Eureka Springs: The Best Things to Do in and Around this Charming Arkansas Town

Diana Rowe Avatar
Checking out the historic downtown is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
Known for its Victorian architecture, hot springs and more, Historic Downtown Eureka Springs is located in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

The writer was hosted.

Eureka Springs is a charming city in the Ozark Mountains and one of the best places to visit in Arkansas. About 200 miles northwest of Little Rock, it is known for its Victorian architecture, its many natural springs, its vibrant arts and culture scene and its role as a center for the arts and alternative lifestyles.

Checking out the 1996 Crescent Hotel & Spa is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
Perched high above the Victorian village of Eureka Springs, one of the most iconic places to stay is the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, known as America’s most haunted hotel. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Since my daughter and her family relocated to Arkansas last year, we’ve explored the state including the Bentonville/Fayetteville area. Most recently, we’ve been checking out the fun things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Checking out the view from the second story Treetop Cottage at Crescent Hotel is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
We stayed on the second story Treetop cottage at Crescent Hotel Arkansas with this view from the deck. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Where to Stay in Eureka Springs

Accommodations in Eureka Springs range from historic hotels to kitschy mom-and-pop motels to vacation homes. This Arkansas town also is home to America’s most haunted hotel, the must-see Crescent Hotel and Spa (75 Prospect Ave., Eureka Springs, AR 72632).

Our multigenerational family of five were lucky enough to snag accommodations in the hotel’s Treetop Cottage. Most importantly for us, the family-friendly “treetop” cottage featured two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa in the living room, offering us all space of our own.

The Crescent Hotel offers a wide range of amenities including:

  • gourmet pizzas at Skybar
  • dining at Crystal dining room (including Sunday brunch)
  • outdoor pool
  • spa treatments
  • family fun and games at Frisco Sporting Club
  • hotel ghost tour

Also, the hotel offers free shuttles to and from downtown Eureka Springs.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Listen for the bell tower. We were on the deck when the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church bell started chiming.

Another unique accommodation is the Eureka Springs Treehouses; their Elves even offer a free walking tour of downtown Eureka Springs!

Finding the funky staircases, like this rainbow one, is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
Discover the funky, fun and random staircases throughout historic Downtown Eureka Springs, known as the “The Stairstep Town.” Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Downtown Eureka Springs

While its history is long and interesting (more on that later), in 1970 the Eureka Springs Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This began the renaissance of this city. Historically called “The Little Switzerland of America” and “The Stairstep Town” with its mountainous terrain, winding paths of streets and walkways, slanting streets and random flights of stairs – and no traffic lights.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Pack a pair of these comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking!

Downtown Eureka Springs is a vibrant and eclectic area with block after block of unique shops, fine art galleries, spas, museums and restaurants.

Shopping at places like the Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
Shop ‘til you drop in historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Things to Do in Historic Downtown Eureka Springs

  • Main and Spring Streets are the perfect start to exploring downtown Eureka Springs and its historic districts. The streets are lined with Victorian buildings that span over 140 years.
  • Many of these historic buildings have been converted into browse-worthy art galleries and boutiques. Local artists make their home in downtown Eureka, offering visitors opportunities to purchase their unique art.
  • Check out Basin Park Hotel and the nearby Basin Spring Park, home to the original Eureka Springs used by both Native Americans and pioneer settlers. If your timing is right, you’ll be able to hear  live music at the historic bandshell located in the park.
  • Take the 90-minute Eureka Springs open-air tram tour, available May – October! See and learn about Eureka Springs up close and personal as you ride slowly and quietly through the beautiful and charming historic downtown district.
  • Festivals, festivals, festivals! A number of festivals and events are held throughout the year in Eureka Springs. During our April visit, we enjoyed an April Fool’s Day parade through the windy streets of downtown that were lined with families. Make plans to join the Eureka Springs Blues Party, May Festival of the Arts or Ozark Folk Festival.
  • Located in one of the downtown’s beautiful Victorian buildings, visit the Eureka Springs Historical Museum, which tells the story of the city’s history.
  • Take a walk through the woods and visit one of the many natural springs.
Enjoying a meal at the Springs on Main, like their house smoked turkey sandwich with fig jam is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
House Smoked Turkey Sandwich with Fig Jam at the Springs on Main, in Eureka Springs. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Where to Eat and Drink in Downtown Eureka Springs

  • A long list of brew pubs with great food scattered throughout downtown and outside the city limits, including BREWS, Sauced Barbeque & Brews and Eureka Springs Brewery. When we explored the city, we had a delicious lunch at The Spring on Main. The family favorite was the House Smoked Turkey Sandwich with Fig Jam.
  • The Beer Garden at Eureka Live Underground is home to downtown’s largest beer garden, a perfect setting for weekend afternoons

Eureka Springs Theaters and Live Music Venues

There are also a number of theaters, museums, and live music venues featuring famous acts and plays in or near downtown.

Eureka Springs attracts many theater fans with its production of The Great Passion Play, America’s #1 attended outdoor drama. This popular show plays out in an outdoor amphitheater. It features a cast of more than 100, live animals and dramatic lighting. It runs on Memorial Day through October. Open all year long on the same grounds as the play is the Christ of the Ozarks, Holy Land Tour, Moses Tabernacle in the Wilderness, a section of the Berlin wall, the Church in the Grove, the Bible Museum, the History Museum, Sacred Arts Museum, Noah’s Ark Park Petting Zoo, hiking trails and mountain bike trails.

As you walk the streets of downtown, you’ll hear live music coming from many of the bars and restaurants. Pick your favorite, grab a seat, order food and drink, and then sit back and enjoy. On our recent visit in April, Amy Grant was playing at Intrigue Theater. The entire downtown’s main streets bustled with fans, shopping, dining and enjoying the April sunshine.

In for late-night adult fun? Located in the heart of Downtown, Eureka Live is known for its dancing, entertainment and nightlife — and its exceptionally entertaining Drag Shows every Friday and Saturday.

More Things to do In Eureka Springs

  • Take a scenic train ride through the beautiful Ozark countryside on the historic Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway that dates back to the late 19th century.
  • Take a dip in one of the many natural springs. A number of these were discovered in 1856 by Dr. Alvah Jackson, who began promoting the area as a health resort. Eureka Springs is home to more than 60 natural springs within its city limits. Many are tucked in small caves and crannies.
Checking out the unique architecture of the Thorncrown Chapel is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
Located just 7 minutes from Eureka Springs, Visit the Thorncrown Chapel with its stunning architecture Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Attractions Near Eureka Springs

  • Visit the Thorncrown Chapel. On our way to Eureka Springs, we stopped at this world-famous chapel. Even my 7-year-old granddaughter thought the building was stunning. Made entirely of wood and glass, it sits on a hilltop overlooking the city.
  • On the National Register of Historic Places, the Blue Spring Heritage Center is a 33-acre privately-owned tourist attraction in the Arkansas Heritage Trails System containing native plants and hardwood trees in a setting of woodlands, meadows and hillsides. It is located at Highway 62 West, five miles (8 km) west of Eureka Springs, and open daily during warmer months for a fee. The Center also offers guided tours, a nature trail, picnic area, gift shop and museum.
  • Onyx Cave Park is a small show cave, about 1,000 feet long with a variety of rock formations, located about 6 miles east of Eureka Springs. It has been a tourist attraction since 1893, making it the oldest show cave in Arkansas. The cave does not contain onyx, but rather flowstone, also known as “cave onyx.” Tours are just 30 minutes and available April to October.
  • Built as a the dream home for Elise Quigley, Quigley’s Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic house and garden is located off Arkansas Highway 23 south of Eureka Springs. In addition, there are also several exciting collections on-site for you to view. These include a collection of fossils, arrowheads and butterflies. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the home from March through November
  • Lions, tigers, cougars, and – oh my! Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is an animal sanctuary that is home to big cats, bears, wolves and other animals rescued from captivity or neglect.
  • Visit the Pea Ridge National Military Park: This park commemorates the Battle of Pea Ridge, which was a major battle in the American Civil War.
Visiting the Beaver Lake dam is one of the things to do in Eureka Springs.
A man-made reservoir, Beaver Lake formed by a dam across the White River, is located in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas near Eureka Springs. Photo credit: Diana Rowe

Eureka Springs Outdoor Activities

  • Go hiking or biking in the Ozark Mountains. Eureka Springs is a great base for exploring.
  • Get ready for an adventure on a Eureka Springs Zip Line through the trees in the Ozark Mountains, only three minutes from downtown Eureka Springs. Zipping not your thing? Enjoy the mountain view from the Sky Deck observation area.
  • Located 9 miles northwest of Eureka Springs, Beaver Lake is 70 miles long, encompasses nearly 32,000 acres with 487 miles of natural shoreline. It’s a popular destination for swimming beaches, hiking trails, boating, fishing and more.
  • Spring-fed Lake Leatherwood is the perfect destination to cool off from the summer heat with water sports. This 85-acre lake features three miles of shoreline for swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing as well as 15 miles of trails with some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the area. It’s also home to one of the “largest hand-cut limestone dams in the nation.” Located two miles from Eureka Springs.
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Ozark Mountains on a scenic drive through the region, with stops at overlooks and other scenic attractions.

No matter what you are looking for in a vacation destination, Eureka Springs attractions offer a wide array of things to do. It is a unique and enjoyable town that is perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.

For more than 20 years, Denver-based freelance writer Diana Rowe has specialized in travel, family, and multigenerational family travel — and rightly so, with 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She writes for multiple publications including and, and her own blogs: &
Read full bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *