In and around Eureka Springs, a tourist resort in the far northwest of Arkansas, there are more than sixty springs. With its attractive old Victorian buildings, an artists’ colony, small museums and a varied entertainment program with the famous Passion Play and the old Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway, the city attracts visitors all year round. To the east of town is the interesting Onyx Cave and to the west is the Blue Spring, one of the most abundant springs in the Ozark Mountains.
1 Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is a glass chapel, set in a wooded area designed by renowned architect, E. Fay Jones. The chapel is a forty-eight-foot-tall wooden structure with 425 windows that gives the feeling of being open air. Thorncrown was the dream of retired school teacher, Jim Reed.
Address: 12968 Highway 62 West, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, United States
Official Site: https://www.thorncrown.com/
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2 The Great Passion Play
The Great Passion Play brings to life the epic drama surrounding Christ’s death and resurrection. The play is performed in an outdoor amphitheater and is based on the Old Testament prophecies and New Testament accounts of the last seven days of Jesus of Nazareth prior to, and including, His ascension into heaven.
Adres: 935 Passion Play Road
Official Site: https://www.greatpassionplay.org/
3 Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to abandoned, abused and neglected “big cats”. There are several habitats where the black bears and many of the cats can run and play on the grass and under the trees. The educational post provides information on the physiology of big cats.
Address: 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, United States
Official Site: https://www.turpentinecreek.org/
4 Eureka Springs en North Arkansas Railway Company
The original depot in Eureka Springs houses a collection of vintage rolling stock, a restored turntable, a handcar and a car equipped to run on rails. A restored steam train takes passengers on a 45-minute ride that departs from the depot.
The authentic railroad memorabilia of the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway recreates the turn of the century era, giving modern visitors a sense of what it was like when railroad service arrived in Eureka Springs in 1883.
Official Site: https://www.esnarailway.com/
5 St Elizabeth Catholic Church
The walkway leading to St Elisabeth’s Church is lined with the Stations of the Cross and a small prayer garden can be found on the side of the building. Visitors enter the church through the bell tower.
It is an interesting example of three types of architectural design: Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic. The Rotunda, or dome, is Byzantine in style and is modeled after the Church of St Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Adres: 30 Crescent Drive
6 Blue Spring Heritage Centre
Visitors to Blue Spring see prehistoric artifacts dating back 8,000 years, tour the old factory, and learn about the American Indians and their beliefs in the sanctity of Blue Spring. Blue Spring is one of the largest natural springs in the Ozark Mountains, sending 38 million gallons of water into the trout-filled lagoon every day.
Official Site: https://www.bluespringheritage.com/
7 Quigley Castle
Quigley’s Castle was the dream home of Elise Quigley, an Italian immigrant with a passion for gardening. Perennial gardens surround the house, with pretty paths, benches and other features. In the house are large tropical plants and trees, growing from natural soil on the first floor. There are a number of unique collections on display, from fossils to glassware.
Address: 274 Quigley Castle Road, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, United States
Official Site: https://www.quigleyscastle.com/
8 Onyx Cave Park
Located just a short drive east of Eureka Springs, Onyx Cave offers an easy opportunity to see some of the wonders of a natural cave. The cave is small and visitors can walk through it with relative ease on a self-guided tour that takes about half an hour or less. It’s a good introduction to caves and especially popular with families.
Where to stay in Eureka Springs for sightseeing
We recommend these convenient hotels in Eureka Springs, close to the shops, restaurants and attractions in town:
- Palace Hotel & Bath House Spa: Old-fashioned luxury, 1901 historic building, Victorian antique furnishings, spa treatments.
- Best Western Eureka Inn: mid-range rates, friendly staff, gazebo restaurant, inviting pool and Jacuzzi.
- The Trails Inn: affordable rates, breakfast included, small heated pool, homey atmosphere, short walk to restaurants and shops.
- Edelweiss Inn: budget hotel, good location, clean rooms, concierge, free parking.