The main arteries running through this largely residential district take you from the hustle and bustle of Downtown to the natural beauty of Lake Ouachita. En route there is a lot of local flavor and affordable fare with locally-owned, locally-loved restaurants including a favorite of former president Bill Clinton. Here you will also find a small commercial airport that offers direct flights to and from Dallas and Memphis; two beautifully maintained city parks; and dozens of pocket neighborhoods.
If you’re headed to the lake, whether it’s for camping, fishing, hiking, or boating, you’ll need supplies! With grocery stores, big box retailers, and outdoor stores, this is the place to stock up. In addition to Wal-Mart and DICK’S Sporting Goods, the district is home to several specialty stores for those harder to find items. Shop Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters for high-quality kayaking, camping, hiking, fly-fishing gear or to rent kayaks and paddleboards; Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports for live fishing bait and other fishing and hunting supplies; and Gene Lockwood’s for a wide selection of outdoor apparel and accessories.
But the West District is more than just a thoroughfare or a shopping district. For many in Hot Springs, it’s home. It’s the site of backyard barbecues and high school football; picnics and pick-up basketball. The district is home to two expansive city parks: Kimery Park and Family Park. Amenities between the two include soccer fields, tennis courts, softball fields, basketball courts, picnic tables, pavilions, playgrounds, and a fishing pond.
The West is a foodie destination with award-winning barbecue, authentic Mexican fare, mouthwatering steaks and more. For barbecue lovers, there’s Smokin’ In Style BBQ, Stubby’s BBQ, and Hot Springs’ most historic restaurant, McClard’s Bar-B-Q. The famous diner opened in 1928 and has welcomed celebrities and elected officials over the years, including former President Bill Clinton, who gave the barbecue joint a shoutout in his autobiography, My Life. McClard’s has also been written up in Southern Living and Playboy, and has been featured on both the Food Channel and The Travel Channel. Craving tacos? There are food trucks, bodegas, and several full-service restaurants including Capo’s Tacos, Don Juan Authentic Mexican Restaurant, and El Padríno’s Mexican Grill & Cantina. Steakhouses include Longhorn Steakhouse, and JB's Chophouse. There’s also authentic Chicago-style pizza at Rocky’s Corner, traditional Southern fare at Phil’s Family Restaurant, baked goods at Mueller’s Bistro & Bakery, gyros at The Hungry Greek, thick milk shakes and juicy burgers at The Purple Cow, and modern Japanese cuisine at Ai Sushi & Grill.
The West offers proximity and affordability with accommodations that are within walking distance from Oaklawn and minutes from just about everything else – including budget-friendly inns and suites along Central Avenue, and privately-owned, short-term vacation rentals in local neighborhoods. The West also boasts one of Hot Spring’s most elegant, luxury hotels, The Reserve. Located across the street from Oaklawn, the four-acre property includes a fully restored 19th century mansion with beautifully decorated rooms and suites, modern amenities, and a three-course breakfast included. There is also a separate luxury cottage on site that’s popular with honeymooners.
Other District Highlights: The Hot Springs YMCA
Boundaries: The West District is bordered to the south and west by the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway and includes the westside of Central Avenue from the MLK Expressway to Grand Avenue.
Weather-appropriate clothing that’s comfortable and casual.
The West District can be enjoyed anytime of year.
By car to navigate Albert Pike and Airport Road.