During my recent visit to Conway, a charming city located in central Arkansas’ Faulkner County, I was struck by its unique characteristics and vibrant atmosphere. One notable aspect that caught my attention was the city’s distinction of having the state’s highest concentration of jobs per capita. This meant that the majority of residents residing within the city limits were fortunate enough to have employment opportunities right at their doorstep, eliminating the need to commute to neighboring towns for work.
Conway truly stood out as a regional hub, showcasing its prowess in various sectors such as education, the arts, and technology. With a thriving economy supported by a diverse range of industries, the city served as a breeding ground for innovation and development. It was evident that Conway’s dynamic environment fostered growth and attracted both established companies and emerging startups.
One of the city’s notable titles is “the city of colleges,” owing to its abundance of prestigious colleges and universities. This academic presence infused Conway with a youthful energy and a rich intellectual atmosphere. The influence of higher education institutions could be felt throughout the city, contributing to a vibrant cultural scene and a wide array of opportunities for intellectual and artistic exploration.
Despite its modest size, Conway surprised me with its abundance of cultural, historical, and entertainment options. It was clear that the city’s commitment to providing a well-rounded experience for its residents and visitors extended beyond its educational institutions. Museums, art galleries, theaters, and music venues dotted the cityscape, offering a diverse range of experiences for enthusiasts of all kinds. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of cultural offerings that Conway had to offer.
Exploring Conway opened my eyes to the unique combination of opportunities and amenities available in this thriving city. From its robust job market to its educational prominence and rich cultural landscape, Conway showcased the best of what a city of its size could offer. Here are my recommended 14 best things to do for your visit in Conway.
1. Baum Gallery at Uca
When I visited the University of Central Arkansas, also known as UCA, I had the pleasure of exploring the renowned Baum Gallery, the region’s most beloved art gallery. From the moment I stepped inside, I was captivated by the diverse and captivating displays that adorned the gallery’s numerous rooms and spacious floors.
The Baum Gallery showcased a wide range of artwork, featuring both the creative endeavors of talented students and the masterpieces crafted by professional artists. The gallery embraced various mediums, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a world of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more. It was truly a melting pot of artistic expression, showcasing the immense talent and creativity of both emerging and established artists.
One aspect that impressed me was the gallery’s commitment to showcasing exhibits from visiting artists. These special exhibitions brought a fresh perspective and introduced new artistic voices to the community. What’s even better is that most of these exhibits were free to visit, providing an opportunity for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike to enjoy the university’s campus and delve into a world of captivating creations without breaking the bank.
To ensure that I stayed up to date with the gallery’s upcoming presentations and events, I made it a point to periodically check their website. This allowed me to plan my visit accordingly and not miss out on any exciting exhibitions or artist talks. The gallery’s website served as a valuable resource, providing detailed information about the showcased artists, exhibition dates, and additional programming that complemented the artwork on display.
2. Jenifer’s Antiques
I stumbled upon the hidden gem known as Jenifer’s Antiques, conveniently located on Oak Street. As an avid lover of antiques and unique treasures, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore this one-stop-shop filled with Americana and arts and crafts that were sure to captivate my imagination.
Jenifer’s Antiques was just one of the many charming antique stores in the area, each boasting its own distinctive allure. However, Jenifer’s held a special place in my heart with its eclectic collection and friendly atmosphere. The moment I stepped through the doors, I was greeted by a treasure trove of fascinating items that spanned generations.
For those visiting Conway and seeking keepsakes or gifts to bring back home, Jenifer’s was the perfect destination. The store offered a wide selection of small and inexpensive Arkansas memorabilia, ideal for capturing the essence of this beautiful region. From vintage postcards and trinkets to unique pieces of local craftsmanship, there was something to delight every visitor and cater to all tastes.
As I leisurely browsed through the store, I found myself engrossed in the intricate details of each item. The collection encompassed a rich tapestry of history and culture, telling stories of a bygone era. Whether I was admiring antique furniture, marveling at vintage jewelry, or uncovering peculiar curiosities, every corner of Jenifer’s Antiques held a delightful surprise.
I lost track of time as I immersed myself in the nostalgic ambiance and endless possibilities. Plan on spending at least an hour at Jenifer’s Antiques, for there are countless treasures to uncover and admire. The friendly staff were always available to offer assistance and share their knowledge, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to my antiquing experience.
3. Thunder Road Grand Prix
While exploring Conway, I discovered that there’s more to this charming city than antique stores and art galleries. For those seeking an adrenaline rush rather than admiring antiques, a visit to Thunder Road Grand Prix was an absolute must.
Thunder Road Grand Prix offered an exhilarating experience that was anything but mundane. As I arrived at the venue, I was immediately captivated by the sight of multiple tracks and a variety of car styles, ensuring there was something for everyone. The moment the staff signaled for us to start our engines, I could feel the excitement building within me.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Thunder Road Grand Prix was sharing the experience with family or friends. The friendly competition that emerged among us added an extra layer of thrill and camaraderie. As we raced around the tracks, the adrenaline coursed through our veins, and our hearts raced in sync with the roaring engines.
Located on Dave Ward Drive in Conway, Thunder Road Grand Prix provided an excellent venue for birthday parties and group outings. The venue’s electric atmosphere and thrilling activities made it the perfect destination for celebrating special occasions. It was a place where unforgettable memories were made and bonds were strengthened through the shared excitement and friendly competition.
4. Cadron Settlement Park
As part of my trip to Conway, I stumbled upon a hidden gem just outside of town: Cadron Settlement Park. Situated on Arkansas Highway 319, this park quickly became a favorite among locals and offered a convenient escape with breathtaking views of the river and surrounding cliffs.
As I entered the park, I was greeted by well-marked walking and biking trails that meandered through picturesque wooded areas. The presence of a map near the parking lot and trailhead was a helpful guide, ensuring I could navigate through the park’s various paths with ease.
One of the highlights of Cadron Settlement Park was its abundant birdlife and captivating vistas. It served as a haven for nature enthusiasts and provided numerous opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. I made sure my phone was fully charged, ready to preserve the awe-inspiring scenes that awaited me.
Whether I was strolling along the trails, embracing the serenity of the surroundings, or capturing the beauty of the wildlife through my lens, Cadron Settlement Park offered a peaceful and rejuvenating experience. The park’s combination of natural beauty and well-maintained trails created an idyllic setting for immersing oneself in the wonders of nature.
5. Beaverfork Lake Park
I also had the pleasure of visiting Beaverfork Lake Park, situated on a sprawling 25-acre property on the west-central shore of Beaverfork Lake. The park’s convenient location just off Highway 25, a short drive from downtown Conway, made it easily accessible for outdoor enthusiasts like myself.
As I arrived at the park, I was greeted by the tranquil waters of Beaverfork Lake and the promise of exciting recreational activities. Boating, swimming, and fishing were among the popular pastimes enjoyed by visitors. The park provided all the necessary amenities for a memorable outdoor experience, living up to the expectations of a well-maintained municipal park.
I discovered a multitude of covered picnic areas scattered throughout the park, each equipped with barbecue grills, inviting families and friends to enjoy a delightful outdoor meal. The park also featured a well-designed playground, perfect for children to unleash their energy and create lasting memories. For sports enthusiasts, baseball and volleyball fields were available to engage in friendly competition and active recreation.
The park’s commitment to visitor convenience was evident through the presence of ample restroom facilities strategically placed throughout the premises. Additionally, there were three parking lots available, ensuring sufficient space for visitors during peak periods. On pleasant summer days, the park buzzed with activity, and it was not uncommon for the parking lots to reach full capacity.
6. Whole Hog Café
I indulged in the mouthwatering BBQ delights offered at the renowned Whole Hog Café on East Oak Street. Being a connoisseur of barbecue, I was eager to savor the moist and tangy flavors that this beloved establishment had to offer.
As I stepped inside the restaurant, I was greeted by a comfortable and lively atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends. The Whole Hog Café catered to a variety of tastes, ensuring that every BBQ enthusiast would find their preferred option among the array of choices.
One unique aspect of the dining experience at Whole Hog Café was the ordering process. Rather than having servers take your order at the table, guests were encouraged to place their orders at the counter before being seated. This streamlined approach added a touch of casualness to the dining experience, allowing patrons to focus on the culinary delights that awaited them.
The menu boasted a tantalizing selection of BBQ options, with pulled pork and ribs being among the favorites. Each bite was a delectable explosion of smoky flavors, showcasing the careful preparation and expertise of the pitmasters. Complementing the main attractions were a range of delectable sides, including tangy coleslaw, savory baked beans, crispy hush puppies, and some of the most satisfying French fries I had ever tasted.
Whole Hog Café truly lived up to its reputation as a purveyor of exceptional BBQ. With each bite, I could discern the dedication and passion that went into crafting these culinary masterpieces. The combination of tender meats, robust flavors, and delectable sides created a dining experience that was nothing short of exceptional.
7. University of Central Arkansas
Exploring university campuses during my travels has always been a delightful experience, and my visit to the University of Central Arkansas in Conway was no exception. The campus, with its expansive and well-maintained grounds, offered a multitude of attractions and activities that catered to various interests.
One aspect that stood out was the vibrant arts and cultural scene on campus. The university regularly hosted art shows, lectures, and instructional programs, providing ample opportunities for intellectual and artistic engagement. The best part? Many of these events were free, making them accessible to all visitors. It was a true testament to the university’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and inclusive educational environment.
Situated downtown, the University of Central Arkansas campus was conveniently located near other attractions in the city. This proximity made it easy for me to explore the campus while also enjoying other offerings in the area. I couldn’t resist stopping by the bookstore, where I found a fantastic selection of merchandise, including hats and t-shirts, perfect mementos to commemorate my visit to Conway.
To make the most of my time on campus, I made sure to check the university’s website for event listings. This allowed me to plan my visit accordingly, ensuring that I didn’t miss any captivating lectures, engaging art exhibitions, or captivating programs that were taking place during my stay.
8. Escape Mystery Rooms
Having heard about the growing trend of escape rooms, I was eager to try one out during my visit to Conway. I discovered Escape Mystery Rooms, conveniently situated on Parkway Street, and couldn’t wait to immerse myself in this thrilling and interactive experience.
Escape rooms offer a unique blend of affordability, entertainment, and a touch of suspense that sets them apart from many other tourist activities. With that in mind, I was excited to embark on this adventure and see what awaited me.
Upon entering Escape Mystery Rooms, I was immediately captivated by the atmosphere they had created. The room was filled with enigmatic puzzles, challenging riddles, and mysterious clues, all designed to keep us engaged and on the edge of our seats. It was clear that the staff had gone to great lengths to ensure an immersive and suspenseful experience for their guests.
As our group delved deeper into the puzzles, we felt the tension rise. Each solved riddle brought us one step closer to escaping our tricky situation. The sense of accomplishment and excitement that came with each solved challenge was exhilarating. It truly felt like we were part of our very own adventure.
Escape Mystery Rooms proved to be a fantastic activity for a wide range of occasions. Whether it’s a memorable date, a birthday celebration, or a team-building exercise, this experience offers something for everyone. The collaborative nature of the puzzles fostered teamwork and communication among our group, creating a fun and engaging environment.
9. Visit a Few City Parks
Laurel Park, Simon Park, and 5th Avenue Park formed a delightful sequence running east to west, a short distance north of Central Arkansas University and Central Baptist College.
Exploring these parks in the afternoon or early evening was an absolute pleasure. Despite their proximity to the bustling city center, they exuded a tranquil atmosphere. One of the advantages of these parks being relatively small and without extensive amenities was the likelihood of having them all to myself. It was a refreshing experience to find moments of solitude amidst the urban surroundings.
What I particularly enjoyed was how easily accessible these parks were from the nearby college campuses. It was a mere stroll on foot, requiring minimal effort. The close proximity added to their appeal, providing an opportunity to take a relaxing break and immerse myself in nature without venturing too far from the heart of the city.
Each park had its own unique charm, offering a distinct ambiance and scenery. From the lush greenery of Laurel Park to the vibrant community spirit at Simon Park, and the tranquility of 5th Avenue Park, they all had something special to offer.
10. Faulkner County Museum
As I approached the Faulkner County Museum, I was immediately struck by its charming architectural presence. The building had been thoughtfully restored to resemble its original style, featuring a combination of brick and local stone. Its golden-hued spire roof, a prominent feature on the city’s skyline, added a touch of grandeur to the surroundings. It fascinated me to think that this very building had served as not only a jail but also as a library in the 1930s, before eventually finding its purpose as a museum in the 1990s. Situated in the heart of downtown Courthouse Square, the museum served as a comprehensive repository for all things related to the rich heritage of the Conway area.
Stepping inside, I found myself immersed in the captivating history of the area. The Faulkner County Museum specialized in showcasing the heritage of the region before it was settled, providing a unique glimpse into the past. Exhibits meticulously displayed artifacts, photographs, and documents that unveiled the stories of early settlers and the evolution of the community. It was a journey through time, as I discovered the struggles, triumphs, and cultural significance that shaped Conway into the vibrant city it is today.
What impressed me most about the Faulkner County Museum was its dedication to preserving and presenting both the ancient and more contemporary aspects of the area’s history. While the museum excelled in showcasing the early years, it also embraced the ever-evolving narrative of Conway. I was delighted to explore exhibits that shed light on more recent events, individuals, and milestones, allowing me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the city’s journey.
11. The Hogwild Family Fun Center
After a few days of exploring cultural and historical sites, I decided it was time to treat the little ones I was traveling with to a day filled with activities tailored just for them. That’s when we discovered the Hogwild Family Fun Center, a haven of entertainment that had been delighting families since 2008.
Located on Old Morrilton Highway, the center offered an array of thrilling attractions designed to cater to the younger crowd. As soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted with an atmosphere brimming with excitement. Our options seemed endless, from exhilarating go-kart races to laughter-filled bumper car battles. The children’s eyes sparkled with anticipation as they donned their laser tag gear, ready to engage in an action-packed battle of strategy and agility. And to top it off, a charming mini-golf course awaited us, promising a delightful adventure through whimsical obstacles.
The Hogwild Family Fun Center provided a perfect escape, especially when the weather outside wasn’t cooperating. It was a place where we could immerse ourselves in endless fun and create lasting memories. Time seemed to fly as we hopped from one attraction to another, with laughter and excitement filling the air.
What impressed me most about the center was its dedication to providing an enjoyable experience for the entire family. The staff members were friendly and attentive, ensuring that every visitor had a fantastic time. The facilities were well-maintained and designed with safety in mind, allowing parents to relax and immerse themselves in the joy of watching their little ones revel in the activities.
12. Jack’s Ultra Sports Paintball & Lasertag
During our trip to Conway, we were eager to experience the thrill of paintball and laser tag, activities that had gained significant popularity in recent years. That’s when we discovered Jack’s Ultra Sports Paintball and Laser Tag, a venue that promised an adrenaline-pumping adventure unlike any other.
Located on Equity Avenue, the facility was well-equipped with all the necessary gear for an immersive paintball or laser tag experience. As we entered, the excitement in the air was palpable, and we couldn’t wait to gear up and dive into the action. The staff members were friendly and knowledgeable, ensuring that we were properly equipped and briefed on the rules and safety guidelines.
While traditional paintball and laser tag were on offer, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Jack’s Ultra Sports also provided a unique twist to the experience. They offered an alternative activity that involved bows and arrows instead of the usual laser or paint guns. It was an intriguing variation that piqued our curiosity, and we eagerly embraced the opportunity to engage in this thrilling new adventure.
The venue was spacious and thoughtfully designed, providing various game scenarios and obstacles that added to the excitement. The pulse-pounding battles and friendly competition kept us on our toes, as we strategized and aimed for victory. The well-maintained equipment and professional staff ensured that our experience was both safe and exhilarating.
What made Jack’s Ultra Sports even more enticing was the presence of an escape room onsite. After the heart-pounding battles, we decided to test our problem-solving skills in this immersive and mentally challenging game. It provided a welcomed change of pace, allowing us to exercise our minds and work together to unravel the mysteries and escape the room within the given time.
13. Share the Love Kidsclub
Share the Love Kidsclub. This remarkable venue dedicated over 3,000 square feet of indoor space to keeping kids active, engaged, and captivated in a unique learning environment.
As we stepped inside, we were immediately greeted by a vibrant and interactive atmosphere. The club was brimming with exhibits and activities designed to ignite curiosity and encourage exploration. Our children’s faces lit up with excitement as they discovered the various hands-on experiences that awaited them. From imaginative play areas to educational games and puzzles, Share the Love Kidsclub seamlessly blended entertainment and learning, providing an enriching experience for young minds.
What impressed us most about Share the Love Kidsclub was the diverse range of classes they offered throughout the year. We were fortunate enough to be in the area for an extended period, which allowed us to enroll our children in some of these instructional and educational sessions. The classes covered a wide array of subjects, including music, science, and physical fitness. It was heartwarming to witness our kids’ enthusiasm as they participated in these engaging and educational activities.
We highly recommend visiting Share the Love Kidsclub’s website to explore the specific classes and programs they offer. It’s an incredible opportunity for children to develop new skills, expand their knowledge, and foster a love for learning in a fun and supportive environment.
14. Mike’s Place
Mike’s Place. Situated on Front Street, this charming establishment offered a welcoming atmosphere, reasonable prices, and a laid-back ambiance that appealed to both families and individuals alike.
It didn’t take long for us to realize that Mike’s Place had a loyal following of regular customers. With each visit, we found ourselves recognizing familiar faces and feeling like part of the community. The friendly service provided by the staff further enhanced our dining experience, making us feel right at home.
When it came to the food, Mike’s Place exceeded our expectations. The menu offered a diverse range of options, catering to various tastes and preferences. Seafood lovers could indulge in delectable dishes, while those craving ribs, pasta, or crawfish etouffée would find their cravings satisfied. What stood out were the generous portions that left us feeling completely satisfied.
We couldn’t resist indulging in some of Mike’s Place’s famous fresh cakes and pies. The tantalizing desserts were the perfect way to round off our meals, leaving us with a sweet and memorable ending to each visit.