A guide to Little Rock, Arkansas
Dave and I headed to Little Rock, Arkansas this weekend to cross another state off our 50 states list. If you’ve read any other posts on this blog, you’ve probably noticed we don’t always get the best weather. It rained most of the day Saturday making the day feel like two completely separate days. We spent the morning inside and even made it to brunch! Okay . . . I lied about quitting. After the rain dried up, we headed outside to make the most of it!
As always, we had an excellent trip. If you ever get a chance to visit, here’s a list of the best ways to spend your time:
We forgot all of our past brunch fails and decided to give it another go. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the thunderstorms caused flash floods, and we couldn’t make it to our first choice, Cathead’s Diner (FYI: the place gets its name from the cat-head sized biscuits they make). As it turns out, we realized later that their brunch is buffet style and kind of pricy, so maybe it was for the best that we ended up not making it there.
Instead, we went to @thecorner. We got there just in time as the line quickly grew to wrap around the restaurant. You order at the counter and then get seated by the staff. The restaurant has a regular menu but occasionally hosts themed additions to the list as well. This weekend was a squash brunch. We ordered biscuits and gravy and the breakfast poutine. Squash is too healthy for brunch…
We stopped at EJ’s Eats and Drinks for breakfast on our way out of town. This is more of a classic diner. The food was good, the staff friendly, and we didn’t have to wait for a table!
Things to do while it’s raining
Is there a better rainy day activity than bowling? We made our way to Dust Bowl Lanes and Lounge to dry off. At $20/hour, it was a little pricier than I remember as a kid, but included food and drink service. They have a full bar if you’re interested, and the food smelled/looked fantastic.
The River Market District can be found on nearly every Little Rock must-do list. Let me tell you: it’s even better if it’s raining. Especially because it’s empty! The actual River Market Hall is covered and hosts a farmers market during the warmer months. Here you can find vendors selling local produce and crafts. The Museum of Discovery, Ron Robinson Theater, and the Library are all nearby.
If you’re not interested in any of these things, the city of Arkansas offers a free streetcar which allows you to hop on and off. It makes stops at several areas around the city including Heifer International (a nonprofit working towards ending hunger and poverty using sustainable resources), the Historic Arkansas Museum, and even crosses the Arkansas River to visit the North Little Rock Argenta District. The operators are pretty funny, knowledgeable about the city’s history, and overall give a pretty good tour.
Also found near the River Market District is Riverside Park. Here you can find the beginning of the Arkansas River Trail, a 14-mile loop for biking or walking, Peabody Park, filled with beautiful sculptures, and the Arkansas Maritime Museum, just across the Junction Bridge. All these things are great for drier weather!
We found a really cool $15 Airbnb experience where you bring/rent a bike, and a tour guide brings you to four different breweries (you can choose which ones you go to) and drink (not included in the price). Although this sounded great, we skipped the bikes and did our own walking tour.
Flyaway Brewing was my favorite of the breweries we visited. Although the outside looked a little rundown, the inside was new and modern. They had an interesting take on food and excellent beer. If giant pretzels and sliders are your thing, this is your stop.
Stone’s Throw Brewing was Dave’s favorite. It had a “this is where the locals go” feel. There were picnic tables in an outside seating area, as well as a taproom inside. And some pretty cool gear too if you’re into that sort of thing!
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium: Although it’s not a brewery, the emporium boasts over 200 beers with around 75 on tap. The bartenders are great at making suggestions since the list can be a bit overwhelming. Although the other places all had food, this is the only one where we ate. I highly recommend the Hippie Hollow with jalapeno vinaigrette. There are several locations. You can join the club and get a saucer on the wall when you taste 200 beers. Good luck!
If you don’t find anything you like on this list, have no fear! There are plenty of other breweries. We didn’t even make a dent. There is also Lost Forty, Diamond Bear, and Rebel Kettle just to name a few.
I know we’ve already talked about food a lot. . . And there are many restaurants inside the River Market Hall, but Dave and I decided to branch out. My favorite meal of the weekend came from Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. Although the menu is small and simple, the food was so good! I enjoyed a dumpling plate with spicy chili oil while Dave ate a noodle bowl. It took all of my efforts not to get three extra orders to go. Seriously. . . sooo good.
While walking around town, we received several recommendations for Soul Fish Cafe (southern food), Samantha’s Taproom & Wood Grill, and Bruno’s Little Italy. Although we didn’t eat at any of them, word on the street (literally!) is you should add them to your list.
Hurts Donut. Delicious donuts. That’s all you need to know.
Finally, while researching for this trip I kept coming across something called a chocolate sack: A MUST-HAVE while visiting Little Rock. Since our birthdays are both coming up soon, we decided to #treatyoself. Found at SO Restaurant and Bar (fine dining), this thing was incredible. I’m not even sure that’s a strong enough descriptor. It was Belgian chocolate formed into the shape of a small paper sack stuffed with chocolate cake, raspberry preserves, and vanilla icecream. Phenomenal. The restaurant was a little out of our style, but for dessert and wine, it was worth it. I’m pretty sure the waitress could tell we were out of our element. She was lovely, though.
The number of steps we walked nearly balanced out all the food we ate. At least that’s what I tell myself! Hahah! Little Rock was quite a pleasant surprise, and we can scratch another state off our #placeswevebeen map!