For decades, many have come to "take the waters" in Hot Springs, where legendary restorative thermal waters bubble up from the deep into one of the U.S.' most unique towns. Surrounded by the oldest and smallest national park in the national system, the town dubbed "America's First Resort" boasts verdant forests above its main street, and shimmering lakes just outside of town. Hot Spring event venues comprise thriving arts galleries, restaurants, convention facilities and of course, the one-of-a-kind Bathhouse Row.
Located in south central Arkansas, Hot Springs is easily reached by air or ground transportation. Memorial Field Airport is three miles southwest of the city and is served by commuter airline Mesa Airlines with connections through Dallas-Fort Worth. Or groups can fly one of seven major carriers into Little Rock, Arkansas, 53 miles northeast of Hot Springs, and enjoy a one-hour scenic drive by shuttle or rental car.
Chief among convention venues in Hot Springs, the 360,000-square-foot Hot Springs Convention Center is the largest in the state. It features a permanent art collection and special art and photography exhibitions. The 124,000-square-foot Summit Arena can accommodate 6,200 and brings the total space under the convention center roof to 8.36 acres. The full-service Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa is connected via covered walkway to Summit Arena and the convention center; the Austin Hotel, also adjacent, has approximately 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
More than 2,000 hotel rooms are nearby, part of more than 4,100 hotel/motel rooms, condos and cabins in the resort area. Hotel venues in Hot Springs feature the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, which is in the heart of historic downtown. The Arlington has a conference center that accommodates groups of up to 1,000; two exhibit centers totaling 19,000 square feet, 15 meeting rooms including the 16,000-square-foot remodeled Horner Hall, and the Crystal Ballroom for 400 diners or 600 theater-style. Groups can also convene at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa on Lake Ouachita, which offers two conference centers and a pavilion, with fishing, kayaking, yoga, star-gazing, a host of water adventures and the exceptional Turtle Cove Spa.
Special Hot Springs event venues range from a history of the mobsters who flocked to the area at the Gangster Museum of America; to the splendidly serene, 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens, the site of countless weddings and receptions in a range of packages.
Groups are welcome at the Bleu Monkey Grill, which features a varied menu with something for everyone in a colorful setting. The "gourmet to go" Cafe 1217 is a dine-in cafe and catering company, serving up everything from box lunches to upscale buffets. Or dine on the 300-passenger Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat, offering daily lunch and dinner/dance cruises.