The South Main Street Neighborhood

ESSE Purse Museum & Store is part of the eclectic, artsy, walkable and growing SoMa neighborhood in downtown Little Rock, a neighborhood with so much to do that you could spend 23 of 24 hours in one of the many attractions.

It’s true! Midtown Billiards, just down the street – and the oldest SoMa resident – is a late-night club that stays open until 5 a.m. (with the grill open until 4:30 a.m.), while Community Bakery, the second-oldest resident, opens at 6 a.m. every day but Sunday, when it opens at 7 a.m.

Eats

Getting your eats on any time of day or night is easy on South Main – in addition to the old guard, SoMa offers a wide variety of edible awesomeness, from the organic offerings of The Root Cafe to bodacious bites at Boulevard Bread Company to pizza perfection at Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom to Chef Matt Bell’s special takes on Southern food at South on Main. Or just drop in for a craft cocktail at Raduno or South on Main – or a classic at Midtown.

One last offering not to be missed on South Main is Loblolly Creamery’s out-of-this-world small batch artisanal ice cream. People from all over town drive to SoMa to visit the soda fountain inside the equally fabulous Green Corner Store, the first eco-lifestyle store in Arkansas and the retail pioneer of the new SoMa.

Outdoors

The Bernice Garden, at Daisy Bates and Main, proves “if you build it, they will come” – begun in 2007, the garden was an oasis in a sea of asphalt and cement. Now it’s a popular wedding venue, home to a local, organic farmers market and true vintage market as well as a spot to sit, reflect, read or enjoy your lunch. The new SoMa literally grew out of and around The Bernice Garden.

Shops

And grow it continues to do! In addition to good eats, the only purse museum in the U.S. and a green-lifestyle store, SoMa has great shopping these days: Sweet Home Furnishings & clement prove two shops are better than one when it comes to antiques and vintage. Moxy Modern Mercantile offers the best of the old, the new, the fun and the funky – and South Main Creative, the newest addition to the SoMa family, offers it all, from art to vintage to antiques to classes and creative camaraderie.

Sounds

And then there’s music and a magazine: the offices and event center of Oxford American, “A Magazine of the South,” are next to and above South on Main, and the OA Local Live series of free shows on the restaurant stage are not to be missed.

Other Attractions

Though they’re not in SoMa, ESSE has several fabulous neighbors you might want to visit when you’re in the area, from other museums to “the Westminster Abbey of Arkansas” to a world-class theater.

  Arkansas Arts Center

  Arkansas Repertory Theatre

  The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

  Clinton Presidential Center

  Historic Arkansas Museum

  Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

  Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

  Mount Holly Cemetery

Convenient Lodgings

Right next to SoMa in the Governor’s Mansion Historic District, you’ll find three fabulous B&Bs:

  The Empress of Little Rock

  Robinwood Bed & Breakfast

  Rosemont Inn & Cottages

And we love our friends at the historic    Capital Hotel.