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26 Best & Fun Things to do in Hot Springs (Arkansas)

Hot Springs, known for its thermal springs, is a city tucked in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.

It is renowned for its natural hot springs, many of which can be seen in the nearby Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs also has some historic buildings, many of which are eight bathhouses from the 19th and 20th, located on Bathhouse Row.

Additionally, a number of yearly local events, which are enjoyable for visitors of any age, are also held in Hot Springs.

These events include the Hot Springs Music Festival, Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, and more.

Things to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas

1. Hot Springs National Park

hot springs national park

National Park, Hot Springs

Hot Springs National Park is a great place to spend a day or two in Hot Springs.

The fact that Hot Springs National Park is completely different from the standard national park experience is what makes it so special.

The park is centered on the history of Hot Springs, Arkansas, including famous locals like August Busch, Al Capone, and the Saint Louis Cardinals.

You will also come across historic thermal springs, mountain views, and numerous waterways, all of which are right in the midst of town

Hot Springs National Park can be explored in different ways.

If you want to avoid crowds, there are many hiking paths you may take. You can hike the 26 km of hiking trails in the Park.

Try going to the city’s historic bathhouses and climbing the Hot Springs Mountain Tower.

You may see gorgeous scenery in every way and get an excellent overview of the area from above!

Don’t forget to bring your camera along, as you will see one of the most stunning views and picturesque landscapes in Hot Springs here.

The Park is also a popular place to go bird-watching all year long.

We recommend joining one of the walking tours available to hear from a Park Ranger about the past of this locale.

Address: Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

2. Gangster Museum of America

Gangster Museum of America

Gangster Museum of America

You should check this out if you enjoy learning about the history of the place you are visiting.

Hot Springs’s history includes some big-name gangsters who made Hot Springs their vacation spot and you will get to know about them here.

Whether or not you are into museums, you would enjoy this one.

The 10,000-square-foot museum gives visitors more information about the criminal past of this town.

In fact, it reveals a portion of history that has largely been the stuff of legend up until this point.

The museum features superb gift shops, roomy galleries, and first-hand descriptions of the heyday of gambling.

Take a guided tour with many brief videos to watch along the way.

The 1920s through 1940s in Hot Springs are the main subject of the Gangster Museum of America.

The museum tells the tales of numerous infamous gangsters who visited the city on holiday, including Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and Frank Costello.

You just have to imagine yourself in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, when Hot Springs attracted tourists from all over the world with their mineral water, gambling, bootlegging, and other extreme delights.

Play at the historic casino while listening to the historian in the museum theater tell enlightening, entertaining, and educational tales.

You can take likewise picture with Al Capone at the end.

Address: 510 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

3. Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo

Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo

Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo

To relive your childhood, go to the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo.

You won’t find a more distinctive location if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind, enjoyable, and instructive adventure with your family.

This Zoo also comes with its own history as it dates back a very long period. How many?

For spring training, all baseball teams used to travel to hot springs. This alligator farm is directly across the street from the baseball field. Babe Ruth hit a home run in the gator pen.

Today, cute goats that you can feed are the first thing you see. The food is given by the museum itself.

Hold a baby alligator and feed, and get personal with wolves, mountain lions, monkeys, raccoons, and more.

Additionally, from mid-May to mid-October, you may watch live alligator feeding performances every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at noon.

It is a tremendous treat to be able to engage with these creatures in a town the size of Hot Springs, so this place is a must-see.

Address: 847 Whittington Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

4. Adventure works Hot Springs

Adventure works Hot Springs

Adventure works Hot Springs

Does viewing wildlife, native flora, and trees from above sound interesting to you? Then you should visit adventure works.

Zipping is an exhilarating experience from above, and anyone should have the experience.

So come to adventure Park in hot springs to have a zip line tour of the city.

Fly through the air while wearing a safety harness and zip pulley system with supported steel wires.

You can also stroll, climb, and swing across obstacles while engaged in the treetop aerial adventure.

It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.

Adventure Works is open all year round, so you can come any day you are free.

Address: Catherine’s Landing RV Resort, 1700 Shady Grove Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

5. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Hot Springs

Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, Hot Springs

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Hot Springs

The only location in Hot Springs for a pirate adventure!

Enter the realm of the buccaneers of the eighteenth century and put your way over footbridges, waterfalls, and mountain caverns!

Come discover why this institution won the “Best in Metro” Award for “Miniature Golf”!

You may play mini golf on two 18-hole courses at Pirate’s Cove that include obstacles like caverns, bridges, waterfalls, and even a real pirate ship.

On two difficult 18-hole courses, players put their way past waterfalls, footbridges, and mountain caves as they test their skills.

So, try your luck on the brave Blackbeard’s Challenge Course or the daring Captain’s Course.

This is an ideal family location, so if you are with family, you definitely shouldn’t miss here.

Address: 4612 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71913, United States

6. Lake Catherine State Park

Lake Catherine State Park

Lake Catherine State Park

If you need a place to camp, go trailing, or do some light water activities, then you should consider Lake Catherine State Park.

The serene Ouachita Mountain region’s Lake Catherine is the site of this park.

Here at the park, you will find the only full-service marina on the lake, which is open in the summer for bait, snacks/drinks, and gasoline.

A launch ramp, pavilion, picnic areas, play areas, and a clearly indicated trail leading to a waterfall are also included in the park.

You can even go swimming or fishing.

Camping is a common thing here and some campsites have their own dock and are directly on the lake. Others are in a beautiful forest.

There are also trails if you prefer hiking.

In addition, summer programs, boat tours, and guided hikes are all provided by park interpreters.

From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, it is open every day at 10 a.m. Open every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 till Thanksgiving in the fall and winter.

Address: 1200 Catherine Parks Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71913, United States

7. The Galaxy Connection

The Galaxy Connection

The Galaxy Connection

Without even joking, this is without a doubt the best Star Wars journey you could undertake.

Any fan of Star Wars and Super Heroes must visit this museum.

The galaxy connection is a vintage toy museum with Star Wars and superhero inspiration.

A tour of a super fan’s own collection of GI Joe, He-Man, Barbie, Marvel, and DC toys.

The proprietors’ attention to detail shows that they genuinely like what they are doing.

There is so much to see that it is nearly overwhelming. The vast collection will appeal to even those who are unfamiliar with this subgenre.

Lots of fantastic photo possibilities and the option to engage with the exhibits by donning a Jedi robe, using a lightsaber, and more.

Additionally, you have a choice between taking the owner’s VIP tour or exploring the crowded galleries on your own.

There is also a fantastic gift shop where you may find a variety of uncommon Star Wars or superhero products.

Address: 536 Ouachita Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901, United States

8. Fordyce Bathhouse

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The Fordyce Bathhouse

Fordyce Bathhouse is an old bathhouse turned into a museum and was the only public bathhouse with a bowling lane.

However, today, the Fordyce Bathhouse serves as Hot Springs park’s visitor center.

You are first introduced to the beauty of the bathhouse on the first floor.

Once you make your way in, it becomes clear why the Fordyce Bathhouse was regarded as the best.

Initially, the dressing rooms and men’s massage rooms took up the entire second story. However, in one of the previous dressing rooms, you may now view contemporary exhibits.

You will find the Music Room on the third floor. It exudes luxury with its patterned tile floor, stained glass roof, and Knabe grand piano.

The Visitor Center and Museum is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.

Address: 369 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

9. Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot springs

The Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Gardens is the University of Arkansas’s botanical garden.

You can pass some time meditating and just taking in the overall scape.

In fact, the museum is just more than a botanical store and more like a nature reserve.

Each area of the garden is well-maintained, with lush vegetation, flowers, and woodland regions, and the trails are clearly signposted.

Address: 550 Arkridge Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71913, United States

10. Funtrackers Family Fun Park

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Family Fun Park

Funtrackers is and has long been a top option for first-rate family entertainment in Hot Springs.

This is an arcade featuring a number of outdoor/indoor games and a nearby laser tag course in a different building.

They have putt-putt golf, water bumper boats with squirt guns, and go-carts.

Jim and Stephanie Reed, who have been in the industry for more than 25 years, are the owners and operators of Funtrackers Family Fun Park.

Play mini-golf on a stunning course with a fire-breathing volcano, and race around Hot Springs’ largest go-kart track.

However, one of the best things to do here is to play laser tag. You are prepared to pick up a vest or phaser pack and get set for fierce competition after a briefing on the basics.

As soon as you enter the arena, you and your colleagues attempt to tag opponents to collect points while defending your group from harm.

Address: 2614 Albert Pike Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71913, United States

11. Mountain Valley Spring Water Visitor Center

Mountain Valley Spring Water Visitor Center, Hot Springs

Mountain Valley Spring Water Visitor Center

Popular spring water brand Mountain Valley has been a bottling and water company in Hot Springs since 1871.

So here’s a good location to go if you are interested in the history of the water corporation and the neighborhood in general.

The structure is a gorgeous structure from the 1920s, reminiscent of Bathhouse Row. However, the water company has transformed it into a retail space and museum.

You can learn about the history of Mountain Valley Springwater in a small museum on the second floor.

Furthermore, the “Japanese Ballroom,” a popular big-band hangout in the booming 1920s, once occupied the third level of the visitor center.

The meticulously preserved original furnishings are being used to create extra-fancy administrative offices.

Sample the renowned water for free, browse the store for Mountain Valley-branded goods, and, of course, drink Mountain Valley Spring Water!

Address: 150 Central Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901, United States

How about a tour of Texarkana and rogers?

12. Lake Ouachita, Hot Springs

Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita

Are you a fan of outdoor activities? Then you will definitely find Lake Ouachita fun and interesting.

Lake Ouachita, the largest lake in Arkansas, has 40,000 acres of crystal-clear water encircled by the picturesque Ouachita National Forest.

Here, you can go swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing.

Fishing is also a common activity as you can catch bream, crappie, catfish, striped bass, and largemouth bass.

Asides from fishing and water activities, there are also many day-use zones and places to stay overnight.

There are eight completely furnished cottages with kitchens and other home conveniences available. Best part? Most of these provide delightful views of the lake.

The visitor center also features displays and a gift shop.

So you can always come here year-round as interpretive activities like kayak tours, eagle cruises, and guided hikes are available.

13. Ouachita National Forest

Ouachita National Forest

Ouachita National Forest

While you are still at Lake Ouachita, you should also explore the Ouachita National Forest.

In fact, the Ouachita National Forest is a popular location for outdoor leisure.

The Ouachita National Forest covers a sizable portion of the state’s west and is home to beautiful vistas, scenery, and environment.

The beautiful mountain ranges and wooded areas here are perfect for equestrian riding, biking, and other outdoor activities.

Ouachita Mountain Range is exceptional and breathtaking. This region is traversed by a 30-mile crystal vein. Most likely, when hiking, you’ll come across a lot of quartz crystals, which is fantastic and exciting.

Additionally, one of the greatest old-growth woods in the continental United States can be found in this enormous forest.

14. The Grand Promenade

The Grand Promenade, Hot spring

The Grand Promenade, Hot spring

Grand Promenade is a wonderful location for a leisurely stroll through nature.

This trail runs parallel to Central Avenue and Bathhouse Row from Reserve Street to Fountain Street, right behind Bath House Row.

Since 1982, the brick promenade has served as a National Recreation Trail.

The path is lined with a variety of trees, including maple, oak, poplar, and beech trees.

Although the trail is not far from Bathhouse row; however, it is sufficiently removed from Bathhouse Row to have some quiet time away from the heavy street traffic.

Furthermore, the historic district of Hot Springs, the Arlington Lawn, the hot springs cascade, and more are all visible from the half-mile Grand Promenade.

The main walk is thoughtfully designed, and there are plaques along the way that provide highly detailed accounts of the area and Hot Springs’ past.

Besides, there are detours you can take if you so want.

So you can end time moving slowly, straying from the route to take numerous photos of Central Avenue’s architecture, discover the spring boxes, capture nature, and read numerous instructive markers.

Address: Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

15. Tiny Town, Hot Springs

Tiny Town, Hot Springs

Jim (Dr. Mo) Moshinskie, PhD CPT / Flickr

Tiny Town is a nostalgic miniature-town attraction that is worth a visit.

It is one man’s incredible creation, which is currently being preserved by his family.

Moshinskie spent decades expanding his small railway world, eventually making it a popular gathering place for the locals in his community.

When a tornado destroyed the miniature town’s roof in 1962, Moshinskie moved the model to Hot Springs.

Visitors are now given a tour of Tiny Town and shown all the minor details that give this location its distinctive character.

In fact, Moshinskie created everything you see here from scratch, using whatever supplies he could find.

There is a guide there that gives you an explanation of some of the displays and highlights interesting details.

After then, you are free to explore the exhibit as much as you like, snapping pictures and operating some of the moving pieces via push buttons on the display’s sides.

This charming representation of America also includes famous people and locations from across the country.

There are also some interactive features like a shooting range in the scale shooting gallery and a miniature dance floor where guests can make the little characters move.

Tiny Town is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Sundays).

Address: 374 Whittington Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

16. Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum

Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum

Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum

Visit this museum to see life-size wax figures of famous and fictional persons, along with gambling-related items.

Wondering if the museum has anything to do with Madame Tussaud? Well, yes!

The great-great-granddaughter of Madame Tussaud was Josephine Tussaud. Although the museum is unrelated to the swanky international network of Madame’s, but it’s still a nice place to visit.

It is a well-kept attraction that is almost entirely made up of the original dummies from 1971.

The more than 100 expertly created figurines in the exhibition are divided into “worlds.”

There are galleries with cinematic monsters, biblical scenes, and a “Hall of Battles” (hosted by an eerily lit Alfred Hitchcock).

In addition, a section in the museum’s back is crammed with exhibits of casino dice, cards, and slot machines.

There’s also a different room filled with office dribbles like supply orders, news articles, and letters from long-dead personalities.

The museum opens every day of the week. So, explore the Seven Magic Worlds of the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum to feel the timeless allure of a trip through time.

Address: 250 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

17. Downtown Hot Springs

Downtown Hot Springs

Downtown Hot Springs

Hot Springs’ lively Downtown is one of the nicest places you can go in Hot Springs to have any all round entertainment and sightseeing.

Some of the most luxurious and recognizable lodging options in Hot Springs may be found here, along with restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment options, apparel stores, museums, and more, all housed in commercial structures built in 1886.

In fact, you can literally get from a motel to a hiking trail without using any form of transport because of the proximity.

Numerous highly regarded eateries can be found all across Downtown, both on and off Central Avenue.

You may find anything from tacos to fine dining, as well as breakfast places, pizzerias, steakhouses, and much more.

Want to feed your sweet tooth? No worries, as there are establishments like Mamoo’s Creamery, Chill & Go, to find ice cream, candy, fudge, or caramel apples in downtown Hot Springs.

You can also get a beer made with thermal spring water right in downtown Hot Springs.

Address: Hot Springs, AR, United States

18. Mid-America Science Museum

Mid-America Science Museum, Hot Springs

Jim Miller / Mid-America Science Museum

Whether old or young, one top tourist attraction you shouldn’t miss in hot springs is the mid-America Science museum.

The displays in this “science” museum are all interesting and they are entirely focused on science.

The museum is large, well-kept, and simply attractive to look at. For all ages, it is fascinating and enjoyable.

Through engaging exhibits and programming, the Mid-America Science Museum seeks to spark public interest in science.

Some of the exhibits you will come across include machines by Mr. Rowland Emett.

The fanciful machines of Mr. Rowland Emett can be found all over the museum, illuminating and entertaining visitors with the fundamentals of mechanics.

A useful biography of him is also available at the museum store.

Make sure to go to the Tesla Coil show without a doubt. A stunning Conical Tesla Coil and other marvels may be seen in operation at the show.

Where else can you witness a true wireless electricity demonstration?

Children from kindergarten through grade 12 can participate in the Museum’s Science After-School program for a fun and educational after-school activity.

Address: 500 Mid America Blvd, Hot Springs, AR 71913, United States

19. Anthony Chapel, Hot Springs

Anthony Chapel

Anthony Chapel

The University of Arkansas’s Garvan Woodland Gardens is home to Anthony Chapel Complex.

Anthony Chapel, which has 160 seats, has outstanding acoustics that musicians adore.

In addition, the Chapel is only a little over 6 floors tall, blends nicely with the woodland surroundings, and provides views of the changing seasons through its floor-to-ceiling glass panels and numerous skylights

You can park close to the charming glass chapel in the woods and proceed to the Chapel through a short walkway.

Unless it is rented out for a private wedding or function, then visitors are permitted inside.

Address: 550 Arkridge Rd, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913, United States

20. The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

Are you looking for a fantastic variety of performances that combine magic, humor, and other styles? Don’t miss this show, then!

Twelve cast members perform two captivating hours of large-scale illusions, close-up magic, comedy, and live music.

There is something for everyone here as the show is highly kid-friendly, has fantastic illusions, and Maxwell Blade does some classic magic tricks.

The event is appropriate for all ages and is presented in a modern setting with 300 seats.

You should get the backstage pass where the blade does up-close magic, pictures, and autographs

The lobby has a small snack bar that serves beer and beverages.

Address: 817 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

21. Magic Springs Water and Theme Park

Magic Springs Water and Theme Park

The Magic Springs Water and Theme Park

Magic Springs, offers over 80 attractions, including the roller coaster Arkansas Twister and thrill rides like Plummet Summit.

Similarly, a thrilling surf simulator, the Kodiak Canyon Adventure River, a 350,000-gallon wave pool, and many other attractions can be found at the water park.

You can also hire your own private cabana, a customized room with a choice of amenities.

In addition to the fun, the park also has a range of food choices and skill games, including Smoke on the Water and a BBQ restaurant.

There’s a reason better Homes and Gardens magazine named Magic Springs as one of the three most family-friendly parks in the country. So go check it out.

Address: 1701 E Grand Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901-4802

22. Goat Rock Trail

Goat rock trail hot springs, Hot Springs

NPS Photo / Mitch Smith

If you want more hiking opportunities, then you should consider going to the Goat Rock Trail.

In the middle of Hot Springs National Park sits the one-way, round-trip Goat Rock Trail.

The route connects to several other trails in the park, even though it is normally reached via the North Mountain Loop.

Similarly, it provides a nice view of the Ouachita Mountains.

Running, hiking, and birdwatching are all fairly popular activities here.

Although it is open all year round, the months of March through October are optimum for hiking this trek.

Dogs are also permitted, but they must be leashed.

Plan around one and a half hours to finish the hike.

Address: Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901, United States

Want a mixture of tradition, history, and culture in Arkansas? Check out Fort Smith!

23. Winery of Hot Springs

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The Winery of Hot Springs

Winery of Hot Springs is a great place to spend your weekend trip while in Hot Springs.

Visit this Winery to sample some of the best Native wines in Arkansas.

Take advantage of the opportunity to taste a wide range of Arkansas wines after taking a tour of a section of the Arkansas Historic Wine Museum.

After you’ve finished sampling, you can buy wine by bottle or case.

In the main lobby, they also have a huge selection of gifts and accessories.

They do have a large selection of wines, including Moscato, blush, rosé, and even merlot and chardonnay.

In fact, there’s something for everyone here, even if you prefer dry wines.

Address: Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901, United States

24. Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

One of the best things you can do in Hot Springs is get an aerial view of the city. It is so beautiful and breathtaking.

The mountain tower, as good as it is, also comes with its own fair share of history.

At the top of Hot Springs Mountain, local mill owner Enoch Woolman constructed a wooden observation tower so that people might take in the scenery.

A new steel tower was built on Hot Springs Mountain in 1906, replacing the old Woolman Observatory. This view covered around 30 and 40 miles.

However, this was also demolished, and another one was built.

At 1,256 feet above sea level, the tower’s upper observation deck is outside and open to the elements.

You will get to see the entire park as well as a piece of the Ouachita Mountains as well as 140 square miles of the surrounding area from that location.

More so, there are two decks in this tower. Therefore, exhibitions highlighting the park and local history can be found on the lower observation deck.

At the base of the tower is a souvenir shop, where you can get something before you leave.

Address: 401 Hot Springs Mountain Dr, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

25. Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs

Bathhouse Row,Hot Springs

NPS photo / Mitch Smith

Bathhouse Row is a must-stop for any first-time visit to Hot Springs

Eight bathhouse structures that make up the Bathhouse were built between 1892 and 1923.

The bathhouses have remarkable and distinctive architecture.

In fact, a trip down the sidewalk in front provides you with an excellent impression of what this neighborhood was like in the 1920s, even though only a few are currently accessible to the public.

Most of the bathhouses are now used for other purposes, although Quapaw and Buckstaff continue to offer spa services and baths.

Address: Hot Springs, AR, United States

26. The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Hot Springs

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

Welcoming guests for almost 15 decades, the storied Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa is the biggest hotel in Arkansas.

The Arlington has everything you might want in a historic hotel—and more—from the hotel lobby and famed bar.

Additionally, The Arlington has a Thermal Bathhouse where you may take a soak in the renowned mineral waters of the “hot springs”.

There are also museums, antique and art galleries, distinctive restaurants, and live entertainment directly across the street.

Address: 239 Central Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901, United States

Final Remark

From mountain biking, hiking, golf, horseback riding, fishing, and looking for quartz crystals, to even water sports, you will get it here.

So whether it’s outdoor or indoor activities, you are in for a treat.

Safe Travels!