Welcome to Metro Little Rock: Downtown
Over the past decade, downtown has seen dramatic transformation and growth, and it’s not slowing down. Renovations and revitalization projects continue up and down Main Street and President Clinton Avenue. Tourists and residents alike can’t get enough of the new amenities, the most recent being the newly renovated Robinson Theater and restaurants popping up along downtown’s Creative Corridor and in SoMa (South Main).
Some metro residents skip the commute and opt for downtown living in high-rise, river-view condos, like those of River Market and 300 Third towers. Others choose the historic Quapaw Quarter or they settle in hip SoMa. These neighborhoods boast eco-friendly dwellings, grand Southern mansions and refurbished eye-catchers — not to mention locally minded restaurants like South on Main and The Root Café.
The 42,000 people who work in the heart of the capital city Monday through Friday enjoy walkability to popular establishments like Capital Bar & Grill, Samantha’s Tap Room, Gus’ Fried Chicken, Cache, Gusano’s, At the Corner, Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co. and many more.
Many other restaurants reside in downtown’s River Market, a vibrant gathering place in the city. Farmers markets, bars, concert venues, shops, the main library and incredible riverside parks make for an all-inclusive experience downtown.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is a huge lure, enticing tourists and residents alike to explore its temporary exhibits and the history of the country’s 42nd president.
The corporate ladder in downtown is extensive with regional power players and nationally known companies like Stephens Inc. (the largest investment bank off Wall Street), Heifer International (a nonprofit that works to fight hunger and poverty worldwide), Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the state’s government, which operates out of the capitol and surrounding buildings.
Not far from the heart of downtown Little Rock lies a few of the city’s hidden gem areas. Little Rock’s Creative Corridor is a cultural hub within downtown. It’s home to Ballet Arkansas, The Rep, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Little Rock Technology Park. A few of the area’s best restaurants include Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill (their chopped salmon salad is a must-try), Bruno's Little Italy and the newly opened Allsopp & Chapple Restaurant + Bar.
South of downtown lies SoMa, an up-and-coming neighborhood filled with local restaurants and shops and the popular Bernice Garden Farmers Market, open each Sunday from April through October. Some of the neighborhood hotspots include Electric Ghost, Moxy Modern Mercantile, the ESSE Purse Museum and Dos Rocas Beer & Tacos. Rock Town Distillery, Arkansas’ first legal distillery after prohibition, recently moved into the neighborhood, as well.
East Village is one of downtown Little Rock’s newest additions. The area located near Heifer International offers breweries, buffet-style Southern cuisine, an indoor/outdoor food truck park and spacious loft apartments.