Little Rock

Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Arkansas Little Rock

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Introduction

Arkansas capital...do you know?

Arkansas capital...do you know?

© kolorfulkak

Little Rock is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The city itself has about 200,000 inhabitants while the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of over 700,000 people. Little Rock is the county seat of Pulaski County and lies at the center of the state, more-or-less where the Ozark Mountains, the Ouachita Mountains, and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the "Delta") come together. Traveling east from Little Rock, you traverse flat land nearly all the way to the Mississippi River; traveling west you quickly enter hilly country.

Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called La Petite Roche (the "little rock"). The "little rock" was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing. The original historic "little rock" was later dynamited and used as a foundation for a railroad bridge, but its location can be visited in downtown's Riverfront Park.

Little Rock is located at the first high that upstream travelers on the Arkansas River came to, and so was a logical place to found a settlement. When it became apparent that the original capital of Arkansas Territory, Arkansas Post, was too subject to flooding, the seat of government was moved to Little Rock in 1819.

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Sights and Activities

  • Arkansas State Capitol, 500 Woodlane St. M-F 7AM-5PM. Completed in 1915, is of some interest as it was modeled after the U.S. Capitol, and as a result, it has been used in several movies. If the legislature is not in session, you may visit the Senate and House chambers. The Arkansas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arkansas Law Enforcement Memorial, and a monument honoring the Little Rock Nine are located on the grounds. The Capitol occupies the former site of the state penitentiary.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

Little Rock lies in the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot, humid summers and mild winters, with usually little snow. It has experienced temperatures as low as -24 °C, which was recorded on February 12, 1899, and as high as 46 °C, which was recorded on August 3, 2011.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) is the main airport in Arkansas and is located near Little Rock. Flights include those to/from Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Atlanta, Memphis, Baltimore, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Orlando, Denver, Charlotte and Washington, D.C..

By Train

The Texas Eagle, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago and San Antonio, Texas on a daily basis, continuing to Los Angeles 3 times a week. The train also stops in Little Rock, Arkansas.

By Car

Little Rock is located at the intersection of Interstates 40 and 30, about two hours west of Memphis, five hours east of Oklahoma City, and five hours northeast of Dallas. I-530 and U.S. Route 167 also lead into the city.

Interstates 430 and 440 nearly encircle the metropolitan area, and I-630 runs from downtown westward to end at I-430.

By Bus

  • Greyhound ,118 E Washington, +1 501 372-3007).
  • Megabus. Service from Dallas and Memphis. Bus stop is in a parking lot on the southwest corner of Cumberland St and E 6th St. Fares from $1.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

  • River Rail Trolleys. The trolley will take you to most of the major downtown attractions, as well as across the Arkansas River to downtown North Little Rock. You can pick up a River Rail schedule from any of the hotels or downtown attractions. It passes by every 15 minutes or so. The trolley is a fun, easy way to get around downtown Little Rock. Children ride free; adult fare is $1 per ride, or $2 for a day pass.
  • Central Arkansas Transit Authority. Unlike the River Rail Trolleys, the city bus travels city-wide. One way fare is $1.35 for adults.

By Bike

Little Rock has a large population of cyclists. There is a large mixed use pedestrian and bike loop connecting both North Little Rock and Little Rock's downtown corridors. There are bike rental places such as River Trail Rentals, +1 501 374-5505, that are located along the Arkansas River Trail. Try the junction bridge, or the Big Dam Bridge, which is the longest bridge in the world dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists.

Proceed with caution while traveling downtown in the River Market area. There are no dedicated bike paths other than the Arkansas River Trail, and the River Rail Trolley tracks have deep ruts which can knock off cyclists not paying attention.

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Eat

  • Gusano's. Chicago style pizza and bar located in the River Market.
  • Sonny Williams' Steak Room. Boasts an award-winning wine list, a piano bar, and some of the best steaks and seafood in Little Rock.
  • Sticky Fingerz Rock and Roll Chicken Shack. Has a musical lineup worth checking out while you're in town.
  • Vino's. Billed as Little Rock's original brewpub and serves handcrafted ales, pizza, calzones, and is the place in Arkansas to find premier alternative entertainment, but it also makes for a fine restaurant. The place for LR's tattoo and piercing crowd, but also friendly to older folks.

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Drink

  • The Flying Saucer, 323 President Clinton Ave, ☎ +1 501-372-8032. In the heart of the River Market area downtown.
  • Crush Wine Bar, 318 North Main Street, ☎ +1 501-374-9463. Tu-Sa 4PM-10PM. Winnner of Best wine list in Arkansas. Located in the River Market area downtown.
  • The White Water Tavern, 2500 W 7th St, ☎ +1 501-375-8400. Cheap beer, great food and live music on most nights of the week.

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Sleep

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 34.724425
  • Longitude: -92.278864

Accommodation in Little Rock

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This is version 15. Last edited at 9:58 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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