We stayed an entire week in Hot Springs. Since leaving Austin at the end of February, this is the longest we’ve stayed in one city. We loved it.
Hot Springs, AR
The city of Hot Springs is on the smaller side, but is packed with charm and wonderful people. Every single person we interacted with was as kind as can be. From the staff at a laundromat to the cook at the sushi place and strangers in the only local Starbucks. In this post I’ll be highlighting the things we did that we loved, as well as a list of others that a local recommended. We didn’t get to do them all, but I’m passing them along both so I have a list of “Things To Do” when I come back, and for our dear readers. We stayed a few nights at the KOA (covered here), and the other nights at Walmart.
Osaka Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
The sushi here was absolutely delicious. Located behind the Starbucks off of Central Avenue, Osaka has both sushi and hibachi to offer. We liked this place so much, we ended up going three times throughout the week. The wait for our food was a bit slow each visit, but well worth it. Two of the times we went we got various sushi rolls to split, and the third time we decided to go for the hibachi. Our hibachi chef was quite talented and entertaining. He dazzled us with his spatula skills, delicious food, and easy manner and humor. Some items we recommend you try if you visit:
- Sun Roll (our personal favorite)
- Villanova Roll
- Double Trouble Roll
- Oh My God Roll (we actually got this by mistake, but was just as delicious as the others)
- Steak, Shrimp, and Scallops Hibachi (the shrimp and scallops being more Ben’s recommendation than mine)
Fasjon Nail Salon
Also located behind the Starbucks on Central Avenue (see a pattern here yet? :P ), I stopped in to get my nails done on an evening that Ben was going to be working a little later. Upon walking in the door, I was instantly greeted and assisted. I decided to go for both a mani and pedi, and had at one point three employees helping me. They were all extremely polite, professional, and dedicated to providing quality service. The interior was quite large and well laid out. I tried the powder french tip nails, and they turned out absolutely beautifully (Update: Two weeks later and they still look fresh!). After trying them, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to regular paint or gel as long as powder is an option. My nails are incredibly strong and healthy with this on. Powder gives you the strength of acrylic nails, without the nasty side effects of glue eating away at your nail.
Oaklawn Horse Races
On Friday afternoon, we decided that we would spend Saturday checking out the Oaklawn Horse Races. Neither of us had ever been to one, and were intrigued when someone recommended it. Why not, right? Having never been, when we weren’t able to get there by 1:00PM when the races started, we were concerned that we wouldn’t get to see much. Boy were we wrong. It turned out to be a 9 race event, each race being about 20 minutes apart. We left around 3:30PM, and they were just getting to race #6. The races were exciting to watch and see everyone really get into it. You can bet as low as $2, and there are various ways you can bet. The groups sat around us each went to bet between each race, while others it seemed do all of their betting at the beginning. It was cheap to get seats - only $4.50/person on a Saturday. If you didn’t worry about seats and hang out in front out side or back in the betting areas, general admission was free while we were there (March 11). We got the corned beef sandwich to snack on since we had read a few different places online that it was a must. Neither of us are huge corned beef fans, but we still found it to be pretty good with some mustard (our favorite). Drinks were all around $5 a piece. Overall, spending a day at the races can be a pretty cheap afternoon for those visiting Hot Springs and looking for some excitement.
Recommendations From a Few Locals
We didn’t get to these places, but each place was recommended a couple of times by Hot Springs locals.
- Maxine’s (try the pizza)
- Taco Mama
- Steinhaus Keller
- Pancake Shop (get the banana pancakes)
- Fat Bottom Girls Cupcakes
- Kollective Coffee and Tea
- Arlington Hotel
- Hot Springs Mountain Tower
- Churchill’s Fine Cigars