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 90% of its 64,134 residents are under 65 (median age is 28.9), making the city a vibrant place to call home. Not to mention affordable, as the typical home value is $195,253, according to Zillow. That's well below the national average.
Conway is also a city with a thriving business environment, the 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. Nabholz, Vireo and Snap-on all have a large presence here, while the three local colleges and Conway Public School District employ 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–Conway has brought even more access to incredible health care. Now there are two major hospitals in Conway.
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 several 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, Books-A-Million and Ulta as well as restaurants like Hideaway Pizza, David's Burgers, On the Border and Texas Roadhouse.
Historic downtown is also a popular district to shop, with about 40 retailers and restaurants selling a mix of old and new.
Locals love Mike’s Place, Pasta Grill, Blue Sail Coffee and Zetêo Coffee, PattiCakes Bakery, The Patio Café and Tacos 4 Life, which donates a meal to a hungry child for every purchase.
Another local favorite is Stoby's Restaurant, 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 is the abundance of cultural delights to enjoy year-round. Conway residents and Arkansans from all across the state flock to see an assortment of performances at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall each season.
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 sucks 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.
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.
Arkansas NICA, a youth cycling team created by the Arkansas Interscholastic Cycling League, is the second-largest cycling group in Arkansas, and the city is focused on developing more mountain biking trails around the tech park to fill the need as the group continues to grow. Arkansas NICA is dedicated to inspiring friendship, joy and adventure as well as core values like inclusivity, equity and respect for oneself and the community.
Sights to Behold
Downtown Conway is fast becoming a destination for public art. City murals, sculptures and interactive art can be found in many different spots.
- UCA recently ranked 24th among “Top Public Schools” in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. And Southern Living dubbed Conway seventh on its "South's Best College Towns" list.
- Forbes previously ranked Conway third on its list of "Seven Places in the U.S. So Cheap You Can Afford to be an Entrepreneur.”
- CBS News recognized Conway as one of the “10 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S."
- NerdWallet called Conway one of the "Best Small Cities for Working Parents."