20 things to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas

The Guinness World Record for most powerful Tesla coil at Mid American Science Museum, Hot Springs
The Guinness World Record for most powerful Tesla coil at Mid American Science Museum, Hot Springs

What makes Hot Springs different? Some people say it’s in the water, but we like to think it’s: the horse races, the roller coasters, the spas, the art, the history, the music, the festivals, the crystals, the flowers, the science, the alligators, the conventions, the parades, the fun! Check out the 20 picks of must sees and dos in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

 1. Opening day at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is calling your name baby. Go ahead and queue the bugle horn. Horse races, slot games, table games and more! Open year around, but January 22nd, opening day, is when the real fun begins! Start off the season the right way at the Oaklawn Racing Opening Day and 2021 Live Meet.  https://www.oaklawn.com/

2. Take a thermal bath

Hot Springs is known for the healing thermal waters, it’s in the name! You’re making a huge mistake if you miss the opportunity to take a bath at The Quapaw Bathhouse, The Hale Hotel, The Buckstaff Bathhouse, or The Arlington Hotel. All offer a unique bathing experience; however, we recommend choosing your bath experience wisely based on your personal comfort zones.  https://www.hotsprings.org/

Spa relaxation with friends in Hot Springs

3. The World's Shortest St Patrick's Day Parade

What’s wild, green, and only 98 feet long? The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade of course! March 17th on Bridge Street is where the city comes together to have a grand ole’ time. Join the crowd in a sea of green!  http://www.shorteststpats.com/

4. Pet an alligator

One of Hot Springs oldest attractions is the Alligator Farm. Take a risk and pet a live alligator, or if you’re a bit scared, just watch as they devour their lunch during feeding time. Crikey, mate that’s a lot of teeth! https://alligatorfarmzoo.com/

5. Buy more art

Arts and the Park is a ten-day celebration of the arts in Hot Springs National Park. This event is scheduled from April 24th through May 3rd and will showcase a variety of local art across the town. Some artists even open up their studios for tours and close and personal experiences with art lovers.  https://hotspringsarts.org/

6. Fill up your jug

Not only is the water healing to soak in, but the mineral-rich water is also delicious to drink. Stop at one of Hot Springs’ fountains to fill up your own jug of Hot Springs thermal water. The four spots to fill your jugs are located on: Central Ave next to the Visitors Center, Reserve St at the end of Historic Bathhouse Row, the end of Fountain St right past The Arlington Hotel, and Whittington Ave. https://www.hotsprings.org/

7. Derby Day

Horses and gambling, horses and gambling, horses and gambling! Start preparing now folks, because Derby Day is the biggest weekend in April at Oaklawn Racing and Casino Resort. It’s the biggest race weekend of the season. Place your bets, test your luck, immerse yourself in the crowd, and enjoy yourself at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.  https://www.oaklawn.com/

8. Tiny Town

Tiny Town is located on Whittington Avenue just North of downtown Hot Springs. This unique attraction called Tiny Town is just that, a miniature model town. You’ll be scratching your head just thinking how long it took to build Tiny Town. This must-see is often hard to come by due to unpredictable hours, but you know you are a lucky one if the door is open. Bring a magnifying glass!
374 Whittington Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901

Have a glass at Superior Bathhouse Brewery

9. See the tub races

One of the wildest events in the town is the World Championship Running of the Tubs. Push a bathtub with your team down Historic Bathhouse Row while spectators soak you with water balloons and water toys. It’s a splashing good time, and a ridiculous obstacle course. Takes place every Spring. www.hotsprings.org

10. Take in the view from the Mountain Tower

No matter the season, see the view of the city and national park from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower Observation Deck. See numerous shades of green in the summer and spring and stunning orange foliage in the fall. It’s the best view from a frightening elevator in the city, hands down. https://hotspringstower.com/

11. See the fireworks

Come for the spas, but stay for the blast! Lake Hamilton is the place for fireworks during Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends. https://www.hotsprings.org/events/ 

12. Dig for crystals & diamonds

Don’t you miss being a kid, and digging in the dirt? Don’t lie, we know you do. Arkansas crystals are hidden all around the town of Hot Springs, but you have to dig for them. Experience Ron Coleman Mining for beautiful crystals or take a shot looking for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, only one hour away from Hot Springs. You never know what you may find. https://colemanquartz.com/

Babe Ruth

13. Bike Hot Springs

The Hot Springs Northwoods Trails include 26 miles of hiking and biking trails in the Northern section of Hot Springs. Accessible by car in under 5 minutes and by mountain bike or foot too. Voted the best mountain bike trails in Arkansas two years in a row. Don’t forget to check out the Gudrun Mountain Bike Festival every November. http://www.bikehotsprings.com

14. Take me out to the ball game

Follow the Hot Springs Baseball Trail all over town and learn somethings you didn’t know. Home to the original Spring Training, Hot Springs is home to some serious baseball history. From Babe Ruth’s record-shattering homerun hit to entire leagues soaking away their troubles in our water, Hot Springs has hosted a pleather of notorious teams and players. http://www.hotspringsbaseballtrail.com/

15. Get your nerd on

September 24-26, 2021 will be the fifth-ever Spa-Con: a pop culture and comic convention at The Hot Springs Convention Center. Spa-Con offers photo opportunities with esteemed guests, informative panels, and more vendor booths than you could imagine. But really, you want to come so you can get dressed up and talk about geeky niches’ none of your friends understand. http://spa-con.org/

16. Climb a four-story treehouse

Experience the outdoors with a birds-eye view in the huge treehouse located at Garvan Woodland Gardens. This four-story structure towers over the botanical gardens and is great for children and adults alike. Find your inner fairy, floating above the magical, mystical, and beautiful gardens. https://www.garvangardens.org/

17. See more film

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is the longest-running documentary film festival in North America. October 9th through 17th will be the festival's 29th year running strong! Screenings and events take place at various locations, and the genres of films are diverse and unique. There is literally a movie for everybody of all interests. https://www.hsdfi.org/

Snap a selfie with Al Capone in Hot Springs, Arkansas

18. See the Tesla coil

Mid America Science Museum showcases the Guinness World Record’s most powerful conical Tesla coil. Watch in wonder and let the magic of science shock you. https://midamericamuseum.org/

19. Find your holiday spirit

Lights, costumes, and floats galore: the Hot Springs Christmas Parade pulls out all the stops for the town to ooh and aah over. The Christmas Parade will be held on December 7th, 2020 in downtown Hot Springs. 

20. Catch a concert at Magic Springs

Magic Springs Water and Theme Park has it all: roller coasters, waterslides, and even free outdoor concerts all summer long! Scream as you fly down the Arkansas Twister or while you sing along with your favorite artists. https://www.magicsprings.com/concerts.php

We’ve told you how fun Hot Springs, Arkansas is; now it’s your turn. Visit Hot Springs, snap a selfie with Al Capone, and come see why The Spa City is the top travel destination in Arkansas.