8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Eureka Springs
In and around Eureka Springs, a tourist resort in the extreme north-west of Arkansas, there are more than sixty springs. With its attractive old Victorian buildings, an artists' colony, small museums, and a varied program of entertainment that includes the well known Passion Play, and the old-time Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway, the town draws visitors throughout the year. To the east of the town is the interesting Onyx Cave and to the west is the Blue Spring, one of the most abundant springs in the Ozark Mountains.
See also: Where to Stay in Eureka Springs
1 Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is a glass chapel, situated in a woodland setting designed by noted architect, E. Fay Jones. The Chapel is a forty-eight foot tall wooden structure with 425 windows that gives it 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
2 The Great Passion Play
The Great Passion Play brings to life the epic drama surrounding Christ's death and resurrection. Performed in an outdoor amphitheater, the play 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.
Address: 935 Passion Play Road
3 Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to abandoned, abused and neglected "big cats". There are various habitat areas, where the black bears and many of the cats can run and play on the grass and under the trees. The Education Station provides details on the physiology of big cats.
Address: 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, United States
4 Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway Company
The original depot in Eureka Springs houses a collection of vintage rolling stock, a restored turntable, a handcar, and an automobile outfitted to run on the rails. A restored steam train takes passengers on a 45 minute ride departing from the depot.
The authentic railroad memorabilia of the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway re-creates the turn-of-the-century era allowing modern visitors a glimpse of how it was when rail service arrived in Eureka Springs in 1883.
5 St Elizabeth Catholic Church
The walkway leading to St Elizabeth Church is lined with the Stations of the Cross and a small prayer garden can be found at the side of the building. Visitors enter the church through the bell tower.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, St Elizabeth is an interesting example of three types of architectural design: Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic. The Rotunda, or dome, is Byzantine in style and is fashioned after the Church of St Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Address: 30 Crescent Drive
6 Blue Spring Heritage Center
Visitors to Blue Spring see prehistoric artifacts that date back 8,000 years, visit the old mill site, and learn about the American Indians and their belief in the sacredness of Blue Spring. Blue Spring is one of the largest natural springs in the Ozark Mountains sending 38 million gallons of water each day into the trout-filled lagoon.
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 home, with lovely paths, benches, and other features. Inside the home are full size tropical plants and trees, growing from natural ground soil on the first floor. On display are a number of unique collections, from fossils to glassware.
Address: 274 Quigley Castle Road, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, United States
8 Onyx Cave Park
The Onyx Cave is located just a short drive east of Eureka Springs and 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 a half hour or less. It is a good introduction to caves and particularly 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-style luxury, historic 1901 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 feel, short walk to restaurants and shops.
- Edelweiss Inn: budget hotel, good location, clean rooms, concierge, free parking.