Hot Springs Arkansas is a small and unique town located about 60 miles west of Little Rock. There are many things that make Hot Springs unlike any other city. The most obvious of these is the natural hot springs that have drawn people here to bathe in the healing waters for thousands of years and it was those same waters that encouraged congress to make it the first federally protected land in 1832 (40 years before Yellowstone became a national park). Another unique thing about this city is the fact that it is the only national park that includes an urban street known as Bathhouse Row! It’s also the only national park with its own brewery (Superior Bathhouse Brewery)!
While it may be difficult to fully experience Hot Springs in a day, we feel that you can get a good overview of the city in that amount of time, so we’ve put together what we think is the perfect One Day in Hot Springs Travel Itinerary!
*Be sure to watch our "One Day in Hot Springs" travel vlog for a closer look at our time in the fun and unique city!
8:30 am: Breakfast/Coffee
The Pancake Shop (216 Central Ave)
As one of the oldest restaurants in the state, The Pancake Shop has been serving breakfast exclusively since 1940 and you’ll quickly learn why it’s a local and tourist favorite!
Kollective Coffee & Tea (110 Central Ave)
Kollective prides itself in offering their customers the best locally sourced products. Everything they offer is certified organic or natural. No GMO, no preservatives, no harmful pesticides.
Will’s Cinnamon Shop (1001 Central Ave)
Homemade, totally from scratch cinnamon rolls! What more can you ask for?!
10:00 am: Explore Bathhouse Row/Central Ave.
Hot Springs NP Visitors Center (369 Central Ave)
Constructed in 1915, this 28,000 square foot building was home to the Fordyce Bathhouse until 1962 and is now home to the Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center and Museum. They have done an amazing job at restoring and displaying bathhouse history and we highly recommend a visit while you’re in Hot Springs.
Bathhouse Row Emporium (515 Central Ave)
Formerly Lamar Bathhouse, this 1923 building is now home to the Hot Springs National Park Giftshop where you can find everything from postcards and educational books to scented soap and lotion made with Hot Springs thermal water and an abundance of other bath-related souvenirs.
Hot Springs Visitors Center (629 Central Ave)
Not to be confused with the Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center, this is the city of Hot Springs’ Visitors Center and is your headquarters for all things Hot Springs and is an excellent resource to take advantage of during your vacation!
Gangster Museum (510 Central Ave)
It may come as a surprise to many, but Hot Springs has a deep history in early 1900’s gangster culture. The Gangster Museum of America is a historic and entertaining account of how some of the most notorious criminals in America co-existed with the quaint population of this little valley town in the mountains of central Arkansas.
1:00 pm: Lunch at Superior Bathhouse Brewery (329 Central Ave)
Constructed in 1916, Superior Bathhouse operated as a bathhouse until 1983. After sitting vacant for 30 years, Superior was reimagined and reopened in 2013 as the only brewery inside a national park! Not only that, it’s the only brewery in the world to utilize thermal spring water in their beer. Beyond the beer, they have a full lunch and dinner menu that won’t disappoint!
2:30 pm: Spa Day
There are currently only two bathhouses that are still operational in Hot Springs. One of them is a more modern bathhouse/spa and the other offers the traditional bathhouse experience as it would have been in Hot Springs’ hay day! We recommend doing some research ahead of time to see which experience you would like to have.
Quapaw Bathhouse (413 Central Ave)
Opened in 1922, Quapaw operated as a traditional bathhouse until its closing in 1984. After sitting vacant for 24 years, it reopened as a family-oriented spa in late June 2008. Now, The Quapaw Bathhouse is one of two locations in the city where you can soak in the thermal springs. It offers private baths, public pools, and modern day spa services.
Buckstaff Bathhouse (509 Central Ave)
Buckstaff Bathhouse opened on February 1, 1912 and has been in continuous operation since. Because of this, it is one of the best preserved of all of the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row. To this day, Buckstaff only offers a traditional bathing experience as you could have expected when it opened in 1912.
5:30 pm: Happy Hour Drinks at Ohio Club (336 Central Ave)
Since opening in 1905 as a bar and casino, the Ohio Club has seen the likes of Al Capone, Bugsy Segel, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano, just to name a few of the gangsters. Many Major League Ball players also walked through the Ohio Club doors since they had spring training in Hot Springs in the early 1900's. Babe Ruth was the most famous to visit. Needless to say, the Ohio Club is an institution here in Hot Springs and is a must-visit!
6:30 pm: Dinner
Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Beer Garden (100 Exchange St)
Offering delicious pies, ice cold beer, and live music, Grateful Head is THE place to fulfill those pizza cravings!
McClard's Bar-B-Q (505 Albert Pike Rd)
Family owned and operated since opening in 1928, McClards is serving up finger licking ribs and BBQ with their famous sauce that will leave you wanting more!
Bubba's Catfish & Seafood (622 Carpenter Dam Rd)
Bubba’s prides themselves on their delicious seafood, fast service and good people. Offering a cozy, laid-back, southern experience, you’re sure to learn why Bubba’s is a local favorite!
We hope that this has helped you in planning your trip to Hot Springs! Feel free to reach out to us on Instagram (@AdventuresofMattandNat) or email us at AdventuresofMattandNat@gmail.com with any questions you might have! We’re always happy to help in any way that we can!