Last Updated on: 2nd April 2022, 10:30 pm
Little Rock is Arkansas’s capital city, and is bursting with exciting things to do!
While you could spend weeks exploring this culturally-rich city, a long weekend in Little Rock is well-spent!
This 3-day Little Rock itinerary will take you through some of the city’s best historical haunts, delicious southern eateries, amazing shopping, and outdoor excursions!
From breakfast to after-dinner activities, this travel guide will take you through three days in Little Rock visiting the best attractions the city has to offer – compiled by an Arkansas native!
So pack your bags and get ready to enjoy your weekend getaway in the capital of the Natural State!
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Good to Know: This guide on the best things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas comes to us from Kendall Davis, who is originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.
She currently lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Scout.
The Top 6 Most Popular Little Rock Tours & Attractions
Before you dig into all the city has to offer, you should know that these are the most popular guided tours, attractions, day trips, and skip-the-line tickets in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Where to Stay in Little Rock, Arkansas
Looking for a great place to stay during your time in Little Rock? Here are the best places to stay with options for different budget categories so there’s something here for everyone!
Budget Hotel (Under $100 per night)
With great reviews and a great price, you really can’t beat the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Little Rock.
The rooms are modern, and each is a suite with a kitchenette and a seating area. We stayed in a similar SpringHill Suites in Jackson, Mississippi and we just loved it!
They have a heated indoor pool, so it’s a great place to stay year-round!
Midrange Hotel ($100-200 per night)
If you want something with a great location close to downtown, check into the Hilton Garden Inn Little Rock Downtown.
Located within walking distance of the Historic Arkansas Museum and steps from some of the best sites in Little Rock, you’ll love the location as much as the updated rooms and beautiful decor.
Amenities include valet parking and an indoor heated pool.
Luxury Hotel ($200 or more per night)
The Capital Hotel is a beautiful historic hotel that’s on this list as a can’t-miss thing to do in Little Rock, so even if you don’t end up staying here you should still set aside time to stop by for dinner or drinks!
Beyond its status as one of the best hotels in Little Rock, it has a great location near many of the most important Little Rock sites.
The decor is historic but amenities like wifi are up-to-date!
How to Get to Little Rock, Arkansas
We drove through Little Rock as part of our Big Southern USA Road Trip! I’ve also visited growing up as a child, and we have always driven from OKC to Little Rock.
Driving is the easiest way to get to Little Rock since you will really want to have a car here during your trip.
While you can get around without a car, we found having our own wheels makes travel in the South much easier.
If you want to drive to Little Rock but don’t have your own wheels, I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels.
If you don’t want to drive to Little Rock, you have other options.
You can fly into the Little Rock Airport, known officially as the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT).
Flights here are relatively inexpensive, and the airport is serviced by American Airlines, among others.
Another option is to take the train! Little Rock is serviced by Amtrak at the Little Rock Union Station, which is also called the Mopac Station.
Little Rock is on the “Texas Eagle” line, which goes from Chicago to Los Angeles via San Antonio. You can be in Little Rock in under eight hours if you are coming from St. Louis.
One thing that makes traveling to Little Rock by train difficult is that it arrives and departs the city at about 3 AM.
However, if you like traveling by overnight train, this can be a great way to visit Little Rock!
Alternatively, you can reach Little Rock by bus. Keep in mind that Greyhound Bus trips can be excruciatingly long compared to the time it takes to travel by car, plane, or even train.
Further, it may not be less expensive than driving (provided you have a car) or taking a train).
How to Get Around Little Rock, Arkansas
As I said above, I have always gotten around Little Rock by car, but there are other options if you aren’t driving your own or renting a car once you’re here.
First, there are local taxis that service Little Rock. There are also rideshare services. Both Uber and Lyft operate in Little Rock.
Depending on where you’re staying, you may be able to enjoy some of downtown Little Rock on foot.
Traveling by foot is one of the most popular modes of transportation for sightseeing in downtown Little Rock’s River Market District and North Little Rock’s Historic Argenta Arts District.
There are also famous parks and pedestrian bridges listed in this article that you can enjoy by walking.
Finally, you can take advantage of the city’s famous vintage yellow streetcars to get from place to place within their operating zone.
The River Rail Trolley goes to several places you’ll want to make sure to see while in Little Rock, and it is a fun way to see the city!
How Many Days Should You Spend in Little Rock?
Honestly, the city is completely overlooked! Between great outdoor day trip options like Pinnacle Mountain State Park and the Buffalo National River (one of the great National Park sites in Arkansas ), you can easily fill up a long weekend in Little Rock and the surrounding area.
So if you can only spend 2 days in Little Rock, we understand. But if you have 3 days or 4 days in Little Rock, that’s even better!
How to Use this Little Rock Itinerary
This Little Rock itinerary is designed for those coming for a long weekend, but you can easily tailor it to fill your needs.
If you will only be in Little Rock for two days, then take out the items that you aren’t as excited about.
How to Get the Best Little Rock Vacation Photos
If you are going on a special trip to Little Rock, like a family vacation or couples getaway, you may want to leave making sure you have the best vacation photos!
You can use the service Flytographer to book a personal Little Rock photo session so that you leave knowing you have amazing pictures to help you treasure the memories of your trip.
I used them in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and I loved how our family photos came out! In just thirty minutes, we were able to capture professional travel photos that will last a lifetime:
You can use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photo session.
The Perfect 3 Day Weekend in Little Rock Itinerary
All right, let’s get started!
Day 1: Delicious Dishes, Beautiful Gardens, & Important History
9:00 AM: Wake Up with a Good Breakfast at The Root Cafe!
Fuel up for a day of exploring Little Rock at The Root Cafe.
Step into The Root’s modest digs for a simply delicious breakfast! And what better way to begin immersing yourself in all of Little Rock’s glory than with locally sourced foods?
The Root Cafe sources as many of its ingredients as possible from small local farms, so you will be indulging in a delicious breakfast with true Arkansas roots.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but for a real southern experience, try the biscuits and gravy!
Address: 1500 Main Street., Little Rock, AR 72202
10:30 AM: Frolic Through the Bernice Garden
After breakfast, head to the Bernice Garden to see the gorgeous plants and sculptures in the fresh morning light.
See native flora, and sculptures, and artwork that reflect the spirit and culture of Arkansas!
Located in the SoMa neighborhood of Little Rock, which Southern Living magazine touts as one of the city’s “Next Great Neighborhoods.”
Address: 1401 S Main St., Little Rock, AR 72202
12:00 PM: Explore the Quapaw Quarter!
Starting at the Bernice Garden and heading south, stroll through the Quapaw Quarter and see the city’s oldest buildings – some of which date back before the Civil War.
See the gorgeous architecture and the tree-lined streets and reminisce on Little Rock’s storied history – both for good and for ill.
During your Quapaw Quarter escapade, grab a sweet treat at Loblolly Creamery! Named for the Arkansas state pine tree, this ice cream shop specializes in small-batch, handcrafted treats made with locally-sourced ingredients.
They offer deliciously unique flavors, as well as some perfected classics!
Address: 1423 S. Main St., Little Rock, AR 72202
Get your cone to go and continue the antiquities theme by walking to South Main Creative – an amazing antique store bursting at the seams with trinkets and goodies from near and far!
Address: 1600 Main St., Little Rock, AR 72206
After perusing the tchotchkes at South Main Creative, continue your southward trek to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion! Call ahead (501-324-9805) and schedule a free tour if you like exploring grand old houses.
Address: 1800 Center St., Little Rock, AR, 72206
2:00 PM: Grab Lunch at Vino’s!
Refuel with some of the best pizza in Little Rock and one of Vino’s own handcrafted beers!
This funky spot is a local favorite – and for good reason! Enjoy a casual lunch of pizza and calzones before continuing through Little Rock’s historic sites.
Address: 923 W 7th St., Little Rock, AR 72201
3:30 PM: Visit the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center
After lunch, head just over a mile southwest and visit the visitor center for the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site!
Here you’ll learn about how the courage of the Little Rock Nine changed Little Rock, and national, history forever.
After educating yourself on the fight for desegregation and equality for African Americans in Little Rock, you can travel right across the street to see the stunning Gothic Revival style facade of the school – which is still an operating public high school today!
Note: If you would like to go on a Ranger-led guided tour, you will need to pre-arrange it with the National Park Service. NPS tours leave at 1 PM, so in this case, you will also need to move some things around on your first day in Little Rock.
Address: 2120 W Daisy L Gatson Bates Dr., Little Rock, AR 72202
5:30 PM Visit the Arkansas State Capitol
Continue your historical-themed day in the Natural State’s capital city with a trip to the Arkansas State Capitol!
See the facade of the Neo-Classical capitol building, which is a scale replica of the United States Capitol.
Although the interior will be closed at this time, the evening light makes the exterior glow beautifully!
You can also see the Civil Rights Memorial sculpture and the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, which are both located on the capitol grounds.
Address: 500 Woodlane St., Little Rock, AR 72201
7:00 PM: Enjoy Dinner at the Capital Hotel!
Located about fifteen State Capitol Building by streetcar (or you can drive, of course), enter the beautiful Capital Hotel, completed in 1873, and visit the Capital Bar & Grill for a delicious, southern dinner.
The restaurant’s menu is centered around southern comfort foods and Arkansas-sourced ingredients.
They also specialize in mixing up wonderful cocktails that pair perfectly with the fare – all within the walls of the gorgeous historic hotel which is one of the fanciest in the entire state of Arkansas!
Address: 111 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72201
9:00 PM: Catch Some After-Dinner Entertainment at Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar
Just a five-minute walk from the Capital Hotel is Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar – an absolute must-do for live music in Little Rock!
Each night, Willy D’s puts on a fun interactive show with dueling pianos, requests from the audience, and more!
Sip a nightcap and laugh and sing along after a long day of exploring. You’ve earned this slice of Little Rock nightlife!
Address: 322 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201
Day 2: The River Market District & Little Rock’s Great Museums
9:00 AM: Grab a Quick Bite for Breakfast at Hurts Donuts
Choose a funky flavored donut and a cup of coffee at Hurts Donuts to prepare yourself for a day spent wandering the Little Rock River Market District!
Hurts has unique flavors and are arguably the best donuts in town.
While the company is based outside of Dallas and has locations in other nearby states like Oklahoma, Missouri, and Louisiana, Little Rockers love the level of creativity and passion at Hurst Donuts!
Address: 107 E Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72201
10:00 AM: Peruse the Farmer’s Market at the River Market
Grab some of the best of Arkansas’s bounty, and amazing crafts made by locals at the gorgeous open-air River Market pavilion!
The Farmer’s Market is one of the most beautiful and beloved ways to spend a weekend morning in downtown Little Rock.
Interact with local farmers and artisans and experience authentic Little Rock!
Address: 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201
12:00 PM: Indulge in Lunch at the River Market
After walking around the open-air sections of the River Market, head inside where you’ll find an unparalleled selection of eateries!
You can get worldwide cuisine from any of the River Market’s amazing food options.
This is especially great for big groups or families with picky eaters – since everyone can order from the spot that best suits their appetite!
Address: 400 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201
1:30 PM: Experience the Childlike Wonder Inspired by the Museum of Discovery
Just a stone’s throw from the River Market is the Museum of Discovery – an interactive science and technology museum that is hands-on fun for all ages.
Even if you aren’t visiting Little Rock with kids, the Museum of Discovery is an engaging and exciting experience for a day in Little Rock.
Adult tickets are only $10, and child tickets are $8, making this an affordable and enriching stop!
Address: 500 President Clinton Ave., Suite 150, Little Rock, AR 72201
3:30 PM: Continue Your Education at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
See the presidential library of the 42nd president, Arkansas native Bill Clinton – situated right on the Arkansas River in Little Rock.
See the archives, special exhibits, replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room from the White House, artifacts from Clinton’s presidency, and learn about Bill Clinton’s administration and legacy.
Address: 1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201
5:00 PM: Visit the Heifer Village and Urban Farm
See the live animals and greenhouses of the Urban Farm, and tour the Village to see the amazing work that Heifer International is doing around the world!
Engage with interactive exhibits and games, and see how Heifer International, headquartered right here in Little Rock, is changing the world.
Address: 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202
7:00 PM: Enjoy a Casual Dinner at Lost Forty Brewing
Sip like the locals at Lost Forty Brewing after a day of exploration and education!
Lost Forty is a craft microbrewery that makes uniquely Arkansas brews and delicious burgers and pizza.
Truly one of the state’s most beloved breweries, Lost Forty is the perfect place for good conversation and great beer. The Love Honey Bock, sweetened with Arkansas honey, is a can’t-miss!
Address: 501 Byrd St., Little Rock, AR 72202
9:00 PM: Take a Night Stroll along the Big Dam Bridge
After dinner, drive out to the Big Dam Bridge (about a twenty-minute trip) and take a stroll along the gorgeously-lit pedestrian bridge!
Take in the gorgeous views and reflect on your day spent exploring Little Rock.
Address: 4000 Cook’s Landing Rd, North Little Rock, AR 72118
Day 3: Hike Pinnacle Mountain & Explore The Heights
10:00 AM: Have Brunch at Boulevard Bread Co.
Boulevard Bread Co. is a local favorite for delicious baked goods and an amazing brunch menu.
Indulge in the bread pudding french toast, or get some good southern fried chicken and grits to prepare for your final day in Little Rock!
Address: 1920 N Grant St., Little Rock, AR 72207
11:30 AM: Hike Pinnacle Mountain
Pinnacle Mountain is a Central Arkansas favorite for getting outside in the Natural State!
There are two different hiking paths up the mountain – with the West Summit Trail which is a more accessible, easy walk up, and the East Summit Trail involving a little more of a scramble to reach the top.
No matter which path you choose, you are greeted by sweeping views of Little Rock and the greater Central Arkansas area at the summit.
Pinnacle Mountain is one of the most beautiful spots in Little Rock!
Address: 11901 Pinnacle Valley Rd., Little Rock, AR 72223
3:00 PM: Have Lunch at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
This popular spot in The Heights neighborhood of Little Rock serves up delicious tacos, tamales, and other Mexican-Southern fusion eats.
Make sure you get some cheese dip (not queso) – an Arkansas favorite!
Address: 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72207
4:30 PM: Shop Local in The Heights
The Heights neighborhood is a swanky section of Little Rock with some great local shops and boutiques!
Some notable stores that you must hit are: Domestic Domestic, with rugged goods and gifts and great Arkansas finds, Eggshells Kitchen Co., with craft kitchen trinkets and sundry, WordsWorth Books & Co., for a great selection of books, and Ozark Outdoor Supply for outdoor adventure gear and gifts.
Address: 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72207
Eggshells Kitchen Co.
Address: 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72207
WordsWorth Books & Co.
Address: 5920 R St., Little Rock, AR 72207
Ozark Outdoor Supply
Address: 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72207
6:30 PM: Continue Your Shopping Spree at the Promenade at Chenal
Head west to one of Little Rock’s newest developments, the Promenade at Chenal. This gorgeously-manicured shopping center has amazing stores for some of the best shopping in the city!
Address: 17711 Chenal Pkwy., Little Rock, AR 72223
8:00 PM: Have Burgers and Shakes at the Big Orange
Located in Chenal, the Big Orange is home to incredible burgers, shakes, and salads!
Refuel from a long day of hiking and shopping with a juicy burger finished with Arkansas-grown produce and a creamy boozy milkshake!
Address: 17809 Chenal Pkwy., Little Rock, AR 72223
9:30 PM: End the Night at Big Whiskey’s
Head back to downtown Little Rock for a drink at one of the city’s favorite bars, Big Whiskey’s!
You can sip some local whiskey, poured up on draft, distilled at Little Rock’s Rocktown Distillery, or any other delicious cocktail you’re craving.
Enjoy the good company at this lively bar and then end the night with a stroll around downtown.
Address: 225 E Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72201
What to Do in Little Rock in 4 Days
If you end up extending your stay, here are other fun things to do in Little Rock that you can add to your itinerary.
Things to Do in Little Rock
You can add more Little Rock museums like the Old State House Museum (located in the Old State House on West Markham Street), the Historic Arkansas Museum, and the unique Esse Purse Museum, which covers the history and importance of women’s handbags.
Enjoy some more outdoor time at Riverfront Park including walking through the sculptures.
Go on a long walk or go biking n the Arkansas River Trail, which runs over eighty miles through the towns of Little Rock, Maumelle, and North Little Rock.
It connects with Riverfront Park and you can also walk out to Junction Bridge.
See more about the destinations on the Arkansas River Trail on their website.
For more ideas of what to do with kids in Little Rock, you can add a stop at the Little Rock Zoo.
Check out The Corner for another great Little Rock breakfast spot.
For another great place to eat, check out the food trucks at the Rail Yard Little Rock.
For another Little Rock nightlife option, see what’s playing at the Argenta Community Theater.
If you want to see another neighborhood in Little Rock, check out Hillcrest in Midtown.
Get your adrenaline pumping by going kayaking on the Arkansas River or mountain biking on Little Rock’s many trails.
If you need gear, you can find kayak and bike rentals at Rock Town River Outfitters. They also have organized bike and kayak tours.
Day Trips from Little Rock
If you have a car and want to get out of the city, check out one of these options!
Head to North Little Rock for one of the metro’s most beautiful photography spots at the Old Mill. (About fifteen minutes away).
You can take a day trip down to Hot Springs National Park (About one hour away).
If you want to get your adrenaline going, you can head to the Buffalo National River. (About 2 hours away).
If you’re interested in a longer drive from Little Rock and aren’t on a big Arkansas road trip, you can head up to Bentonville, near the Missouri border. (About 3 hours away).
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Arkansas
Whether you’re going on an Arkansas honeymoon or a family vacation, there are a few things that everyone will want to bring with them.
A local guidebook. It’s very difficult to find guidebooks once you are already on the ground. Pick up a copy of Arkansas Off the Beaten Path to help you plan ahead of time and keep with you once you’re here.
A camera. While it’s great to have a cell phone with you for quick pics, if you want to do more serious photography or take more videos, I find it nice to travel with a separate dedicated camera as well.
If I will be wrestling with my toddler on the trip, I’ll grab my Sony ZV-1, which is a powerful compact camera with great video capabilities as well. If it’s just me, I’ll take my Nikon (though if you’re buying a new camera I have my eye on this Sony).
A Backup Charging Bank. This is for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie. The mountains can drain your battery since it will take more power to continually check for a signal where it gets spotty.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc).
My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for tourist destinations because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets plus RFID technology to keep your credit card digits safe.
It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
Arkansas Travel Resources
Looking to make the most of your Arkansas adventures? Check out these Arkansas travel resources!
Statewide Arkansas Guides
Little Rock Guides
Arkansas City & Town Guides
Included in these Southern USA Round-Ups
Included in These USA Round-Ups
Guidebooks I Used to Plan My Trip Around the South
These are the travel guidebooks that I used to plan my entire 5-week Southern USA road trip. I highly recommend each of them!
Lonely Planet Florida & the South’s Best Trips – this book was essential for me when I was trying to plan our road trip and understanding what was near each other and what absolutely not to miss.
Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement – we did a lot of Civil Rights and Civil War historic sites on our trip, and if you’ll be doing any of this kind of travel, make sure to get this.
It was invaluable for finding off-the-beaten-path sites and can’t miss Black-owned historic businesses.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance
It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home.