by Brian Nahlen; courtesy North Little Rock CVB
Published August 04, 2017
Just across the Arkansas River from Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, North Little Rock contains a thriving hub of art galleries, craft breweries and rich cuisine.
Many of the city’s signature attractions can be found in the historic Argenta Arts and Entertainment District, the name stemming from the Spanish word for silver, “argenta,” for the silver mines that once characterized the community. Here, visitors can browse art galleries from renowned artists like impressionist painter Barry Thomas or sample unique brews from one of North Little Rock’s three microbreweries, most notably the award-winning Diamond Bear Brewing Company.
The area features an eclectic food scene as well. The Riverfront Steakhouse is legendary for its mouthwatering prime beef, and Skinny J’s offers everything from crawfish tails to fried green tomatoes and pimento cheeseburgers. At Four Quarter Bar, guests can eat their fill of delectable dishes like smoked pulled pork nachos or garlic toast dipped in Creole sauce.
“All these places are walkable,” said Scott Sudduth, sales and marketing director at North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. “If it’s a nice evening, attendees can just stroll up and down Main Street after a meeting and find a restaurant.”
Another popular place to visit is the Old Mill, which contains the water-powered gristmill used in the opening scenes of the classic film “Gone With the Wind.” According to Sudduth, over 100,000 people visit each year to get a picture with the replica 1800s-era structure.
For a creative team-building activity, some groups stop by the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a state-of-the-art “maker space” where aspiring artists can practice welding, woodworking, screen printing and more.
Visitors can ride the city’s vintage River Rail Streetcar trolleys to surrounding attractions as well as downtown Little Rock and Clinton National Airport, which is less than 10 minutes away.
“You feel like you’re in San Francisco when you’re on one of those trolleys,” said Sudduth.
Wyndham Riverfront Hotel
The 250-room Wyndham Riverfront Hotel is one of North Little Rock’s premier event venues, offering 14,500 square feet of flexible meeting space. Thanks to its central location in the historic Argenta District along the Arkansas River, the hotel provides easy access to nearby dining, shopping and other attractions. Complimentary parking and airport shuttle services are also available.
Edgemont House, recently renovated and opened to the public by acclaimed home and garden guru Chris Olsen, is one of North Little Rock’s newest event venues. With 6,000 square feet of space, the 1927 Spanish Colonial mansion provides a great setting for receptions or cocktail parties, accommodating anywhere from 25 to 250 guests. After a luncheon or dinner, attendees can stroll through the enclosed courtyard, portico, oak alley and formal gardens, where gardening seminars can be arranged.
Locals and travelers alike flock to The Joint theater and coffeehouse for live entertainment five nights a week. The theater is headlined by a seasoned comedy trio known as The Main Thing that has appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and off-Broadway. After a performance, visitors can unwind with a cocktail, a craft beer or a locally roasted coffee blend on the cozy, lighted patio. Planners can rent the 20-seat coffeeshop or the 100-seat theater for private events.
Diamond Bear Brewing Company
Since opening in 2000, the Diamond Bear Brewing Company has quickly become a trademark brand in Arkansas; its name is derived from two of Arkansas’ nicknames, the Diamond State and the Bear State. Over the years, the company’s original brews have won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Visitors can pair a cool glass of beer with savory menu options like slow-roasted beef brisket, vegetable pasta and Southern-style buffalo wings. For special events, planners can rent the 25-seat Tap Room or the 50-seat Barrel Room. Free tours are offered on weekends.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Location: Central Arkansas, across the Arkansas River from Little Rock
Access: Clinton National Airport, I-30, I-40
Major Meeting Spaces: Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn
Hotel Rooms: 2,600
Off-site Venues: Edgemont House, The Joint, Diamond Bear Brewing Company, Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau