What To See and Do in Downtown Hot Springs
Experience the opulence of an era when bathhouses were the playgrounds of the rich and famous at the Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center, housed in the historic Fordyce Bathhouse on Central Avenue. The Quapaw Baths & Spa and Buckstaff Bath House are the only operational bathhouses within the park, but many downtown hotels also offer soothing baths and massages.
If you wander behind the bathhouses, you will discover the springs themselves, still bubbling to the surface as they have for thousands of years. Just above the springs is the Grand Promenade, a must-see for all visitors. Stroll the half-mile brick Promenade for a spectacular view of downtown as well as a quiet escape into nature. Several mountain trails begin along the wide Promenade.
Take in the architecture along Central Avenue. Many of the buildings were constructed during the time when Hot Springs rivaled Las Vegas and Atlantic City as a gambling mecca. Now the buildings house shops, art galleries, restaurants, music venues, shows and museums.
You can ride (or hike) to the top of Hot Springs Mountain, where Hot Springs Mountain Tower stands above the National Park and offers a 140-mile view in all directions on a clear day. Want a closer look at the National Park? Several hiking trails await you across from Hot Springs Mountain on West Mountain. You can also drive to the top to catch more magnificent views of downtown.
Reach the Summit
Near downtown are the Hot Springs Convention Center and its companion Summit Arena, which give the city the largest meeting and convention facility in Arkansas and serve as the linchpin of Hot Springs’ thriving convention business.
If you want a more comprehensive tour of the area, take a ride on one of the “ducks” parked along Central Avenue. These amphibious vehicles offer tours from downtown out to Lake Hamilton, where they actually enter the lake. The “duck” tours offer visitors a wider perspective of the city, stretching from historic downtown to the lake district, a playground for guests and locals alike.
A short drive out of downtown takes visitors to two places popular with children — the Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo on Whittington Avenue, which is open year-round, and Magic Springs & Crystal Falls on Grand Avenue, a combination amusement park and water park, which is open seasonally.
Places to Shop:
Back Porch Monogramming
Rings “N” Things
The Savory Pantry
Tillman’s Antiques & Collectibles
Two Friends Unique Boutique
Places to Eat:
Bistro 400 at the Embassy Suites
Central Park Fusion Cuisine
Jeni’s Vineyard at The Austin Hotel
Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restaurante
The Fountain Room at the Arlington Hotel
The Lobby Café at the Arlington Hotel
The Pancake Shop
Places to Play:
Hot Springs Marina
Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Magic Springs & Crystal Falls
Silver Fox Lounge
The Lobby Bar at the Arlington Hotel
The Ohio Club
The Vienna Theatre
Places to Stay:
1890 Williams House Inn
Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa
Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa
The Austin Hotel & Convention Center
The Springs Hotel & Spa
Places to Relax:
Arlington Beauty & Facial Salon
Nurture Day Spa & Yoga Studio
Quapaw Baths & Spa
Spa 135 at The Springs Hotel
Spa Botanica at the Embassy Suites
Spa in the Park at The Austin Hotel
Thermal Water Spa at the Arlington Hotel