This blog post was updated on October 16, 2018.
Most capitol cities can be bank breakers, but not in Arkansas. If you are looking for a destination that will provide loads of history, sightseeing opportunities and even beer for a bargain basement closeout price, Little Rock fits the bill. The city that began along the Arkansas River is a budget traveler’s dream, where you feasibly could spend just a few dollars to truly see what Little Rock is all about. Here are four activities in town that will keep you busy and rich in more ways than one.
Go By Streetcar For Sightseeing on the Cheap
If your feet need a little break while in Little Rock, you can let the River Rail Electric Streetcar in town do all of the work for a bargain price. The River Rail Electric Streetcar loops through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock depending on which line you take. While a touristy mode of transport, the replica vintage trolleys take you through the city for as little at $1.00 each time you board. A day pass costs just $2.00. The Blue Line provides the longest loop of 3.4 miles. It travels across the Main Street Bridge over the Arkansas River. Drivers point on several notable attractions in the city all while providing a little backstory on what you are observing from the bright yellow trollies.
Tour Arkansas History at the Old State House Museum
The Old State House Museum in Little Rock almost appears to be a mini-White House. Built in 1836, the classic structure served as the state’s original capitol until 1911. Once you tour through the museum’s first and second floors, you will find it hard to believe all that you have seen was for free. The space details Arkansas history with exhibits including the First Ladies Gowns of Arkansas, the restored legislative chambers and some more cultural items like Bill Clinton’s New Balance sneakers and sunglasses.
Grab a pint or two on the Diamond Bear Brewery Tour
Little Rock’s first production brewery in over 15 years provides visitors to the city with another budget saving attraction. Diamond Bear Brewery lends tours of its set up in Little Rock, where it honors the old traditional methods of beer making from European brewers. Visitors can sample beers like Rocktoberfest, Southern Blonde and the Diamond Bear Pale Ale. The brewery draws its name from the fact that Arkansas is the only state with a diamond mine and that the state was once home to a large population of bears. While tours will set travelers back $7 a person, that price also includes a souvenir Diamond Bear Pint Glass and plenty of samples of Diamond Bears brews.
Experience A Piece of Civil Rights History at Central High School National Historic Site
Little Rock witnessed a major movement in 1957 of the Civil Rights act at Central High School. Nine African American students took a stand and integrated the all-white school, despite efforts from the state to block their entry. They would become the famous “Little Rock Nine”. Their act played a major role in the desegregation of public schools in the United States. You can roam Central High’s grounds where history was made and the U.S. Army was called to protect the students from even getting to class. It remains the only functioning high school within the boundaries of a national historic site. Aside from admiring the grand building, a museum across the street details the struggle and chronicles the entire civil rights movement in the U.S. Visitors can learn about each of the Little Rock Nine, all without paying a dime.
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