Hot Springs: Hollywood’s Hidden Gem
Celebrities have loved Hot Springs for a century—from Major League baseball players and past presidents to famous actors and Grammy winners. The Spa City is fast becoming a place to see the stars.
AN OSCAR WINNER’S “LITTLE SWITZERLAND”
Perhaps the most notable celebrity to love Hot Springs is the guardian himself, Kevin Costner, who in 2019 said he “dug” Hot Springs and affectionately called the town a “little Switzerland” in an interview on Sirius XM Radio's "The Highway."
Costner is among the most prominent actors in all of Hollywood, with leading roles in iconic films and TV shows like “The Bodyguard,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Tin Cup,” “Field of Dreams,” and “Yellowstone.”
The two-time Oscar winner’s fondness for Hot Springs is so profound that he chose the city to build his very own museum, which will house memorabilia from his career.
“I don't know why [I chose Hot Springs], but I have,” Costner said in the radio interview. “I went there and kind of really dug it, the history of it. It's kind of like a little Switzerland."
While the details of a future Kevin Costner museum* remain mostly a mystery, the team taking on the project was working to get plans and designs finalized near the end of 2020. However, sources say the pandemic and Costner’s filming schedule have delayed plans.
*Our editorial team reached out to Costner's representatives for a statement about the proposed museum, but they said there was no new information to provide at the time of publication.
A STAR-STUDDED PARADE
The annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of Hot Springs’ biggest claims to fame and is renowned nationally for its short (98 feet to be exact) but spirited festivities.
Each year, a celebrity grand marshal and a parade starter are chosen to headline the event. They help draw about 30,000 parade-goers to Bridge Street each year. Past celebs have included: Kevin Bacon, Jim Belushi, John Corbett, Ralph Macchio, Mario Lopez, Bo Derek, Mike Rowe and Joey Fatone. The 2020 and 2021 parades were cancelled due to the pandemic, but Cheech Marin is scheduled to assume the grand marshal role in 2022, when the parade returns.
Former President Bill Clinton grew up in Hot Springs. While he was famously born in Hope, Arkansas, he spent his childhood in Hot Springs. His boyhood home is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and visitors can see the home (known as Birnbaum-Shubetz House) at 1011 Park Avenue.
Billy Bob Thornton and Bobby Bones are also native to the area. Thornton is an Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in “Sling Blade,” “Armageddon,” “Bad Santa” and more. Bones is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “The Bobby Bones Show,” who recently won “Dancing with the Stars” and was a mentor on “American Idol.”
It’s been a few years since Demi Lovato was spotted in Hot Springs at her former Disney co-star Tiffany Thornton’s bathhouse wedding. Lovato’s date was “That ‘70s Show” actor Wilmer Valderrama, and the city was buzzing.
Joshua Henderson of TNT’s “Dallas” relaxed with friends at The Waters hotel over the 2020 Fourth of July weekend.
Liam Hemsworth and Clarke Duke were spotted during the recent filming of “Arkansas.” Duke, a native of nearby Glenwood and actor known for “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “Veronica Mars,” made his directorial debut with “Arkansas.” Duke brought the cast to his old stomping grounds to film portions of the movie. They were seen mingling with the locals at places like Maxine’s and McClard’s Bar-B-Q.
Harry Connick Jr. made a buzzworthy stop in Hot Springs during a recent RV road trip. Rumor has it, he is a repeat visitor and loves Deluca’s Pizzeria.