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Beat the Heat! Coolest Things to Do in Hot Springs | Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

Beat the Heat! Coolest Things to Do in Hot Springs | Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

The dog days of summer are here and if you’re in the southern hemisphere heat like us, you are in the thick of it. What could be more appropriate than highlighting the COOLEST things to do in Hot Springs during this time? Hot Springs is a hub for the unexpected and quirky, so I’m excited to introduce some of the coolest things you should be ending this boiling summer with.

Lakes Catherine, Hamilton, and Ouachita

Hot Springs, Arkansas, boasts not one, but three incredible lakes that exude an unparalleled coolness that's perfect for those hot summer days. Lake Catherine captivates visitors with its beauty, offering a perfect setting for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Lake Hamilton, known for its inviting waters, fuses natural beauty and urban excitement with a range of water sports, like kayaking and jet skiing. Lastly, Lake Ouachita stands as a true gem, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and unspoiled surroundings, making it a haven for nature lovers and campers. Together, these three lakes promise unforgettable experiences for all who visit their shores.

Robo World

One of the weirdest coffee shops you may ever set foot in, Robo World, is filled with robots. The story is these bots are trying to earn enough money by selling products to humans to complete a death ray that will allow them to take over the world. Welcome to Roboworld. Its ridiculous and creative nature works to its advantage of being one of the most fantastic places you’ll visit, not only in Hot Springs but anywhere.

With each in-house engineered robot having a name, personality, and job position, visitors can come to Roboworld and interact with these cute little machines while shopping a selection of quirky gifts, playing games with the robots, or indulging in a coffee, ice cream, or one-of-a-kind waffle treat. And don’t worry, the robots are more entertaining than helpful. Working humans make all consumables—the most useful bot may be Rob, who delivers the food to eager consumers. If you’re looking for a snack or an entertaining shopping experience, Roboworld is a must for the whole family.

The Arlington Hotel Mall

Strolling downtown Hot Springs is a must for anyone visiting our beautiful town. Seeing a bustling downtown lined with local businesses and historic sites embedded into a National Park is incredible and unique. But when strolling, beat the heat and don’t miss the indoor mall at the bottom of The Arlington Hotel. Having a reason to go inside this beautiful historic hotel is a treat in and of itself. However, I will note it is undergoing some major exterior renovations. Don’t let that deter you. I suggest going through the front doors to the hotel so you can experience the beauty of the lobby before taking an elevator to the bottom floor, where you will find an ice cream shop, record store, and bookstore.

Mamoo’s Paradice Cream has some of the highest quality in-house ice cream and waffle cones made. They offer a variety of unique flavors curated by the owners, and each creamy scoop boasts a sweet taste. After cooling off with some of Mamoo’s ice cream, walk to Downtown Record and CD Emporium. You will likely hear it before you see it. With the sounds of records played throughout the day wafting through the open doors, any music lover could spend hours going through the vinyl collection in this new and used record shop, along with some band tees and posters that bring back nostalgic memories of long-loved bands.

Before leaving this indoor mall, don’t miss the newest addition: Black Ribbon Books. This cozy indie bookstore has a large collection of new and used books, ensuring anyone book lover on any budget will walk away with a great new story. Kids have a fun corner to play and read in at the store while others can browse and sit down to read awhile. Black Ribbon is quickly becoming the cream of the crop for independent bookstores in Hot Springs. It is a must-visit for anyone passing through.

Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

Talking about cool, odd, mesmerizing, magical things to do in Hot Springs, you can’t miss a Maxwell Blade Magic Show. At a show unlike any other, experience large-scale illusions, close-up magic, comedy, and live music performed by grand illusionist Maxwell Blade and his cast members from the stage of the historic Malco Theatre. This astounding, captivating, and bizarre show lasts about two hours and is entertaining for all ages. Grab some food or candy from the classic theater concessions stand, or head to The Lounge next door for an adult beverage before seating yourself in the 300-seat state-of-the-art venue. Once the show starts, prepare to be amazed, influenced, shocked, and stimulated by the bright and flashy tricks and illusions performed before you. Blade has been perfecting his craft since the 70s and astounding the masses for decades out of Hot Springs. Maxwell Blade’s Theatre of Magic and Comedy has become a notorious local staple and must-see.

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park

OK, this adventure is entirely outdoors, but I stand by it being one of the coolest ways to cool off when visiting Hot Springs. Magic Springs Theme and Water Park is a hot place to spend an already-hot summer’s day. Still, from the gusting wind on the roller coasters to the refreshing water attractions, it’s well worth it. Admittance to the park will get you into both the theme and the water park. However, I will only quickly touch on the theme park before diving into the water park because that’s where you will want to spend most of your time in the heat.

For the theme park, my top suggestions for thrill rides are The Gauntlet, Brain Drain, and The Hawk. And I will add Plummet Summit and the Arkansas Twister for good measure. (You can’t beat the classics.) But as for water thrills, the options are plentiful.

If you’re looking for an instant cool down and some time to relax, grab a free-floating tube and head to the lazy river. However, if you’re looking for something to cool off while also getting your blood pumping, head to the Seven Falls Slide Tower. Personally, I like a medium-level thrill for a ride that I’m not strapped into, so I enjoy the tube slides that deposit you into the “bowl” before delivering you to the bottom pool on this tower. But for anyone looking to get the most adrenaline-filled water ride experience, check out the body slides. These steep, partially open-air slides are fun and, for lack of a better word, audacious. Two more classic water rides I claim a personal favorite are the Rapid Falls Raceway and the Boogie Blast, which will test your patience and skill set in the art of boogie boarding.

Galaxy Connection

From the Gangster Museum to the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum to Mid-America Science Museum, ample opportunities exist to visit an incredible museum full of oddities. However, the Galaxy Connection offers a unique experience to reminisce and relive a time that produced arguably the best toys. You’re walking down memory lane from the moment you step foot into the museum. For all things ’80s, ’90s, superheroes, and Star Wars, this museum showcases an impressive combination of collectible toys, action figures, trading cards, and fandom art. During your time here, you will experience a game room that has video game systems like Atari, Nintendo 64, and Sega; an 80’s room complete with panel walls decorated with rare trading cards, woven plaid couches with TV trays, and an 8-track tape playing decade hits; rooms full of action figures and collectibles like He-Man, G.I. Joe, marvel characters and Star Wars, as well as fandom-related art; and a room full of superhero cosplay suits.

What makes the Galaxy connection so cool is that it’s like stepping into a time machine. As someone born in the mid-90s, I love the opportunity to experience these decades first-hand.

DONS Southern Social

Oh man, I am excited to tell you about one of the newest, most incredible, most delicious restaurants in Hot Springs. While visiting us, you will have multiple opportunities to feast on our diverse food scene, and you should spend one of those opportunities at this speakeasy located in downtown Hot Springs. At DONS Southern Social, the experience starts with the reservation. Once reserving a table at, you will receive a text and email confirmation with instructions on where to find the entrance and the password you’ll provide to enter.

“As a speakeasy, we like to keep things ‘hush, hush.’ If you get lost, you can always ask one of the staff members at the Nine 01 Gallery,” DONS states. “Located in the heart of historic downtown Hot Springs, DONS Southern Social is a speakeasy dedicated to serving fresh takes on southern favorites while creating an atmosphere for friends and fellowship.”

So, you heard it here first, folks. Hot Springs is (ironically) the coolest place to end your summer. Check out these 7 unique attractions (and so many more) in Hot Springs to bid farewell to the sweet, hot summertime!

Cassidy is a Hot Springs-based freelance journalist. In her free time, she enjoys playing games, skating, walking her dog Murphey and spending time with her nieces and nephews. Cassidy aspires to create a positive impact with her writing, be it fun or informative (or both!)

Featured Listings

DONS Southern Social

901 Central Avenue 71901

Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

501-623-6200 | 817 Central Ave.  71901

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park

501-624-0100 | 1701 Highway 70 East 71901