Hot Springs, Arkansas is filled with historic sites and landmarks. While all are worth visiting, there are some places that you will want to make a point of visiting when you're in Hot Springs. Below, we've listed a few of these special sites.
Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Address: 401 Hot Springs Mountain Drive, Hot Springs, AR
Distance from us: 15.0 miles
Hours: Daily, 9:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m
Established in 1877 atop Hot Springs Mountain, Hot Springs Mountain Tower is one of the area's most iconic landmarks. The original structure, a 75-foot tower, was rebuilt after being damaged by fire. Currently, Hot Springs Mountain Tower is 216-feet high, and offers panoramic, 360-degree views of Hot Springs, the surrounding Ouachita Mountains, and the Diamond Lakes area.
Visitors can also stop by the well-stocked gift shop at the tower or have lunch at the onsite cafe. Oh, and climbing is not required. You reach the observation deck by riding in a glass elevator. Costs are minimal. Currently, an adult pass is $8.00 and a kid's pass is $4.50.
Bathhouse Row is made up of eight bathhouses, constructed between 1892 and 1923. The bathhouses were built over hot springs, and the mineral water from the springs was directed to the bathhouses, where guests would spend a while soaking in it.
Today, two of the original bathhouses--the Buckstaff and the Quapaw--still operate as functioning bathhouses. The other six serve different purposes. For example, the Fordyce Bathhouse is now the Hot Springs Arkansas Visitor Center, while the Lamar Bathhouse functions as the Bathhouse Row gift shop.
If you want the traditional bathhouse experience as it was originally intended, you'll want to visit the Buckstaff Bathhouse. It's been in operation since opened in 1912. The Quapaw Bathhouse is a more modern bathhouse, where you can spend a while soaking in one of its public pools. You can also reserved time in a private bath, if you like.
Address: 336 Central Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR
Distance from us: 13.6 miles
Hours: Thursday through Tuesday. Opens 11:00 a.m; closing times vary.
Originally opened in 1905, the Ohio Club is the oldest bar in Arkansas. In the early 1900s, the bar was frequented by numerous gangsters and celebrities. Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Bugsy Segal were just a few of the well-known bad guys who regularly stopped by the club. Babe Ruth, Mae West, and Al Jolsen also visited. During prohibition, the Ohio Club was a genuine speakeasy, using a cigar store as a front.
Today, the Ohio Club serves great food (especially burgers) and a variety of drinks. You can also enjoy live music in the evenings.
Main attractions: Hours: Daily, Typically 10:00 a.m until 5:00 pm (6:00 pm on Friday and Saturday)
While not a historical site per se, the Gangster Museum of America does an excellent job of documenting a notorious time period of American history. Information housed by the museum helps explain how some of the nation's most famous criminals ended up in this small Central-Arkansas town.
The museum has a number of galleries, including The Capone Gallery, The Casino Gallery, and The Madden Gallery. The Madden Gallery, dedicated to Owen Madden, is especially interesting. Madden is relatively unknown, but was a central figure in the connection between organized crime and Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The Gangster Museum of America also has a number of special events throughout the year. It also has an onsite gift shop. General admission is $15.00. Kids get in for $6.00.