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What's New for 2017 in Central Arkansas

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Robinson Center
The reopening of the newly renovated Robinson Auditorium, which has been billed as its “second act,” is the biggest recent development in the cultural life of Central Arkansas. The $70 million upgrade included acoustical and technological enhancements, a grand ballroom and patio overlooking the Arkansas River, new conference spaces and expanded lobbies and public facilities, all wrapped up in a LEED-certified package that maintains the historical significance of the original structure. This renovation to the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arkansas and Celebrity Attractions opens up a world of entertainment possibilities for the state and makes the center nationally competitive and capable of hosting any Broadway production. The newly renovated Robinson Center will also henceforth be home to the Miss Arkansas Pageant, which has been held in Hot Springs for the past 58 years.
CONTACT: 426 West Markham St, Little Rock, 501-370-3224.
 
Firehouse Hostel and Museum
International travelers and lovers of unique, budget travel can now stay at the capital city’s first hostel, the Firehouse Hostel and Museum, located inside—you guessed it—a restored historic firehouse in MacArthur Park. The 1917 Craftsman style building once house Little Rock Fire Station #2, and the charmingly restored property is filled with artifacts from firefighting history. Located in the heart of Little Rock in MacArthur Park, this hostel is close to all downtown attractions, including museums, galleries, shops, restaurants, and the vibrant SoMa and River Market districts.
CONTACT: 1201 Commerce St., Little Rock, 501-476-0294, www.FirehouseHostel.org.
 
Craft beer
The craft beer boom continues at a clip, with four additional breweries and taprooms having opened in Little Rock and North Little Rock, plus one new way to experience them—without getting behind the wheel. New breweries include Rebel Kettle and Buffalo Brewing Co. in Little Rock and Flyway and the Springdale-based Core taproom in North Little Rock. Add those to nearly a dozen others already in Central Arkansas, and you’ve got the makings for a great brew tour. This is where the newly opened Arkansas Brews Cruise comes in. Founded in North Carolina and with locations in some of the bigger beer markets of the country (Denver, Nashville, Bend and New Orleans, to name a few), this van tour takes beer-lovers to several local breweries, offering education and tastings at every stop.
 
Dave and Buster’s
What began 40 years ago as two Little Rock establishments—a restaurant and a nearby grown-up play space—has now returned to its hometown after merging to build one of the country’s most popular arcade restaurants. Dave and Buster’s first opened in Dallas in 1982 (with Dave’s name coming first as the result of a winning coin toss) and now has nearly 100 current and soon-to-open locations across the nation—including one outside the continental U.S., in Hawaii. The recently opened Little Rock location is the duo’s first and only in their home state of Arkansas.
CONTACT: 10900 Bass Pro Parkway, Little Rock, 501-777-3800, www.DaveAndBusters.com/little-rock.