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Hot town: Summer in the city

Little Rock Old Mill

Summer in central Arkansas is meant to be enjoyed. Consider: the River Market, biking and hiking trails, concerts, the Clinton Library, fireworks, and much, much more.

Summer in central Arkansas is meant to be enjoyed.

In our office we talk a lot about what’s special about UALR. “Place” always figures as a top distinction because of the large impact Little Rock and central Arkansas have on our students’ total college experience.

Along with better opportunities for internships, jobs, community engagement, and being in the state capital where decisions are made and cultural experiences are readily available, lots of fun comes with living in a beautiful and thriving metropolitan city.

To give college bound students a flavor of what to do here outside of class in the spring and summertime, I turned to campus friends for their favorites:

There's bike riding in Little Rock while attending a UALR summer session.

John DiPippa, Bowen Law School
This is the best time of the year to ride on our system of trails which rivals any city’s trails in the country. My wife and I start at the parking lot near the community gardens in Two Rivers Park and ride east over the Two Rivers Bridge and then over the Big Dam Bridge and along the North Little Rock River Trail to downtown NLR. That’s almost 15 miles, making it a 30-mile round trip. And, if we are really up for a challenge, we will ride west from Two Rivers Park and up Wye Mountain and back (a 50- mile round trip.) Bottom line: cyclists have it great in Little Rock/North Little Rock.

Shannon Gwinn, College of Business
Riverfest, Petit Jean Mountain, Greek Food Festival, Magic Springs, and Wild River Country water parks.

Chuck Anderson, Rhetoric and Writing
Great produce and breakfast at the Argenta Market on Saturday mornings is a treat. Wait for the fried pies, which arrive about 9 a.m. Yummy food and a lot of great people to meet and talk food with. Also, Saturday morning breakfast at Roots Cafe on South Main – amazing food, unique atmosphere, excellent people watching and people meeting. The Green Store is across the street featuring local arts and crafts and sustainable products of many kinds.

Tony Rose, Sequoyah Research Center
The Pinnacle Mountain Arboretum is wonderful at this time of year. It’s on the road between the Visitors’ Center and the mountain.

Chuck Hancock, Engineering Technology
Check out the Ultimate Frisbee summer league, lrultimate@yahoogroups.com, or float the Saline River.

Rikki Turner, Residence Life
My family’s favorites are the “splash pads” around Little Rock. These are absolutely FREE. We frequently go to the one across from the Little Rock Zoo on Fair Park and the one downtown at the River Market.

Rachelle Tracy, Teacher Education
One of my favorite things to do is rock climbing at the Little Rock Climbing Center.

There's plenty to do in Little Rock while attending a UALR summer session.

Kayla Cossey, Ottenheimer Library
Riverfest has always been one of my favorites. Also: Toad Suck Days in Conway, Clinton Presidential Library, Petit Jean State Park, Quapaw Quarter with the Villa Marre House, Cadron Settlement with the Cherokee Trail of Tears path, Pops on the River on July 4th at the Riverfront Amphitheater.

There's plenty to do in Little Rock while attending a UALR summer session.

Susan Wade, Applied Studies in Education
Walking the Big Dam Bridge or around the Old Mill, having a picnic at Maumelle Park, sitting outside at Ya Ya’s restaurant on a pretty evening, eating a big cheese burger at Buffalo Grill or a grilled salmon salad at the Pantry, going to a Traveler’s baseball game and eating great junk food, ice skating or roller skating at the Bowman skating rink, dancing at a rooftop party at the Peabody.

Hogan Claiborne, Disability Resource Center
Movies in the Park on the Arkansas River, camping, kickball leagues, Little Rock Marathon, and canoeing at area lakes.

Sarah Beth Estes, Sociology and Anthropology
When it gets hot, any branch of the Central Arkansas Library System is a great place to cool off and relax. River City Tea, Coffee, and Cream – you can watch the world go by but still be cooling down (are you sensing a theme here?). Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre – it’s low cost and has pay-what-you-can nights.

Mary Boaz, Development Office
Cinco de Mayo festival at the Clinton Park and First Thursdays in the historical Hillcrest District, with music on the sidewalks, shops and restaurants open, etc.

There's plenty to do in Little Rock while attending a UALR summer session.

Mary Babineau, Student Accounts
No-cost fun: Wetlands garden walk at the Presidential Library, Fish and Game Commission Museum, Civil War Historical Marker Tour, Farmers Market, Window Shop Friday and Saturday nights downtown…oftentimes there are musicians playing on street corners.

Patrick Pearce, East Lab
Taking nature photographs in Riverfront Park is one of my favorites.

The list could go on and on depending on your interests. The point is, in the summer, in the city, you’ll find plenty of cool and unique things to outside of the classroom.

My favs? Picnicking with carry-out barbecue from Whole Hog Café or tamales from Doe’s Eat Place, walking my cocker spaniels in Burns Park with soccer games going on, weekend treasure hunting at the oodles of flea markets, estate and garage sales.

These are just a sampling of all the cool summer things to do around here. Central Arkansans – please weigh in with your comments.

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