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MichiganGirl

Visiting Arkansas in a week

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Hubby's work would rather he take 2 1-week vacations instead of 1 2-week vacation so we're coming to Arkasnas a little earlier. :yahoo: It works out because there is a family function in Jonesboro that we can now attend but while we're in the state we're going to go to Hot Springs and try very hard to go to the Northwest part of the state too. We're leaving Michigan the 27th of February - thankfully missing the winter storm you guys are getting. Do you guys have any suggestions of MUST SEE places while I'm down if I can get to them? With possibly relocating I'll be checking out everyday things as well but I was just wondering about suggestions of places/things that I need to see. Thanks in advance for any suggestions! :D

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1) Downtown

2) Shopping opportunities on west end of Central Avenue (opposite of downtown)

Edit:// southwest end of central is a more descriptive term....

Not sure about anything else................. it's winter.

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Yeah, being winter is going to dampen your visit. It's so much better when everything is green and people are out...right now it's cold, dreary, and trees are all bare...just won't get the true feeling until March. But, since you are coming now...here are some suggestions.

1. Don't use the city limits to dictate where you explore...while the population of Hot Springs is about 37,000...about another 50,000 live outside the city limits, mostly south of the lake. To get to areas south of the lake, take Central Ave/Hwy. 7 South and Airport Rd. /Hwy. 70 W off of the expressway. You'll be surprised at how much city is outside of the city lol.

2 Spend a lot of time exploring Central Ave...as this is the main north/south thoroughfare through the city and is where most businesses are concentrated. The best parts of Central are the northern end, in the national park, and the southern end, south of the expressway. The southern end is where all of the new/trendy development is happening. The city is growing to the south. The middle part of Central is nice in some areas, but some of it is run down with OLD motels and is an eyesore....but this only lasts for about a mile or two. Hot Springs has a lot of nice neighborhoods (especially on or near the lake) but it also has its share of run down areas, so don't be discouraged if you run across a bad area.

3. Stroll the downtown/national park area...it's a bit touristy, but when I lived in Hot Springs, I was always filled with pride walking downtown amongst the tourists. It made me proud to live there. I wish I still lived there...but job called me to Little Rock. :-(

4. Visit the chamber and get all the info you can on local city parks...there are some very nice ones. There's a new one called Entergy Park, on Lake Hamilton; Carpenter Dam Rd/Hwy. 128 exit off of the expressway. Garvin Botannical Gardens is also on Lake Hamilton...very awesome place...but not sure what it would be like this time of year. It's also off of this exit.

5. See the views of the city. Drive up West Mountain...there are 3 different lookout points / picnic areas...this was a favorite thing of mine to do when I lived there. I enjoyed looking down on the bustling city below. You can also drive up Hot Springs Mountain...it's where the mountain tower is. Daytime views are great, but nighttime views, you see more of the city from the lights that are hidden behind trees in the daytime.

6. Explore the surrounding areas. Hot Springs is in the very edge of the Ouachita Mountains..almost the foothills...go west into the mountains to Lake Ouachita, or north into the mountains to Hot Springs Village. Also, DeGray Lake is a very nice area about 15 miles south of Hot Springs on Hwy. 7. It's one of the most popular lakes in Arkansas.

7. Ok, this is making me sad that I don't live there anymore lol. The way I like to "test the waters" of a new place is just to participate as much as possible in the community while I'm there. Shopping and dining is a fun way to start. Get a schedule of events for the area and take in as much local flavor as you can. Again, not really sure what's going on right now...but I think something is always happening. There are several clubs/bars in the area...from mild to wild. Visit and socialize in one of the many clubs.

8. Do the touristy things, too...as a resident of a place like Hot Springs, you will be a part of many touristy activities...it's ok...they are fun...it makes you proud to live in such an attractive place. Soon, Magic Springs will be open. It's a theme park and water park, and is expanding every year. It's a very nice place.

9. Find some nice neighborhoods you like and drive around. I like to drive through residential areas and watch the people moving about, taking in the scenery around me, and imagining myself living there. This has always helped me decide whether I could live in a certain area or not.

10. Drive around a lot. There's no better way to evaluate a city without driving through it extensively. It's never a good idea to judge a city by a few main highways...that being said...it's also never a good idea to judge a city by undesirable areas you may see. Every city has them. Luckily, Hot Springs doesn't have too many. But, see as much of the city as you can.

It's really hard to come up with suggestions...but I did my best to express how I evaluate places.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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Hi guys, thanks again for your responses! I have a reason that I'm excited about coming down there in the winter. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it'll be GORGEOUS in the spring/summer/fall. It's beautiful here during those times (particularly fall) but winter, to me, has a way of really exposing a town for what it is, if that makes any sense at all. And since I'm not really coming for all the touristy type things I think the winter will make for a good time to come down. It'll certainly be warmer - one day it's supposed to be 77 there according to weather.com and here it's supposed to be about 39 so that'll be nice. If we like the area we'll come back down during the summer (I'm always looking for an excuse to see family anyway!).

I will, however, keep a very open mind regarding all the bare trees, dreariness and such (I suspect it's much like it is here in that respect just a little warmer). :) I plan to do lots of driving and sightseeing and plan to take a lot of pictures as well.

Tim, you came up with PLENTY of suggestions and I will take note of all of them (and yours too, Johnny) so thanks again! I really appreciate it. :) I don't have any other questions. We leave Monday for Nashville (where we're going first) and I'm very excited to be coming to Hot Springs! :yahoo:

Jenn

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Hi guys, thanks again for your responses! I have a reason that I'm excited about coming down there in the winter. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it'll be GORGEOUS in the spring/summer/fall. It's beautiful here during those times (particularly fall) but winter, to me, has a way of really exposing a town for what it is, if that makes any sense at all. And since I'm not really coming for all the touristy type things I think the winter will make for a good time to come down. It'll certainly be warmer - one day it's supposed to be 77 there according to weather.com and here it's supposed to be about 39 so that'll be nice. If we like the area we'll come back down during the summer (I'm always looking for an excuse to see family anyway!).

I will, however, keep a very open mind regarding all the bare trees, dreariness and such (I suspect it's much like it is here in that respect just a little warmer). :) I plan to do lots of driving and sightseeing and plan to take a lot of pictures as well.

Tim, you came up with PLENTY of suggestions and I will take note of all of them (and yours too, Johnny) so thanks again! I really appreciate it. :) I don't have any other questions. We leave Monday for Nashville (where we're going first) and I'm very excited to be coming to Hot Springs! :yahoo:

Jenn

I guess :-) . The races are on (Oaklawn horse track), so some parts of Central may be very crowded.

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