Expansive views, fine dining, retail havens — it's all waiting for you to explore in the ever-growing neighborhoods way out west. Here's what to do in west Little Rock no matter what time of day you're there.
- MORNING -
Raise a Cup
The cool kids can make fun of the "but first, coffee" signs all they want, but it's still a daily mantra for most Little Rockers. Skip the many Starbucks in WLR and opt instead for a local cup. One favorite that comes with a view is Leiva's Express, an outdoor sipping space surrounding a Leiva's Coffee truck on Cantrell Road where each tasty cup also helps build a more equitable coffee industry. If you're looking for more coziness with your caffeine, the space at Guillermo's offers quintessential coffeehouse lounging, and The Grind Coffee Bistro is a hidden treasure tucked into the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.
For a little sweetness to balance out your coffee, pick up a classic dozen from DJ’s Donuts or a taste of SoMa at the second Community Bakery location on Shackleford. But if you want your pastry to be the star of the show, stop by Cinnamon Creme Bakery for a game-changing cinnamon roll.
Like much of the metro, WLR has no shortage of brunch spots, but if you're over the usual suspects, we suggest trying one of the newer locales. Big Bad Breakfast opened at the corner of Markham and Bowman earlier this year and became an instant hit. The menu is packed with Southern staples made from scratch, and some with a few twists. (Trust us, try the tomato gravy.)
Another 2022 newbie is The Croissanterie, the local food truck that opened a brick-and-mortar location on Cantrell this spring. The truck built a loyal following of “flakey friends” with its lineup of both sweet pastries and savory sandwiches, and has expanded its offerings in recent months. From danishes and French toast to quiche-like pies, the menu doesn’t miss, especially the burgers piled high with local ingredients on croissant buns.
Early morning tee times go down a bit easier on WLR's scenic tree-lined golf courses. Beautifully groomed greens and fairways await on Pleasant Valley Country Club's three nine-hole courses and Chenal Country Club's two 18-hole courses, offering both challenging and leisurely play options for golfers. The Eagle Hill Golf Course is another area favorite, and its year-round course is home to UA Little Rock's golf teams.
- NOON -
Home, Sweet Home
WLR is known for its franchise retail offerings — clothing, cars, even Costco — but some of the city's best local homegoods and lifestyle shops call the area home, too. Clocking in at more than 20,000 square feet, the new Howse location on Chenal Parkway offers significantly more space for its market-inspired showroom featuring the latest furniture, exclusive decor, custom rugs and local art — and is perfect for an afternoon stroll for interior inspiration.
If your outdoor space needs more attention, a visit to The Good Earth Garden Center is in order. Whether you're a natural in the garden or lack a green thumb entirely, perusing the center's inventory of flowers, houseplants, shrubs, trees and beyond will have you ready to tackle your next curb appeal project.
En route to a party and need a last-minute gift for your host? Stop by All Thru the House for unique decor pieces, registry items and even necessities for a Hogs tailgate. Want more of a leave-no-trace gift? Pick up a freshly baked dessert, locally bottled sauce or handcrafted soap from The Bramble Market.
Lunch Out West
We're not in the business of skipping meals, especially when even a quick bite can be so tasty. Old Mill Bread's sandwiches are served atop their fresh in-house bakes with favorites like The Central Coast featuring roasted turkey, avocado, swiss, greens, tomato and red onion on spinach feta bread.
If you'd rather take your time and enjoy your surroundings, The Terrace offers beautiful views of the Pleasant Valley Country Club grounds to go with its Mediterranean menu and curated wine list. For comfort food deliciousness that sometimes goes overlooked, try Alley Oops' blue plate lunch specials (or Saturday brunch), and don't turn down a slice of the famous Italian cream cake.
Take a Hike
We could spend all day talking solely about WLR eats and drinks, but then we would miss out on the area's arguably best feature: room to explore. The metro's most challenging hikes and most gorgeous views await atop Pinnacle Mountain and Rattlesnake Ridge, as well as beginner trails for the less adventurous. But it's not all hiking and summits. Hit the paved paths at Wildwood Park for the Arts or Two Rivers Bridge for a relaxing stroll with its own photo-worthy views, paddle at your own pace through the William Kirsch Preserve waters or crank up the adrenaline on the River Mountain Park bike trails.
If indoor exercise is more your speed, join a heart-pounding class at Full Out Barre or a fun themed ride at CliqueCycle.
For the Kids
WLR has just as much fun in store for the youngest members of your family as it does for adults, and most of it you can do together. Kick off your shoes and jump in at Urban Air or Defy trampoline parks, show off your mini golf and arcade skills at Big Rock Fun Park and wash it all down with a nostalgia-filled milkshake at Purple Cow.
- NIGHT -
Sometimes the day's big adventure is about breaking out of your sipping routine. A short seven-minute drive from Pinnacle Mountain is River Bottom Winery located on BoBrook Farms. There you can enjoy wines from ingredients grown on the farm, as well as wines and beers from around the world, charcuterie boards and live music on the patio on weekends.
Already have plans? Peruse the expansive shelves at Colonial Wines & Spirits or O'Looney's Wine & Liquor to find the ideal drink, or ask their experts for pairing recommendations. Looking for a new happy hour haunt? Check out Red Moon Tavern. Their pecan old fashioned is perfect for autumn, and the blackberry sage margarita is delightful year round.
Fresh Air, Fresh Eats
Another perk of WLR's spaciousness is extra room for great patios. For a mini retreat from the city, settle into an outdoor corner table at Izzy's. Despite its proximity to Cantrell, the quiet space and nearby trees have helped this restaurant remain a staple for decades, not to mention its onsite herb, honeybee and butterfly gardens. Capers is another picturesque favorite (complete with an award-winning wine selection), while the fire pit in Petit & Keet's sleek outdoor lounge can't be beat in the cooler months.
While The Promenade at Chenal is often bustling with shoppers, many of its outdoor dining spaces are tucked away from the main thoroughfare, meaning you can get your fill of cozy cafe lights while enjoying the likes of YaYa’s, AW Lin’s and Big Orange. On the other hand, if you like a bit more action, the patio at Local Lime offers a great balance of people watching while staying immersed in the restaurant’s unique atmosphere. For amazing sunset views above the crowds, head just up the hill to the newest U.S. Pizza location overlooking The Promenade.
New & Coming Soon
It seems there's always news to share about restaurants coming to WLR. In Chenal, Kemuri opened a second location this summer, and Taj Mahal Indian Kitchen is currently undergoing extensive renovations on Market Street. (Don't worry, they're still open to meet your curry and chai needs.) Also coming to the area are popular chains like 7 Brew Coffee, Chicken Salad Chick, The Toasted Yolk Cafe and yes, finally, a Whataburger.
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