Updated: Jan 21, 2021
I'm going to be honest with you. Before my husband interviewed and started residency with UAMS, I never once thought that I would come to Arkansas, let alone live here. But as my life has proved to me time and time again, there's just some things that take you by surprise. I still remember our first visit to the city together; We had gone under contract with our first home purchase before ever seeing it in person! As a licensed Realtor now, I can't imagine doing that again! It was very nerve racking and not something I would not necessarily recommend to other newcomers to the area. Luckily, we were working with one of the best at iRealty (whom I now work for), which made all the difference in our real estate purchase. They always kept me in the loop about what stage our home purchase was in and they always made me feel like a top priority. When we were finally able to come visit our home in person, our Realtor let us walk through the house for over 2 hours! I was incredibly touched that he had allowed us to do that to feel comfortable with our purchase and through everything else he had done for us made me a true believer in the company I now work for.
One of the first things that caught me off guard about Little Rock was how hilly it can be. I lived in Louisiana for a brief time and assumed that Arkansas' terrain wouldn't be much different than that or its other neighboring states. Because of the Ouachita Mountain range (the southern part of the Ozark Mountains) that runs through the city, there's a much more diverse landscape that gives some of the local neighborhoods their unique feel. While you may be able to find homes on flatter lots, there are also homes situated cliffside with great views of the city.
I also didn't realize how easy it would be to commute with the accessible interstates that are close by. There's also tons of parks, hiking, and walking/biking trails around the city, which I was excited to find since I came from a very outdoorsy area. If you're looking for a great view and an intense workout, I would recommend checking out Pinnacle Summit. While it's not technically a mountain, you'll probably be wondering how that's possible on you climb up. I'd suggest wearing your best hiking shoes and bottled water for the trip up. It's not a long trail in length, but one that you'll want to plan ahead for as parts can be quite daunting. I promise the view is worth it though!
If you'd rather enjoy your day at a more leisurely pace but still looking for a great view, I'd recommend checking out Murray Park and the Big Dam Bridge. Straddling the Arkansas River, the Big Dam Bridge is what separates Little Rock and North Little Rock. The paved walking bridge is a perfect place to bring family to walk around or for running and biking. Murray Park boasts amazing river-side views, a dog park, boat ramp, paved winding trails, and so much more. It's no wonder why this is such a popular park destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike!
If you're looking for some great places to eat, then you'll be glad to know that you'll have lots of options. I'll list a few of the top rated below (all have a 4.6 star rating or higher) and I'm also working on a separate blog to break down some great options in further detail.
Trio's: Trio's serves American cuisine with local fare and a creative twist. There are lunch specials that are updated daily along with their standard offerings with a little something for everyone. If you weren't sure where to take some picky relatives to dinner, look no further!
Layla's Gyro & Pizzeria: Layla's is a personal favorite of my husband and myself. We love Mediterranean food and it's actually made it difficult for us to go somewhere else when we're craving it. I've never been disappointed by anything on their menu, but our go-to's are the gyro plates, pizzas, and hand made pita and hummus.
The Pantry Eatery: The Pantry is a unique Czech and German restaurant boasting a full cocktail bar, award winning desserts, and of course the classic brat and schnitzel plates. Their menu also has a lot of other great food options and even a gluten free section and vegetarian options to accommodate their customer's dietary restrictions.
Petit and Keet: Petit and Keet is an American restaurant offering an outdoor lounge with a chic, industrial style. One of their unique take out options is the 'Dinner and Drinks for Two,' which is a great option amidst this pandemic and the perfect pick for a romantic date night.
Be sure to check out their websites for more information and location details!