When I came to Little Rock, I was most familiar with the city’s connection to the Civil Rights Movement and President Clinton.
But as I soon discovered, it has so much more to see and do. In addition to its numerous museums and attractions, it also has an exciting food and beverage scene, year-round festivals, breathtaking natural features and a unique Southern charm and hospitality that draws people from all over the world.
Clinton Presidential Center: A Chronicled Legacy
My first stop was the Clinton Presidential Center & Park, home to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. President Clinton spent much of his career in Little Rock. It’s fitting that many attractions bear the Clinton name, including the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, which was the first institution in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service degree. There’s also the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, formerly the historic Rock Island Railroad Bridge, which is adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Library. The bridge itself was built in 1899 but was renovated to be the easternmost connector of the Arkansas River Trail, a 17-mile loop that connects Little Rock and North Little Rock via several pedestrian and bike-intended bridges. Its renovation was funded in part by a donation from the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Library also houses his administration’s archives.
My favorite exhibit at the museum is a full-sized replica of the Oval Office, appearing the way it did when President Clinton held office. It even includes a replica of clay letters that spell out “DAD,” a gift from Chelsea on Father’s Day that now adorns his desk. Throughout the Center, I found artifacts that chronicled both his personal and political life and offered insight to a President who inspired a generation.