If you are not in good shape, or do not like climbing steeper type streets, stay at the bottom. The 1000 plus buildings and homes are on the gradual incline going up to the top where the Cresent Hotel rests. It could be as much as 1 1/2 miles to get there. We took a shortcut through the homes where an old stairway existed. It saved time in winding up the streets, but was steep. There are 56 miles of walls along the streets, so you can count the total miles around. A lot of the homes are built on tiered ledges overlooking the streets.
Around this area are many curves and winding roads. Caution is to go slow. In fact, advise on some curves is 15 miles per hour. I did not believe that until the tires squeeled from the sharp curves. By the way, there are not many guard rails stopping you form dropping over the edge of the road. The sheer drop in many areas is enough to scare you to death, if not kill you on the way down.
Watch where you park. The local officials do patrol the parking areas, and also the trolley lots. I imagine the tickets prices are enough to make it worth their while. On the street, many slots are forbidden, while others may allow 15 minutes, or so. Some lots are where they try to direct you. The price is a high charge of $1 per hour. That sucks. The trolley even charges $3 a day while you take their transportation.
Usually Eureka Springs is very quiet especially on weekdays. However, harleys will come rolling into town during weekends ie. Harleys Weekends which then makes it quite difficult to stay in hotels around Main Street and the shopping area of Spring Street as the noise is truly unbearable. Then there is the Corvette Weekend which happens in early Oct which jams up the streets. It's nice to see so many sports cars around but if you want peace and quiet, go somewhere else instead.
We stayed in Sycamore Cottage which is on the quiet countryside area of Spring Street. You're probably better off staying in cottages and B&Bs around here.
The first time we visited Eureka Springs, we arrived quite early and were lucky enough to find a parking spot on the street. The second time, we had to park in a parking lot. It cost $4.00 minimum and that is for 4 hours.
The streets are quite narrow in spots, and it is a must to park your car and either walk or take public transportation. I saw several times, SUVs trying to "squeeze" down streets that they had no business driving. Cars create danger for the public transportation...the open-air tram and the trollies have enough difficulty without fighting inexperienced drivers.
That is the reason they came up with the new gold Village Shuttle [it is better able to handle the narrow streets].
If you park in the public lot, know that you have to have single bills, and you need to fold them multiple times in order to fit the money into the narrow slots.
Don't get drunk here, you may end up married!!! An average of 6 couples get married here everyday.
On Valentine's Day, they can barely keep up with demand!