Have you been living under a rock? Unless it’s Little Rock, Arkansas, you are missing out! This small southern city has been a home to City Year AmeriCorps members since 2004, when it kicked off the opening of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Are you considering an opportunity to serve in Little Rock? Check out these five reasons why you should consider moving to Little Rock, Arkansas, and serve with City Year.
Nature is all around you.
If you consider yourself outdoorsy, or just enjoy an opportunity to walk outside in the sunshine, then Little Rock is a great city to live in. The heart of the Natural State, Little Rock provides multiple (and inexpensive) outdoor activities. Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers opportunities for paddling, hiking and rock climbing on the weekends. The Arkansas River Trail will take you over the Big Dam Bridge and along 15 miles of trails. Are you a dog lover? Then you will adore Murray Park, a dog friendly park where you can play soccer, volleyball and hang out with new furry friends.
Be inspired by arts and culture.
Little Rock’s art scene is thriving; the city is a hub of music, theatre and galleries. You’ll want to check out the events calendar, and there always seems to be a local gallery displaying the work of hometown artists. The Arkansas Art Center in MacArthur Park is home to a world-class art collection, a theatre company, art classes and other educational programs. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre brings beloved classics and new shows to Little Rock, such as Chicago, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and It’s a Wonderful Life. And don’t miss the festivals. With Barkus on Main (a dog Mardi Gras parade), the International Greek Food Festival, and the Run to the Little Rock Marathon, there really is something fun for everyone.
History takes center stage.
Those with an interest in history will find plenty to do in Little Rock. The Clinton Presidential Center includes the presidential library, which hosts an exact replica of President Clinton's Oval Office, the presidential limousine, and a timeline with exhibits for each year of Clinton's presidency. The Center also hosts three-to-four outstanding temporary exhibits every year and City Year AmeriCorps members get free admission if they wear their nametag.
If you’re looking for some history that’s a little more outside the box, there’s always the ESSE Purse Museum which showcases the evolution of the 20th-century American woman – decade by decade – through the bags she carried and the contents within. And since you are working in Little Rock schools every day, take a moment to explore and reflect at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. A focal point of the federal government’s efforts to desegregate schools in the 1950s, this national historic site includes interactive exhibits sharing the stories of the Little Rock Nine while still remaining a functioning high school.
Fun facts: Did you know that the American Taekwondo Association is headquartered in Little Rock? Or that Big Dam Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in North America, is located here, too?
Explore the food scene.
With a bustling restaurant scene that includes traditional southern cuisine and a thing for brunch, you’ll fall in love with your new city. Selected as one of Forbes’ “Five Secret Foodie Cities,” you can eat your way across Little Rock. The Food Truck Festival in September sees around 60 food trucks flock to Main Street for locals to indulge in offerings ranging from BBQ to Mexican to street pies. Is brunch more your style? You have to visit some of Little Rock’s hotspots, including Leo’s Greek Castle, Cathead Diner and Delicious Temptations. Almost every weekend in Little Rock features a food event or festival. With so many options, your taste buds will always be happy.
Budget friendly attractions.
Living on a stipend can be challenging, but Little Rock is a city that knows how to make your dollars stretch. The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden includes over 70 public art sculptures along the Arkansas River, perfect for a weekend stroll. The Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market (Sundays, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM April through November) offers an open community space for local growers to sell sustainably raised fruit, vegetables, nuts, berries, flowers, and herbs, as well as cheeses, prepared food and other goods. Burns Park & Golf Course will get your heartrate going with access to two 18-hole disc golf courses, soccer and baseball fields, and 27 tennis courts. Take your bike along 14 miles of trails to truly explore all that Arkansas has to offer.
The Arkansas Cinema Society features film festivals, classes with Academy Award-winning directors and year-round programming. Volunteers who work as ushers and greeters get complimentary tickets to screenings and after parties.
If you want to be a part of a lively, outdoor community, and also support the growth and development of more than 25,000 students who make up the Little Rock School District, consider serving as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Little Rock. Your year of service can make a lifetime of difference.