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10 things to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Updated: May 9

Ever wanted to do a weekend getaway to a city that has a small town vibes, with incredible dining and  lots of outdoor activities? If you answered yes, than Hot Springs is just that place! Located right in the middle of Hot Springs National Park, surrounded by nature with endless hiking, boating, and biking opportunities, Hot Springs is truly a place that should be on everyone's bucket list. Thanks to Arkansas Tourism sponsoring this trip, we were lucky enough to spend few days here and compile an itinerary for your next trip.

hot springs arkansas

1. Stay at The Waters Hotel

Hot Springs has some amazing hotel options and majority of them will be located right in the center of the city, walking distance to many bars and restaurants. The Waters has a nice, modern vibe, and one of the best rooftops in the city. Make sure to grab a couple of drinks and enjoy the views from the top. If you are not staying at the hotel, but still would like to enjoy the rooftop, you are more than welcome to!

2. Ron’s Crystal Mining

According to geologists, Brazil and Arkansas have the best quality quartz crystals in the World! Who would have thought you can dig out your own crystals and also keep them?! This was one of a kind experience, since we don’t have such activities in Chicago 😊 Permit fee is only $10, and you can spend all day here looking for your gems. If you are driving here, plan to bring your own bucket, gloves, and rakes, otherwise you will have to purchase them at the shop for few dollars.

3.Grab breakfast at Best Café or Alexa’s Creperie (or both!)

Best Café is nestled next to Best Court Hotel which has the cutest vibe! The hotel was also renovated recently, so if you plan to stay a little bit outside of downtown, you can definitely stay here. If you are grabbing breakfast, make sure to order an avocado toast and as a desert grab their infamous French toast. On the other hand, Alexa’s Creperie vibe and food will transport you immediately to Paris! They serve both savory and sweet crepes, so there is something for everyone.

4.Garvan Gardens

15 minutes outside of Hot Springs, you can find yourself in the most picturesque gardens with its own tree house! Garvan Gardens offers numerous photo ops and over 5 miles of trails, so definitely wear comfy shoes. Entrance fee is $25, but you can easily spend few hours here. Make sure to keep an eye out for George, a friendly peacock, that roams the gardens. You won’t believe how many photos you will end up taking here!

5. Rocket Fizz

If you love experiencing something different, than this shop is a must stop by! Rocket Fizz offers all kinds of innovative sodas and a huge selection of candy from all parts of the world. Their extensive collection of sodas and candy will take you back to  your childhood memories and so much more.

6. Explore Fordyce Bathhouse

Hot Springs is mainly known for the bathhouse row which consists of 8 bathhouses that were constructed over a century ago. One of them is Fordyce bathhouse that you can actually tour for free. It’s quite incredible to see what a bathhouse looked like back in 1910.

7. Have a beer at Superior Bathhouse Brewery

Since we are still talking about bathhouses, make sure to stop by Superior to try the only world’s beer that is brewed with thermal spring water! Not only that, but it is the ONLY brewery that resides within a National Park. Back in the day it used to be a bathhouse and then after being vacant for 30 years, current owner decided to take matter into her own hands, and built what is now this awesome brewery.

8. Hike Hot Springs National Park

If you explored other national parks in USA, you will quickly come to realize that this National Park is little bit different than all the others. There is no entrance fee, and the park surrounds the city of Hot Springs, which makes for a really cool backdrop. Make sure to do couple of short trails right behind the bathhouse row and then go for a scenic drive via Fountain Street or take a trail to the top. If you stop by the Mountain Pagoda, you will have incredible views of the city limits. If you want even better views, go to the Mountain Tower, located adjacent to the pagoda. For a fee you can access the tower’s observation deck, where you have 360 view of Hot Springs and more.

9. Go boating on Lake Ouachita

If you enjoy being out on the water, then we strongly recommend renting a boat for a whole day and exploring Arkansas’ largest lake. With over 40,000 acres of vast terrain and gorgeous weather, you cannot go wrong by doing a boat day.

10. Dinner and drinks at Dons Southern Social or 501 Prime

As mentioned before, Hot Springs’ dining scene is top notch! Wherever you go, you will not be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a cool speakeasy make sure to stop by Dons Southern Social. We strongly advise you to reserve ahead. Once booked, you will receive a secret code, and the text will tell you which “special” entrance to go through. It was a really cool experience and the food was phenomenal. 501 Prime is a steakhouse that offers some of the best bourbon selections in Arkansas. We had couple of spicy margaritas along with oysters, truffle chicken, and pan roasted halibut: Yum! Highly recommend all of those.

Hot Springs being such a unique city with lots of outdoors activities, is a place where we would go back to in a heartbeat. We hope that this list helps you plan out your next trip!


Adri & Kam


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