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Ask A Local — Little Rock, Arkansas

by Our Editors
Little Rock, Arkansas City view (Photo by Sean Pavone)

Little Rock is filled with many wonderful things just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed.

Little Rock, Arkansas (Photo by Sean Pavone)

If you want to know what makes Little Rock such a special place to visit, ask a local—and that’s just what we did.

Join us as we explore this fascinating part of the USA with three individuals who live, work, play, and create here. Little Rock is filled with many wonderful things just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed. From one-of-a-kind galleries and museums to exceptional tours, delectable restaurants, and natural wonders, there is truly something for everyone in Little Rock.

ADRIENNE COLLINS
Adrienne Collins (Photo Courtesy of Inviting Arkansas Magazine Photography by Jamison Mosley)

Adrienne Collins (Photo Courtesy of Inviting Arkansas Magazine Photography by Jamison Mosley)

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I work for a fabulous company called Lovesac. I am their Director of DEI & People Strategy. My job is to make sure that every aspect of our company prioritizes DEI in all that we do. Just in case you don’t know what DEI is, it’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I live here in Little Rock with my wife, Summer, and our pets.

How long have you been living in Little Rock?
I have been living in Little Rock for 16 years. Wow, I didn’t realize that I’ve been here for that long. Little Rock is now home for me.

What influenced your decision to move here?
I am originally from Missouri, but I moved to Little Rock because of college at Arkansas State University and enlisting in the military. My duty stations were at Camp Robinson (Army base) and the Little Rock Air Force Base. I served over 17 years. I also met my wife here in Little Rock. After I completed my military career, I decided to stay and make it home.

What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
Ciao Baci is my top pick. I met my wife Summer there on a blind date when I first moved here. Their sangrias are my favorite. The Pantry Restaurant and The Pantry Crest for the deviled eggs, bacon wrapped dates, and the lasagna are my faves! Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom: I’m there every weekend for brunch. They should name a cocktail after me. LOL. At Local Lime, the Caribbean salsa is my jam! Cache is a great spot in the River Market and it has an upstairs balcony so that you can people watch.

Cache Market, Little Rock, Arkansas (Photo by Little Rock Convention Visitors Bureau)

Cache Market, Little Rock, Arkansas (Photo by Little Rock Convention Visitors Bureau)

What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors to Little Rock?
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site are great places to learn about the black history that has influenced our city and state. The Little Rock Zoo is one of my favorite places to go. I love animals. The River Market is a fun place to tour with lots of places to eat and mingle with locals. It overlooks the river, which is beautiful. The Museum of Discovery is a neat place to explore, and it’s not just for kids.

A friend is coming to Little Rock for the first time. Please describe the perfect weekend.
There is so much to see and do in Little Rock. I would first take them early on a Saturday morning to the River Market. Seeing all the fresh produce at the farmer’s market is so exciting. I would make sure to stop in at Cache restaurant for brunch and make sure to sit on their second floor balcony to observe the people and the community of the downtown scene.

After brunch, I would definitely take them to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. There is always a fun exhibit and if you have never been to a Presidential Library, being able to see all of the memorabilia and pull records of President Clinton’s schedule on any certain day is very entertaining.

On the way to dinner, I would swing by our Port Authority, put the windows down in the car so that they can smell the Skippy Peanut Butter being made. Yes, Skippy is made right here in Little Rock. Dinner would be at Ciao Baci, which is located in the historic district of Hillcrest neighborhood. Ciao Baci is locally owned and operated, and their emphasis on gathering local ingredients and interesting beverages cannot be matched.

On Sunday morning, getting a breath of air on the Arkansas River is required. A walk on the beautiful Big Dam Bridge is a great experience. As the longest pedestrian bridge and bicycle bridge in North America, it is a sight to see. Its views include not only the Arkansas River but also the Murray Lock and Dam. It is the true iconic Little Rock bridge.

We would complete this weekend in Little Rock starting with a meal at Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom. You will not be disappointed by the cozy atmosphere on the great Main Street of Little Rock. After Sunday brunch, it’s time for a history lesson at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

A tour guide will escort us through the museum and lead us through a powerful walk that the brave Little Rock Nine had to endure in order to end segregation in schools. It is a presentation that illustrates where we have been as a city, and it helps us to never forget what happened here in 1957. It is the reason most Little Rock residents strive to be better, to not make the same mistakes of the past, and to move our city forward with compassion for all humankind.

After a heartfelt and powerful presentation by our tour guide, it will be time to lift our spirits up and see the amazing animals at the Little Rock Zoo. Hopefully, we will be able to see the new tiger cubs who turned one year old this year. The Little Rock Zoo is a natural classroom that features more than 500 animals.

What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
Well, they don’t call us the “natural state” for nothing. We have over 63 parks to explore. We also have several trails here in Little Rock. No matter where you live in Little Rock, you are minutes away from one of our great parks. I think the most impressive natural beauty is Pinnacle Mountain State Park. It is truly a centerpiece of this city. A hike to the top of this mountain gives you a breathtaking view of our city. It has 22 miles of trails and 14 miles of challenging mountain bike trails.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is also certified as a Trail of Tears National Historic Site. As a Director of DEI, as a Black Latina Gay Woman, standing on this historic landmark makes me reflect on the past of my ancestors, on the past of the people of the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, Seminoles, and the Chickasaws. The hardships they faced is why I stand today. It is a reminder of the struggles they faced and it reminds me to always be grateful and to continue my journey. It is honestly an amazing beauty, a place to meditate, and a place to ground and center yourself.

What is your favorite time of year in Little Rock and why?
I LOVE FALL! Fall in Little Rock may only last a couple of weeks, however the trees are beautiful. I love seeing all the rich colors of the leaves. Pumpkin patches are getting ready, our local restaurants are producing fabulous fall menus with all the warm and cozy foods, and the Arkansas State Fair comes through with unique food truck selections and live entertainment. Also, during the fall, the sound you hear on every street corner is obviously a hog call. Our hog call is like no other and it means that college football is here. We cheer on the Razorbacks! Woo Pig Sooie! The residents of Little Rock and Arkansas can’t get enough of their Razorback football team (any Razorback sport in general). Go Hogs!

What locally made product would you recommend that visitors bring home for their friends or family?
If it is strawberry season, you have to have an Arkansas strawberry. They are sweeter than any other strawberry. Our local
honey is delish, and so many of the local producers get creative in the honey process. Doug’s Salsa is hands down the best salsa in Little Rock. Rocktown Distillery and Delta Dirt Distillery are both firsts here in Arkansas and their vodkas are so smooth.

Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Little Rock without…
Riding our Trolley (operated by Rock Region METRO) and visiting one of our awesome food trucks.

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