Little Rock, AR—The South’s Best Kept Secret
Today, we continue our Hometown Adventure Series in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Hometown Adventure Series focuses on the best places and sites a city has to offer from the view point of one who knows the city best, a resident. Little Rock resident and blogger, Jennifer Booth from A More Organized Life shares a few of her favorite spaces she recommends as “Must Sees” on your next trip to her hometown. This is Family Fun in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Growing up in a tiny mill town in southeast Arkansas, I always had my mind set on bigger things. I was determined to leave this awful place called Arkansas to pursue my dreams in a more metropolitan setting such as New York City. I had no desire to live in my home state.
Fast-forward to college and you’ll see that I found myself at a private Christian school in Arkansas. Even though I had great aspirations of adventurous living in another state, reality set in when I realized what I homebody I was. So, choosing a school about two hours away from home suited me more than jet setting off to a school in another state.
After graduating from Ouachita Baptist University (www.obu.edu) in Arkadelphia, Arkansas with a degree in accounting and finance, I landed a job as an accountant for a food service distributor in Little Rock. That was 20 years ago.
Now, I would never consider living anywhere else. I have lived in the Little Rock area longer than I’ve lived in any other place. I love this small Southern city, and I can’t wait so share with you what makes Little Rock so fabulous!
One thing that sets Little Rock apart is the natural beauty that surrounds the city. Little Rock sits on the banks of the Arkansas River. Pinnacle Mountain is set off in the distance to the west. And, there are miles of biking and walking trails that are always busy on beautiful sunny days.
So, come on! Let me take you on a tour of my city…
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park
Little Rock is one of the few cities in the United States to serve as home to a presidential library. The Clinton Presidential Library (www.clintonlibrary.gov) is truly a jewel in our community. No matter your politics, you can find something to learn or to be inspired by here.
The library showcases artifacts from Clinton’s term of service as President of the United States. Here you can see one of his presidential limos as well as a replica of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. There are also numerous temporary exhibits that highlight important moments in our nation’s history.
On the grounds of the Presidential Center and Park you’ll find the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (www.clintonschool.uasys.edu). It is housed in an old train station next to the library.
The park offers wonderful opportunities to walk around and enjoy nature. This former railroad bridge was restored and converted to a pedestrian bridge that links to North Little Rock.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park is definitely a must see when you visit Little Rock. Everyone from young children to adults will find it a fascinating place to tour.
Heifer Project International
Little Rock is also home the international headquarters of Heifer Project International (www.heifer.org). The Heifer Project is a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty and hunger around the world by providing animals and agricultural training to help communities become self-sustainable.
At the Heifer Village, next to the international headquarters, you can experience hands on activities that will introduce you to poverty needs around the world. This is a fun place to take the kids. You could spend several hours here learning about poverty and how your family can make a difference in the world.
Downtown Little Rock
Many visitors come to Little Rock just to experience activities downtown. The River Market (www.rivermarket.info) is a vibrant place to explore local restaurants with a variety of cuisines represented. It is also home to a Farmer’s Market and Arkansas artists who practice their craft and sell what they make.
Often you can hear live music throughout the River Market. This area of Little Rock also serves as the venue for River Fest, a three-day music and arts festival held on Memorial Day weekend each year.
The River Market is a fun place to take your kids. While you are out walking around and taking in the sights, you may want to catch the River Rail Trolley. The trolley will take you around downtown Little Rock and across the river to North Little Rock. The trolley is a fun, economical way to see our city.
A Foodie’s Paradise
Over the last few months, Little Rock has found itself on several national foodie lists. With so many local restaurants serving fresh, locally grown food, it is no wonder that foodies find themselves attracted to Little Rock.
When my family wants a hamburger we hit up Big Orange (www.bigorangeburger.com). Locally owned, Big Orange features all-natural beef. Turkey and veggie burgers are also options. You can get a traditional burger, or you can branch out and try one of their specialty gourmet burgers. My favorite is the Mushroom Melt with Havarti cheese, American cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and aioli. And you don’t want to miss their truffle garlic herb fries!
Another local favorite is Izzy’s(www.izzyslittlerock.com). Located west of downtown, Izzy’s is known for their hand rolled tamales. They also serve a variety of other delicious American food. This is a great place to go when everyone wants something different.
Our favorite restaurant would have to be Trio’s (www.triosrestaurant.com). Owner, Capi Peck, has been in the restaurant/hospitality industry with her family for decades. Trio’s is an icon in the Little Rock restaurant scene. Locally grown produce combined with a good dose of Southern hospitality makes Trio’s a wonderful place to introduce the kids to “fine dining.”
Trio’s is not stuffy or formal. In fact, on a recent visit, we saw a table full of women who had just come from their weekly tennis team match. Trio’s has been a wonderful training ground to teach my kids how to eat at a nice restaurant and to branch out and try new foods.
This time of year we go to Trio’s just for their Strawberry Shortcake. Doesn’t it look divine?
Trio’s offers soups, salads, sandwiches, and creative entrees. I guarantee once you try Trio’s, you’ll want to come back.
So there you have it… my mini-tour of Little Rock! There is so much more I could tell you about if I only had the time. That means you’ll have to come visit our city and see what all Little Rock has to offer! Hope to see you soon!
For about our guest author:
Jennifer Booth blogs about having a more organized life by pursuing peace, not perfection. You can catch up with her at A More Organized Life (www.jenniferbooth.com). She and her family love living in Little Rock and explore the city every chance they get while eating at their favorite local restaurants.
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