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Friday, December 29, 2017

Destination: Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The start of racing season at Oaklawn is a good time to dive into all the magnificent wonders there are to experience during winter in the Spa City. Here's a fine selection of articles on where to stay, play and dine in Hot Springs.

I visit Hot Springs on a pretty regular basis. Being right at an hour away from Little Rock, the city is a great daytrip or overnight.

Because of its proximity, I've written extensively about the goings-on around these parts. Here's a round-up with recommendations on places where you can stay, things you can do and food you can eat when you are in town. Slide to the bottom for itineraries for honeymooners and vacationers.

Do check back for more additions.


One of the coolest places I've ever stayed is in the Ruyard Kipling Suite at the 1884 Tinkerbelle's Wildwood Bed and Breakfast north of Bathhouse Row. I love this comfortable place, its history and the phenomenal breakfasts available each morning.

The largest hotel in the entire state of Arkansas still offers historic features, thermal waters delivered directly to your room, a bathhouse, a double-decker pool and much more.


Walk the Promenade and visit eight original bathhouses that still face Central Avenue today.

You can visit every floor of one of the original, restored bathhouses along Hot Springs Bathhouse Row, from the springs in its basement to the gymnasium on the third floor. It's also the National Park's Visitor Center.

Relocated to Central Avenue, this museum contains memorabilia, props and other Star Wars-related items to peruse with well-versed tour guides. May the Force be with you.

A veritable treasure trove of information on the 19th and 20th century gangsters of New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco and elsewhere - who came to Hot Springs and its peaceful grounds to relax, recoup and enjoy the thermal waters.

Wonder, delight and fun can be found under the roof at one of America's longest running children's museum. It's fun for adults, too.

Learn the history of this Hot Springs natural product, along with what you'll find at the Mountain Valley Water Visitors Center along Central Avenue.

Preparing to attend the annual Racing Festival of the South? Here's what you need to know about visiting Oaklawn Park.

Searching for a bargain? This expansive well-kept flea market along Central Avenue is a great place to while around a few hours while searching out deals.


Excellent meatballs and pasta, served in a long narrow restaurant on the west side of the south end of Central Avenue.

Full-scale finer dining establishment half a block north of Bridge Street on Central Avenue, offering fine Italian dining.

Find out why this salty dish is on the menu all around Oaklawn Park, and when you can get a real bargain on a sandwich of your own.

This relatively new pizza joint comes with local ingredients, an emphasis on fresh and an eclectic owner. A popular stop.

Long popular with folks who boat on Lake Hamilton, this dock-and-lot family restaurant offers a variety of seafood and an excellent Key lime pie.

The legendary favorite of President Bill Clinton, this Arkansas classic still offers ribs, sandwiches and the tamale plate (with crackers) on Hot Springs' west side.

Dating back to 1905, The Ohio Club's past includes gangsters, booze and music. Today, it's the best place in town to get a late-night burger.

The place for Chicago style Italian beef and hot dogs, with a lot of great beer available. Right across from Oaklawn.

Bright, colorful South American fare with a delightful variety of items available. Next door to Savory Pantry.

Thick, rich sweet sauce and a bean pot that gathers the essence of every meat roasted at this joint near the racetrack makes Stubby's a must-try.

Fresh, delectable Mexican dishes created from fresh ingredients such as house-roasted peppers and hand-rolled tortillas. Try the guacamole.

Hot Springs' original cheap-eats Tex-Mex shop, complete with hard shell tacos, tostadas and low low prices. Since 1947.

The venerable breakfast establishment, open since 1940, still serves the hotest coffee in town alongside homemade pancakes, house blend sausage, eggs and waitresses that call you "honey."

More to consider:

Take the plunge in Hot Springs, or just add it to your honeymoon wish list. For budget-minded travelers, the Spa City is a real diamond.

For future reference, do remember that one of the most spectacular light displays in the entire state of Arkansas happens to be at Garvan Woodland Gardens, a peninsula into Lake Hamilton that's decked out for the holidays.

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