I'm currently living abroad, but I grew up in Conway. I still love my hometown, and I'd be happy to answer your questions.CONTACT ME
Conway offers the perfect mix of small town and medium-sized city. It's just big enough that you'll never be lacking in things to do, and just small enough that you'll probably run into someone you know.
On Friday night, I'd catch a movie at the newly renovated Cinemark Town Centre. On Saturday night, after dinner downtown, I'd head over to UCA for a play at the Arkansas Shakespeare Theater. On Sunday, I'd be headed to Toad Suck Park for a picnic.
(1) Conway's nickname is "The City of Colleges," for hosting three beautiful universities: The University of Central Arkansas, Central Baptist College, and Hendrix College. (2) In 2011, Kiplinger named Conway the 14th best "value" for a city in the nation.
Because Faulkner County is a "dry" county, there's not really any nightlife in Conway. Luckily, Little Rock is just 30 minutes away.
Parking in Conway isn't a problem.
Conway has a very family friendly atmosphere. Presently, Faulkner County is "dry," meaning establishments must have a private club permit to sell alcohol. There are also an abundance of churches and family-friendly community opportunities. The public spaces (public parks and the downtown area) are also clean and perfect for families.
In Conway, there are a nice mix of both. It's large enough that almost all of the popular national chains can be found, but the city-scape, particularly downtown, is still dominated by "mom and pop" places.
The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who arrived shortly after the Civil War. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He named it Conway Station, in honor of a famous Arkansas family. In 1878, Father Joseph Strub, a priest in the Roman Catholic Holy Ghost Fathers, arrived in Arkansas. By 1889, over 100 German families had settled in Conway, giving the town many its distinctively German street and business names.
The area of the city east of Donaghey Avenue is called the East Side, the area west of Donaghey Avenue is called the West Side. Conway has two historic neighborhoods: the Asa P. Robinson Historic District and the Hendrix Addition. Since 2000, downtown Conway has seen tens of millions of dollars in public and private investment. The revitalization has brought new retail, office, restaurant and residential construction to the historic downtown.
The Conway public school system is excellent. The district has 16 schools: one high school (grades 10-12), one junior high school (grades 8-9), four middle schools (grades 5-7), nine elementary schools (grades K-4) and a pre-K center. More than half of the teaching staff at Conway Public Schools have at least a master's degree. The ACT composite score for the 2011 graduating class was 22.6, a point and a half above the national average.
Conway is a laid back but hardworking town. People aren't in a rush, and always have time to chat, but the city also has a dynamic, up-and-coming feel. National corporations have a presence here (in 2008, for example, Hewlett Packard came to town), but the economy is locally driven. Food-wise, Conway is unquestionably southern, so there are plenty of places to get a big sloppy hamburger or a plate of fried chicken, but there are also miles of bicycle and walking trails, a growing number of healthy restaurants, and a well-established culture of fitness.
One thing I like about Conway (and Arkansas in general) is the presence of four distinct seasons. Fall is my favorite: the trees turn, the wind gets chilly, and the smell of chimneys and bonfires starts to float on the air. Winters are generally mild, but it can get pretty cold, and occasionally it snows a significant amount. Spring in Conway is warm, and always welcome. Of course, the summer can be a bit hot and humid, but there are plenty of swimming pools, rivers, and lakes if you want to cool down.