Arkansas State Capitol#7 in Best Things To Do in Little Rock
Price & Hours
In 1911, the General Assembly convened for its first session in the near-complete Arkansas State Capitol. It would be another four years before the neoclassical structure would be completed. Totaling 247,000 square feet, the stately building features marble walls and floors, a limestone exterior and a cupola covered in gold leaf.
During a visit, travelers can peruse exhibits that detail the capitol's lengthy building process, Arkansas' history in the civil rights movement and the state's role in wartime efforts. Visitors can also book a free guided tour of the building or take a self-guided tour using one of the pamphlets available at the on-site visitor center. Be sure to wander the surrounding gardens as well, which feature more than 50 varieties of roses and house a monument to the Little Rock Nine. For an extra treat, time your capitol visit to coincide with a legislative session so you can watch lawmakers at work.
Past visitors marveled at the building's architecture and were particularly impressed by the gold cupola. They also enjoyed taking a guided tour of the property, citing their informative guides as a prime reason to go on a tour.
The capitol is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Free guided tours run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guided tours must be scheduled with the Visitor Services Specialist by calling 501-682-5080. There is a gift shop and a cafe on-site. Parking is not available, but you can reach the capitol from downtown using public transportation. View the Arkansas Secretary of State's website to learn more about the Capitol.
More Best Things To Do in Little Rock
#1 Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
In 1957, nine Black students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School. The school had been all-white since its construction in 1927. Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Wells were the first Black students at the school following the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional. The day the students went to school, they were met with a racist mob of white students as well as about 270 soldiers who barred the entrance to the high school. It took almost two weeks before the Little Rock Nine were able to access the building. Though they were able to enter the school, they faced physical and verbal abuse throughout their high school careers. The Little Rock Nine's historic and brave acts helped to spur the civil rights movement and brought national attention to the U.S.'s racist practices.
Today, Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Site and is still a working high school. The associated visitor center sits kitty-corner to the school and features exhibits about the desegregation crisis as well as a book store. There is also a Commemorative Garden. Tours of the exterior and interior of Little Rock Central High School are also available, but must be reserved in advance through the National Park Service.
Explore More of Little Rock
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.