What do you get when the midwest meets the south? Little Rock, Arkansas.
Little Rock is riddled with momentos and homages to the idyllic plains and charm of the midwesterns and the home style cooking and hospitality of the south. This state is like no other, often lost between the mix of Louisiana to the south and Tennessee to the east, but a pleasure for all to visit.
With only a weekend to explore this captivating city, we laid out what your itinerary should look like.
Day 1: Friday
You hop off the plane in LIT (Little Rock National Airport) ready for the party to begin. But where to first?
After you drop your bags off in your hotel, you head over to the River Market neighborhood of downtown Little Rock. Here you will find shops and boutiques to rummage through and buy some local flare. Get into the scene by stopping at rock n roll inspired Grit n Star for some classic looks.
Once you’ve finalized your get up and taken a ride around town on a Lime scooter it’s time to carbo load for your weekend full of exploration.
Downtown is full of great places but tomorrow you will be hiking so opt for some delectable Italian cuisine from Bruno’s Little Italy. The restaurant serves up classic Italian dishes with loads of fresh warm bread to dip in the sauces.
Tomorrow is an early morning so it is best to grab a bottle of wine or pack of beer and snacks at Stratton’s Market on your way back. Be sure to grab some nutrition bars for your hike in the morning.
Enjoy your drinks and watch some Netflix then head to bed to get ready for your morning adventure.
Day 2: Saturday
Morning Hike in Little Rock
It’s morning in Little Rock and it’s time to get on the road and head out to your morning hike destination.
Depending on the strength of wine you bought the night before, you’re going to either Pinnacle Mountain State Park or Burns Park.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is home to – you guessed it – Pinnacle Mountain. The park has three trails, the East Summit Trail, West Summit trail, and Base Trail.
The East Summit Trail is half a mile straight up a rock scramble. The West Summit Trail is slightly easier with a clear and a gentler incline and trail. The Base Trail loops around the mountain at the base.
The route we took was up the east, down the west, and back to the car on the base to see all the views.
Be sure to arrive early to get a parking spot, the west parking lot fills up fast.
Option two at Burns Park gives you a day of nature walking or driving through the lush Arkansas canopy. The park offers miles of hiking trails, disc golf, golf, a dog park, tennis courts, and more. You can spend your day here or take a walk through one of the trails in the morning air.
After your outdoor adventure for the day, head back to the hotel, clean up, and head back out.
Afternoon Along SOMA
For the afternoon and evening you will be exploring SOMA – South Main – district. Start at The Root Cafe with their ever changing menu of farm fresh plates.
After you have filled up on fresh and natural food from The Root Cafe, make your way down Main Street back towards downtown. On the way you will pass holistic and natural shops where you can find tea, vegan jerky, boho clothing, and murals by local artists.
Ride your Lime and wander Main Street and the side streets to find some new favorite artists until you make it to Rock Town Distillery. Try a flight of whiskey and grab a bottle to bring home and share with some friends. Plan ahead and book a distillery tour and tasting to learn about their craft.
Sober up and head over to Rock ‘N Roll Sushi to finish the night with sushi and sake.
After your sushi head back to downtown and explore more bars on Main Street or take the party back to your hotel room.
Day 3: Sunday
Last full day in Little Rock so you are going out with a bang.
Start the day walking the Arkansas River Trail to sweat off yesterdays whiskey and prepare for todays shenanigans.
The trail takes you through a sculpture park, art, and into North Little Rock. While in North Little Rock you can stop for some morning joe at Mugs Cafe. Loop back to Little Rock by taking the historic Junction Bridge.
After your walk (about two miles) it’s time to clean up and get ready for a day of debauchery – or whatever you do while day drinking.
Today you will be exploring the entertainment district of downtown. Why the entertainment district? Because you can get some wristbands and walk through the streets with margaritas!
This is a new initiative that was introduced to the area couple of years ago but is a big draw to the weekend drinkers.
You must have a wristband and River Market Entertainment District included cup to carry your drink, but once obtained it is time for fun.
The law is only available along four blocks and participating restaurants and establishments but will hopefully grow in coming years.
Notable restaurants include:
Flying Saucer Draft Emporium is a classic family style pub ready to fill your cup
Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack has flavorful wings and cauliwings to enjoy
Diablos Tacos & Mezcalería has a variety of tacos and margaritas ready for a day of drinking
Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar is a must for rock ‘n’ roll lovers
After a long day of drinking wind down at Dugan’s Pub with a classic burger and fries – or mushroom sandwich!
Day 4: Monday – Last Day in Little Rock
Your trip is coming to an end in Little Rock so we’re squeezing in one more district to explore before flying out.
Monday morning is reserved for the last walk of the trip – much needed after yesterdays binge – at Allsopp Park. The park is on the edge of the Riverdale District and home to more nature trails, tennis courts, and fields. Find a loop to walk through and enjoy the Arkansas weather for one last moment.
After your walk head into the Riverdale district known for its artsy vibe. Here you will find the Big Dam Bridge – the longest pedestrian bridge in North America, vintage shops, and exquisite food.
Roam around this little area, eat some barbecue, and say goodbye to Arkansas as you head back to Little Rock National Airport.
More Little Rock Tips
Little Rock is a small city with plenty to do. Getting there is harder than most since their airport is small and only a national airport, but don’t let the airport fool you, Little Rock is ready for some visitors.
The airport is outside of town but everything is super close and easy to get to by car. Things may look far on the map, and the roads can be scary at times – short merge lanes – but nothing is too far to drive to.
It is best to stay in downtown Little Rock to walk to most of the bars and rent scooters to get almost everywhere. Lime has taken over the city but has made the city extremely navigable.
This itinerary stays in Little Rock for most of the trip but if you have the time, explore North Little Rock, too. The cities are adjacent to each other with only a river dividing them. North Little Rock is similar to the bigger city with bars and cafes to enjoy.
The city is full of great bars and restaurants and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention 109 & Co. a super hip and chill lounge to enjoy intimate drinks with a friend or partner.
The weekend is short but if you have an extra day, Hot Springs, Memphis, and Fayetteville are all close and within a days drive.
If you enjoyed Little Rock be sure to check out the below destinations:
- Visit Gulfport, FL and explore another little city with a big attitude
- Gatlinburg, TN is perfect for hiking and drinking
- Helen, GA is on the edge of the mountains with plenty of inns
More travel tips:
- How to Work from Vacation
- How to budget your way to your dream vacation
- Be sure to travel sustainably
Follow along on social for more tips, tricks, and travel inspo!