Little Rock, a Hub of Religious Culture Calls Religious Travelers

Little Rock’s vibrant history and riverside culture are popular with many travelers, but a strong faith presence makes this city an especially welcoming destination for religious groups.

Little Rock provides an optimal family-friendly group destination for any church group, said Joshua Townsend, director of faith-based, state and military associations of the Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

“We have a strong Southern Baptist presence, but every denomination is represented well here,” he said.

Little Rock’s Religious Attractions and Churches

Heifer International is an educational facility with more than 80 exhibits focused on combating world hunger.

Heifer International

Heifer International at Little Rock-Courtesy of Little Rock CVB

“Heifer has a presence in a number of impoverished areas of the world with the goal of ending poverty and hunger,” Townsend said. “Many denominations and faith based organizations also share a presence in these locations through their mission efforts.”

Many of the churches in downtown Little Rock are commonly frequented by visiting groups.

St. Andrews Cathedral, constructed in 1881, is the oldest cathedral in the city. The Gothic architecture and stained glass windows are well worth a visit, whether stopping in for a service or just passing by.

St. James Methodist Church is another popular downtown church, especially if the Little Rock Winds Symphony Orchestra is performing. This group is known for its Christmas performances but plays throughout the year at St. James and other area churches.

Sightseeing in Little Rock

Little Rock Tours offers city tours throughout the summer and organizes private tours for groups of 15 or more. The “Little Rock and Roll” bus takes visitors around the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Old State House, Governor’s House, Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Central High School and the rock that gave the city its namesake.

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

Little Rock Tours also offers tours set up specifically for church groups. These include a seasonal Holy Land Tour and Passion Play, which is a representation of the life and death of Christ, and a mystery tour with a surprise destination.

Arkansas River

The Arkansas River

The Arkansas Queen, North Little Rock’s resident riverboat, travels down the Arkansas River for lunch and dinner cruises. The sightseeing cruise includes a riverboat history video and the captain entertains visitors with stories from Arkansas’ history.

Popular Little Rock Attractions

The famous Central High School Museum, which pays homage to the first desegregated high school in the country, presents the 1957 event through photos, newspaper clippings and artifacts.

Central High School Little Rock

Central High School, Little Rock

It is directly across from the high school itself, which was named the National Association of Architects’ “Most Beautiful High School in America” when it was built in 1927, and is as worthy of a visit as the museum.

According to Townsend, one of the best things about Little Rock is the River Market District.

Little Rock River Market

River Market District

“You park your car and walk out of a hotel downtown to the River Market and you can sample any of the shops and restaurants,” he said.

One of the highlights is the Farmer’s Market, open May through October. The market spans two open-air pavilions and features locally grown produce as well as handmade arts and crafts. The River Market is also home to the Riverfest Outdoor Amphitheater, which hosts local and national artists and performances.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents performances throughout the year, from chamber music to holiday events.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is home to archival and research facilities as well as exhibits, educational programs and events. Tours showcase American presidencies, foreign and domestic policy highlights of the Clinton Administration and White House life. Tours include the replicated Oval Office, designed in part by Clinton himself for authentication, items from Bill and Hillary’s courtship and Clinton’s music collection.

Little Rock Events and Festivals

The Riverfest Music Festival takes place each May and is one of Arkansas’s most popular events. The festival features popular headlining artists as well as food vendors, Rock-and-Stroll Fun Run 5K and special attractions for kids and teens.

Harvest Fest is a mid-October event that celebrates autumn in Little Rock’s Wildwood botanical gardens. The festival is best known for its “pickin’ and fiddlin’” music competition, but there are also hayrides, food and crafts, all in the company of the autumn foliage.

North Little Rock hosts an annual Family Fun Fest each October with games and crafts for kids, live music, vendor booths and food.

Little Rock creates an optimal blend of a Southern historical setting with urban accessibility. There is no shortage of food and fun in this river city, but the churches and buildings, much like Little Rock’s religious culture itself, are rooted in the past and provide visitors with a peek into history.