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The best Hotels, Restaurants, Art, Cultural Attractions, and just plain Fun Stuff to do and see in Little Rock, Arkansas.
HOTELS: LITTLE ROCK
Survey the River Market District from your room on high at the 19-floor Peabody Little Rock.
Sleep at the 1880-built Rosemont Bed and Breakfast, an authentic Victorian farmhouse on the National Register of Historic Places.
RESTAURANTS: LITTLE ROCK
Eat your way through a monster chicken-fried steak at Buddy’s Ranch House Café.
Enjoy fried-oyster poor boy loaf at Flying Fish. Hundreds of Big Mouth Billy Bass singing toys line the eatery.
The River Market sports a seasonal farmers market and more than a dozen vendors selling sushi rolls, Southern barbecue, and other delicacies.
Rock to live music in the River Market District as you munch on biscuits, chicken strips, and banana pudding at the Sticky Fingerz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack.
ART: LITTLE ROCK
Charge your creative side at River Market ArtSpace, a gallery featuring mostly local work. Browse colorful, modern paintings and earthy sculptures from more than 70 Little Rock artists, with pieces ranging from $13 (silver paperweight) to $8,990 (mixed-media collage).
Browse art after dark on Second Friday Art Night, a once-a-month event when galleries, museums, and businesses in downtown Little Rock keep their doors open until 8 p.m.
CULTURAL/HISTORICAL: LITTLE ROCK
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum opened in 2004 and boasts nearly 77 million pages of historical documents and more than 84,000 museum artifacts, including the former president’s CD collection and letters sent to him from Arsenio Hall and Elton John.
The Old State House museum was the state’s first official capitol building. Builders started the Greek Revival–style structure in 1833 and finished in 1842. The museum includes Arkansas governor Orval Faubus’ fedora and bumper stickers from Mike Huckabee’s gubernatorial campaign. Visit the Senate Chamber upstairs where the original House of Representatives met in 1836.
Walk the steps of Central High School, where in 1957 nine black teenagers—the “Little Rock Nine”—were escorted to class by troops, a turning point in the U.S. civil rights movement.
Arkansas’ current statehouse is worth a trip. Walk through the massive bronze doors on the eastern side—purchased for $10,000 from Tiffany’s in 1910—then stroll over to the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Restorers have returned the brass- and mahogany-lined room to its 1912 splendor.
FUN STUFF: LITTLE ROCK
At Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, guests get to feed, groom, and ride these majestic animals. After arriving on Friday for the Elephant Experience Weekend, you’ll spend the evening chatting with the staff and watching an Animal Planet documentary on one of the three sanctuary-born elephants, Maximus. Rise early Saturday morning and lug tubs of breakfast bran to the eight African and Asian elephants. Then grab a bristle brush as the staff brings out two gentle Asian females and has them lie down so you can pet and brush their trunks and sides. On Sunday, climb aboard female Betty Boop’s broad back for a ride. Each guest gets to take in the view from up here, holding on to a special frame as Scott leads Betty Boop down a short trail and back.
Rejuvenate by taking a dip in the 100-degree thermal water at Buckstaff Baths.
See sparkling gems—and unearth your own hidden jewels—at Murfreesboro’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only public diamond mine in the country.
Although you can dig for diamonds in three ways, try dry screening, the most efficient method. Rent a small hand shovel and screen for $8 from the facility or bring your own. Turn the soil over as you look for shiny objects, and use the screen to sift the dirt. You’ll know you’ve discovered a diamond by its rounded edges and metallic shine, and because mud and dirt slides off. Best of all, the park lets you keep whatever you dig up.
Admire animals of all shapes and sizes at the Little Rock Zoo.
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