I’m in the middle of a road trip from Minneapolis to New Orleans to help my efforts of making it to all 50 states by next year. Here are some thoughts and pictures from my first 4 cities: Des Moines, Omaha, Oklahoma City and Little Rock. Next up are Memphis, Nashville, Jackson and New Orleans. Not entirely surprised but it’s beautiful to see beer and bikes everywhere…
Microbrew stop: Confluence Brewing Company
Picturesque capital area with an eco-design concept. Friendly people and who knew Crab Rangoon pizza at a dive Tiki bar could make so much sense. Bike share, yes. Microbrews mainly outside of downtown area.
Microbrew stop: Infusion Brewing Company
ConAgra has a beautiful riverfront campus with a fountain that looks like a tornado from a distance. The Old Market area feels more urban and less touristy than I expected. Lots of water and art. Bike share, yes. Microbrews in Benson area outside of the city.
Microbrew stop: Bricktown Brewery
Memorial to the federal building was tastefully done. Bricktown is touristy in a bad way…but maybe my impressions were poisoned by being constantly harassed by what I call religious touts (extremely aggressive Southern Baptists whose apparent duty is to convert everyone in OKC). They will even walk with you. Can’t help but wonder if they were Muslim if the city would tolerate them. Oh yeah, Myriad Botanical Gardens (actual name…not multiple) is beautiful and there are also some surprisingly modern skyscrapers (though the largest – Devon Energy Center – seems incredibly out-of-place). Lastly, Midtown looked cool and lots of food trucks. Bike share, yes. Good Microbrews hard to find.
Microbrew stop: Diamond Bear Brewing Company
I’m going with Pittsburgh of the South. Like Pittsburgh, a surprisingly pretty and diverse city with blue-collar, friendly people and lots of color coordinated bridges over a river (Arkansas in this case). I didn’t realize that Little Rock Central High School was so beautiful and is still an active school. Bill Clinton Presidential Center is part of a new riverfront area that spills into the River Market tourist area. I also visited “Big Dam Bridge” – a bicycling/pedestrian bridge just N of Little Rock that spans the Arkansas River and is “the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in North America that has never been used by trains or motor vehicles”. Lots of bikers in Little Rock but no bike share. Quality over quantity on Microbrews.