Reading the other reviews, maybe I am not so disappointed with the downtown area because I had absolutely no expectations going in. I have not spent hardly any time in Arkansas. This was our first trip to Hot Springs and we definitely plan on visiting again in the near future. I was not offended or put off by the array of people walking around the area. We had our 2 and 4 year old boys with us and never felt threatened or worried at all. As a matter of fact, I commented to my husband on how friendly everyone was and how nice that is. There wasn't a large amount of shopping there but I found it charming in an eclectic way. I did find a fabulous soap shop which I fell in love with there and I'm certain that I have become a long-time customer. Also, we found a great toy shop which my kids enjoyed playing with the trains. My husband and I enjoyed finding toys that we played with as children and the owner was very kind. I am intrigued with the history here and would have loved to have visited the Ohio Club but wanted to avoid the smoke for my children's sake. Due to time constraints, we didn't have time for the wax or gangster museums, but we fully intend to check them out on our next trip to town. Yes, the t-shirt shops are there but aren't they always in any tourist area? A great day well spent and I must say that Hot Springs moved to the "must return to" vacation spot for our family!
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