A list of five fantastic things to do over a weekend in Little Rock, all located in the heart of the city, near UALR.
One of the best things about the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is that it’s located in the heart of the state. If you already attend UALR, you know that Little Rock has so much to offer. But if you’re just starting to think about becoming a Trojan, you might wonder what life is like in the capital city. Let’s fast forward and look at the future (no DeLorean time machine required):
You are now a student at UALR and know your program – be it business, law, fine arts or theatre – is top-notch. You did everything right. You got your roommate, you showed up with all the latest dorm swag (mini-fridge, anyone?), and you study. Annnnnd you study. And then, you study some more!
Pretty soon you become the expert on places to study on campus, snacks that will get you through that last half hour of biochem, and the Netflix shows you can ‘watch’ without having to pay too much attention to the plot (read: not House of Cards or Breaking Bad).
We understand that you need to have a good balance between work and play. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do around the capital city.
Here are some of our favorite Little Rock activities to do when you catch a moment for a break:
1. Arkansas River Trail and Bridges
There’s a reason Arkansas is called the Natural State – and Little Rock has plenty of raw, scenic beauty to enjoy from several bridges where you can walk or cycle across the Arkansas River. There are 4 bridges that are considered part of the Arkansas River Trail, a 14-mile pedestrian loop that connects Little Rock and North Little Rock. They include:
The Junction Bridge Pedestrian Walkway – connects between Verizon Arena on the North Little Rock side and the Riverfest Amphitheatre on the Little Rock side, sitting 40 feet above the river. It was constructed originally in 1899 by the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad and was operated by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Big Dam Bridge – Starts in Murray Park (Little Rock) and connects in Cook’s Landing Park (North Little Rock). The bridge is one of the longer pedestrian bridges at 4,226 feet long and is aptly named because it is built above a large dam. At night, it is lit up with an impressive display of LED lighting, which won the Illumination Engineering Society of North America IIDA Award of Merit.
Two Rivers Bridge – Located west of I-430 off River Mountain Road, the bridge connects to Two Rivers Park. Some of its trails connect to Pinnacle Mountain State Park (#3 on this list). It too, has an impressive LED lights display, although not quite as breathtaking as the Big Dam Bridge.
Clinton Presidential Park Bridge – Also known as the Rock Island Bridge, it connects the Clinton Presidential Center (#5 on this list) to the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River. Upon entering the Little Rock side, you can continue on the River Trail to various restaurants and museums in downtown Little Rock, the Clinton Presidential Center or Heifer International. Unlike the Big Dam Bridge and Two Rivers Bridge, which were both constructed from scratch, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge was once a functioning railway bridge, built in 1899.
2. Pinnacle Mountain
Pinnacle Mountain sits atop the Arkansas River Valley and has one of the most breathtaking views in all of Little Rock. It’s only about 2 miles up the mountain on either of the East or West Summit trails. You don’t have to be an avid rock climber to make it up Pinnacle Mountain, but there are places that do require a bit of a climb. No worries, the trails are well-marked and the park also offers several guided tours up and down the mountain. You can also picnic, fish and camp at the site. No camping equipment? No problem! UALR has you covered – go here to rent camping equipment from us.
3. Downtown Activities
Food Truck Friday – As part of the revitalization of Main Street, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership has created Food Truck Fridays, where various food trucks in the city come together at Capitol and Main to serve delectable offerings like shrimp n’grits, chicken and waffles, hot dogs and more. A general crowd-pleaser, your wallet won’t be disappointed and your taste buds won’t be either. Food Truck Fridays lasts until June 13, but each individual truck has its own schedule year-round.
Movies in the Park – Movies in the Park is a free outdoor movie series in Little Rock’s River Market. Movies start at dark and you can bring something to eat and drink. Free entertainment is pretty vital to most college students, so don’t miss this summertime staple.
Farmer’s Market – From May 3 until October 25, stop by the River Market to grab some farm-fresh produce as well as unique and handmade gifts and crafts.
Even though you were learning the first real stages of human life when Bill Clinton was actually in office – you know, walking, talking, eating – his Presidential Library is still worth checking out (and if that’s not your thing, please refer back to #2 above and the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge). Artifacts from Clinton’s presidency as well as other personal authentic pieces, such as mementos from Bill and Hillary’s courting days are on display, along with a model of the Oval Office. The library also hosts an array of changing exhibits throughout the year, from Oscar de la Renta: American Icon to Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America. As a college student, when you present your student ID, you can get in with a discounted admission rate of $5. Cha-ching!
5. Campus Life
Last but not least – one of the very best, and convenient, (let’s not overstress convenience. It will SAVE YOUR ACADEMIC LIFE in certain instances) things to do in college is to get involved in campus life. At UALR, there are so many activities going on. Maybe you want to join a sorority or fraternity or take part in UALR Intramural Sports, where you can conveniently (there it is again) register online to participate. Hitting the Fitness Center is also a great all-in-one stop to join in on anything from step aerobics to table tennis; and, as an added bonus, it’s also a good way to keep away stress and that Freshman 15.
There you have it. Five fantastic things to do over a weekend in Little Rock, all located in the heart of the city, near our campus. Have fun and remember to share with us what you did! Head on over to UALR’s Facebook page or tweet at us and include #UALR.