You must have heard much about what Tennessee’s capital and Nashville, the home of country music, has in stock.
However, you cannot compare it with the combination of scenery and fun you will find in Gatlinburg in the east. It is a mountain resort town and is among the most popular in the country.
Though a small city, Gatlinburg is where you will find popular attractions, such as Sugarland Visitor Center, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Space Needle, Sweet Fanny’s Adams Theater, Hollywood Star Cars Museum, Village Shops, etc.
Gatlinburg will give you a lifetime of travel memories, and this article will show you some of the best and fun things to do in Downtown Gatlinburg!
Where is Downtown Gatlinburg?
Gatlinburg is a well-known city in Tennessee for its outdoor provisions and cultural thrills.
Most commonly called the “Gateway to the Smokies,” Gatlinburg is a lively city filled with fun and recreational activities, museums, festive events, and natural wonders that can entertain you for a few days or weeks.
In Gatlinburg, you don’t have to worry about where to stay, as there are numerous accommodations, including Greystone Lodge on the River (4-star near lots of nature), Bearskin Lodge on the River (featuring a big pool), Gatlinburg Mountain Condo (complete apartment), and Love Nest Chalet.
You can join hundreds of tourists who visit yearly to explore its beautiful mountains and enjoy a comfortable holiday in Gatlinburg. The following are some of the best things to do in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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Fun Things to Do In Downtown Gatlinburg, TN
1. Visit The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Each year, Gatlinburg city welcomes millions of visitors to its 522,427-acre facility, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It will give you an entertaining and fantastic nature trip with numerous features like crisp, clean air, scenic mountains, and many other outdoor experiences.
Some of its fascinating outdoor entertainments include wildlife viewing, riding on horseback, hiking, and biking. The most exciting part of it is its free admission.
You can begin your entertainment tour with a pit stop at the Sugarland Visitor Center, where you can get maps and an overview of the area.
After that, you can proceed towards hitting the trails and catching some of the park’s historical exhibits. The best among them here should be the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, which offers incredible scenery.
You can stop at the Park Vista (a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel) for rest or a meal.
Address: 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738-4102, US
2. Go to Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
Founded in 1973, the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway was established to offer a safer and cozier way to get to the ski area.
And it has become one of the best fun things you can’t afford to miss out on in Gatlinburg. It has also considered today one of the largest tramways in America.
Apart from being the safest and most enjoyable mode of transportation, this aerial tramway is also popular for its outstanding views.
During your enjoyable aerial tramway tour, you can soak up the incredible bird’s-eye vista of the Smokies and the Gatlinburg area.
When you reach the 11,088-foot high summit, explore its small zoo, skating rink, an amusement park. There are hotels nearby for you to stop and relax while tasting good meals.
Hotels like Margaritaville Resort are highly recommended for their tasty meals and relaxing provisions.
Address: 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738-4102
3. Gatlinburg Space Needle
In 1970, Gatlinburg Space Needle was created as an observation tower of over 407-foot. It is widely considered the most iconic attraction in Gatlinburg.
It is situated in a great position with a high elevation, making it an exciting place to enjoy an overlooking view of Gatlinburg.
This space needle is full of exhibits and activities that will fill your pit stop with enjoyable moments. You can take in the excellent panoramas and explore the educational exhibits and maps that detail the area’s history.
Video games are also available at the 25,000-square-foot Arcadia for game enthusiasts. Have a relaxing moment at Greystone Lodge on the river.
Address: 115 Historic Nature Trail Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
4. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
One of the most exciting things about Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is that it is always open to visitors 365 days a year. It is an award-winning aquarium that provides educational programs and interactive experiences.
You will be doing a lot of good by including this aquarium in your list of things to do in Gatlinburg.
The aquarium also houses many different sea animals and impresses them with its incredible animal experience and shows. You can enjoy a tour through the area, splash around with stingrays, and pet penguins.
Remember to see the underwater tunnel, where you’ll see sharks, tarpons, snappers, and sea turtles. River Terrace Resort & Convention Center is nearby for relaxing.
Address: 88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
5. Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community
Gatlinburg’s arts and crafts community is an 8-mile-long loop in Sevier County featuring over 100 shops and galleries. It forever stands as a living memory of the arts of Tennessee State.
If you are one of crafts and art enthusiasts, you can spare a few moments to explore the city’s arts and crafts community.
It displays different incredible pieces of handcrafted glass, pottery, and paintings skillfully crafted by international, national, and local artists.
You can see how craftsmen produce baskets and pottery or peruse photography and paintings at the Arrowmont School. Souvenirs are available for you to pick up during your tour around the place.
Address: 668 Glades Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
6. Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre
The Sweet Fanny Adams Theater has been a great source of entertainment for visitors with its outstanding musical comedies since its inception in 1977.
Because of its world-class displays, it is always regarded among Gatlinburg’s most innovative professional theater firms.
It was considered a National Historical Treasure and has shown to be a trusted entertainment center for visitors with its outrageous comedy, hilarious fun, and rib-cracking laughter. It features a 2-hour variety of displays, including magic and dancing.
They also present skits that often need small audience participation.
Address: 461 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
7. Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area
This amusement park and the ski area have existed as far back as 1962 and are in service every day of the year.
The Ober Gatlinburg is filled with action-packed activities that will have you book more trips to the city. It is not just a place for an amusement park but is also home to a ski area.
You will find a ski mountain coaster, mini golf, kiddie rides, and an in-house ice skating rink featuring snack bars and ice bumper cars.
If you’re visiting during the winter season, you can enjoy a snow tubing activity or go on a snowboarding or ski adventure.
Take part in the park’s four-season activities, such as a small zoo, kiddie park, and mountain coaster.
Address: 1339 Ski Mountain Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
8. Old Smoky Moonshine Distillery
Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Old Smoky Moonshine Distillery is the first federally legalized distillery in East Tennessee.
It features live bluegrass music and authentic moonshine and is an exciting relaxation center after a hectic exploring activity in Gatlinburg.
Apart from being a great relaxation place, with just a small fee, you can gain access to its museum, where you can get more knowledge about moonshine.
A moonshine store is available where you can sample a few great flavors, including the White Lightnin’, Original Moonshine, and Apple Pie Moonshine. You can book a room at Edgewater Hotel for rest.
Address: 903 Parkway #128, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
9. Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Established in 1996, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a fantastic museum with a selection of movie, celebrity-owned, and television vehicles.
You will find a more outstanding museum in East Tennessee than the Hollywood Star Cars. It houses over 40 popular Hollywood vehicles and is a bit of a paradise for car connoisseurs.
You are welcome to explore an extensive collection of Hollywood’s most popular cars, including the General Lee Dodge Charger in Duke of Hazard and the Ecto-1 in the Ghostbusters, amongst others.
Access is granted for visitors to take amazing photos in the driver’s seat. You will find it fun around here, as several other visitors are in attendance.
Address: 914 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
10. Sugarlands Distilling Company
Established as recently as 2014, Sugarlands Distilling Company is a popular place in downtown Gatlinburg and Tennessee that is worth visiting on any of your vacations in the city.
It greets visitors with its incredible cocktails and moonshine. It is a famous center for travelers and residents to gather and showcase their incredible spirits.
In addition, it provides exceptional souvenirs, glassware, and mountain apparel. You are free to access the place and witness how their spirits are being produced to perfection.
Apart from that, you can take a private and premium tour to learn how to make Tennessee whiskey and moonshine.
Address: 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
11. The Village Shops
The village shops in downtown Gatlinburg are a strip that features a selection of 27 restaurants and shops for foodies and shop enthusiasts, respectively.
A tour through the village shops is undoubtedly among the list of top things to do in the city, especially for couples. Apart from its many shops, it also features a romantic Old World European atmosphere.
You can explore the magical European touches of the strip, such as the heavy-carved indoors, homemade bricks, and gas lighting fixtures.
For a memorable Gatlinburg tour, you can experience a piece of its quaint shopping haven, where you will discover tons of unique crafts.
Address: 634 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
12. Gatlinburg Sky Bridge
This magnificent Gatlinburg’s Sky Bridge is a 680-foot-long man-made structure sitting just on the renowned SkyLift Park and is widely considered North America’s longest suspension bridge.
You can stroll over the pedestrian bridge and feel yourself journeying through the clouds. The bridge has a 150-foot high midpoint, where you will discover a fantastic view.
Crossing the bridge will enjoy an incredible view of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can see the landscape below at the midpoint via the bridge’s transparent glass-floor panels.
Address: 765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
13. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
You will find this fantastic mountain coaster along the Parkway of Gatlinburg. It is an enjoyable ride that can reach a speed of over 30 miles per hour. It will give you an incredible ride as you journey down the mountain on a sled-like cart.
Because the sled is firmly glued to the track, there is nothing to fear about flying off or flipping over, as it won’t even happen. Enjoy the wind flying through your hair as you speedily drive down the mountain on the sled.
If you are worried about doing it alone, you can go with a company in a double-rider car. After riding, you can head to the gift shop for your favorite souvenir photos.
Address: 360 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
14. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park
Located within the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, the Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park is 60,000 square feet of splashy indoor fun.
It isn’t considered among the best family-friendly attractions in Gatlinburg for nothing as it features heated indoor pools and unique slides. It provides hours of extreme fun.
Please find time to be here this weekend, as you will be offered a chance to float through the slow water and glide down one of its giant water slides.
You can come with your kids as you can leave them to have fun in the waterpark’s stunning interactive treehouse.
A relaxing center is nearby for accommodation at Westgate Resorts in Gatlinburg City.
Address: 915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
15. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
Situated on the Gatlinburg Bypass, the Scenic Overlook is an attraction center that visitors and residents of Gatlinburg find amazing, as it features an incredible overlooking view.
The most exciting part is that there is no fee attached to this stunning view spot, as visitors of all nooks and corners are welcome to take an unrestricted view of it.
From your standpoint on the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook, you’ll view the entire city from a bird’s angle.
The views are great at any period of the year. But the best time to visit is in the autumn when the leaves have changed into a palette of gold, orange, and red.
Address: Gatlinburg By-pass, Gatlinburg, TN, US
16. Mount Leconte
Indeed, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a tour to the 3rd tallest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains Park, otherwise known as Mount Leconte.
Standing at a staggering 2,010 meters, the hill, though not the tallest in the national park, is undoubtedly the most popular.
Mount LeConte has a vibrant history, different geological features, and incredible panoramas and is an excellent option for a memorable outdoor experience.
Enjoy hiking the Alum Cave Trail to the peak of Mount LeConte. While walking the trail, you will find several great viewpoints and incredible rocks, which create an interesting debacle.
Address: 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
17. Tennessee Homemade Wines
Situated in downtown Gatlinburg, the Homemade wines call for oenophiles with their exceptional handmade vinos.
This wine center shows that great wines are not only handcrafted on the West Coast. With this wine haven, you will have a great feel of different tasty crafted vinos with a touch of Southern Hospitality.
Each wine is also produced with local fruits, such as strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry. Feel free to take a few sips of wine varieties on your visit to Tennessee homemade wines.
You can also purchase one bottle of its most popular types like Old Apple Recipe, Blueberry Bammer, and White Knuckle grape.
Address: 643 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
18. Pancake Pantry
Pancake Pantry was the first pancake expert restaurant during its establishment in Tennessee in the 1960s.
For over 60 years now, it has remained as satisfying as ever with its array of culinary goodies. The pantry provides visitors with different waffles and 24 different kinds of pancakes.
Begin your day on the right note with a bunch of the pantry’s famous buttermilk pancakes. Apart from pancakes, the restaurant also offers delicious Georgia Peach Crepes, Pecan Pancakes, and Sweet Potato Pancakes.
Address: 628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
19. Gatlinburg SkyLift
The historic Gatlinburg SkyLift has been in service of soaring visitors to the peak of Crockett Mountain since its establishment in 1954.
And since then, it has been nothing short of a fantastic experience for visitors of every nook and corner of the world that uses it.
It is considered the longest-running tourist attraction in Gatlinburg to date.
This ride was established as a look-alike ski lift to provide visitors with a scenic and relaxing way of reaching even a 1,800-foot high mountain. You can take photos of the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains during the 6-minute ride.
You won’t lack thrilling Instagram views along the way, from blue hills to attractive rivers. There’s an observation deck, a gift shop, and a resting place at the peak.
Address: 765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
20. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum
The Pinball Museum is an incredible museum from ancient times and boasts over 100 limited-edition arcade games and pinball machines. It is worth something to do on your weekends in downtown Gatlinburg.
Contrary to other museums, you can play with your prized exhibits here.
Even though it is termed a museum, it operates as a live arcade where visitors from every part of the world are free to test out their machines. You can explore their limited-edition pinball machines like the Gottlieb Sky-Line.
Friendly workers are available for those looking for fun tidbits about specific games and pinball machines.
Address: 205 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US
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21. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
Even though you will find it the most unusual and weirdest place in downtown Gatlinburg, you cannot see Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Without being drawn to enter and see what is happening inside it.
That’s how attractive it is! It is a center that wows visitors with its oddities.
This center will give you a strange but most awesome viewing experience, as it features up to 600 displays that interest both kids and adults. It is a treasure trove of weird facts and unusual collections featuring informal tidbits to quirky exhibits.
You can enjoy the different ranges of visual displays and odd exhibits of the Odditorium. Among its bests are the 1800s vampire mauling kit and shrunken heads. In the end, you will be attracted to the show and the mysterious mirror mazes.
Even though it is a horror show, you wouldn’t want to miss out on it on your next visit to Gatlinburg.
Address: 800 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, US