El Dorado, Arkansas
El Dorado lived up to the promise of its name when oil was discovered a mile west of the city in 1921. The resulting gush of population and prosperity led to an architectural boom still reflected in a self-guided walking tour of the city's restored downtown, now filled with shopping and dining opportunities. Downtown also includes the Rialto Theater, Arkansas's only working art deco theater, and the historic John Newton House, which hosts the annual Mayhaw Festival. Two other popular El Dorado events are Showdown at Sunset, the reenactment of a 1902 gunfight on the Union County Courthouse square, and MusicFest, which features a variety of national and local musical acts. The arts are served in the city by the South Arkansas Arts Center. Visitors who want to know more about the South Arkansas oil boom will find exhibits, films and a park with full-size derricks and other oilfield equipment at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in nearby Smackover.
Outdoor recreational opportunities in the El Dorado area include the South Arkansas Arboretum State Park, Moro Bay State Park, and the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge.