12 Things To Do in Conway, Arkansas

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in central Arkansas along Interstate 40, Conway is a vibrant and welcoming city with a small-town charm. Known as the “City of Colleges”, Conway is home to three excellent universities – University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, and Central Baptist College.

With a lively mix of arts, culture, sports, and outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Conway. From unique museums and historic sites to award-winning parks and scenic river trails, Conway invites visitors to slow down and appreciate the rich history and natural beauty of central Arkansas.

This article explores the top 12 things to see and do in Conway to help you make the most out of your visit to this charming city.

Stroll along Downtown Conway

The heart of Conway is its historic downtown area centered around Front Street. Take an evening stroll under the glow of old-fashioned lamp posts and soak in the small-town atmosphere. Downtown Conway is home to locally-owned shops, restaurants, art galleries and the iconic Faulkner County Courthouse with its towering clock tower.

Be sure to stop by one of the town’s oldest establishments, Keet’s Barbeque Restaurant, for some finger-licking southern BBQ. After dinner, catch a show at the Reynolds Performance Hall or Conway Community Arts to experience the thriving local arts scene.

Hike Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Just 10 minutes west of downtown lies Pinnacle Mountain State Park, one of Conway’s pride and joys. Lace up your hiking boots and make your way up Pinnacle Mountain along the steep East Summit Trail for panoramic views over Little Rock to the east and Petit Jean Mountain to the west.

Or take the less strenuous Base Trail around the bottom of Pinnacle Mountain for a more leisurely nature walk past wildflowers, streams and small waterfalls. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the park’s scenic lookouts. The park also offers excellent rock climbing and mountain biking trails for outdoor thrill-seekers.

Explore the Conway Museums

Conway has an impressive selection of museums that provide a window into the region’s rich history and culture. At the Faulkner County Museum, uncover the area’s past through interactive exhibits and historic artifacts ranging from a one-room schoolhouse to a recreated 1890s street.

Just across the lawn lies the Museum of Transportation, which chronicles Conway’s railroad history with antique locomotives and rail cars. Art lovers should visit the Conway Downtown Art Gallery to admire works by local and regional artists. And aircraft enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy the airplane and spacecraft models at the Aerospace Education Center.

Cheer on the University of Central Arkansas Bears

As a proud college town, Conway buzzes with school spirit for its beloved Bears athletic teams. Attend an exciting football game at the striking Estes Stadium in the fall, or cheer on the Lady Bears basketball team at the Farris Center arena during the winter months.

The baseball and softball teams also put on quite a show at their home fields in the early spring. Catching a UCA Bears game is one of the most quintessential Conway experiences for new visitors and residents alike.

Stroll the Campus Grounds

Aside from athletics, Conway’s university campuses offer beautiful grounds to explore on foot any time of year. The University of Central Arkansas campus spans over 120 acres right along the shores of Lake Beaverfork.

Visitors can admire the lake views on a peaceful walk around campus and through neighboring College Square Historic District. Hendrix College provides another scenic campus for strolling, especially in spring when the flowers are in full bloom around the Bates and Vickie Murphy Art Complex.

Relax at Beaverfork Lake

This glistening 525-acre reservoir lies in the heart of Conway just north of downtown, providing the ideal spot for water recreation and relaxation. Spend a lazy summer afternoon fishing for bass, catfish and bream from the shoreline or a rented boat.

Pack a picnic spread to enjoy at one of the lake’s pavilions and green spaces that dot the banks. Every 4th of July, Conway celebrates Independence Day with a spectacular firework show over Beaverfork Lake.

Explore the Arkansas River Trail

Conway continues to develop an impressive network of multi-use trails that connect various parts of town, including the growing Arkansas River Trail. Expanding over 5 miles from Beaverfork Lake west towards Toad Suck Park, this peaceful trail whisks you away from the city streets.

Spend an active morning walking, jogging or cycling this flat, paved path that weaves through wetland areas thick with native plants and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for herons, turtles and butterflies as you breathe in the fresh air.

Tee Off at Excellent Golf Courses

Golfers flock to Conway to play at some of Arkansas’ top championship courses nestled right in town or just minutes away. Links style courses like Centennial Valley Country Club and Stonebridge Meadows Golf Club offer breathtaking scenery and challenging play.

Or try the Hollow at Greystone Country Club set along the banks of the Arkansas River for a beautiful and tranquil golf experience. No matter where you play, Conway’s courses pride themselves on southern hospitality from start to finish.

Tour the Historic Sites

History buffs will delight at Conway’s collection of well-preserved historic homes and landmarks that tell the story of the city’s past. Two beautiful antebellum estates built prior to the Civil War now operate as museums – McHaffey House and Faulkner County Museum Mercantile.

The Chism House circa 1904 stands as a pristine example of colonial revival architecture. And the Conway Cemetery contains graves dating back as early as 1825, providing a somber walk back through Conway’s early days.

Cheer at a Naturals Baseball Game

Just 12 miles west of Conway in North Little Rock lies Dickey-Stephens Ballpark, home to the AA affiliate Arkansas Naturals baseball team. Catch an action-packed Naturals game any summer evening to experience America’s favorite pastime alongside enthusiastic local fans.

Special theme nights and giveaways make games extra fun for the whole family. And you can even picnic in the outfield while watching players like future Kansas City Royals take the field at this award-winning downtown ballpark.

Chill at Local Coffee Shops and Breweries

Conway’s selection of hip local coffee shops provide the perfect spot to chill with friends, get some work done or just people watch over great coffee. The most popular downtown hangouts include Mugs Café, Bil Kenny’s Burrow, and Brown Door Cafe.

Just west of the city center in Vilonia, you’ll find tasty craft beer and artisanal wood-fired pizza on tap at Flyway Brewing. And inlet in North Little Rock, enjoy house brews and a menu full of fun at Diamond Bear Brewery.

Experience the Festivals

One of the best ways to celebrate true Conway culture is by attending one of the city’s many spirited annual festivals. Each September brings Toad Suck Daze – three days of lively concerts, amusement rides and silliness centered around the folklore of local townsfolk once drinking whiskey at taverns “until they swelled up like toads”.

In October, the Argenta Arts District comes to life with live music, street performances, local craft vendors and kids activities during the Argenta Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival. And leading up to Christmas, enjoy the twinkling lights and holiday atmosphere of Winterfest on Front Street.

Conclusion

Brimming with small-town charm yet plenty of things to see and do, Conway provides the quintessential central Arkansas experience. Outdoor adventurers can conquer Pinnacle Mountain trails and paddle Beaverfork Lake waters while history and arts aficionados uncover cultural treasures downtown. Families delight at minor league baseball games and lively university happenings, and everyone enjoys the friendly local hospitality. With its natural splendor and abundance of attractions, Conway invites visitors to slow down and savor all that makes central Arkansas so special.

Leave a Comment