After the Louisiana Purchase and upon admission into the Union in 1836, the Arkansas territory became the 25th U.S. state. It didn't take long for the capital of Arkansas, Little Rock, to make a name for itself as a tourist attraction. "The Natural State" is located in the Southeastern region of the United States. The area features a unique environment featuring the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains and the densely forested Arkansas Timberlands.
What's more, the state has been called home by historical figures like Johnny Cash, Bill Clinton, and Walmart's founder, Sam Walton. Arkansas has much to offer--making it a highly traveled destination for Americans across the nation. No Arkansas locale
What is the Capital of Arkansas?
Little Rock isn't just a main character from Zombieland. It's also the capital city of Arkansas. The city of Little Rock is representative of Arkansas' exciting history and beautiful environment. The town gets its name from a famous rock formation along the Arkansas River (which runs through the city). The Arkansas State Capitol building sits a few blocks from the river. It is the statehouse for the Arkansas state government, where the state legislature has met through its founding, Civil War occupation, and modern times.
This city is the county seat of Pulaski County and lies in central Arkansas. The Little Rock metro area covers over 116 square miles. The town lies on the South Bank of the Arkansas River, while the Western part of the city sits in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Lake Maumelle is also close by and known for providing Little Rock with fresh drinking water.
This state capital city is near other popular Arkansas cities like Conway and Benton. In 2019, the population of Little Rock was estimated to be over 197,000 residents. Little Rock is the largest city in AR--followed by Fort Smith. French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe pointed out a unique rock formation near the river in the 1720s. From that point forward, Arkansas' state capital would be known as "La Petite Roche."
Little Rock, AR, isn't just home to Arkansas history. It's also a fan favorite travel destination for residents across the state and Americans in neighboring states like Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Individuals, couples, groups of friends, and families can all travel to the Little Rock metro area and find something to enjoy.
Before coming out, visitors should consider a few things--check out this handy driving guide to Little Rock provided by NST Law for all the major throughways and travel tips before heading for Arkansas' quaint capital city. When you arrive, here's our suggestions for things to see and do along the way!
5 Reasons to Visit Little Rock, Arkansas
1. The Quapaw Quarter District
Visiting the Quapaw Quarter neighborhood is the key to discovering this city's most historic sites. This area contains a community as old as the city. For this reason, the Quapaw Quarter District includes landmarks like the classical Old State House and the MacArthur Museum. This area got its name from a Native American tribe that used to inhabit the space. Native peoples lived here thousands of years before establishing the first European settlement known as the Arkansas Post in 1686.
2. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Just over 20 minutes from Little Rock is Pinnacle Mountain, State Park. Visitors to this day-use park can go hiking along the 15 miles of hiking trails, through the Arkansas Arboretum, and up to the top of the mountain. Tourists can also go boating along the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. Mountain biking is also an option via the park's 7 miles of "challenging" trails.
3. The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
In 1957, nine African American students enrolled at the Central High School in Little Rock. This seemingly insignificant happening was the source of conflict at the time. That year, the high school became a site for protests and riots. The students became known as the Little Rock Nine. They were barred from entry into the school by the Arkansas National Guard by order of then-Governor Faubus. President Eisenhower had to intervene for the students to gain access to the school. Today, the site is still an active public school where visitors often stop to see the campus and visitor center's museum.
4. North Little Rock
Just across the Arkansas River, North Little Rock is the sister city to the state capital. One of the most highly visited sites in North Little Rock is the Old Mill, an 1800s grist mill surrounded by historical sculptures and beautiful scenery. The Old Mill was also the opening scene in the 1939 film, Gone with the Wind. Visitors of this area should also make it a point to visit the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum alongside the river.
5. The River Market District
The River Market District in Little Rock is the perfect place to stroll the historic city, hit the shops on offer, and dine on local cuisine. From individuals to whole families, anyone can find something they enjoy at the River Market's food halls, farmers markets, and through the special events held from time to time. Are you traveling through Arkansas? Tourists should also look into cities like Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Pine Bluff. Enjoy traversing the state of Arkansas and the good old USA!
Have you ever visited Little Rock, Arkansas? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!