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Experience the opulence of an era when bathhouses were the playgrounds for the rich and famous at the Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center, housed in the historic Fordyce Bathhouse on Central Avenue.

Many of the buildings in downtown were constructed during a time when Hot Springs rivaled Las Vegas and Atlantic City as a gambling mecca. Now the buildings house shops, art galleries, restaurants, music venues, theaters and museums.

The Quapaw Baths & Spa and Buckstaff Bathhouse are the only operational bathhouses within the park, but many downtown hotels also offer soothing baths and massages.

Wander behind the bathhouses and 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. Stroll the half-mile brick path for a spectacular view of downtown as well as a quiet escape into nature. Several mountain trails begin along the wide Promenade.

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.

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 Water & Theme Park, which is open seasonally.

PLACES TO EAT:

  • Colorado Grill
  • Fountain Room at the Arlington Hotel
  • Jeni’s Vineyard at the Austin Hotel
  • Lobby Café at the Arlington Hotel
  • The Ohio Club
  • The Pancake Shop
  • Park Avenue Bistro
  • Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restaurante
  • Steinhaus Keller
  • Venetian Dining Room at the
  • Arlington Hotel

PLACES TO STAY:

  • 1890 Williams House Inn
  • The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa
  • The Austin Convention Hotel & Spa
  • Red Roof Inn
  • The Springs Hotel & Spa

PLACES FOR NIGHTLIFE:

  • Bootscooter’s Kountry Club
  • Lobby Bar at the Arlington Hotel
  • The Ohio Club
  • Rolando’s Speakeasy
  • Silver Fox Lounge
  • Places to Play:
  • Anita Lynn Historic Tours
  • Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo
  • Hot Springs Mountain Tower
  • Magic Springs Water & Theme Park

PLACES TO SHOP:

  • Accessory Gallery
  • Rings ‘N’ Things
  • The Savory Pantry
  • Tillman’s
  • Toy Chest