Located in central Arkansas’ Faulkner County, Conway bears the distinction of having the state’s highest concentration of jobs per capita, which means that most of the residents that live within the city limits don’t have to commute to other towns to work.
The city is considered a regional hub for things like education, the arts, and technology companies.
Conway is also commonly referred to as “the city of colleges,” due to its many colleges and universities. As you might expect in a city full of colleges and large technology employers, Conway is home to many cultural, historical and entertainment options not often found in towns of its modest size.
1. Baum Gallery at Uca
The University of Central Arkansas, or UCA, is home to the Baum Gallery, which is the area’s most popular art gallery.
Consisting of numerous rooms and plenty of floor space, the gallery exhibits student’s art, in addition to artwork from professional artists in a variety of mediums.
At different times, the gallery hosts exhibits from visiting artists; most of them are free to visit, so you’ll not only get to enjoy the university’s campus but check out some neat creations without spending a bunch of money.
The best way to stay informed about what they’ll be presenting is to check their website periodically.
2. Jenifer’s Antiques
Conveniently located on Oak Street in downtown Conway, Jenifer’s Antiques is a one-stop-shop for those looking for antiques, bits of Americana, and other arts and craft treasures that you probably won’t find anywhere else.
Jenifer’s is one of many antique stores in the area, and you’ll find that each has its own distinct charm.
If you’re visiting and would like to pick up a few keepsakes or gifts for those who stayed home, you’ll find plenty of small and inexpensive bits of Arkansas memorabilia that would fit the bill perfectly.
Plan on spending an hour or so checking out their items.
3. Thunder Road Grand Prix
As fun as antique stores and art galleries can be, sometimes they’re a bit on the mundane side; if you cherish an adrenaline shot more than an antique armoire, a stop at Thunder Road Grand Prix would be wise.
With many different tracks and car styles suitable for nearly everybody, it won’t be difficult to get in the mood when they tell you to start your engines.
It’s especially fun when enjoyed with a family or group, as it brings out a spirit of friendly competition that will get everybody’s heart rate up.
Thunder Road Grand Prix is located on Dave Ward Drive in Conway, and it’s an excellent place for a birthday party.
4. Cadron Settlement Park
Located on Arkansas Highway 319 just outside of town, Cadron Settlement Park is a favorite of locals, who find it a convenient and scenic place to stretch their legs and enjoy the views of the river and cliffs that frame the park.
The park includes well-marked walking and biking trails that lead through wooded areas. There’s a map posted near the parking lot and trailhead, so you’ll get a good idea where each path leads.
Due to its abundance of birds and views, it’s a great place to snap a few photos, so make sure your phone is charged.
5. Beaverfork Lake Park
Located on 25 acres on the west-central shore of Beaverfork Lake, Beavefork Lake Park is just off Highway 25, a short drive from downtown Conway.
Boating, swimming, and fishing are a few of the park’s most popular activities, and the park is full of all the amenities you’d expect from a municipal park of its size.
There are plenty of covered picnic areas complete with barbecue grills, a playground, baseball and volleyball fields, and plenty of restrooms as well.
There’s parking at three different lots, and on nice days in the summer, it can get quite full.
6. Whole Hog Café
America’s southeastern states are known for their great BBQ; one of central Arkansas’ favorite purveyors of the moist and tangy fare is the Whole Hog Café on East Oak Street in Conway.
The restaurant has a comfortable, lively and family-friendly atmosphere and serves a variety of different BBQ options to fit every taste.
Don’t expect servers to take your order at your table; instead, order at the counter before you’re seated.
Pulled pork and ribs are a few favorites, as are sides like coleslaw, baked beans, hush puppies and some of the best French fries around.
7. University of Central Arkansas
University campuses are great places to explore when visiting a new area.
They usually have expansive, well-maintained grounds, and in addition to sporting events and a host of other activities, there are often art shows, lectures, and instructional and educational programs offered – many of them are free.
The University of Central Arkansas campus is located downtown, close to many of the city’s other attractions, so it’s convenient to visit. The bookstore is a great place to pick up a hat or t-shirt to remind you of your visit to Conway.
Check online to see what events will be on campus when you’ll be there.
8. Escape Mystery Rooms
Escape rooms are popping up in cities and towns all over the country, and their popularity has exploded in recent years.
They’re inexpensive, fun, and offer hints of tension and suspense that aren’t found in many other tourist activities.
Located on Parkway Street, Escape Mystery Rooms of Conway strives to create a unique and suspenseful atmosphere for guests by bombarding them with puzzles, riddles, and clues. If answered correctly, they will be free of their tricky situation.
If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot. It’s an excellent activity for a date, birthday group, or team building exercise.
9. Visit a Few City Parks
Downtown Conway has many municipal parks that are conveniently located just a few blocks from one another and other city attractions.
Laurel Park, Simon Park, and 5th Avenue Park are all in a straight line that runs from east to west, just a few blocks north of the campuses of Central Arkansas University and Central Baptist College.
They’re great places to visit in the afternoon or early evening, and since they’re small and without many amenities, you’ll likely have them to yourself.
Their proximity to the area’s colleges makes them easy to reach on foot without exerting much effort.
10. Faulkner County Museum
Located inside one of the county’s old jailhouses, the Faulkner County Museum is one of the city’s most complete repositories for all things relating to the Conway area.
The building lies downtown in Courthouse Square. It has been refurbished to resemble its original style and is primarily made of brick and local stone.
Its golden-hued spire roof is one of the skyline’s most memorable icons. In addition to being a jail, it was also a library in the ‘30s and has been a museum since the ‘90s.
The museum specializes in the history of the area before it was settled, but includes more contemporary items and exhibits as well.
11. The Hogwild Family Fun Center
If the little ones you’re traveling with have put up with boring cultural and historical sites for a few days in a row, perhaps it’s time to reward them with a day of activities designed especially with them in mind.
The Hogwild Family Fun Center has been entertaining families since 2008 and includes go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, and even a mini-golf course.
It’s the kind of place you could easily spend a few hours, and it’s great to visit when the weather outside is less than pleasant.
They’re located on Old Morrilton Highway and are open every day.
12. Jack’s Ultra Sports Paintball & Lasertag
Paintball and laser tag are two activities that have gained a big following in recent years; if you’d like to give them a try on your trip to Conway, consider stopping by Jack’s Ultra Sports Paintball and Laser tag.
They’ve got all the equipment that you’ll need to participate, and if you’re looking for something a little more unique, they also offer a similar activity – but with bows and arrows instead of laser or paint guns.
It’s a new twist on a perennial favorite, and there’s an escape room onsite as well.
They’re located on Equity Avenue in Conway.
13. Share the Love Kidsclub
With more than 3,000 square feet of indoor space dedicated to keeping kids active, engaged and enthralled, Share the Love Kidsclub is one of those rare places that encourages children to learn and have fun simultaneously.
The club is full of interactive exhibits and promotes exploration and hands-on activities.
If you’ll be in the area more than a few days, you may also have the opportunity to enroll your kids in some of the instructional and educational classes that they offer throughout the year.
Some of the classes involve music, science and physical fitness, so check out their website for specifics.
14. Mike’s Place
Located on Front Street downtown, Mike’s place is a community favorite for its family-friendly atmosphere, reasonable prices, and relaxed ambiance.
Many of Mike’s customers are regulars, and if you go more than once, you’ll start recognizing familiar faces.
Expect friendly service, good food, and generous portions.
Seafood, ribs, pasta and crawfish etouffée are a few of the favorites, and they’re known for their enticingly fresh cakes and pies as well.
They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it’s a great place to fill up before heading out to see Conway’s sights.