Hot Springs is brimming with a rich history in America’s favorite pastime, and it’s just as exciting of a place for baseball fans and players today as it was during the time legends like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron were coming here to play and relax. Whether you’re looking for historical tours, an annual Baseball Weekend jam-packed with events and famed players, a majestic five-field baseball complex, or eateries and breweries, we’ll cover all the bases when looking to get the best baseball experience while in Hot Springs.
Slide right into the local baseball history and experience Hot Springs how the famed players who came here so many years ago did while taking your very own tour spanning throughout Hot Springs.
In addition to Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, baseball greats like Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and Jackie Robinson also had memorable times here playing ball, bathing in the thermal waters, and relaxing at some of their favorite hotels. Get a skosh of the fun they had through the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail.
In this self-guided tour using your phone, you will learn more about the local baseball history while visiting the actual sites these players did. From Whittington Avenue to Shady Grove Road, 32 green plaques on this trail take you on a journey back in time, bringing this rich history to life.
While planning the perfect Hot Springs tour with all things baseball, catching a game at the newly-built Majestic Park is a must. This beautiful five-field complex was completed last year and has been a considerable driver in bringing back youth baseball and softball to the community after the local Boys and Girls Club shut down.
The site of the complex also just so happens to be the exact site of one of the first spring training sites in Major League Baseball history. According to Majestic Park’s website, the Detroit Tigers first used it for spring training in 1908, and Babe Ruth attended his first training camp as a member of the Boston Red Sox on this site in 1914.
Come enjoy an afternoon watching some ball with a hot dog in hand. And if you can’t make a scheduled game, don’t miss a chance to at least see the complex (it’s genuinely breathtaking.) Hit the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail on foot or bike and take a gander at her majesty.
While Hot Springs has a history of legendary baseball players coming to play and relax, there’s also an extensive history of gangsters coming to gamble, relax and even catch one of their games. See all the baseball legends who came and played in Hot Springs, and even pose with the statue of Babe Ruth standing alongside the wall of fame. The Gangster Museum of America has a room dedicated to baseball history, featuring the Hall of Famers wall, an old scoreboard, baseball gloves, uniforms, a statue that once was inside Yankee Stadium in New York, and much more baseball memorabilia.
Sound the trumpets because Baseball Weekend is the highly anticipated event of the year by baseball fans everywhere — and is the very reason for this blog post surrounding baseball because it happens this month!
The Fifth Annual Baseball Weekend will be on August 26 and 27 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. It all starts on the evening of the 26th with a free screening of “Facing Nolan.” Don’t miss it!
At 5:30 p.m., on August 26, head to the Convention Center for this free screening of a brand new documentary that tells the story of Texas Rangers Pitcher Nolan Ryan through the eyes of the hitters who faced him and the teammates who revered him.
Continue the fun the following day with a full itinerary of all things baseball.
At 10 a.m., attend a talk with Atlanta Braves Legend Dale Murphy in the Convention Center’s Horner Hall. Soon after Murphy finishes, get a Cardinal Baseball Update with Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky.
With an hour break after Hrabosky, take this time to grab some lunch and stop by the baseball card show, which is open between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. But don’t miss getting back to Horner Hall by 1:30 p.m. to attend a talk with New York Yankee Chris Chambliss, then at 3 p.m. with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage of the New York Yankees.
The day will close at 4:30 p.m. with an “Ask the Pros” Q&A featuring Gossage, Murphy, Chambliss, and Hrabosky.
There is no baseball without a good hot dog. That’s a strong statement, but I stand by it. And luckily, while in beautiful Hot Springs, it is not hard to come by a good dog.
Check out Rocky’s Corner and enjoy a classic Chicago Style dog in a sports bar environment. This family-owned restaurant has been in business for over 30 years and is a community staple. In addition to hot dogs, they also serve a mean pizza.
Head downtown to BubbaLu’s for a classic diner experience and indulge in a classy dog or a polish chili dog. Compliment it with a side of onion rings or fries, and top it off with a shake. I call BubbaLu’s “gourmet on the go” because they’re so fast, but you’re sure to get a fresh, delectable product every time as they cook to order.
Suppose you’re looking for an outdoor dining experience and perhaps pair your dog with a brew, head across the street to Superior Bathhouse Brewery’s newly-built Beer Park, where you can get a Superior Dog seven different ways Friday-Sunday. Pair it with one of Superior’s 18 different beers brewed with the thermal spring water from Hot Springs National Park! But let me not get too far ahead of myself because there’s a whole section dedicated to beer.
Beer—is another prime element of baseball. Hot Springs has a few key breweries, all of which are astounding—having already named Superior a can’t-miss. You should also check out SQZBX Brewery and Pizza, a family-friendly pizza joint just off the main strip in downtown Hot Springs, where you can pair your brew with some delicious and fresh pizza. Enjoy lakeside dining at Bubba Brews on the Lake, which also has an incredible view of Lake Hamilton, and a substantial food menu to pair with your brew of choice.
There is no shortage of places to stay while in Hot Springs, but if you want to live like the baseball greats, you’ll ideally stay at The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. Having hosted multiple famed guests who came to Hot Springs, the current Arlington Hotel, built in 1924, has hosted Babe Ruth, Lefty Grove, Hank Greenberg, Jimmie Foxx, and Joe DiMaggio. If you want to relax in style like baseball legend Babe Ruth, check in to the Babe Ruth Suite - the room the Big Bambino would stay in during Spring Training.
Hot Springs also offers several other historic lodging options like Best Court Cottages, The Happy Hollow, and the original Hale Bathhouse which is now a boutique hotel and restaurant, the Hotel Hale. For a full list of lodging options in Hot Springs, click here.
With baseball history touching many areas of Hot Springs, the things to do here that fall under baseball seem to be never-ending, but here are just a few more things not to miss:
In a film telling the story of the players who came to Hot Springs, watch this one-hour documentary by Larry Foley to get a glimpse of what once was. Watch the trailer and buy the DVD here, or watch on one of the following streaming platforms: Pluto TV, Tubi, Crackle, PLEX, The Roku Channel, FuboTV, or Amazon Prime Video.
This book by Don Duren tells the detailed history of every Major League Baseball team that came to Hot Springs for Spring Training between 1886-1942.
While you’ll find this on the Historic Baseball Trail, if you happen to have missed it, don’t leave Hot Springs without seeing (and taking a photo in front of, of course) the “Playing Cards” mural located at the end of Bridge Street. According to the trail marker, Texas artists Chris Arnold and Jeff Garrison of Dallas created the mural honoring five iconic baseball greats. The mural includes Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, and Lefty Grove. Each one had intimate ties to Hot Springs in the late 19th and 20th Centuries when the city was known worldwide as the place where Major League players got ready for the baseball season.
And there you have it: Another massive historical gem hidden away in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Who knew there was such a baseball history here? Well, I knew. And most of the locals know. And now you know. So come and see for yourself and rave about this historical baseball goldmine to all of your closest baseball buddies. We’ll see you soon!
Cassidy is a Hot Springs-based freelance journalist. She spends most of her time exploring and writing about the city for her online publication The Hot Springs Post, and has recently published her first book, 100 Things to Do in Hot Springs Before You Die. In her freetime 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!).