David Yerby

For more than 60 years, Stubby's Bar-B-Que has served its popular barbecue — a meld between Tennessee and Texas styles. But the restaurant isn't just a Spa City favorite. Stubby's barbecue sauce is well-loved and sold in grocery stores nationwide.

More entertainment, restaurants and shopping opportunities await you in the area of Hot Springs sandwiched between downtown and the lake district. Visitors will find familiar big-box retailers like Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, T.J. Maxx and the bustling Hot Springs Mall all located in this spread-out district.

Chain restaurants like Chili’s and Olive Garden pepper the area too, but natives and savvy visitors know that the locally-owned dining options are Midtown’s true allure. Two beloved barbecue places are located here: award-winning McClard’s Bar-B-Q, a family-operated business since 1928, and Stubby’s Bar-B-Que, a Hot Springs staple that opened in 1952.

La Hacienda is a crowd-pleaser. Margaritas and its Tex-Mex menu items keep visitors coming back year after year. Rod’s Pizza Cellar, Bleu Monkey Grill, Scoops Ice Cream—the list of delicious dining goes on and on in Midtown, with plenty of options for nightlife drinks and fun too.

As for attractions, there's plenty to do. Family Fun Spot is exactly what it claims and offers wholesome activites like indoor zip-lining, go-karts and bumper cars.

Still, the jewel of this district is the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, a thoroughbred horse track and casino that draws an estimated 1 million visitors each year. Racegoers have witnessed the rise of many champions, including 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

In 2018, Oaklawn began a $100 million-plus expansion project that includes a larger gaming area (completed in 2020), a future seven-story hotel and a multi-purpose events center. The 200-room hotel will boast views of the racetrack on one side and the lakes on the other, a luxury swimming pool and spa, fitness center and more. While the racing season is only hosted from January to May, the casino is open year-round (except Christmas Day and Easter) for off-track betting, card and electronic games like poker and blackjack, and thousands of slot machines.

Midtown will keep visitors busy all day long, but for the travelers looking for a little respite, there are plenty of places to be pampered. Da Vinci Nail Spa is a mani-pedi haven, and the luxurious Destinations Day Spa is the go-to for total rejuvenation through massages, facials and luxe body rituals.

WE RECOMMEND

DINING
Bleu Monkey Grill
The Bugler - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
La Hacienda
McClard's Bar-B-Q
Silks Bar & Grill - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Stubby's Bar-B-Que

NIGHTLIFE
Bleu Monkey Grill
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Pop's Lounge - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Silks Bar & Grill - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

ATTRACTIONS
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

LODGING & REAL ESTATE
Crye-Leike (Smith Team)
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

SHOPPING
Destinations Day Spa
Stubby's Bar-B-Que
Winning Colors Gift Shop - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

SPAS
Destinations Day Spa
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort