Earlier this month I had a little 2 day trip into Arkansas’ state capital, Little Rock, with my boyfriend, Zach, and he’s pretty special. He also thinks that travel is very important and within the short period of time that we’ve been dating we’ve been on two little trips already! He has even more travel experience than I do and be on the lookout for some guest posts from him!
Back to Arkansas, though. We arrived in Little Rock after a brief stop in Conway to visit some family friends. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived, so a lot of the museums were either closed or closing. We were a little concerned when we asked some people working in one of the museums what cool things there are to do in Little Rock, and the guy responded with, “Eeeeshk.” Ha! However, we found plenty of tourist things to do. There isn’t really much claim to fame in Little Rock, but they made the most of it with their personal history and Bill Clinton.
Our first stop was the Old State House Museum of Arkansas History. This was the old capitol building of Arkansas, and it’s actually the oldest surviving capitol building west of the Mississippi River. It was where Bill Clinton and his family were when they heard the news that he was the president of the United States. The admission here is free, which is always great for budget travelers. The building is really beautiful, but the museum isn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever been to. There was a lot of information of the building itself, an exhibit on maps, on the history of people living in Arkansas, and a small exhibit on the Clintons.
We also went to the current state capitol. It was really pretty, and they offered a free tour. The guide did a great job, and was really personable. They let you go into the governor’s office which has been restored to how it originally looked and it’s beautiful), the senate, the house and the old courtroom. It’s a beautiful building and definitely worth taking the free tour.
Bill Clinton created one of the biggest attractions in Little Rock. The Clinton Presidential Library opened in 2004. The building has a really interesting design, and it has a huge collection of Clinton’s election memorabilia. There were photos of the Clinton family during the race and campaign materials. There’s also a replica of how the oval office looked when he was president, and exhibit all about the state of the nation before and during his presidency, and other special exhibits. It’s the only site we went to that cost money, and it was $5 per person with our student IDs.
The Arkansas Art Center was a little hard to find because there are a couple of properties that they own, and at first we went to this plantation-style home that had an “Arkansas Art Center” sign, but it wasn’t open. So we looked it up again, and found the actual building. It had a few exhibits open, but they also had a lot of galleries with art in them, but they weren’t open. We were only allowed to go in a few rooms. It was free, so it was worth going, but we weren’t all that impressed.
We also went to the Arkansas History Museum. It had art, civil war memorabilia, old photographs and a Native American exhibit. It was also free, but it was probably my least favorite of the museums.
The other thing we did in Little Rock was eat! You all know that I love to eat, and I love eating out on vacation. We went to The House Gastropub for dinner one night. Zach is a vegetarian and this gastropub had a huge selection of veggie burgers. We both loved our food and drinks and it had a nice atmosphere.
We also ate on the river walk. It was a little indoor market area. There were a couple tourist shops and quite a selection of food vendors to choose from. We had the mexican food and bubble tea smoothies for desert.
It was a great little getaway to the capital of the Natural State. It isn’t exactly a place that you would choose for a destination, but if you’re passing through and looking for a place with a lot of free little museums, Little Rock has a lot of those to offer. It was great to get away with Zach before the semester started, and I’m looking forward to many more trips with him!