Gatlinburg is a popular mountain resort city positioned perfectly near one of three entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Though it’s not a large town, Gatlinburg provides plenty of opportunities for enjoyment no matter what you love to do on vacation. Enjoy the hospitality as you explore outdoors activities, take in some family fun, experience the culture and make some great memories.
There are plenty of options for shopping and dining as well as museums, theater and other entertainment, hiking or strolling along the downtown parkway that runs from one end of town to the other. Gatlinburg will greet you with a perfect mix of Appalachian charm and mountain heritage, making your stay a most memorable one.
Must-see Gatlinburg Attractions
Gatlinburg Space Needle: To experience breathtaking panoramic views 400 feet above Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains, don’t miss out on the Space Needle. It’s a steel tower that brings visitors to its observation deck via elevators. Check out the bird’s eye view through free viewfinders and learn all about the history and facts of Gatlinburg. Also at the Space needle is Arcadia, a 25,000-square-foot two-story playground boasting video and redemption games for some friendly competition. There’s also the Lazy Runner where you can challenge friends or family to a rousing game of laser tag.
Ripley’s attractions: Witness the weird and wild side of Gatlinburg, spend the afternoon exploring Ripley’s attractions, including Believe it or Not, Haunted Adventure, Mirror Maze and Candy Factory and the Guinness World Records Museum. See firsthand oddities like a giant transformer made of car parts, and eight-legged buffalo or vampire lady similar to what’s been seen on the famous television show Ripley’s Believe It or Not. For a frightfully fun time, visit the Haunted Adventure, a world-class haunted house. Meander through the halls and enjoy the thrill of ghouls and goblins jumping out at you!
Ziplines Family Adventure: For a unique outdoor experience, don’t miss out on ziplining! It’s an exciting, adventurous way to see the stunning mountain views and get a rush of adrenaline at the same time.
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre: Spend an evening at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, the longest-running and only musical comedy entertainment attraction in the Smokies. For a night full of stomach-aching laughter, hilarity and all-around good times, be sure to take in a show here.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: Get an up-close-and-personal look at 12-foot sharks, sea creatures, giant sea turtles, penguins and other marine life at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Marvel at the animals swimming all around you through clear underwater tunnels throughout the space. Travel to the rainforest, reef and ocean floor- right in the heart of the mountains.
Hollywood Stars Cars Museum: Movie and car enthusiasts will love the Hollywood Star Cars Museum. This space houses 40 authentic vehicles from feature films, television shows and real life. See transportation used in The Fast and The Furious, The Avengers, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Beverly Hillbillies and The Andy Griffith Show, as well as one of the world’s most famous cars, the Batmobile.
A Walk in the Woods “Since 1998:” The park itself is a must-see, whether you are driving through to take in the vistas or lacing up your boots for an up-close view. Spending some time in the great outdoors and the Smokies is also a great opportunity to learn about our nation's Appalachian background. Plan a guided nature walk or hike, have fun on a team-building adventure and just get some fresh air as you take in the wondrous mountain views.
Shopping and Dining in Gatlinburg
The Village: Just off the main street sits a quaint collection of 27 boutique shops, galleries and eating establishments. Boasting old world charm, The Village is the perfect place to take a stroll, peruse the hometown goods and grab a few souvenirs.
Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway Mall: With six unique shops here, this mall delivers a variety of local goods, including homemade candy and fudge and Native American pottery. It’s also the perfect place to play dress-up and take an old time photo.
The Peddler: One of Gatlinburg’s favorite steakhouses, The Peddler is a must-visit on your dining list. Known for its juicy steaks, The Peddler also features a stellar salad bar with everything you could want to create the perfect salad. Of course, ordering a steak is the reason for coming in, and carnivores will no doubt want to see if this eatery lives up to its reputation.
Bennett's BBQ: For a true Southern classic, look no further than Bennett's BBQ. With a menu full of mouth-watering pulled pork, ribs and other savory favorites, there’s no shortage of items to enjoy. Make sure to save room for the pecan pie!