23 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee | 2024 (with Photos)

Lara Mega

Lara Mega - Head of Content

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm Lara, a travel enthusiast who had an incredible time exploring Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I can't wait to share with you a list of exciting activities and hidden gems that will make your trip unforgettable.

Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, offers a wide range of attractions and activities for the entire family.

From exploring the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park to discovering the vibrant downtown area, this charming town promises unforgettable experiences.

In this article, we'll guide you through the top 23 things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee ensuring that your visit to this picturesque mountain destination is truly memorable.

So, let's get started.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Top Choice Hotel

The Park Vista - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant

The Peddler Steakhouse is a top choice restaurant in Gatlinburg, United States of America for food lovers.

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Best Time to Visit

Fall foliage, mild weather, and festive holiday atmosphere.

Average Temperature

Moderate average temperature with variations throughout the year.

Transportation Options

Cabs, buses, trolleys, walk, bike, rental cars, shuttles.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Gatlinburg, United States of America, is a charming mountain town that offers a unique blend of breathtaking natural beauty and exciting attractions. Spend your time here exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, immersing yourself in the wonders of nature, from picturesque hiking trails to stunning waterfalls – it's a nature lover's paradise.

In addition to its natural wonders, Gatlinburg also boasts a vibrant downtown area filled with quaint shops, delicious food, and lively entertainment. Take a stroll along the Parkway, where you can browse local artisanal crafts, indulge in mouthwatering Southern cuisine, and catch a live bluegrass performance - the perfect way to experience the authentic charm of this town.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  • Personal toiletries
  • A good book or entertainment device for the journey
  • Snacks and a water bottle for the trip
  • Money (cash and cards) for various expenses
  • Travel guide or map of Gatlinburg
  • Any necessary medication or first aid supplies
  • An open mind and adventurous spirit

What Not to Miss

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Ober Gatlinburg
  3. Gatlinburg Space Needle
  4. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
  5. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
  6. Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community
  7. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
  8. Anakeesta
  9. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
  10. Sugarlands Distilling Company

What to Avoid

  1. Heavy crowds during peak tourist seasons.
  2. Overpriced tourist traps.
  3. Neglecting to plan ahead for parking.
  4. Getting stuck in traffic on the main road.
  5. Disregarding local rules and regulations.
  6. Poorly maintained hiking trails.
  7. Ignoring weather forecasts and preparedness.
  8. Not making reservations for popular attractions or restaurants.
  9. Falling for unnecessary add-ons or upgrades.
  10. Keeping valuables visible in your car.

1. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

This national park offers amazing scenery, majestic great smoky mountains, and miles of hiking trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail.

The park is a haven for outdoor adventures, with opportunities for horseback riding, wildlife spotting, and exploring mountain streams and waterfalls.

2. Stroll through Downtown Gatlinburg, a Place for the Entire Family

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

Downtown Gatlinburg is the bustling heart of this region's tourist attraction. With plenty of things to do, you'll find unique shops, delicious dining options, and exciting Gatlinburg attractions.

Take a ride on the Gatlinburg Trolley to explore the area with ease or catch a show at the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre for some family fun.

This is exactly what makes it one of the most fun things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

3. Go to the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook for the View of the Mountains

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is a must-visit destination, offering stunning views of the smoky mountains and surrounding Appalachian Mountains.

This scenic overlook is accessible via a short drive along Newfound Gap Road, making it an ideal spot for capturing memorable photos of your visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

4. Enjoy a Day at Ober Gatlinburg, a Ski Resort That Offers Family Fun

Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort and amusement park nestled in the smoky mountains, providing fun for the whole family.

The ski area features snow tubing, ice skating, and an alpine slide for year-round excitement.

In addition to winter sports, Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park offers a thrilling ski area, Mountain Coaster, and the Aerial Tramway, which takes you on a scenic ride from downtown Gatlinburg to the mountaintop park.

Therefore, whether you are into snow tubing, you want to alpine slide or just enjoy yourself at an amusement park, Ober Gatlinburg is a great place to visit when you travel to Gatlinburg.

5. Visit the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum To Play Retro Arcade Games

Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

The Gatlinburg Pinball Museum is an interactive museum that showcases a unique collection of pinball machines and retro arcade games.

This downtown Gatlinburg attraction is perfect for both kids and adults, offering nostalgic entertainment and an opportunity to play classic arcade games for a memorable experience.

6. Experience the Thrill of Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon River

Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon Rive

For thrill-seekers, whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River is an exhilarating activity in Gatlinburg TN.

With both gentle and challenging rapids, visitors can experience the breathtaking scenery of the mountains while navigating the river.

Outfitters in the area offer guided trips on the Upper Pigeon River for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

7. Enjoy Mini Golf at Hillbilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf is a quirky and entertaining mini golf course in Gatlinburg TN.

Hillbilly Golf is set on a steep hillside, offering a challenging and fun experience for the entire family, or anyone else who enjoys mini-golf.

Compete with your loved ones and create lasting memories as you play mini golf through this unique course.

8. Take a Look at Famous Vehicles at the Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Hollywood Star Cars Museum

The Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg showcases an impressive collection of famous vehicles from popular movies and TV shows.

With detailed exhibits and interactive displays, visitors can get up close and personal with iconic cars like the Batmobile, General Lee, and more.

This family-friendly attraction is a must-visit for car enthusiasts and movie buffs alike.

9. Shop at the Mountain Mall in Gatlinburg

Mountain Mall in Gatlinburg

Mountain Mall, located in downtown Gatlinburg, offers a diverse shopping experience.

This Mountain Mall features a variety of unique shops and boutiques, selling everything from handcrafted goods to outdoor gear. Browse the aisles and find the perfect souvenir to remember your visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

That said, After a day of shopping, relax at one of the mall's eateries, and enjoy a delicious meal or snack while recounting the day's discoveries and treasures found in this unique shopping haven.

10. Venture to Pigeon Forge and Enjoy a Day at Dollywood Theme Park

Dollywood Theme Park

A short drive from Gatlinburg brings you to Pigeon Forge, home to Dollywood Theme Park.

This family-friendly theme park offers thrilling rides, live entertainment, and delicious food.

With a variety of attractions suitable for all ages, Pigeon Forge is a great addition to your Gatlinburg vacation.

Create lasting memories with your loved ones as you explore this beloved theme park and immerse yourself in the world of Dolly Parton's Appalachian roots and creative vision.

11. Take in the Panoramic Views From the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Gatlinburg Space Needle

The Gatlinburg Space Needle offers stunning panoramic views from its observation deck.

Overlooking the mountains and downtown Gatlinburg, this Gatlinburg scenic overlook provides an unparalleled perspective of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.

Additionally, as day turns to night, from the Gatlinburg Space Needle you can marvel at the twinkling city lights below and the starry sky above, creating a magical experience that you'll never forget.

The observation deck of the needle also features an arcade and a souvenir shop for visitors to enjoy.

12. Ride the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster and Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster and the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster offer adrenaline-pumping excitement with twists, turns, and beautiful mountain views.

These mountain coasters provide a thrilling experience for everyone, weaving through the forests and hillsides of the smoky mountains. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride as you race down the tracks.

These exhilarating coasters are perfect for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike, combining beautiful scenery with heart-pounding excitement for an unforgettable adventure.

13. Visit the Ober Gatlinburg Ice Skating Rink

Ober Gatlinburg Ice Skating Rink

The Ober Gatlinburg Ice Skating Rink is an indoor ice-skating facility providing fun for the whole family.

Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, this popular activity offers a chance to glide across the ice while enjoying the festive atmosphere of the ski resort.

After skating, explore the other attractions at Ober Gatlinburg, such as snow tubing, skiing, or visiting the wildlife encounter, making it a memorable day for everyone in the family.

14. Hike the Alum Cave Trail, the Most Picturesque Area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alum Cave Trail

The Alum Cave Trail is a moderately challenging hike that takes you through picturesque areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Along the trail, hikers encounter stunning views, unique geological formations, and a variety of flora and fauna. The trail culminates at the Alum Cave Bluffs, a spectacular sight that makes the trek well worth the effort.

Don't forget your camera, as you'll want to capture these unforgettable moments to share with friends and family.

After the hike, reminisce about the adventure and share your favorite stories with loved ones.

15. Discover the Mysterious Mansion

Mysterious Mansion

The Mysterious Mansion is one of Gatlinburg's haunted houses that offers spine-chilling tours filled with scares and surprises.

Armed with actual ghost-hunting equipment, visitors can explore the creepy halls and rooms of this spooky attraction, making it a thrilling experience for fans of the paranormal.

With heart-pounding scares at every turn, the Mysterious Mansion is perfect for fans of the paranormal.

Gather your bravest friends and test your courage as you navigate the spine-chilling halls of the Mysterious Mansion.

16. Explore the Gatlinburg Crafts Community

Gatlinburg Crafts Community

The Gatlinburg Crafts Community is a vibrant arts and crafts district that showcases local artisans and their handcrafted wares.

Wander through the various studios and shops, watch artists at work, and find unique, handmade souvenirs to take home as a reminder of your visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

It's the perfect place to immerse yourself in local culture and find one-of-a-kind keepsakes to remember your visit.

Take the time to chat with the artisans and learn about the stories behind their unique creations.

17. Enjoy Wild Mountain Trout at One of the Many Restaurants in Gatlinburg

Smoky Mountain Trout House

Gatlinburg is known for its delicious wild mountain trout, a local culinary staple. Sample this Tennessee delicacy at one of the many restaurants in the area.

Paired with the perfect wine or local craft beer, this dish is a must-try for food lovers.

Indulge in the rich flavors and savor the exquisite taste of wild mountain trout, expertly prepared by Gatlinburg's finest chefs.

18. Drive the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a Scenic Loop Offering Stunning Views

Roaring Fork Motor Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is a scenic loop drive offering stunning views, historic cabins, and access to popular hiking trails like the Grotto Falls trail.

This picturesque drive takes you through the heart of the mountains and provides ample opportunities for photography and wildlife spotting.

Don't miss this chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Pack a picnic and take your time exploring the many scenic spots along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

19. Cross the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge at Gatlinburg Skylift Park

Gatlinburg Skylift Park

The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park features the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the United States.

Offering incredible views of the mountains, visitors can walk across the bridge, take in the scenery, and enjoy the thrill of being suspended high above the forest floor.

Face your fear of heights and create a thrilling memory that will last a lifetime.

Snap photos from the bridge's center to commemorate your daring adventure amidst the breathtaking Smoky Mountains.

20. Visit Cades Cove, a Picturesque Valley in the National Park

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is a picturesque valley within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, featuring historic buildings, abundant wildlife, and scenic mountain views.

The Cades Cove Loop Road offers a leisurely drive through the valley, with numerous stops for photography and exploration of the area's rich history.

Witness the beauty and history of Cades Cove, creating lasting memories of your time in the Smoky Mountains.

Take a guided tour or explore on your own to fully appreciate the region's natural and historical wonders.

21. Hike the Laurel Falls Trail

Laurel Falls Trail

Laurel Falls is a popular, paved trail in the national park, leading to the beautiful 80-foot falls which are one of the biggest Gatlinburg attractions.

This moderately easy hike is suitable for the whole family and offers an opportunity to witness the natural beauty of the smoky mountains up close.

The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, making it an enjoyable hiking experience for visitors of all ages and skill levels.

As you traverse the lush landscape, you'll be surrounded by the rich flora and fauna of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Keep an eye out for wildlife, as you might spot deer, squirrels, and various bird species along the way.

22. Play a Round of Golf at the Gatlinburg Golf Course

Gatlinburg Golf Course

The Gatlinburg Golf Course is nestled in the scenic mountain valley and features a challenging and enjoyable golfing experience for all skill levels.

Surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the smoky mountains, this golf course provides a relaxing and memorable outing for golf enthusiasts.

23. Savor the Local Flavors at the Tennessee Cider Company

Tennessee Cider Company

The Tennessee Cider Company is a delightful stop in Gatlinburg, offering tastings of their artisanal ciders in a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Sample a variety of flavors and learn about the cider-making process during your visit, and unwind after a day of exploring the many attractions in Gatlinburg, TN.

The Tennessee Cider Company prides itself on using locally sourced apples and ingredients to craft its unique and refreshing ciders.

As you sip on their various offerings, you'll experience the taste of East Tennessee with every drop.

In addition to the tastings, their knowledgeable staff is always eager to share the history of the company, as well as interesting facts about the region and its apple-growing heritage.

FAQs About Things to do in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Let's take a look at some of the questions that often come up when talking about Gatlinburg attractions, and fun things to do in the area.

What can I expect when visiting the Gatlinburg Trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

When visiting the Gatlinburg Trail in Gatlinburg, you can expect an easy hiking trail that winds through the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It offers a scenic, mostly flat walk along the river, making it a perfect activity for families.

The trail is also one of the few pet-friendly trails in the park, so feel free to bring your furry friend along for the adventure.

What is unique about River Road in Gatlinburg, TN?

River Road in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is unique due to its picturesque street which runs parallel to the Little Pigeon River.

It offers a more peaceful and scenic alternative to the bustling Parkway, with charming shops, restaurants, and easy access to some of Gatlinburg's most popular attractions.

Additionally, not far from here those who enjoy whitewater rafting can do just that.

What is the Moonshine Mountain Coaster in Gatlinburg, TN?

The Moonshine Mountain Coaster is an exciting and family-friendly mountain coaster attraction in Gatlinburg TN.

Riders can control their speed as they race through the Mountains' stunning terrain, making it a thrilling experience for visitors of all ages.

What is the best time of year to visit Gatlinburg, TN?

Spring and fall are great times of the year to visit Gatlinburg, TN. These seasons offer mild temperatures and beautiful foliage, while summer also provides opportunities for outdoor activities and events.

That said, winter is a fantastic time to enjoy the ski resort at Ober Gatlinburg and other seasonal attractions.

What can I expect from a dueling zipline adventure in Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

A dueling zipline adventure in Gatlinburg offers a thrilling and exhilarating experience as you race through the treetops of the Smoky Mountains.

With side-by-side ziplines, you can challenge friends and family to a high-speed race while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

How far is Gatlinburg, TN, from the Mississippi River?

Gatlinburg, TN, is approximately 450 miles east of the Mississippi River.

Although it's not in close proximity to the river, Gatlinburg offers its own unique experiences and attractions, making it a worthwhile destination for travelers seeking adventure in the mountains.

Summing up: Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

So, there you have it. In this post, we've covered a variety of exciting activities and attractions in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, from outdoor adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the sweet fanny adams theatre and Gatlinburg Trolley in Downtown Gatlinburg.

With so much to see and do, there's something for everyone in this beautiful East Tennessee town.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your unforgettable trip to Gatlinburg today.