Located across the Arkansas River from Little Rock, North Little Rock has transformed a working-class notoriety to a classy, upscale environment. While quaint bakeries and art galleries still feature the city's former name, Argenta, North Little Rock has reclaimed itself as an artistic community, fostering the fine arts and local music. This diverse environment offers plenty of entertainment and event choices for residents. Hike the Arkansas River Trail, bring the wife and kids to Burns Park Funland, or take your significant other to the Argenta Community Theater.
North Little Rock incorporates humor into the scenic forestry, including attractions such as the Big Dam Bridge, a favorite for pedestrians and cyclists. Tourists and inhabitants alike can venture by trolley through NLR's historic downtown, over the river into Little Rock's downtown
River Market, which offers passengers a view of American Southern history and thriving modern nightlife.
Restaurants & Nightlife
North Little Rock has restaurants and venues for every occasion. From family-friendly bakeries, coffee shops and family-run businesses to bars and venues for those longing to have a night out, North Little Rock manages to satisfy both the familiar member of the community and the traveling tourist.
Mugs Cafe, deemed a morning favorite among the community and outsiders, showcases a brunch-style menu that includes a section devoted solely to its coffee and espresso options. A more obscure but popular option is the Mayan Mocha; a combination of espresso, dark chocolate, and cayenne pepper. Not only affordable, Mugs Cafe features local art and gives its patrons free
Wi-Fi, vegetarian menu options, and bottomless coffee while serenading them with alternative music.
If you prefer to combine history and local flair, with acclaimed Southern barbecue, Lindsey's
Hospitality House and Barbecue has housed this for the past sixty years. Originally Lindsey's Bar-B-Q in 1956, the restaurant expanded to accommodate a larger menu to feature home cooking, including sides such as coleslaw, potato salad and fried okra as well. The peppery barbecue sauce can even be bought separately for home use. However, do not leave this charming eatery without trying a slice from one of the six homemade pies.
For the diner seeking to combine dinner with a bit of North Little Rock nightlife, this eclectic coffee shop, bar and venue called The Joint is ideal. This theatre and music venue/cafe hosts comedic plays, an open mic, comedy improv and a jazz band on different nights of the week. You can pick and choose your viewing pleasure, sipping on an espresso, a beer, a cocktail or wine. The Joint was opened by a couple from Houston, bringing their comedy, cocktail and coffee skills to North Little Rock.
History & Culture
Originally dubbed Argenta until 1917, the city's old name makes an appearance throughout the neighborhood. Argenta began as a mining and railroad community full of hard-working laborers fueling the growing commerce. North Little Rock's annexation was organized on July 1, 1901, longing to be divided from its neighbor across the Arkansas River. However, this desire for autonomy does not stop residents from either city from mingling.
North Little Rock harbors two military museums: the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum and the Arkansas National Guard Museum. Beginning from World War I, these museums document relics and antiquities from soldiers and battles from a hundred years prior. The Arkansas National Guard Museum is free, including a guided audio tour. The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum costs $7.50 with discounts offered for military, seniors and children.
North Little Rock attempts to appease the daily traveler by accommodating major means of public transportation. It is included as part of Little Rock's CATA bus transportation line, which routes throughout the metro areas. The Central Arkansas Transit Authority keeps an up-to-date bus schedule, listing detours and routes, fares and pass prices. The CATA also runs the River Rail Streetcar system, a trolley with fifteen stops, including a "Blue Line" route that travels from North Little Rock to Little Rock's downtown metro area seven days a week.
Anyone hailing a cab may not see one on the streets; however, they are easy to find and request over the phone with four companies based in the city itself and over ten from Little Rock that also travel to North Little Rock.
Finally, if you prefer a more athletic means of travel, the entire city proudly accommodates cyclists and pedestrians. Bicycle lanes along bridges and the promenade, in conjunction with city planners, have made cycling a popular means of travel to schools, commercial areas, major parks and community centers.
If you're planning a more extended stay in North Little Rock, or are curious about making this place a permanent home, consider the cost of living, which is nearly 20 percent lower than the national average. With an unemployment rate almost a full percent lower than the national average, this average-sized city sports an average of 20 minutes for work commute, small public student-to-teacher ratios and a slow population growth. A short work commute appeals even more once you also note gas prices are 8 percent lower than the national average as well. To have even more frugal cost expenditures, you need only take advantage of the bike lanes and bus line.
The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment typically runs from $500 to $600 and increases from there according to size. One-way bus fare runs about $1.35 a trip with a transfer charge of only a nickel.
What would a trip to North Little Rock be like without mentioning its variety of shopping options? Whether you're looking for a quick item to grab, a full day event or specifically to promote local entrepreneurship, North Little Rock has options to satisfy all.
For a one-stop shopping experience to cover all of your needs, the McCain Mall, located on McCain Blvd., houses over 80 stores. These stores include major clothing, shoe, electronics, accessories, vitamins and children's merchandise. The McCain Mall also provides a food court for the hungry shopper and sit down restaurants for those wanting a more formal dining experience. Though the mall does focus on mostly chains, a few local-to-Arkansas fit in as well, such as Ozark Candy and Nuts, a more accessible place to try a variety of roasted and candied nuts.
For a more unique shopping trip that serves as an attraction for tourists and provides options for shopping, events and dining, the Argenta Arts District may be more your style. The Argenta Bead Company sells a variety of beads and beading supplies from around the world and gives the consumer the option of designing her own jewelry or purchasing something ready made. The Claytime Gallery similarly allows you to either purchase handmade pottery or to sign up for beginner to experienced potter classes with the resources for you to make your own original art.
One of the best ways for a community to foster itself remains through a thriving farmer's and community market. One of the first Arkansas-only Farmer's Markets, this shopping option is seasonally offered from March to November. The Argenta Farmer's Market is located across the street from the infamous Mugs Cafe and features free parking for cars, bicycles and even strollers.
While several parks are within North Little Rock's city limits, the most famous is the 1,700 acre Burns Park, which is proudly one of the largest parks in the country. Burns Park accommodates children with its amusement park, Burns Park Funland, and the dog owner with its own dog park. This park contains over 6 miles of hiking, equestrian and biking trails, baseball and softball fields, a massive soccer complex with 17 different soccer fields, tournament golf courses, disc gold courses, and a 27-court tennis complex. Transforming a Civil War cabin into a shop, Burns Park is also a historical landmark from 1948. Most of the park is free, but not all; there is a fee for the amusement park and for other, more highly monitored and coveted, aspects to the park.
If you are wanting a more private and personal hiking experience, Emerald Park also provides hiking trails overlooking the serene Arkansas River without a fee. Fish on the banks of Cook's Landing, launch a boat on North River Landing or try your skills at a state-of-the-art skateboard park at the professionally designed Riverview Skateboard Park.