downtown gatlinburg during the holidays

As the winter chill comes to the beautiful rolling mountains of the Smokies, so do the holiday events in Gatlinburg. Check out our list below for celebrations and activities that will keep you cheery and festive throughout the season.

Trolley Ride of Lights

November 7, 2018–January 26, 2019
Every year the city of Gatlinburg is baked in lights, setting the stage for a spectacular trolley ride. For only five dollars, you can enjoy a heated ride through the City and see LED displays featuring native wildlife. Trolley ride times at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m. nightly, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (no trolley tours these days). Kids under age three are free if they sit on an adult’s lap. The Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights this year showcases the latest $1.6 million investment of custom lighting and displays.

Festival of Trees

November 21–25, 2018
Trees, wreaths, and crafts, oh my! This free event has been bringing joy to guests for 45 years! The event will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains and is presented by the Gatlinburg Hospitality Solutions. This year there will be an area for kids to play and create their own crafts, entertainment throughout the week, photo opportunities with Santa, and plenty of Christmas trees and wreaths that can be purchased. On the 24th of November, there will be two opportunities to have breakfast with Santa (8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.) for a fee that also includes a holiday treat bag for kids.

Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

November 23–December 22, 2018
Take a stroll through the streets of Gatlinburg and hear caroling during this unique event. Every Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving from 5:00–9:30 p.m. you’ll be able to listen to a mix of country, Appalachian, and bluegrass music.

Great Smoky Mountain Thanksgiving and Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

November 20-25, 2018 and November 26-December 2, 2018
These annual events are located in the heart of Gatlinburg at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Meet vendors from the community and view the workings of artisans from the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community in one location. From paintings and pottery to candles and musical instruments, there is such a variety in the items available you won’t want to miss it!

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

December 7, 2018
Find a spot along the Parkway to sit or purchase a bleacher seat and view this nighttime parade. The parade starts at 7:30 p.m. and is presented by Ole Red Gatlinburg, a new entertainment venue that is slated to open in the spring of 2019. Listen to marching bands, watch dancers, and see Santa Claus himself as the parade makes its way from Baskins Creek Bypass to light #10 in Gatlinburg.

Ollie’s Festive Follies

November 22–December 31, 2018 (select dates)
This special holiday show at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre in downtown Gatlinburg is certain to provide a good amount of laughs and be unlike any show you’ve seen before. This celebration includes a sing-a-long, an abbreviated version of “A Christmas Carol,” and plenty of comedy.

Do you like our list? There were so many this year we had to make two posts! Make sure you also check out our blog post for holiday events that are happening in Pigeon Forge and see our list of activities in Gatlinburg.


Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About April Sadowski

April Sadowski is a wife, mother of a toddler, and a travel junkie. She's a content author for the Smoky Mountain region and is always looking for the latest tip for making a vacation a memorable one.

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