Hot Springs Quick Facts
|Area||33 sq miles|
|Population||35,587 (2011 estimate)|
|Time Zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
About Hot Springs City
Hot Springs is the county seat of the Garland County of the state of Arkansas. It derives its name from the natural hot springs located on the southern slope of the Hot Springs Mountains. This is the only American city to be located inside a national park – the Hot Springs National Park which is also the country’s oldest Federal Reserve.
The healing properties of the hot springs of this area were discovered by the native Indians hundreds of years ago. After their discovery in 1673 by Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, came to be controlled by the French. The Spanish colonists controlled this area between 1763 and 1799 and it reverted to French administration in 1800. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson bought the land in the Louisiana Purchase and in 1818 a treaty was signed with the Quapaw Indians who ceded the territory to the United States.
Hot Springs suffered much during the American Civil War but post-war the city and its vicinity witnessed an economic boom due to the construction of bath houses that attracted a lot of tourists. An increased interest in tourism, holistic and natural healing, and in leisure, propped up the economy of the city. This period also saw the rise of the gangsters and illegal gambling. During World War II, the thermal baths of Hot Springs were used by U.S soldiers who returned from the field of action. Hot Springs is now an important tourist destination in the United States and tourism makes a major contribution to the state’s economy.
Which is the best time to visit Hot Springs
Spring and fall are considered the best seasons to visit Hot Springs. Some people like summer too, but the city does get unbearably hot in this season, especially in the month of July. Winter is mild and short and does not see much tourist traffic. If if it is the beautiful wild flowers that you want to see, then plan a vacation in February.
Airport & Public Transport in Hot Springs
Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport serves the city of Hot Springs. Little Rock National Airport located 55 miles from the city is also another important airport. For transportation within the city, bus services are provided by the Intracity Transit.
Accommodation in Hot Springs
Some well known luxury hotels in Hot Springs are Hampton Inn Hot Springs, Embassy Suites Hot Springs, Staybridge Suites Hot Springs, and Clarion Resort on the Lake. If you are looking for budget accommodation, then some popular options are All Seasons Lodge, Country Inn Lake Resort, Red Roof Inn Hot Springs, Shamrock Motel and Americas Best Value Inn – Hot Springs.
Things to do in Hot Springs
Activities and Entertainment in Hot Springs
Hot Springs is an important tourist attraction, thanks to its thermal springs. Enjoying a rejuvenating bath at the Bathhouse Row tops any must do list of visitors. You can also go hiking at the Lake Catherine State Park or the Ouachita National Forest. If you like fishing, then grab you fishing rods and go fishing in the lakes of Hot Springs, particularly Lake Ouachita. Catch some action at the Oakland Park Race Track, the home of the Racing Festival of the South. If you are in the mood for some magic, visit the Vienna Theater and the Theater of Magic.
Know the history of the most notorious gangsters who made Hot Springs their favorite hideout in the Gangster Museum of America. Another major attraction in Hot Springs is the Josephine Tussauds Wax Museum. This museum has wax figures of celebrities, royalty, presidents, battle scenes and even has a horror section! If you are traveling with kids, do visit the Mid American Science Museum.The museum mixes knowledge with fun and your kids will love being there.
Lakes, Parks in Hot Springs
Visit the beautiful Lake Catherine State Park to experience serenity far from the crowds. Another favorite tourist spot is the Lake Ouachita, the largest lake in Arkansas. Go to the Ouachita National Forest and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the forest. If fun with the family is what you are looking for, visit the Funtrackers Family Park, which true to its name, has a lot to offer to every member of the family – from video game parlors to golf courses. Your kids would also enjoy being at the Magic Springs and Crystal Falls, the well known amusement park.
Hot Springs also has a local aquarium. The National Park Aquarium is small but has one of the finest collections of native fish and turtles. Look at some menacing alligators at the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo.
Hot Springs is ranked 4th in the “America’s Top 100 Small Arts Towns” list and not without a reason. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival held in October every year is one of the most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world. If you are visiting Hot Springs in autumn, make sure you attend the festival. This city also plays host to a number of other famous festivals like the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Jazz Festival, Hot Springs Blues Festival and the Valley of Vapor Festival. Every year, Hot Springs also hosts the alternate reality show Midnight Madness, which is based on a movie of the same name.
Where to eat in Hot Springs
Hungry after all that sight seeing? Relish a delightful Mexican meal at the Taqueria el Amigo or Nom Noms Mexican Grill-N-Chill. If you want to have Italian food, then you have several options to choose from. Some famous Italian restaurants are Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant, Bambino’s, Olive Garden Hot Springs, and Luna Bella. Taste mouthwatering Chinese delicacies at Hunan’s Palace or gorge on some awesome Latin food at Rolando’s Restaurante and Taco Mama. You can find your favorite American cuisine at Ohio Club, Mr. Whiskers, Bleu Monkey Grill, and The Porterhouse.
Where to shop in Hot Springs
You can shop at any of the city’s well known malls-Hot Springs Plaza Shopping, Central City Shopping Center, and Hot Springs Mall. Take a walk in the historic downtown and you will find numerous shops dealing in antiques, jewelry, art and souvenirs.Do not forget to try the rock shops where you can get quartz crystals of any shape and size. If you are looking for a beautiful painting for your living room, go to any of the various galleries in the city and you won’t be disappointed.
Higher Education in Hot Springs
The most best known center of higher education in Hot Springs is the National Park Community College. The other college in the city is Champions Baptist College, a Christian college specializing in vocational education.