What to do in gatlinburg?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 9, 2024

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Gatlinburg's crown jewel, attracting millions of visitors each year. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a plethora of activities for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

Hiking Trails

The park boasts over 800 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry routes. Some of the most popular trails include the Alum Cave Trail, which offers stunning views and leads to the summit of Mount LeConte, and the Laurel Falls Trail, which culminates in a picturesque waterfall.

Wildlife Viewing

The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and elk. Cades Cove is a particularly popular spot for wildlife viewing, offering a scenic loop road with plenty of opportunities to spot animals.

Historic Sites

Explore the park's rich history by visiting historic buildings and structures. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail features preserved log cabins and grist mills, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of early settlers.

Discover Downtown Gatlinburg

Downtown Gatlinburg is a bustling hub of activity, offering a mix of attractions, dining, and shopping experiences.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Voted one of the top aquariums in the United States, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies features a wide variety of marine life, interactive exhibits, and even a penguin playhouse. The underwater tunnel provides an immersive experience, allowing visitors to walk through a tank filled with sharks, stingrays, and other sea creatures.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

Ride the iconic yellow SkyLift to the top of Crockett Mountain, where you'll find the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. The SkyDeck offers panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains, and the SkyTrail provides a scenic walking path with additional viewpoints.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery

Experience the flavors of the Smoky Mountains with a visit to Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and process of moonshine production, and sample a variety of unique flavors, from classic apple pie to adventurous options like pickle and peanut butter.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Gatlinburg is a great destination for families, offering a wide range of attractions that cater to all ages.

Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a year-round amusement park and ski resort. In the winter, hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, or try snow tubing and ice skating. During the warmer months, enjoy activities like the alpine slide, scenic chairlift rides, and a wildlife encounter exhibit.


Anakeesta is a mountaintop adventure park that offers a variety of attractions for the whole family. Ride the Chondola to the summit, where you'll find treetop canopy walks, ziplines, a mountain coaster, and stunning gardens. The park also features dining options and shops with local crafts and souvenirs.

Gatlin's Fun Center

Gatlin's Fun Center offers a range of indoor and outdoor activities, including mini-golf, laser tag, bumper cars, and an escape room. It's a perfect spot for family fun and entertainment.

Scenic Drives and Overlooks

For those who prefer to take in the beauty of the Smokies from the comfort of their car, Gatlinburg offers several scenic drives and overlooks.

Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road is a scenic drive that spans 33 miles from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, North Carolina. The road climbs to an elevation of 5,046 feet at Newfound Gap, offering stunning views and access to several trailheads and overlooks.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

This one-way loop road is a 5.5-mile drive through a lush forested area, featuring historic buildings, waterfalls, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. The trailhead for the popular Grotto Falls hike is also located along this route.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6,643 feet, offers breathtaking views from its observation tower. The 7-mile drive to the Clingmans Dome parking area is scenic, and the half-mile hike to the tower is steep but rewarding.

Local Culture and Heritage

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area.

Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community

Explore the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, an 8-mile loop of galleries, studios, and shops featuring the work of local artisans. From pottery and paintings to handmade jewelry and woodwork, you'll find unique, handcrafted items that capture the spirit of the Smokies.

Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum

One of the quirkiest attractions in Gatlinburg, the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum features over 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers from around the world. The museum offers a fascinating look at the history and variety of these everyday items.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts offers workshops, classes, and exhibitions in a range of artistic disciplines. Visitors can tour the campus, view rotating exhibits, and even participate in a workshop to create their own piece of art.

Dining and Nightlife

Gatlinburg boasts a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, with options to suit every taste and budget.

Local Eateries

Sample Southern cuisine and local specialties at one of Gatlinburg's many eateries. The Pancake Pantry is a beloved breakfast spot, while The Peddler Steakhouse offers a cozy, lodge-style dining experience with delicious steaks and a salad bar.

Craft Breweries and Distilleries

In addition to Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, Gatlinburg is home to several craft breweries and distilleries. Sample local brews at Gatlinburg Brewing Company or try unique spirits at Sugarlands Distilling Company.

Live Music and Entertainment

Enjoy live music and entertainment at one of Gatlinburg's many venues. The Smoky Mountain Brewery features live music several nights a week, while Ole Red Gatlinburg, owned by country star Blake Shelton, offers live performances and Southern-inspired cuisine.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Gatlinburg hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from local culture to holiday traditions.

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

During the summer months, Gatlinburg's streets come alive with Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales, a nightly event featuring costumed storytellers, musicians, and dancers. The event offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair

Held twice a year in July and October, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair showcases the work of talented artisans from across the country. The event features live demonstrations, music, and a wide variety of handcrafted items for sale.


Gatlinburg transforms into a winter wonderland during Winterfest, which runs from November through February. The event features millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and a variety of holiday-themed activities and events.

Relax and Unwind

After a day of exploring, take some time to relax and unwind in one of Gatlinburg's many spas or wellness centers.

Hot Stone Massage

Indulge in a hot stone massage at one of Gatlinburg's relaxing spas. This therapeutic treatment uses heated stones to melt away tension and stress, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

Yoga and Meditation

Find your inner peace with a yoga or meditation session. Many local studios offer classes for all skill levels, providing a serene environment to center your mind and body.

Soak in a Hot Tub

Many of Gatlinburg's cabins and lodges feature private hot tubs, offering a perfect way to unwind while soaking in the natural beauty of the Smokies. Enjoy a quiet evening under the stars, letting the warm water soothe your muscles after a day of adventure.

With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and endless array of activities, Gatlinburg offers something for everyone. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, this charming mountain town is ready to welcome you with open arms.