Spanning 105.4 square miles, Little Rock is the state capital and most populous city in Arkansas. Nestled along the banks of the Arkansas River in the geographic center of the state, Little Rock is home to approximately 196,537 people. Meanwhile, its entire metropolitan area, which extends across six counties, is home to approximately 666,401 people. Widely considered Arkansas' historic, economic and cultural center, Little Rock combines distinctive local flavor with historic sites, inviting attractions and stunning surroundings.
Named "La Petite Roche" by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in 1722, Little Rock was once a well-traveled river crossing. The city became the seat of territorial government in 1821 and later the state capital in 1836. The city truly took center stage, though, during the United States Civil Rights Movement in 1957. It was then that Little Rock made global news as federal troops were sent to the city to enforce a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against segregation in public schools.
Today, a patchwork of historic neighborhoods preserve the city's storied past. Just a short walk from downtown Little Rock's bustling River Market District, visitors find the elegant Quapaw Quarter. Made up of nine square miles of lovingly restored antebellum and Victorian homes, Quapaw invites guests to explore sites such as the antebellum Pike-Fletcher-Terry House, the ornate 19th century Empress Hotel or the magnificent 1843 Trapnall Hall. Quapaw Quarter is also home to the MacArthur Museum of Military History and the Old State House Museum, the oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi River.
Little Rock, known to locals as simply "The Rock," does offer its fair share of historic attractions, but it's far from behind the times. Little Rock has connected past and present with modern attractions such as the new William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The nation's newest and most sophisticated presidential library, the center offers an intriguing look at turn-of-the-century American history and features an exact replica of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. Little Rock has also stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to the environment. It's even home to one of the greenest buildings in the nation, the Heifer International Center Green Building, which guests can tour during the week.
When night falls, visitors can get a true taste of the city's distinctive flavors at one of its many phenomenal restaurants. From fresh catfish and barbecue to Southern comfort fare, guests will not want to miss out on all of the regional specialties Little Rock has to offer. Sit down for an elegant meal of sumptuous seafood at 1620 Restaurant, or enjoy the riverfront views of the highly-lauded Brave New Restaurant. After dinner, visitors can catch a show, enjoy the sounds of the symphony, or simply listen to live music emanating from the many piano bars, dance clubs and pubs in the River Market District. After just one day, guests are quick to see why Little Rock has big appeal.