fun things to do in north little rock arkansas

Fun Things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas from the Locals

Whether you’re looking for a great place to hike, a delicious restaurant, or kid-friendly activities, there are plenty of fun things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas for everyone! North Little Rock is rich in culture and full of bustling activity. It’s the perfect place for a quick visit or to stay a while!

North Little Rock is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, across the Arkansas River from Little Rock in the central part of the state. The population was 62,304 at the 2010 census. In 2019 the estimated population was 65,903, making it the seventh-most populous city in the state. The city’s downtown is anchored in the Argenta Historic District, which draws its name from the original name of the city; the area includes Dickey-Stephens Park, the current home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team, and Simmons Bank Arena, the metropolitan area’s main entertainment venue. Farther west in the city is Burns Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.


Fun Things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas

To learn all the best things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas, I interviewed Summer who is a North Little Rock resident and a Little Rock native. If she doesn’t know all the fun things to do in North Little Rock then nobody does!

If you’re looking for fun things to do in North Little Rock, kid-friendly things to do in North Little Rock, the best place to get coffee, where all the locals go to get donuts, or unique things to do in North Little Rock…you’re in the right place!

There’s no time to waste! Let’s learn about all things awesome in North Little Rock from Summer!

What is your favorite thing to do in North Little Rock?

My family loves to go on walks around the Lakewood lakes and through neighborhoods. Our favorite lake is Lake #3 (formerly known as the swimming lake). The loop around the lake is around one mile so we usually walk around the lake, feed the ducks, and then play on the playground (complete with a giant ship and train that my kids love).

fun things to do in north little rock Arkansas - lake number two
Lake Number 2. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

What is your favorite restaurant in North Little Rock?

Without kids: Brood and Barley (excellent beers, meatloaf, philly cheesesteak, and burgers…really everything is excellent)
With kids: Purple Cow — milkshakes and french fries count as a full meal, right? or go to The Filling Station for that day’s food truck selection. 

Brood & Barley is a Flyway Brewing Company Project. A Flyway specialty house serving beer, wine, cocktails, and tasty culinary creations. Located in the Argenta Arts District and Argenta Outdoor Dining District of North Little Rock.” –source

The Purple Cow diner and soda fountain is a family favorite. Why? Classic decor. Nostalgic atmosphere. And really fantastic food. Guests come here for gourmet burgers, specialty sandwiches and old-fashioned soda fountain treats – especially the iconic, hand-dipped purple vanilla shake.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - the purple cow
Don’t you need a shake?

Where is the best place to get coffee in North Little Rock?

Dark Side Coffee is the best. I am a fan of their black coffee but I hear the specialty coffees are amazing as well! (And every 9th drink is free!)

Dark Side Coffee Co.: “Come to the Dark Side…the coffee is tempting. Flame Roasted coffees from all over the world.
Small batch is their specialty. Personalize your roast.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock - dark side coffee company

What is the best kid-friendly activity in North Little Rock?

Burns Park is a fun way to spend a morning with kids. There are hiking trails and tons of playground options. 

“Burns Park is a 1,700-acre park in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The park features two golf courses, Funland Amusement Park, sports facilities and a camping area. Amenities: 17 Soccer Fields; Water Ski Lake; 3 – 1 acre off-leash dog parks; 22 Tennis Courts; 2 – 18 hole golf courses; 2 – 18 hole disc golf courses; numerous playgrounds, picnic areas, pavilions; 3 outdoor basketball courts; Softball complex (5 fields); Youth Baseball complex (7 fields); RV Camping (37 sites); Archery Range; Visitor Center; Amusement Park; 15 miles of natural surface multi-use trails; 6 miles of paved multi-use trails; Covered Bridge; Union Pacific Caboose; World War II Tank; Old Log Cabin; Boat launch to the Arkansas River” –Wikipedia

Most unique thing to see in North Little Rock?

The Old Mill is a favorite. Go in the spring to see the beautiful landscaping and flowers! (And then cross the street to get to Lake #3 and feed the ducks or play on the playground.

The Old Mill in North Little Rock. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

“A historic re-creation of an 1880’s water-powered grist mill. It is in the opening scenes of the classic movie “Gone With The Wind.” It features sculptures by Senor Dionicio Rodriguez and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Site #86003585).

A highlight for visitors traveling Arkansas is the Old Mill, a favorite attraction that provides both a glimpse of history and a very beautiful photographic opportunity. (Don’t forget to bring your camera!)  The Old Mill is located in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, at the corner of Fairway Avenue and Lakeshore Drive in North Little Rock.” –source

We have also named The Old Mill one of the prettiest places in Arkansas!

What is the best walking trail in North Little Rock?

Emerald Park Trail — it’s easy for kids with a cool view of the Quarry and the river. 

“The Emerald Park Trail follows a bluffline along the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River and offers stunning scenic overlook views of the Arkansas River, the Little Rock skyline, and an old quarry. Most of the trail is paved and fairly flat, but there are many unpaved spurs that provide additional access points or scenic views.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - emerald park trail
The Arkansas River

Best place to stay in North Little Rock?

The Baker in downtown Argenta is the best place to stay in town. It’s a beautiful, old boutique hotel will so much charm! The owners are the sweetest and it’s very near some of the best food in town.

“The Baker is a 1886 Victorian mansion on the National Register of Historic Places. A boutique inn – the self-sufficiency and privacy of an Airbnb with the service and amenities of a hotel. A clean, fresh, comfortable, interior with special care to restore and maintain the history of the beautiful home. The Hamiltons are thrilled to share their love of North Little Rock and fun southern hospitality with their guests.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - the baker

Best museum near North Little Rock?

Just cross the bridge into downtown Little Rock and go to The Museum of Discovery. They have excellent activities for toddlers (an entire room!) and big kids (hands-on activities). It’s really such a great option for hot summer days! When you’re done there, swing by Witt Stephens Nature Center (it’s free!) and do the scavenger hunt. 

“The Museum of Discovery is Arkansas’s premier science and technology center, and our mission to ignite and fuel a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math through dynamic, interactive experiences.” –Museum of Discovery

Witt Stephens Nature Center: “The 16,232 square foot building on 3.4 acres in Little Rock, overlooks the Arkansas River and is within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park. The site is a part of the River Market District, and is adjacent to the Museum of Discovery, Clinton Foundation Store and the Clinton Presidential Library. The center focuses on the wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities that our state’s fish and wildlife resources provide. The location along the Arkansas River allows many watchable wildlife activities within an urban area. Basking water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans are common sights. A portion of the Arkansas River Trail crosses the site, offering more options for exploration. The grounds of the center include beds of native plants found throughout the state, while the main building includes an exhibit hall, aquariums, gift shop, theater and special educational programs.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - witt stephens nature center

Can you share a cool, secret place that only the locals know about?

Mark’s Donuts. Best donuts in Arkansas.

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - mark's donuts

Best place to see live theatre in North Little Rock?

The Argenta Theatre…I’ve actually never been there but we have friends who enjoy it!

“Founded in 2010 by Vincent Insalaco and Judy Tenenbaum, The Argenta Community Theater has made a name for itself as a destination for local theater at a very high quality. Thousands of audience members have been treated to professional quality performances produced by friends and neighbors from right here in Central Arkansas.” –source

Best farmers’ market in North Little Rock?

St. Joseph Farm Stand — great vegetables and a large open area for kids to run and play.  Me and McGee Market is also incredible. They have delicious vegetables and locally made products, as well as yummy sandwiches!

“St. Joseph Farm Stand was established in 2015 in order to offer a wide variety of locally grown produce and products. The St. Joseph Farm Stand is entirely volunteer run and all proceeds go toward the preservation of historic St. Joseph Center. St. Joseph Farm Stand is a project of the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas. SJCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize this historic property to serve the community.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas -  st. joseph farm stand

Best drive-through Christmas light display near North Little Rock?

I’m probably not allowed to say Sherwood Forest since it’s technically in Sherwood, but it’s so close that I’m saying it anyway. Just don’t go on a weekend or you will wait in line for quite a while.

“Sherwood’s Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights is a drive-thru trail with the entrance located at the Sherwood Sports Complex, 511 Bear Paw Road. The Trail of Lights is over a mile of spectacular lights. Admission is free but donations to fund future displays are accepted. Everyone receives a candy cane.” –City of Sherwood

Don’t miss our 100 EPIC Arkansas Bucket List of Things to do!

Best place to camp near North Little Rock?

We love going to Lake Ouachita State Park which is a short hour drive away! We recommend reserving a spot on the peninsula. It’s beautiful! Our kids could spend all day on the rocky beach looking for bugs and skipping rocks. 

“Arkansas’s largest lake, Lake Ouachita offers 40,000 acres of clear, clean water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. Swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing are enjoyed here. Bream, crappie, catfish, striped bass, and large-mouth bass can be caught in open waters or quiet coves. Choose from a wide variety of day-use areas and overnight accommodations.” –source

fun things to do in arkansas - lake ouachita
Lake Ouachita

Best Girls Weekend ideas in North Little Rock?

Rent the cottage at the Baker. Drinks at Flyway or Crush Wine Bar. Dinner at Brood and Barley. Catch a show at Argenta Theatre or just stay in and watch a movie! Breakfast at Mugs or head to The Filling Station and order the almond croissant from The Croissanterie. 

Best place to hunt in or near your town?

Camp Robinson or Lake Conway

What is the best festival in North Little Rock?

Argenta’s Northern Lights Festival was amazing! Great food truck options, hot chocolate, and books on the trolley for kids! 

“This FREE holiday festival marks the grand opening of Argenta Plaza in the Argenta Arts District of North Little Rock, a beautiful new community space for all of North Little Rock to enjoy.
Live Music
Food Trucks
Holiday Market
Kids Activities: Photos with Santa, Christmas cards for veterans, facepainting, storytime on the streetcars with Laman Library and Rock Region Metro
Horse Carriage Rides
Actors from “A Christmas Carol” and dancers from Ballet Arkansas’s “The Nutcracker”
Lighting of North Little Rock’s brand new Christmas tree – one of the tallest in the state!” –North Little Rock

Favorite “Mom and Pop” place?

BJ’s Market Cafe — great diner food and Me and McGee Market

“Do you love the comfort of your home, but wish someone else would do the cooking? Come join us for some great tasting, down home cookin! If you just want to kick back and relax, then you will feel right at home at BJs Market Cafe. We cook food like momma makes it. The great taste of our meals comes from using fresh ingredients. As often as we can, we get our vegetables from local farmers, so it’s like eating a meal from your own garden.” –source

Are there any “Arkansas Made” products that are crafted in your town that we should all know about?

Nothing specific for NLR but we love browsing the AR made products at the Historic Arkansas Museum’s gift shop. I highly recommend going there for gifts!

Historic Arkansas Museum celebrates Arkansas’s cultural and material heritage with six galleries of Arkansas art and artifacts, an interactive children’s gallery, Orientation Theater, museum store with Arkansas products and more. Four original Little Rock dwellings on the museum’s grounds provide the setting as expert tour guides describe life on the Arkansas frontier and costumed Living History actors portray early Arkansans.” –source

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas - historic arkansas museum
Historic Arkansas Museum. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Best place to watch a live sports game in North Little Rock?

Dickey-Stephens Park is a great way to spend a summer evening or Sunday afternoon with the kids. The Travelers are fun to watch and they have a playground for the kids. 

“The Arkansas Travelers, also known informally as The Travs, are a Minor League Baseball team based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.” –source

Get their full schedule and buy tickets here!

Out of all the fun things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas, watching the Travelers play tops the charts! It’s also on our EPIC Arkansas Bucket List!

fun things to do in north little rock arkansas -arkanas travelers

Best free thing to do in North Little Rock?

Trails- whether it’s around the Lakewood Lakes, the river trail, or Burns Park trails, there are plenty of free options! Dress accordingly and you can enjoy them all year. We recently purchased snow bibs for our kids so we could be outside more in the winter and it’s been a game-changer!

Fun Things to do in North Little Rock, Arkansas

A special thanks to Summer for taking a break from homeschooling, kissing babies, and being awesome to fill us in on the best things to do in North Little Rock. You can find Summer here on Instagram.

You rock, Summer!

fun things to do in north little rock, arkansas
Summer is raising four babies with her high school sweetheart. A Little Rock native, she finds herself living and loving life in North Little Rock. Many weekends you can find her family exploring Arkansas trails, rivers, and campgrounds. When home, she enjoys baking bread and homeschooling her big kids while chasing a toddler and taking care of a baby. When she and her husband get a minute away, you can find them at a local brewery or biking the river trail. 

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