Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau

Great news, y’all. It turns out that Little Rock isn’t the grimiest, nastiest, most crime-ridden city in the South, despite misconceptions about the city often perpetuated by people who don’t actually live here. 

Of course we already knew that, but this year Arkansas’s capital city scored a spot on Southern Living’s list of best southern cities, and it feels like a modest win.

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It’s Little Rock’s first time to make it on the lifestyle magazine’s list, and it barely squeezed in at No. 25 out of 25. Still, the mention is good news for tourism, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau noted in a press release on Tuesday. “Appearing in this list is a major win for our city,” LRCVB President & CEO Gina Gemberling said. “The amenities we offer travelers closely align with the subscriber base for Southern Living, and inclusion on this prestigious list will help us attract more leisure travelers.”

Brian Chilson
LRCVB: President Gina Gemberling addresses a crowd at a tourism event.

There are some things that are off about Little Rock’s inclusion, though. The accompanying photo is of the Old Mill, which is definitely in North Little Rock and not Little Rock. The short description also mentions the Argenta Arts District, which is also on the other side of the river.

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But Southern Living does capture some of Little Rock’s best features: “You can embark on top-notch outdoor pursuits one day, and enjoy all the hallmarks of a buzzy metropolitan city the next,” Southern Living writes. The River Market and the Big Dam Bridge also get a shout-out.

Reporting the Ottenheimer Hall food market as “bustling” may be another miss, as is the failure to mention the new Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts or any of Little Rock’s drool-worthy restaurants.

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Bentonville beats out Little Rock on the list coming in at No. 21. No mention for Fayetteville, though, or any other Arkansas city.

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