Photography: Matt Jones |
Planning a trip? Look no further than the city that comes to life for outdoor summer fun. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy historic hotels and bathhouses, nationally acclaimed lakes, and more in this conveniently located Arkansas destination
A Hot History
Hot Springs, appropriately named for the naturally occurring hot spring waters found in the area, has been a draw for travelers from its earliest days. The now legendary waters were rumored to hold healing powers; thus the town’s bathhouses became a destination for guests looking for R&R. Eight bathhouses were built between 1892 and 1923, and this collective grouping became what is known today as Bathhouse Row, a National Historic Landmark District. Two of these original bathhouses are still in operation today, Buckstaff Bathhouse and Quapaw Baths & Spa. Over the years, Bathhouse Row and the waters of the hot springs helped the town to earn the nickname it still carries: The Spa City.
Rich in history, Hot Springs actually has numerous claims to fame. The city briefly served as the state capital during the Civil War. During the late 1800s, it also hosted spring training for the Chicago White Stockings baseball franchise. As a nod to this, markers for the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail are now posted throughout the city to boast the town’s legacy in this field and allow visitors a glimpse into the past. Additionally, a true staple of Hot Springs culture, Oaklawn Park, became home to thoroughbred racing in 1905, paving the way for its importance in the sport today through big name events such as the Racing Festival of the South, which includes the Arkansas Derby.
What Happens at the Lake
In a town with a deep appreciation for its action-packed history and a flair for thrills and entertainment, there’s also a desire for time to enjoy the lazy days of summer. As home to three lakes, Hot Springs is a haven for any water enthusiast—no matter what you love.
Looking for fun? Visit Lake Hamilton
With plenty of resorts and condos on the water’s edge, lake goers can also catch a ride on a National Park Duck Tour or the Belle of Hot Springs riverboat.
Looking for fish? Visit Lake Catherine
Anglers take note: Bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, bream, and rainbow trout are waiting for you.
Looking for water sports? Visit Lake Ouachita
Known as one of the cleanest lakes in the country, Lake Ouachita is the state’s largest lake—offering plenty of room for boaters to roam.
Summer in the Spa City
Hot Springs Farmers and Artisans Market
What: Enjoy homegrown produce, fresh meats, local arts, live music, and more.
Where: Pavilion located at 121 Orange Street
When: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. and Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m.
See hotspringsfarmersmarket.com for additional information and events.
Garvan Woodland Gardens Tours
What: With 210 acres to explore, enjoy beautiful landscapes while learning the history of the botanical garden, its architecture, and the surrounding area on guided or self-guided tours.
Where: Garvan Woodland Gardens
When: Open every day, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Visit garvangardens.org for more upcoming events.
Downtown Gallery Walk
What: Take in the sights and sounds as art galleries stay open late for special events.
Where: Local art galleries in the downtown area
When: First Friday of each month, 5-9 p.m.
Learn more at hotsprings.org or hotspringschamber.com.
Science Summer Camp Mid-America
What: Enjoy weeklong camps for ages 6-12 on a variety of topics from “Star Trackers” to “Epic Engineering.”
Where: Mid-America Science Museum
When: Weeklong sessions held between June 19th and July 28th
See all of the exciting exhibits and fests happening at Mid-America by visiting their website midamericamuseum.org.
What: Celebrate Independence Day with a family friendly event
featuring free concerts, a petting zoo, and a fireworks show.
Where: Oaklawn Racing & Gaming
When: Monday, July 3rd,
Gates open at 4 p.m.
Visit hotsprings.org for more information
Mark Your Calendar!
With events like wine tastings, a cheese making workshop, an ice cream and beer pairing event, special exhibits, and more, Garvan Woodland Gardens provides a feast for your eyes and appetite. See the full calendar of events at garvangardens.org.
Hold Your Horses
Racing season may have ended, but that doesn’t mean the show is over at Oaklawn. A year-round gaming area offers Vegas-style games including Blackjack, Poker, Roulette, and more, while music fans can enjoy the summer concert series at the Finish Line Theater. Find show times on their site.
Areas of Interest: A few of our favorite stops in Hot Springs
1901 Albert Pike Road
239 Central Avenue
2705 Central Avenue
Sandy Sutton Design Center
4112 Central Avenue
Statements for the Home
3820 Central Avenue