science exhibits and information about their sponsored summer camps. You can even rent a field trip of a birthday party or other event, complete with a guide.
9. See the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
This has been open since 2001 and it offers a variety of artifacts, documents uniforms, photographs and exhibits from the military heritage of the state of Arkansas. The exhibits are always changing as one is up for a specific period of time, then rotate out to make room for a new one.
10. Tour The Bernice Garden
No trip to Little Rock would be complete without touring the Bernice Garden. It’s situated on South Main Street and is privately owned. It first opened in 2007 and has attracted artists who lend temporary sculptures for the rotating displays among the rock formations, mosaics, and diverse perennial and annual plants. Sit on one of the benches and take in the sights and aromas totally immersed in the natural beauty of nature as dragonflies and butterflies dance overhead.