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Downtown Hot Springs | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

Downtown Hot Springs

With a national park situated in and around our bustling downtown, Hot Springs offers the best of both worlds – all the amenities and hospitality of a tourist town with the hiking and natural beauty of a national park. Spend the weekend hopping from city to park and back again without ever getting in your car! See the itinerary below to make the most of this one-of-a-kind destination.


 

Friday Evening

Check in and drop your bags at the hotel of your choice! Between city property and National Park property, you will find a wide variety of accommodations and some truly unique stays. At Hotel Hale, you can overnight in a historic bathhouse and have thermal water piped directly to your own private tub! Other historic properties include the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa and the Waters Hotel, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton. We also have Victorian bed-and-breakfasts, the 1890 Williams House Bed & Breakfast Inn and 1889 Spring Street Inn Bed & Breakfast, and vintage motor courts, The Happy Hollow and Best Court Cottages. Modern hotels include the Hotel Hot Springs and Embassy Suites by Hilton.

Once you’re settled in, head out for dinner and drinks on the town! Get a big New York style pizza pie at the award-winning Deluca’s Pizzeria, or juicy burgers at Arkansas’ oldest bar – the Ohio Club. Opened in 1905, the club survived Prohibition and multiple raids on its illegal casino. The casino is now gone but the original mahogany bar is still there, as well as a statue out front paying tribute to one of its most regular patrons, Al Capone. Teenagers are allowed daily but the club is 21 and up only after 5 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. For more restaurant options, click here.


Saturday Morning

A busy day of sightseeing calls for a big breakfast! Fuel up at The Pancake Shop, a local favorite that has served Hot Springs since 1940. You can't leave without trying at least one of the pancakes (of course), or one of their famous loaded omelettes. With your bellies full, cross the street to explore Hot Springs National Park!

Stroll Bathhouse Row to view the architecture and learn about the history of “taking the waters.” Take the free, self-guided tour of the Fordyce Bathhouse to see historically furnished rooms and hydrotherapy equipment dating from 1915-1920. One of the area’s most opulent bathhouses, it was opened in 1915 and has marble throughout and beautiful stained glass ceilings. Today, it serves as the park’s visitors center and museum so you can also get loads of helpful information and trail maps. The Hot Springs/North Mountain trails are accessible right from downtown. Fill up your water bottles at the Happy Hollow cold water spring on Fountain Street, then follow the trails to the summit for spectacular views from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, a must-see attraction for visitors to Hot Springs. (Alternatively, you can drive to the top via the Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive.)


Saturday Afternoon

By the time you head back down the mountain, your stomachs will be grumbling along with your legs. Rest and refuel with a leisurely lunch on the patio at Diablo’s Tacos & Mezcal, Rolando’s Restaurante, or Grateful Head Pizza Oven and Beer Garden.

After lunch, soothe those tired muscles with a soak in Hot Springs’ famed thermal waters. There are three spas where you can indulge in this age-old tradition: Quapaw Baths & Spa, The Buckstaff Bathhouse, and the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. The Buckstaff and the Arlington offer traditional, private baths, like those taken at the height of the bathing industry. Quapaw Baths & Spa offers a different experience with four large public pools where you and your companions can soak together. (Private baths are also available.)

Looking for more downtown ideas? Stroll the city side of Central Avenue to do some shopping and see the murals. Take a guided tour of the Gangster Museum of America or hop aboard the Hot Springs Trolley for a colorfully narrated drive around town with beautiful views from the top of West Mountain.


Saturday Evening

For dinner, make plans to visit Superior Bathhouse Brewery. Located in a former bathhouse on Bathhouse Row, the Superior is the first brewery headquartered in a National Park and the only brewery in the world to use thermal water as its main ingredient. In addition to a wide variety of craft beer, the Superior also brews root beer from the water, and serves delicious farm-to-table fare.

After dinner, enjoy a spellbinding performance at Maxwell Blade’s Theatre of Magic. The master illusionist, along with multiple cast members, put on a dazzling show of large scale illusions and spellbinding magic, with a little comedy and music mixed in. Other live entertainment venues include Maxine’s Live, The Ohio Club, the Pocket Community Theatre, and the Hot Springs Central Theatre Performing Arts Center.


Sunday Morning

Sleep in and treat yourself to a decadent brunch. Hotel Hale’s onsite restaurant, Eden, is located in the historic building’s atrium, where a living wall flourishes beneath expansive skylights. Their brunch menu includes a variety of elevated entrées and fancy breakfast cocktails, including mimosa flights! Toast your visit to Hot Springs, take one more stroll around downtown, and head home with a newfound appreciation for one of the country’s most historic little towns.

Featured Listings

Happy Hollow

501-321-2230 | 231 Fountain Street 71901

1890 Williams House Inn

501-624-4275 | 420 Quapaw Avenue 71901

Arlington Bathhouse and Spa

501-623-7771 | 239 Central Avenue 71901

The Pancake Shop

501-624-5720 | 216 Central Avenue

The Ohio Club

501-627-0702 | 336 Central Avenue 71901

Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Beer Garden

501-781-3405 | 100 Exchange Street 71901

Travel Tips

  • What to Wear

    Breathable outdoor attire and hiking shoes, a bathing suit (required at Quapaw Baths & Spa), and casual clothing for the evenings.

  • Best Time to Travel

    Hiking is best enjoyed in the spring and fall when it’s not too hot or too cold but there’s something happening year round downtown. 

  • How to Get Around

    By foot. Downtown Hot Springs is very walkable and pedestrian friendly!