10 Things I Love About Hot Springs
Oh Hot Springs, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Then, I’ll narrow that number down into a top ten list (because a “Top 137” list sounds exhausting).
- The View
I grew up smack dab in the middle of Dallas-Fort Worth. Don’t get me wrong, the North Texas area has a lot of really great attractions (and buildings and highways and flat, flat ground). Now, I’m treated to mountains and forests and lakes LITERALLY all around me. That’s the benefit of being in the only city in America that is located inside of a National Park.
Check out: The view from the Mountain Tower
- The History
Hot Springs has a reputation of being “The Las Vegas before Las Vegas.” The resort town not only offered visitors thermal spas and the first federally protected land – but a haven for gambling and underground moonshine production. From Al Capone to Babe Ruth – you could spend a week re-tracing the footsteps of some of history’s most notable figures.
Check out: The Gangster Museum of America and The Hot Springs Baseball Trail (which traces its history as the birthplace of spring training)
- Attractions for All Ages
We definitely have it easy when it comes to entertaining out of town guests. There’s Magic Springs and Crystal Falls Water Park or Mid-America Science Museum for families with kids and tweens. Garvan Woodland Gardens is great for a quiet leisurely stroll with the grandparents. Oaklawn Racing and Gaming is perfect for an exciting grown-up night out. Y’all – I’m barely scratching the surface!
Check out: Illusionist Maxwell Blade who is renovating the historic Malco Theatre and bringing his (often sold out) show there in 2017.
- Festivals and Events Galore
Sure, folks think Hot Springs is great during the summer – but it’s also a festival hot spot ALL. YEAR. LONG. Seriously – here’s just a few: Arkansas Short Film Festival, Chocolate Festival, Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Crawfish and Gumbo Festival, Craft Beer Festival, Valley of the Vapors Music Festival, Arts in the Park, Summerfest, Spa-Con, and the Documentary Film Festival…I’m exhausted!
Check out: The Hot Springs Events page
- Taking a Hike
You know that great crunchy sound you get when you’re walking on crisp fall leaves? The gravely sound of rocks and pine needles is just as awesome and available all-year round. Add some of the great swimming holes, creeks, and waterfalls and you’ve got a great way to cool off during the summer months.
Check out: The Falls Branch Trail at Lake Catherine State Park.
- The Culinary Creatives
I’m not exaggerating when I say that DeLuca’s Pizzeria and McClard’s Bar-B-Q are local legends. (Don’t believe me? Google them.) But for a town the size of Hot Springs, we have a disproportionately high amount of folks who kick butt in the kitchen. From Latin-fusion faves at Rolando’s or Vina Morita, German fare at Steinhaus Keller, Indian food at Tosha Kitchen or fresh cuisine at Café 1217 – your taste buds will appreciate the visit.
Check out: The Avenue, located in upcoming The Waters Boutique Hotel in the Historic District
- Races Races Races
Horses, humans and mountain bikes – they’re all headed to Hot Springs. The first race that comes to folks’ mind when you mention Hot Springs is the Arkansas Derby – which caps off the Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn. Runners, however, flock to the Spa Running Festival, the Rollercoaster 10k or the Beer and Bagel race which take place in and around Hot Springs. Don’t forget the off-road bike races at Cedar Glades Park.
Check out: Both Bike Hot Springs and SpaRunningFestival.com are great resources.
- Independent Shops and Boutiques
Give your Amazon Prime membership a break and start shopping local. Hot Springs is home to glass blowers, leather craftsman, jewelers, woodworkers and a phenomenal array of treats. Whether you’re shopping for a gift or just want to treat yourself, you’ll find cool stuff created by Arkansans.
Check out: State & Pride Provisions or the Bathhouse Soapery and Caladium
- Amazing Arts Scene
Hot Springs isn’t home to one art gallery – its home to an entire ROW of them. Venues like Maxine’s and Emergent Arts not only showcase amazing talent from around the world on a regular basis, but engage community talent as well. You’ll also find that the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Jazz Festival and Spa City Blues Festival are a gift to the ears.
Check out: Gallery Walk, through downtown, takes place the first Friday of every month.
- The Southern Hospitality
I can’t forget the absolute best part of Hot Springs: THE PEOPLE. This city was built and thrives upon welcoming visitors to stay and play. The locals are friendly and happy to give recommendations or directions – whichever you need.
Looking for more reasons to fall in love? Follow Visit Hot Springs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube.
About the Writer: Stephanie Alderdice moved with her husband and son to Hot Springs, Arkansas in the summer of 2012. With family and friends in Texas and Kentucky, her home is the frequent “let’s meet up in the middle” spot. So, she’s become quite familiar with seeing Hot Springs through the eyes of a local and a visitor.