In the heart of the Ozarks in Northwestern Arkansas lies Eureka Springs, a quaint and vibrant town surrounded by natural hot springs. You'll be captivated by this hidden gem's unspoiled natural beauty, historic Victorian charm, and unique attractions — from natural wonders to extraterrestrial mysteries. With proximity to bustling regional hubs like Fayetteville, and Springfield, this famous getaway destination promises visitors seeking both adventure and tranquility an unforgettable escape from the ordinary. Additionally, the town's friendly locals and their heartwarming stories add to the charm. The streets are often filled with lively events, art shows, and festivals. The aroma of delicious local cuisine wafts through the air, inviting you to indulge in a culinary adventure.
Downtown District captures the essence of Eureka Springs' rich history and architectural beauty. Immerse yourself on quaint Main or Spring Street, or ride one of four fixed-loop routes on the Eureka trolley. Between 19th-century architectural treasures, historic landmarks like the Basin Park Hotel and the City Auditorium, locally-made goods at boutiques, eclectic art galleries, and gourmet restaurants, you won't want to leave. The streets are lined with cobblestones, and the buildings have an old-world charm. Street musicians often play soulful tunes, and the laughter from the cafes is contagious. The vibrant street art and sculptures add a modern twist to the historical setting.
Thorncrown Chapel stands 48 feet tall and boasts an impressive display of 425 windows, encompassing over 6,000 square feet of glass. It rests on over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, adding to its unique design. E. Fay Jones is the mastermind designer and architect who has garnered widespread acclaim and numerous architectural awards since its completion in 1980. The chapel is nestled amidst lush greenery, and the sunlight filtering through the windows creates a serene atmosphere. It's a popular spot for intimate weddings and quiet reflection. The chapel often hosts concerts where the acoustics are simply divine.
Eureka Springs has several haunted sites. The Crescent Hotel — featured on Ghost Hunters — is the most famous in the nation. The hotel was built in 1886 and sits atop an Ozark mountain to create stunning panoramic views. Take a nightly ghost tour for stories and potential sightings and stay in accommodations ranging from upscale suites to treehouse cottages. Other notable haunted nearby locations include the Basin Park Hotel, St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, and The Aud House. The ghost tours are led by knowledgeable guides dressed in period costumes, adding an eerie authenticity. The chilling tales of the past will send shivers down your spine, and you might even capture a ghostly figure in your photographs.
This historical non-profit museum is a three-story home in the heart of the Historic District. Samuel L. Calif built it in 1889 to reflect the architectural style of the late Victorian era. Dedicated to collecting, preserving, documenting, and exhibiting historical artifacts, such as papers, photographs, mementos, official documents, and home furnishings, it's a place where you can dive deep into the city's rich cultural history. The museum also hosts interactive exhibits and workshops for visitors. The friendly staff, often dressed in historical attire, are eager to share intriguing stories and facts. Don't miss the special exhibits that change throughout the year.
On top of West Mountain in the Ozarks, Crescent Hotel & Spa's panoramic views are unparalleled. See charming Eureka Springs surrounded by the gorgeous countryside, full of awe-inspiring seasonal colors sure to take your breath away. Immerse yourself in nature on its accessible hiking trails and beautiful gardens. Afterward, visit the rooftop lounge Sky Bar to enjoy a drink with epic 360-degree views at sunset. The hotel is a marvel, with its grand architecture and luxurious interiors. The spa offers a range of treatments that incorporate natural ingredients from the surrounding area. The staff's warm hospitality ensures a memorable experience.
Make time to indulge in some R&R after a full day of exploration. One of Eureka Springs' many spas is waiting to pamper you from head to toe. Treat yourself to a body, nail, or hair service at the Crescent Hotel's New Moon Spa Salon or the Basin Park Hotel's Spa1905, offering rejuvenating environments with picturesque mountain backdrops. Or, try a mineral bath, clay mask, and steam treatment at the historic Palace Bath House. The soothing sounds of nature and the aroma of essential oils create a tranquil atmosphere. Skilled therapists use age-old techniques to melt away stress and rejuvenate your senses.
In Eureka Springs, you can shop until you drop. Art (like Zark's Fine Design Gallery), antiques (try Secret Garden), clothing (go to Nelson's), specialty food (looking at you, Eureka Market), and jewelry and crafts (the Jewel Box is a must-visit), are a few of the shops this city offers. Rest assured, big box names and chains are not the focal points here—it's all unique and local boutiques. The shop owners often have fascinating stories behind their products. Engage with them to learn about the local culture and craftsmanship. Don't forget to pick up a souvenir or two to remember your trip.
The Basin Park Hotel in Downtown District attracts guests and visitors to its live music scene year-round. From the second-floor Balcony Bar & Restaurant to the Rooftop, local and regional musicians showcase their unique talents. Enjoy live music performances that cater to everyone, including blues, jazz, folk, country, and rock shows. Check out the highly anticipated annual festivals, like the Ozark Mountain Music Festival — "OzMoMu" — in January and the Eureka Springs Blues Party in June. The energy is infectious, and you'll find yourself tapping your feet or dancing along. The food and drinks served during the performances are delectable, making for a perfect evening.
With over 1,500 miles of trails, you can hike, bike, view plants and wildlife, explore underground caves, drive along scenic roads, and even zipline. Be sure to check out the Ozark Highlands Trail — the most scenic trail in the United States — consisting of 270 miles of natural beauty. The 3-mile Lost Valley Trail also offers a bit of everything with a cave, natural bridge, and waterfall. The fresh mountain air and the sounds of rustling leaves and chirping birds are therapeutic. Pack a picnic to enjoy amidst the breathtaking scenery. Don't forget your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes.
Fifteen minutes from downtown, the Blue Spring Heritage Center has 33 acres of privately-owned native gardens along the stunning White River. It is a haven for all things nature and tranquility, full of woodlands, meadows, and hillsides. The historic bluff shelter on the National Register of Historic Places is a must-see. Walk the Trail of Tears and learn about its important role to the Cherokee people. Then, relax at Blue Spring as it pours 38 million gallons of water into the lagoon daily. The colors of the flowers and the gentle sound of the flowing water create a peaceful ambiance. Engage with knowledgeable guides to learn about the historical significance and the native flora and fauna. The center also hosts seasonal events and workshops that are both educational and fun.
This outdoor amphitheater produces "America's #1 Attended Outdoor Drama," depicting the final days of Jesus Christ's life. It's a captivating seasonal performance featuring over 100 actors and live animals between May and October. The venue offers educational guided tours of the Holy Land, including the Christ of the Ozarks Statue — the largest Christ statue in North America. The performances are emotionally stirring, with incredible costumes and special effects. The surrounding gardens and the monumental Christ statue add to the spiritual experience. It's a place that leaves you with a sense of reflection and appreciation for art and history.
This tourist railway along the restored Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad to "Junction" Arkansas is great for individuals and families. The late Robert Dortch, Jr. and his wife, Mary Jane, established it in 1981. Today you can ride it between April and October and enjoy a tour from one of its three tour offerings: the excursion tour or the catered lunch or dinner tour. The vintage train cars and the scenic route transport you to a bygone era. The clattering of the train on the tracks and the whistle blowing as you pass through tunnels and over bridges is exhilarating. The dining car offers delicious meals, making the journey even more memorable.
Scenic Beaver Lake is 70 miles long with 487 miles of natural shoreline. It offers a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts amidst the beauty of the lake and its surroundings. Enjoy boating, fishing, and water sports on its pristine waters. More of a land lover? Relax in the sun on the soft, sandy beaches or enjoy the Oz Trails system on a bike or foot. The lake is also a great spot for picnics and barbecues with family and friends. The sunsets over the lake are breathtaking, and the starry nights are perfect for camping and bonfires.
The open-air Eureka Springs Farmers Market at the Community Center has been selling locally grown produce, plants, flowers, and handicrafts since 2004. It's open Tuesdays and Thursdays between April and November and Thursdays from November to April. Stroll alongside the Eureka Springs community for its talented and diverse vendors and enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and even free coffee. The market is a lively place where you can taste fresh, organic produce and homemade delicacies. Engage with the local farmers and artisans to learn about their craft. It's a great place to experience the community spirit of Eureka Springs.
The Eureka Springs School of the Arts (ESSA) cultivates, promotes, and encourages artistic expression through art and fine-craft educational opportunities. In 1998, passionate local artists taught art classes out of their studios. Today, the school's grounds comprise 55 acres and seven teaching studios. They offer over 100 workshops, including painting and drawing, metal, clay, and wood, a residency program, and special events. ESSA is a hub of creativity where you can unleash your inner artist. The instructors are experienced and passionate, and the campus is inspiring. ESSA has something for everyone, whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist.