Hot Springs is a beautiful town located in Arkansas’ Ouachita National Forest. Once known as “Little Chicago”, due to the influx of gangsters like Al Capone (he even has a suite named after him at the Arlington Hotel) and Bugsy Segel, Hot Springs is a popular weekend destination for Arkansans. With natural hot springs flowing through the town, hence the name, and bathhouses galore, it’s no wonder Hot Springs is the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway.
In this weekend guide to Hot Springs , I will cover everything from where to stay to what to do. Without further ado, here is my complete weekend guide to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
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WHERE TO STAY
The Waters Hotel – With it’s neoclassical architecture and perfect location overlooking Bathhouse Row, The Waters Hotel is a must when in Hot Springs.
Airbnb – There are a ton of really adorable Airbnb option in Hot Springs. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for something a little more affordable.
WHERE TO EAT
- The Pancake Shop – Quintessential American breakfast spot located in downtown Hot Springs that’s great for breakfast or brunch. Don’t miss their pancakes, they are huge!
- Alexa’s Creperie – I love a good crepe and Alexa’s does not disappoint. I would argue they are better than any crepe in France. Alexa’s offers both savory and sweet crepes and even pierogi!
- Colorado Grill – Amazing street tacos (try the Asada or La Parrilla) and arguably the best frozen margarita I have ever had.
- Rolando’s – If you’re craving Latin American food, then head to Rolando’s. The menu is inspired by the owner’s Ecuadorian roots and the food is amazing. Some my favorites include the tamales and the guacatostada. Ask to sit upstairs on the patio and enjoy a cocktail.
- Grateful Head Pizza Oven – Awesome pizza joint with a funky atmosphere and patio located near Bathhouse Row.
- Luna Bella – Perfect cozy ambiance for a date night. Try the pan roasted halibut or eggplant parmesan and you won’t leave disappointed.
- Steinhaus Keller – Dining at Steinhaus Keller is like being transported to Germany. Dine on traditional German food like schnitzel, bratwurst, and goulsasch.
- 501 Prime – Upscale steakhouse located in downtown Hot Springs. I would recommend making reservations to avoid a long wait or possible not being able to be seated at all.
- The Vault – Located on the main floor of the old Bank Building, The Vault is the perfect spot for a few after dinner drinks. You can even reserve the original bank vault, which has been preserved, for private dining and special occasion events.
- Ohio Club – If you’re a history buff, you definitely don’t want to miss the oldest bar in Hot Springs. It was once a hangout for gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano. And was even visited by Babe Ruth! During prohibition, The Ohio Club operated as a speakeasy.
WHAT TO DO
Shop Along Central Avenue – Full of quirky, local shops, some of the best shopping in Hot Springs can be found along Central Avenue. Check out Bathhouse Soapery if you’re looking for amazing bath products and The Savory Pantry if you love artisan foods and kitchen-inspired items.
Walk around Garvin Woodland Gardens – Garvin Gardens as it’s more commonly known, is a 210-acre botanical garden owned by the University of Arkansas. If you find yourself in Hot Springs during the holidays, you can’t miss the Holiday Lights at Garvin Gardens. Expect long lines to enter, but it’s totally worth it.
Head to a Bathhouse – If you went to Hot Springs and didn’t visit a bathhouse, did you really go to Hot Springs? I don’t think so. My personal favorite bathhouse is Quapaw Baths. You can opt to relax in the public thermal pool or book a private bath. I have only done the private bath and it was amazing.
Check out Hot Springs National Park Mountain Tower – Enjoy panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains from 216 feet in the air. The views are really beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.
Have you ever been to Hot Springs, Arkansas? Or even heard of it? If you have, what are some of your favorite things to do? And if you’ve never been, I hope this weekend guide to Hot Springs helps you plan your trip!
If you’re interested in more weekend guides or 24 hour itineraries, you might also like these:
A Weekend Guide to Hot Springs