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Named for the 47 natural baths spread throughout the city, Hot Springs is a mecca of relaxation and the arts. The city is nestled in the Ouachita Mountains and contains part of the Hot Springs National Park, whose thermal waters are believed to possess medicinal and therapeutic properties. The springs have been in use since Native American groups began visiting the area, long before settlers arrived. In time, it was preserved as a national park. While most famous for its hot springs, the city is also filled with historic buildings such as the complexes on Bathhouse Row. With abundant and beautiful nature nearby and a thriving art and music scene, Hot Springs is a destination for all.
Hot Springs boasts plenty of close by fun experiences for you and the kids. Our family friendly experiences will keep the gang entertained for days.
Hot Springs encompasses history, nature, and art all at once. Between visits to its famous thermal baths, spend time exploring the rich heritage of the city and its surrounding natural landscapes.
Bathhouse Row is a National Historic Landmark containing eight independent bathhouses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though only the Buckstaff, Fordyce, and Administration buildings remain open to the public, you can still stroll past all the ornate complexes, whose diverse architecture represent the splendor of the Gilded Age. A walk along the Grand Promenade gives you panoramic views of Bathhouse Row and historic downtown Hot Springs.
Central Avenue Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Central Avenue is the historic and economic center of Hot Springs. The avenue is lined with buildings representing architectural styles ranging from Art Deco to Neoclassical. See the Medical Arts Building, a skyscraper raised in 1929, and the Arlington Hotel, the first luxury hotel of the area, opened in 1875.
Garvan Woodland Gardens
The Garvan Woodland Gardens span 210 acres (85 ha) along the shoreline of Lake Hamilton. Owned by the University of Arkansas, the area features more than 160 types of azaleas and the Garden of the Pine Wind, an Asian garden where 300 varieties of ornamental plants can be seen. Walk among wooded paths to the Perry Wildflower Overlook, which provides sweeping vistas of the lake and Mount Riante in the distance.
Art aficionados can soak up inspiration during the monthly Gallery Walk in the Hot Springs Arts District, where you can explore original works from local and international artists in the city's many galleries and the Fine Arts Center. In the fall, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival screens over 100 non-fiction films, drawing filmmakers and cinema buffs alike. Natural beauty is just a step away in the flourishing Garvan Woodland Gardens and at Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine, reservoirs of the Ouachita River where fishing and relaxing are popular pastimes.
It wouldn't be a visit to Hot Springs without a soak in the naturally heated baths. The city makes relaxing an artform with its many hot springs and spas where you can enjoy massage treatments and mineral baths that rejuvenate the body and mind. Beyond the baths, Hot Springs is a music hub and puts on the annual Hot Springs Music Festival, which showcases the area’s best in classical music, and the Valley of the Vapors independent music festival. Dive into the heritage of the area by visiting museums like the Garland County Historical Society or the Gangster Museum of America, which reveals the city's criminal past. For a more lighthearted adventure, follow the Hot Springs Baseball Trail and discover spots where legends like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson made sports history. Plan for a day of fun at the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo, where kids can see over 300 alligators and interact with friendly deer, pygmy goats, and ostriches.
There's no need to constantly reach for your wallet in Hot Springs. The following won't cost a cent.
Fordyce Bathhouse (Vistor Center) - Wander around this historic place and learn some secrets from the past.
Hot Springs National Park - Contemplate the stark contrast between urban life and nature's wild beauty at this awe-inspiring location.
Hot Springs National Park - Grab your rug, throw together a quick snack and find a shady area to be at one with nature.
If you've only got time to explore one thing here, make sure it's Hot Springs National Park.
You could put your wallet in the hotel safe for the day, because these fabulous attractions won't cost you a penny: