Welcome to Metro Little Rock: Conway
As home to the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College and Central Baptist College, Conway has been dubbed the “City of Colleges.” Nearly 75% of its more than 65,000 residents are under the age of 45 (median age is 27.9), making the city a vibrant place to call home. Not to mention affordable, as the median sale price is around $165,000, well below the national average.
Conway is also a city with a thriving business environment, growing technology sector, many scenic lakes and parks and cultural prolificacy – the perfect bait for getting local college graduates to stick around. In fact, 40% of Conway’s adults have a post-secondary degree, giving Conway an uncommon advantage in economic development.
The town is dripping with jobs. The Conway Regional Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway and Conway Human Development Center employ thousands of health professionals. Conway’s biggest employer is Acxiom LLC, a software company specializing in database marketing. More tech jobs can be found at Hewlett-Packard, which employs 800 at its technical support and sales office. Nabholz, Vireo and Snap-on all have a large presence here, while the three local colleges and Conway Public School District employee thousands more in education.
The town also has a mindset for the future. Conway 2025 is a plan that was set in motion in 2010 by the Chamber of Commerce to keep Conway active, building, creative, learning, moving, safe and working. Of the 132 goals set, many have been accomplished or show progress, including the new Conway High School (opened in 2011), Conway airport (opened in 2014), improvements to parks, bridges and interstates, a new downtown entrance archway (completed in 2013), and the addition of public art throughout town. In 2017, the chamber announced Conway 125, a capital campaign aimed at securing even more enhancements for the city — including the creation of an innovation center and rehabilitating the Grand Theatre into a state-of-the art, 300-seat performing arts venue.
The new Baptist Medical Health Center in Conway has brought even more access to incredible health care. With Conway Regional Medical Center, there are now two major hospitals in Conway for residents to seek care.
While the city strives to continually improve the quality of life for its people, Conway has always been a wonderful place to call home. Locals can take their pick from a number of shopping hubs including Lewis Crossing, Conway Commons and Conway Towne Center. These retail destinations are known for stores like Sam’s Club, Bed Bath & Beyond and Books-A-Million.
Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Petco, J.C. Penney and more. Historic downtown is also a popular district to shop, with 40 retailers and restaurants selling a mix of old and new.
Speaking of restaurants, Conway boasts a burgeoning food scene. The locals love Mike’s Place, Pasta Grill, The Patio Cafe, and Tacos 4 Life Grill, an eatery with a mission that donates a meal to a hungry child for every purchase.
WunderHaus, a popular local food truck recently turned brick-and-mortar, serves up European comfort food favoring locally-sourced produce and proteins. Another local favorite is Stoby's, which closed due to a kitchen fire in 2016. While the restaurant was closed, they opened a drive-through-only location that received enough business to keep the temporary location open even after the original brick-and-mortar location reopened in August 2017.
Another reason life is so full in Conway? The city lavishes its residents with cultural delights year-round. In fact, the entire metro is drawn to the renowned performances at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall. Reynolds’ upcoming season includes big-name shows such as “Jersey Boys” and "The Color Purple." And gem in the arts for Arkansas, not just Conway, is the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. This troupe brings experienced Shakespearean actors from across the country to perform in its summer festival each year. In 2019, plays will include "As You Like It," "Into the Woods," "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)."
Festivals are big in Conway. In October, ArtsFest is a celebration of the arts for the whole family, featuring live music, street artists, interactive art and activities. But possibly the most exciting Conway festival — and no doubt, the biggest — is the annual Toad Suck Daze. Don’t worry, no one’s actually sucking on toads. The three-day festival draws more than 160,000 Arkansans to downtown Conway in May with outrageous food, rides, a 5K and concerts.
The city is not lacking in recreation either. Outdoor activities have become even more popular here as of late because of tremendous citywide sustainability efforts. It’s now one of the state’s greenest communities. The city limits border Beaverfork Lake and Lake Conway, and the town is home to more than 10 parks that contain a vast array of picnic areas and pavilions, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, hiking and biking trails and areas to swim and fish. A new local bike share program beckons residents to pick up and ride one of 20 bikes on-demand from five community hubs. And golfers can take their pick from several beautiful courses including Centennial Valley, Conway, Nutters Chapel and The Links at Cadron Valley country clubs. There’s also the Arkansas Golf Center, a club fitting center and lesson facility where practice makes perfect.
• UCA ranked 24th among “Top Public Schools” in The South, according to U.S. News & World Report (2017). And Southern Living dubbed Conway seventh on its "South's Best College Towns" list.
• Forbes ranked Conway third on it's list of "Seven Places in the U.S. So Cheap You Can Afford to be an Entreprenuer" in 2017.
• CBS News recognized Conway as one of the “10 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S." in 2018.
• NerdWallet called Conway one of the "Best Small Cities for Working Parents."