SoMa Little Rock is one of our favorite of the downtown neighborhoods. It is a fun area with a flair all its own. Although we travel all over the state we live in Central Arkansas and love SoMa for dining and unique shopping.

SoMa is a nickname for South Main. This is the first bit of downtown Little Rock’s Main Street that lies south of I-630. This stretch of road has a great collection of restaurants, a distillery, a purse museum, art galleries, and some unique and interesting shopping.

Enjoy exploring SoMa Little Rock!

NOTE: Do be aware that many of the shops and restaurants in SoMa Little Rock are closed on Mondays.

Things to do and see in SoMa Little Rock

Rock Town Distillery

Rock Town Distillery anchors the end of SoMa Little Rock closest to the interstate.

A visit to Rock Town Distillery is a must if you are in the area. It is Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition. They produce award winning bourbon, single barrel bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey and vodka.

You can stop in to make a purchase or have a drink from the bar, but we highly recommend reserving a tour and tasting.

We did the distillery guided tour where we learned all about the distilling process. After the tour you get to taste several of Rock Town’s award winning spirits.

Of course the bourbon is wonderful, but y’all…I fell in love with the coffee vodka! A little of that mixed with cream is heavenly. You will want to take a bottle home.

The Esse Purse Museum

The Esse Purse Museum a fascinating little museum that features both the purses and the contents of the purses that woman have carried throughout the decades. It is both a history of handbags and the history of women.

If you are of a certain age you will recognize some of these handbags.

In addition to the museum there is a store with a variety of fun handbags.

The Esse Purse museumPin

Pour Candle Bar

Pour Candle Bar is a fun place where you can gather with friends and make your own personalized soy candle including choosing your own container and your own scent.

The Villa Marre

Although it is not right on Main Street you should take the quick drive over to 1321 Scott Street to pass by the Villa Marre. This lovely Italianate home was built in 1881 by Angelo and Jennie Marre.

You might recognize it from its appearance in the opening credits of the long-running 80’s television series “Designing Women.”

It is one of the most recognizable homes in Little Rock.

The Bernice Garden

Bernice Garden is located on the southeast corner of Daisy Bates Avenue and South Main Street. It was a vacant lot when Anita Davis, the owner of the collection at the Esse Purse Museum began to envision it as a gathering place.

She, along with a talented team, created Bernice Garden. In many ways the building of Bernice Gardens began the renaissance of SoMa.

There is interesting sculpture to see and the garden can be rented for weddings and other types of celebrations.

Other events at Bernice Gardens include a seasonal farmer’s market, as well as a variety of festivals. My personal favorite is the cornbread festival, which is held in the fall. But check their website for other events.

The Escape

The Escape is a fun place to bring a group of up to 7 friends or family members. You will be locked in one of their four themed rooms and have to work together to figure out how to escape the room.

Check out our bucket list post of great things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Food in SoMa Little Rock

Community Bakery

Just across the street from Rock Town Distillery is Community Bakery. It is one of the stalwarts of the SoMa area.

Community Bakery is a spacious, light filled cafe where you can read the newspaper over a cup of coffee and a croissant. They have a variety of baked goods including my favorite cookie in Little Rock.

We are absolutely addicted to the iced cookies at Community Bakery!

Best cookie in Little Rock from Community Bakery.Pin

The Root Cafe

The Root Cafe is one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Little Rock. I love everything I have ever eaten here.

In my opinion, they have the best burger in town, but they also have plenty of options for the vegetarians in your group. They source as much as they can from small local farmers and producers and you can absolutely taste the freshness.

Their spicy bahn mi sandwich made with tofu, although not a traditional bahn mi, is also excellent and we rank it as one of the best sandwiches in Central Arkansas.

They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be prepared to stand in a line if you stop in at lunch time, but it will be worth it!

The Root Cafe in Little RockPin

Boulevard Bread Company

Boulevard Bread is an award winning bakery that also has a larger location in the Heights area of midtown Little Rock.

The location in SoMa Little Rock is smaller but there are a few tables both indoors and out. It is also right next door to Bernice Gardens so you can always get your food to go and eat in the park.

Of course Boulevard has wonderful breads which you can buy to take home. Their sandwiches and salads are pretty special too.

Loblolly Creamery

Loblolly is a beloved local creamery and for very good reason! The ice cream at Loblolly is handcrafted and uses local and organic ingredients without preservatives.

Y’all it is so good.

I’ve never meet an ice cream flavor that I don’t like but at Loblolly I usually get the salted caramel. One a really hot day I might switch to the fresh mint chip. Let me know which flavor is your favorite!

The Bagel Shop

The Bagel Shop was a new addition to South Main in 2023. In our opinion, it was one of the best new restaurant openings not just on SOMA but in the city!

Little Rock NEEDED a place to get a real and delicious bagel and now we have it!

In addition to grabbing a bagel for breakfast they serve amazing bagel sandwiches. HIGHLY recommend.

Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom

Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom has some of the best pizza in town.

Also be sure to check out some of their appetizers and salads. The apple and gorgonzola salad is delicious. They also have a nice beer and wine selection and the service here has always been great for us.

El Sur Street Food

El Sur was once a food truck that would park near Berniece Garden and now has a brick and mortar restaurant. The food here is inspired by Honduran and Latin American food featuring baleadas, tacos and arepas

I love the food at El Sur and highly recommend that you try the Con Todo which, as the name implies, has everything including beans, cheese, fried plantains and so much more.

Mockingbird Bar and Tacos

Mockingbird bar and tacos has a friendly and casual atmosphere. Obviously they serve tacos, but not just any tacos. These are fresh and delicious tacos made with locally sourced ingredients.

They also have a good selection of vegetarian tacos as well as nachos, empanadas, and quesadillas.

You will definitely want to try some of their delicious cocktails.

Bread Cheese Wine

Bread Cheese Wine (BCW) is one of the newer restaurants on South Main. I think it is a great addition to the dining scene in SOMA.

They have delicious shareable plates as well as a selection of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The cocktails are creative and there is a nice wine list.

Press Waffle Company

Press Waffle Company is a small chain that recently opened a location in SoMa Little Rock. They were featured on Shark Tank and were offered a deal and have grown from there.

Press Waffle serves both sweet and savory waffles. As of this writing I have not tried Press Waffle, but the photos on the website menu look amazing!

Rock and Roll Sushi Soma

Rock and Roll Sushi is a chain sushi restaurant in SoMa Little Rock. It has a fun and vibrant atmosphere and pretty good sushi. I’ll be honest – I love the look and the atmosphere of this place and the sushi is good, but it is not my favorite in town.

However, if you are in the area and having a craving – it will definitely satisfy your “sushi-tooth.”

(Just giving my personal preference, many people love it this restaurant…and…sushi is pretty subjective, don’t you agree?)

Rock and Roll Sushi on South Main.Pin

Drinks in SoMa

THe Bark Bar

The Bark Bar is on South Spring Street just around the corner from Main Street. This is the perfect place to bring your dog while you have a beer or a cocktail. There is a large play area for the dogs and both indoor and outdoor seating for the owners.

You will also find snacks and treats for both dogs and owners. This is just an all round fun place for dog lovers.

Midtown Billiards

Midtown Billiards has been a Little Rock tradition since the 1940’s. They have award winning hamburgers as well as other kinds of bar food. There are also pool tables, live music, beer on draft, and liquor and cocktails.

The Green Corner Store

Prefer a non-alcoholic drink? The Green corner store is not only the local source for earth family products but they also have a tea bar.

You can choose from over 30 types of loose leaf tea and they will brew it for you and serve it either hot or iced. Check out their tea menu.

Rock Town Distillery

Stop by Rock Town Distillery for a beverage made from one of their award winning spirits.

Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom

A nice bar atmosphere along with delicious appetizers and pizza.

Mockingbird Bar and Tacos

Mockingbird has a great selection of Arkansas craft beers, small batch tequilas and great cocktails with fresh ingredients.

Shopping in SoMa Little Rock

The Green Corner Store

The Green Corner Store was Arkansas’ first eco-lifestyle store. They sell and showcase a variety of local, sustainable and organic products for your home, personal care, and wellness.

They also have a tea bar! In addition to selecting a tea to be brewed in the store you can also purchase tea and tea products to take home.

South Main Creative

This is such a fun place to browse and shop. South Main Creative is like a hip and funky antique mall. There are a variety of booths with an eclectic mix of art, clothing, and various collections. You will definitely find something you love here.

South Main Creative is a store with a variety of booths.Pin

Sweet Home Furnishings

Sweet Home Furnishings is the perfect place to shop for unique vintage and antique items for your home. The shop is so well curated and set up in a way that makes it a pleasure to shop there.

Moxy Modern Mercantile

Moxy Modern Mercantile is a vintage inspired store. The merchandise is fun and playful. You will find unique fixtures and home decor as well as wonderful gift items. Be sure and check out the puzzles, games, and greeting cards.

M2 Gallery

The M2 art gallery has a collection of wonderfully curated artwork from a variety of artists. They also offer museum quality custom framing and art installation.

Window of M2 Art GalleryPin

Pink Olive SoMa Little Rock

Pink Olive is a cute little gift store with creative and unique gifts. They have things that are different from anywhere else in town.

I think it is a great place to go especially if you are shopping for an artsy person or someone who enjoys a bit of whimsy.

The Esse Purse Museum

In addition to the museum there is a purse store here. The purses are fun and unique and would make a wonderful gift for your favorite handbag loving person.

Quick History of SoMa Little Rock

This area of Little Rock has seen a lot of change. From the days when it was a dirt road to the present there have been many incarnations of the South Main Street neighborhood.

In the 1920’s through the 1940’s this neighborhood was flourishing. Central High School and the Governors mansion were built during these years. There were stately homes and gorgeous mansions built on the side streets of area.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the residents of South Main began fleeing to the suburbs. Many of the mansions and grand homes were turned into apartments or left to decay at this point.

The worst times came after I-630 was built. This turned the area north of the interstate into “downtown” and the area south of the interstate was basically neglected.

Two businesses managed to survive this time. Community Bakery continued operate through all these years. Midtown Billiards has been around since the 40’s and actually moved to its current South Main spot in the 1970’s.

However, most businesses were shuttered closed and most of the nearby homes were neglected and in disrepair until 2006 when Anita Baker, owner of the Esse Purse Museum, created the Bernice Garden.

From that one small change SoMa Little Rock has continued to grow, revitalize, and thrive.

The transformation is still underway.

We hope that you enjoy your visit to SoMa Little Rock. We love this great downtown neighborhood. Let us know if there is anything that we are missing from this list!

Check out our post about even more things to do in Little Rock!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks For Sharing!

Similar Posts