Hot Springs Travel Guide | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Hot Springs Travel Guide

by Alexandra Nicole of City Chic Living

One of our favorite things in the world is to stroll down Bathhouse Row, drink draft made out of the natural local spring water, explore the woodlands of Garvan Gardens, our visits to Hot Springs are truly magical. We love to step back into time at the Gangster Museum and The Ohio Club, enjoy the best tacos of our lives at Taco Mama, overlook the entire ozark mountainside, and shop to our heart’s content. Hot Springs is our little secret spa getaway nestled deep in the Ouachitas.


WHERE TO STAY

The Hotel Hot Springs

The Hotel Hot Springs is conveniently located right off Central Avenue, within walking distance of the historic downtown Hot Springs area. This newly renovated hotel provides it’s visitors with a modern, contemporary stay. There is a full-service restaurant, business center, and sundry shop so you have everything you need while visiting! The Hotel Hot Springs is the perfect place to stay for business and leisure travelers alike. Our room had pretty amazing views of Central Ave. which made our stay that much more incredible.

Our suite offered sleek finishes, a spacious floor plan, and it was clear that they put extra effort into the comfort design of the bed. If you tend to get hot in hotel rooms, no worries, you can easily regulate the temperature to your liking with individual climate control to ensure a great night’s sleep. I am an early morning coffee girl, so I was happy to start each morning with a fresh cup from the Keurig Coffee Maker provided in room. The Hotel Hot Springs is a comfortable stay with beautifully renovated rooms!


WHAT TO DO

Mountain Tower

Truly on top of the world at 1,256 feet above sea level, Mountain tower has incredible views and is quite romantic! The tower elevator will transport you 216 feet to the observation decks where you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains and downtown Hot Springs! If you are a Hot Springs newcomer, The Hot Springs Mountain Tower is a must have attraction. You can even purchase a little Hot Springs keepsake in their gift shop to memorialize your experience! If you are a hiker, one of my favorite things to do in the summer, is to set out on the 2 hour hike from Central Ave. will put you at the base of mountain tower.

Garvan Woodland Gardens

These gardens, managed by The University of Arkansas are truly majestic! These gardens are so different from those that I have visited in the past. Be prepared to embark on a magical wooded adventure into the serenity of nature while experiencing unique flora, beautiful birds, grandiose trees, relaxing brooks, and secret gardens.

Within the 210 acres of Garvan Woodland Gardens, there are several attractions for kids and adults alike. I loved the fairy garden and the giant tree house was the most spectacular wooded playhouse I have ever seen. You will have fun making your way through the boulder maze and caverns for the kiddos. The most amazing structure to exist in Hot Springs, in my opinion, is Anthony Chapel which is almost completely made of glass! We were absolutely taken away when we came upon the chapel on our journey through the woods. Anthony Chapel is a must have on the agenda for anyone wanting to wow the senses.

Bathhouse Row

The eight bathhouse spas of Bathhouse Row served their customers with the mineral hot spring baths and spa services. These bathhouses were constructed between the years of 1892 and 1923. Now, there are 2 bathhouses still in operation! Buckstaff Bath still follows the regimen that they created in 1912 in their spa, while Quapaw Baths has a more updated menu. Experience the old and the new in the Hot Springs Bathouses. This area, along with the Grand Promenade, was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1987.

The top middle image is the Buckstaff Bath, built in 1912, which is the only bathhouse on the row to operate continuously for over a century . The top left bathhouse is the Quapaw Bathhouse. which was built in 1922. The Quapaw has reopened as a modern spa providing both mineral public and private baths. The bottom image with Greg and I is the Ozark Bathhouse. Built in 1922, this bathhouse has sculpted mythical creatures holding urns of water, encouraging passersby to sample the healing waters. While these are just a few of our favorite bathhouses, there are so many other beautiful bathhouses to experience.

The Gangster Museum of America

Want to step back in to the times of the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s when mineral water, gambling, bootlegging, and other extreme pleasures brought visitors from all over the world to this beautiful town? The Gangster Museum of America is a historic and entertaining account of how some of the most notorious criminals in America co-existed within the quaint population of this little valley town in these mountains of central Arkansas.

GOOD EATS

Taco Mama

Want some delicious Mexican traditional food in an amazing atmosphere? Diana and Shane, of Taco Mama restaurant, saw there was a need for classic style Mexican food on the east side of town and with Diana’s culinary background and amazing gift for pairing ingredients that will blow your palette away, Taco Mama was born. Taco Mama’s dishes are hand prepared and made daily with the finest and freshest ingredients available. Diana and her team pay careful attention to detail which sets Taco Mama apart from many other restaurants that we have tried. Oh, and I must recommend their fresh Skinny Margarita! It is the best I have ever tasted! Taco Mama is a must eat for spectacular food, fresh margaritas, and super fun photo ops!

Superior Bathhouse Brewery

Owner Rose Schweikhart has achieved her dream of brewing beer commercially using the city of Hot Springs famous 144 degree spring water. The historic Superior Bathhouse, located in the heart of Hot Springs National Park, is home to the only brewery in a US National Park and the only brewery in the world to utilize thermal spring water in their beer. Rose and her brewing team crank out a constant stream of new beer bodies from the original to the outlandish. If you are a beer lover these beers are definitely on the bucket list to try.

The Ohio Club

The Ohio Club is Arkansas oldest bar, open since 1905! It all started as a bar and casino and ever since has been a stop off place for many celebrities and well known names, or shall we say, mobsters. Al Capone, Bugsy Segel, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, were frequent customers, just to name a few of the gangsters. Spring training was held in Hot Springs in the early 1900’s, therefore The Ohio Club has also been visited by many Major League ball players, including Babe Ruth. Because of all the gambling that went on in Hot Springs, many headliner talents were brought to The Ohio Club. In 1915, Al Jolson performed here and in the mid 30’s Mae West took the stage. An entire host of blues and jazz performers continued to play though the 60’s. With music 7 nights a week, live entertainment is still the mainstay at The Ohio Club.

SHOPPING

The Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium

Step inside the apothecary bathhouse boutique for an adventure in self care indulgence! I had fun sampling the aromas and textures of their small batch, hand-blended body products. This business was started by a young stay at home mother and has grown into a multimillion dollar bath business! Talk about a major inspiration! It is clear that the Bathhouse Soapery Hot Springs puts a lot of thought and creativity into their products and services. This shop is by far my favorite bath and body emporium with MILK being my favorite fragrance. Think sugar and cream scented! YUM!

All Things Arkansas

Featuring products handmade and crafted from Arkansas, All Things Arkansas is the perfect shop for bringing home unique mementos from your Hot Springs vacation. This shop carries art, pottery, handmade jewelry and so many other, one of a kind, items. All Things Arkansas is also home to many locally mined quartz pieces and other crystals brought in from around the area. Lisa, the owner, takes interest in the world of natural crystals as her family has a background in mining and therefore she has customers from around the world that come to shop her selection.

Lauray’s The Diamond Center

Lauray’s was established along historic bathhouse row in 1924 and for ninety six years, Lauray’s has built a reputation on exquisite designs, quality, extraordinary service. Lauray’s is one of the largest diamond selections in Arkansas and their warm family owned service is delivered to each and every customer as they walk through the door. With Lauray’s, stunning is standard and relationships are extraordinary. We always find the most perfect piece of jewelry to bring home from Hot Springs after our visits. The staff has truly always helped us to create some of the most memorable moments.

We always have an absolute blast in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This little historic town tucked in the valley of the Ouachita Mountains will forever be a special place for Greg and I.

Every time we visit, we experience a new adventure or make a special memory.


Alexandra Nicole is a single mom and entrepreneur from Memphis, Tennessee! She fills her days pursuing the dream of being her own boss as a full time national mom blogger, brand developer, and small business consultant, while spending nights playing superheros, bathing kiddos, making dinner, and tucking in her littles.

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