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El Dorado, Arkansas

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.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

El Dorado Downtown

Directions: U.S. 167 to Main Street Exit. Three miles to downtown. Boutiques and shops on historic square; walking tour of architecturally significant buildings, many financed by South Arkansas oil boom and the timber industry

El Dorado, AR Historic Downtowns

John Newton House

Restored 1849 historic home; only house open to the public in El Dorado that was built before the Civil War; decor reflects the time period; tours by appointment;

El Dorado, AR Historic Homes

El Dorado Confederate Monument

Directions: Union County Courthouse Lawn Open stone monument, four pillars; general descripton on front; Confederate Soldier on top; flower bed inside stands about 10 feet tall

El Dorado, AR Monuments

Rialto Theatre

During its two years in operation, the local architectural firm of Kolben, Hunter, and Boyd designed this classical revival style red brick and decorative stone theater in response to oil boom demands for expanded cultural opportunities. At street level, the Rialto has been "modernized"

El Dorado, AR Theatres

South Arkansas Arboretum State Park

Covered picnic area, five miles of walking trails; Arkansas native flora; Tour Guides may be available with advance request

El Dorado, AR State Parks

Things to do near El Dorado, AR

Fort Southerland Park

Fort Southerland (also known as Fort Diamond) and Fort Lookout were both part of the formidable fortifications started by Con...

Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum

The auto museum located between Third and Broad Streets in downtown Texarkana, Arkansas, had its grand opening on Saturday, S...

Back in Time Museum

Private collection of buildings, equipment, cars and other treasures of the past; tours by appointment only ...

South Arkansas Arts Center

Two visual arts galleries, ballet studio and classrooms for art education. Traveling exhibits...

Fordyce Mural

Displays history of the town and its football heritage; Fordyce is the birthplace of the late Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant...