Little Rock, Arkansas – Great American Road Trip

categories: USA Travel

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock River Front

The second stop on our road trip was Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock is not exactly on a normal route from Kansas City to Cincinnati but we had a college friend to visit there.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas

On the way down from Kansas City we stopped just over the state line at Bentonville at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This would seem like an odd place to put a museum with an impressive collection of American art until you realize that this is the home of Walmart and this free museum is supported by the Walton Family Foundation. Here you can find the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington that you can find a copy of on the dollar bill, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell and other works displayed in a museum that is itself a work of art.

Gilbert Stuart portrait of George WashingtonRosie the Riveter by Normal Rockwell

Arkansas RIver Bridge from River Market

River Market District

The title photo for this article comes from the River Market District of Little Rock. This area has been and is being redeveloped with interesting shops,  restaurants and live music spots. We ate out on the balcony of one of the many eateries with a view of the many bridges over the river. Some of the old railroad bridges have been turned into bike paths. The bridges are lit up with colored lights at night. A Farmer’s Market is held twice a week in the neighborhood.

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

One of the highlights of Little Rock is the Clinton Presidential Library which is a short distance from the River Market District. The library contains the president’s papers, including his schedule day by day, hour by hour for the 8 years he was in the Whitehouse. It also has engaging interpretive displays of what the former president would like you to remember from his two terms. There is a great collection of video from the time, although not so much some of the embarrassing moments.

The library also features a recreation of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, but no, you can’t take a picture of yourself sitting in the president’s chair.

When I was visiting the library also had a Chihuly exhibit in the temporary exhibition space.

Arkansas River locks

Arkansas River

Our local friend Nancy took us to the Big Dam Bridge on the Arkansas River to show off one of the nice hiking, biking, and walking paths in the Little Rock Area. A dam and series of locks span the river while a pedestrian and cycling bridge was built over the dam with great views of the landscape. The area around Little Rock has many hiking trails within half an hour of downtown

Next Time

Next time I am through Little Rock I would love to get to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. We visited a lot of civil rights sites on this trip but did not find the time to see the high school which was a major battleground in the forced desegregation that followed the Supreme Court decision of Brown vs the Board of Education. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to send in federal troops to enable 9 black kids to attend this formerly all-white public high school.

Where to Stay

I am not sure our friend Kathy will let you stay in her guest room as we did but these 4 hotels are well ranked on TripAdvisor and are downtown in the River Market District within walking distance of the Clinton Library:

Arkansas Photos

Things to do in and near Little Rock Arkansas


Great American Road Trip

Our home team was playing baseball in Kansas City. One week later we needed to be in Cincinnati for a wedding. It could only mean one thing: Road Trip!


Travel to Little Rock, Arkansas – Episode 450

Our Route

Map of Our Route

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

3 Responses to “Little Rock, Arkansas – Great American Road Trip”



Crystal Bridges is great and the architecture is really impressive. Wish I had know you would be in the area- am a big fan and would’ve given you some tips. If you’re ever in Fayetteville or northwest Arkansas again check out the bike trails, saddlebock brewery and El Cunado restaurant.



I apparently get there every 53 years 😉

Samuel ellis


Loved your article about Little Rock! Next time you’re in town I hope you will come by explore the Arkansas River on one of Rock Town River Outfitters kayak tours or rentals! We also have bicycle rental and city tours available at our outfitter in the River Market! Would love to show you an unforgettable outdoor experience of Little Rock!

-Samuel Ellis (Owner)
Rock Town River Outfitters

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