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Best of Little Rock, Arkansas

The best things to do and see in Little Rock including the Clinton Library, top farmers market and beyond.

The best things to do and see in Little Rock including the Clinton Library, top farmers market and beyond.

With cool attractions that are less discovered, great food and drinks and fun adventure and cultural activities, Little Rock is a travel destination you might want to add to your radar.

Watch the video and keep reading for nine not to miss picks for your trip to this capital city.

#1 Take a Bike Tour

Taking a bike tour in a new city can be a fun way to meet local people and get an overview of some top attractions and neighborhoods. Sign up for a guided tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike to see the city from a different angle. My local guide had some awesome insight into Little Rock, and I enjoyed some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten at a place I probably wouldn’t have found without him, but that I will now share with you!

#2 Eat BBQ

Little Rock has some good BBQ and one of the best places is Sims Bar-B-Que. The original Sim’s dates back to 1937 and though it’s moved locations, it’s still serving up its tangy sweet sauce that has attracted locals and celebrities for generations. Peruse the walls for photos of the famous foodies that have frequented this truly local restaurant and definitely get the ribs.

Top BBQ in Little Rock at Sims

Top BBQ in Little Rock at Sims

#3 Eat Ice Cream

Located in the SOMA neighborhood of Little Rock, Loblolly Ice Cream in The Green Corner Store & Soda Fountain has unique, handcrafted flavors created with fresh products from local farmers, meaning you’re tasting a bit of Arkansas here. Flavors range from salted caramel to peach buttermilk to campfire s’mores. The atmosphere is retro, yet hip, with a truly neighborhood feel.

Loblolly Ice Cream Little Rock

Loblolly Ice Cream Little Rock

#4 Community Bakery

Just a few blocks away from Loblolly Ice Cream, make room for more sweets at Community Bakery, a gathering spot for the Little Rock community since the 1940’s. This top bakery makes hundreds of items each evening, including traditional items your grandmother or mother may have baked, like banana nut bread, and tasty European specialties. If nothing else, stop by to people watch and get a sense for the diverse community surrounding this special bakery.

Community Bakery Sweet Treats

Community Bakery Sweet Treats

#5 Esse Purse Museum

Started by collector Anita Davis, the Esse Purse Museum bills itself as the only brick and mortar purse museum in the USA and one of three in the world. This rare museum takes you through the twentieth century, telling a sort of women’s history through style and substance. Fashionistas will get a kick out of the interesting and colorful designs and brands showcased, but it’s not only a female travel hotspot. Men, too, may enjoy seeing inside women’s purses and discovering the nuances of what’s inside. The museum also has a store, where kitschy and fun items, including vintage purses, are sold, so you can shop for yourself or your friends.

Funky purses and what's inside at the Esse Purse Museum

Funky purses and what’s inside at the Esse Purse Museum

#6 See the Governor’s Mansion

Nestled within a neighborhood, you must make a stop by the Governor’s Mansion, which Arkansas governors have called home since 1950 and where Bill and Hillary Clinton once resided. Many people do drive-by this National Register of Historic Places mansion in a vehicle, but cycling will give you a different sense of the neighborhood and this mansion’s location, which is somewhat unassuming.

#7 Clinton Presidential Library

The Clinton Presidential Library and Park is a must-see in Little Rock. The 20,000 square foot library and museum space houses everything from family memorabilia to a replica of the Oval Office. Distinctive photos, special gifts from global heads of state and an extensive archive detailing Bill Clinton’s day to day life in office will interest history buffs and those with a fascination for presidential power.

#8 Farmer’s Market

In the River Market District, enjoy top restaurants and tempting healthy options at the Farmer’s Market, which has been attracting travelers to downtown Litlte Rock since 1974. Robust blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, peaches and tomatoes are just some of the healthy options for a snack or your next meal at this vibrant farmer’s market. On my visit, several musicians were playing live music at the market, adding further to the diversity of this Arkansas staple.

Arkansas Tomatoes at the Farmers Market

Arkansas Tomatoes at the Farmers Market

#9 Capital Hotel Bar

End your day with a drink at the historic Capital Hotel, which dates back to 1870 and is located in downtown Little Rock. Called “the front porch of Little Rock,” this landmark hotel has hosted political greats throughout history, including President Ulysses S. Grant and Bill Clinton, even serving as the local headquarters during Clinton’s tenure as President. The bar at One Eleven Capital Hotel is an upscale retreat where classic cocktails mix with local flavors.

Cocktails at the Capital Hotel Bar

Cocktails at the Capital Hotel Bar

Whether you can fit all or just one of these adventures into your trip to Little Rock, don’t forget to ask the locals for their suggestions. You never know what you might discover.

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

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