History

River Market under constructionLocated along the scenic south shore of the Arkansas River is Little Rock's River Market District. Once a desolate area with many empty and condemned buildings, the revitalized River Market District now spans the length of President Clinton Avenue and encompasses a 10-block area of the city.

Ottenheimer Market Hall, under constructionSince development began in the early 1990's, the River Market District has continued to thrive with many new and exciting editions – the Arkansas Studies Institute, part of the Central Arkansas Library System and dedicated to Arkansas history and archives; the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center; residential development such as 300 Third Tower; and the River Market Tower. Within walking distance, the Clinton Presidential Library and Heifer International Headquarters share the energy that attracts tourists and residents alike to the area.

River Market under constructionOttenheimer Market Hall serves as the main focal point, and heartbeat of the district. It is an exciting public food market that will entice your senses with its relaxing entertainment and rich cultural experiences.

It offers an international and diverse medley of owner-operated shops and stalls with everything from barbecue to sweet delights to tacos and pot stickers. On Tuesday and Saturdays, from May through October, The Farmers' Market takes place in the River Market's two outdoor pavilions. It features farmers and other vendors who offer goods ranging from homegrown tomatoes, strawberries, watermelons, corn, herbs and houseplants to jewelry, crafts and clothing.

History of the River Market

River Market under constructionThe River Market opened with great fanfare in Little Rock in 1996. The Market is the cornerstone of a $300 million riverfront development project designed to utilize the scenic charm of the Arkansas River, Riverfront Park and existing historical structures along the riverfront. The River Market District is located within the oldest section of the city, known as the Quapaw Quarter. Serving as one of the River Market District's cornerstones, the Central Arkansas Library System has revamped a 1920s-era warehouse into Little Rock's $12 million main library facility.

Ottenheimer Market Hall is a year-around, indoor market encompassing 10,000 sq. ft. and features a 40 ft. vaulted roof. There is also an outdoor farmers market with two covered pavilions totaling 15,000 sq. ft. It is a beautiful, elegant structure that fits well with adjoining buildings. The development and construction of the Little Rock River Market reflects the continued national growth of farmers and public markets, selling seasonal foods and having a year-round indoor, fresh food market. Public markets offer opportunities for producers, consumers, and community planners to devise new strategies for improving the distribution of food in areas where consumer access to fresh agricultural products is limited.

The River Market as it stands today