Gatlinburg isn’t just the gateway to the Smokies, it’s also a gateway to the perfect getaway for small or large families and groups. Whether you’re an adventurer, foodie, thrill seeker or shopper, Gatlinburg offers plenty of fun to make your visit an unforgettable one. Peruse the selections below to see how many things to do in Gatlinburg there are!
Things to Do in Gatlinburg For Adults
Gatlinburg isn’t just an amazing destination for kids, adults can also find plenty of exciting activities here, too! Here are some great things to do in Gatlinburg for the young at heart.
Take some special time for yourself at Fox Place Salon and Spa. With numerous services available, you can schedule a rejuvenating massage, facial treatment, or a body wrap or scrub to relax and regroup. Compliment your spa treatments with hair and nail services in the salon by the talented and friendly staff. You will leave looking and feeling your best and will be ready for all of the wonderful things the Smoky Mountains have to offer you!
A challenging and fun activity for adults, the Captured Live Escape Experience is a Gatlinburg activity that’s unique and rewarding. You’re invited to dinner, and you’re the main course in this twisted cannibalistic tale of the historical Craft family and how they came to crave human flesh. You only have 60 minutes to complete puzzles and riddles and discover the clues that will lead to freedom. Good luck!
Experience the creativity of the first legal moonshine distillery in Tennessee at Ole Smoky Moonshine and Distillery. With so many unique flavors to taste and enjoy, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular spots for adults in the Smokies. Taste this historic southern treat and bring some home to share with friends. It’s been said the most remarkable conversations are had over a jar of Smoky Mountain moonshine.
Looking to take in the best panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains? Then you definitely want to put Gatlinburg SkyLift Park on your list of things to do in Gatlinburg. Hop on the scenic chairlift to the summit of Crockett Mountain, where you’ll be greeted with spectacular mountain vistas. Once you reach the top, relax and enjoy a snack or craft beer atop the newly renovated SkyDeck. For even more magnificent views, take a nice stroll across America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, the brand new SkyBridge. The SkyBridge crosses the sky as it stretches 680 feet across a deep valley. With a height of 140 feet at its midpoint, the SkyBridge is an experience you’ll never forget.
Once called a “moonshiners’ paradise,” Gatlinburg is home to the Sugarlands Distilling Company. American Peach, Silver Cloud, and Dynamic Cinnamon are just a few of the many moonshine flavors you’ll be dying to try at Sugarlands Distilling Company. From what used to stand as a dilapidated barn, has now been repurposed to a beautiful and finely aged building. Witness the handcrafted process of a truly one-of a-kind moonshine. Learn about the company’s rich history in the industry. Just don’t forget to take a jar or two home with you after your tour! If you’re a fan of the TV series “Moonshiners” you’ll recognize the people behind the Legends series. They feature the recipes of Mark and Digger, Jim Tom Hedrick, Mark Rogers, and Steven Tickle. Sugarlands started their “Whiskey Project,” with three different batches in 2016.
The Great Smoky Mountain’s rich history is showcased on the labels from Sugarland Cellars Winery, located at the Gatlinburg entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sugarland Cellars offers daily tours and complimentary wine tasting, great for small to large groups! The gift shop is filled with plenty of wine-related gifts and Smoky Mountain memories. Visitors enjoy carefully selected fine wines crafted on site from pure passion and a rich mountain history. They are a part of the Rocky Top Wine Trail, so if you want to start a Passport, this is a good place to start. They offer dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and specialty wines. If you want to see how wines are made, they offer free tours Monday through Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 1:00-5:00 PM every half hour. If you have a group, just call ahead. Tastings are always free.
At the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll find the supreme sensory experience of the local history and traditions in the sweet wines of Tennessee Homemade Wines. This winery specializes in time-tested family recipes using locally grown fruit not limited to grapes, but including muscadines, peaches, blueberries, apples and more. Swing by their locations on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg or at the Tanger Outlets for a wine tasting to try flavors like Blueberry Bammer, White Knuckle Grape, Proper Peach and Fine Blackberry. Purchase a few varieties to take with you, and remember the delicious taste of Smoky Mountain fruit wines no matter where your final destination may be. When you run out of your souvenirs later at home, you can always order more at their online shop with shipping to 38 states.
Places to Go in Gatlinburg For Foodies
For comfort food lovers visiting Gatlinburg, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen is a must-visit while you’re in town. Offering classic fried chicken, brined and fried until juicy and crispy, with a wide variety of handmade sides, it’s easy to create your ideal meal at Mama’s. They also offer fried chicken buckets with homemade biscuits, big enough to feed a group, and bone-in or boneless fried chicken wings. For those looking for a lighter meal, their salads are well-known and loved for the fresh ingredients they use, and you can still enjoy the delicious fried chicken as part of a salad, too!
While you’re visiting Gatlinburg, be sure to stop by J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe for fresh, delicious subs, wings and cheesesteak sandwiches made with simple, all-natural ingredients. Their subs and sandwiches come in two sizes (depending on your hunger levels!) and they offer an array of crafted sides to fill out their platter options. You can choose freshly-baked white or wheat bread, gluten-free wraps, or the “JOE in a Bowl” which takes the ingredients of any sub and places them into a bowl atop shredded lettuce. J.O.E. and Pop’s also offers all-beef hot dogs and chicken wings in a wide variety of flavors!
An inviting, relaxing atmosphere is what this tasty southern pub and grill is all about. Of course, their menu includes heaps of flavorful nachos, juicy burgers, and everything a good hometown grill should have. Give Earl’s Favorite a try–a thick 8oz. beef burger on a toasted bun topped with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, tomato, and stone ground mustard. It’s simply the perfect end to your adventurous day in the Great Smoky Mountains. Southern comfort food has never sounded so good!
This local and family-owned pizza joint offers the freshest ingredients and is commonly referred to as one of the best pizzas in town! A staple in the community, Geno’s has been serving locals and visitors of the area since 1984. There’s no better way to end your day of sight-seeing and exploring than with a big, cheesy pizza covered in fresh veggies, homemade sauce, and whatever your pizza dreams are made of!
Dick is your fiery, politically incorrect uncle, and he also happens to serve up delicious grub in the Smoky Mountains! The servers at Dick’s toss up plenty of sarcasm and entertainment with your meal and people have been known to leave in stitches. This is a family-friendly joint, so bring everyone along for the laughs. They do warn you, you’ll have a good time whether you want to or not!
A wonderful, casual dining spot serving up yummy entrees, appetizers and signature desserts—no one ever leaves hungry from Fridays! There is also a full bar for the adults to let loose and relax after a long day playing at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or The Gatlinburg Skylift Park. There are plenty of kid-friendly options available, as well, and it is a great place to catch live sporting events on the big screen.
Delicious steaks cooked over an open oak fire. Seasoned, hand-cut, and aged to perfection! Many different mouth-watering spice and sauce options. Plenty of other options to choose from, including: seafood, chicken, and pork. Kid-friendly options and also plenty of dessert options!
If you want homemade, fluffy buttermilk pancakes with cascading pools of warm syrup, Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin should be your go-to location. They started out as a backwoods, cabin restaurant for hungry hikers and mountain visitors and the feel was recreated to welcome guests in Gatlinburg and other locations. They have happily served breakfast to over 5 million visitors.
Adventures in Gatlinburg For Thrill Seekers
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, has been a destination for adventurers of all ages for generations. Those who long for the thrills of speed, the majesty of nature, and the sense of achievement that comes from accomplishing a new challenge will find plenty to empower their adventurous spirit in Gatlinburg.
Anakeesta, which comes from the Cherokee language meaning ‘high ground,” is an incredible adventure park. It features a Treetop Skybridge, dual ziplining, and even a gem mine. At the top, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking mountain views and witness the indescribable beauty of Mount LeConte. In addition to thrill seeking fun, there are also great restaurants and shopping opportunities onsite. Anakeesta is a great adventure park you don’t want to miss!
Ready for 2+ hours of fun and excitement? At CLIMB Works, you’ll take on 14 unique adventures: a climb to the top of the mountain on an ATV, 9 ziplines, 3 sky bridges, and a surprise ending. You’ll be surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, where you’ll get a incredible 360-degree view of the Smokies as you zip and soar through trees, streams, and ravines. They’re open all winter so no season will stop you from having a great ziplining experience.
This is a freaky, fun Gatlinburg activity you may want to skip if you’re easily spooked! Visit the oldest and scariest haunted house in Gatlinburg, but beware…you never know what’s lurking in the shadows of this creepy, creaky home. You’ll experience an unguided tour (if the spirits allow it) of the whole estate. If you make it out alive, you receive the bragging rights that are only awarded to the bravest of souls!
Are you ready for the challenge? The Rugged Ropes Adventure Course is one of the most fun things to do in Gatlinburg. This course is an absolute blast for experienced climbers, newbies and everyone in between. Safely suspended in a harness, you can tackle these courses as a team or enjoy the adventure solo. There are over thirty obstacles to tackle, and even more memories to be made at this great Gatlinburg attraction!
Since 1978, the experienced team at Rafting in the Smokies has been the premier outfitter of the Pigeon River in Gatlinburg, Tennessee! The Pigeon River is a beautiful and historic gem nestled in the Smoky Mountains, and there’s no better way to “get in the middle of the action” than to experience the river from a raft. Rafting in the Smokies offers a variety of guided rafting tours of the Pigeon River, ranging from half-day to full-day excursions. The Pigeon River is home to quiet pools and serene, flowing sections as well as strong currents and adventurous rapids. The well-trained guides at Rafting in the Smokies pride themselves on being family-friendly, committed to safety, and focused on fun!
Are you looking for a way to see the beautiful Smoky Mountains from a new vantage point, while feeding your exhilaration for speed? If so, the Rowdy Bear Mountain Alpine Coaster is a must-see attraction! A gravity-propelled Alpine Coaster that winds through the woods surrounding Rowdy Bear Mountain, this ride allows you to control your speed, so you can go as fast or slow as you prefer. They offer one-person or two-person carts so that you can enjoy the experience alone or with your favorite family member! The Rowdy Bear Mountain Alpine Coaster operates year-round and is equally as exhilarating racing through the greenery of summer or the snowy majesty of winter.
Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park, located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is home to the world’s first-ever Mountain Glider! If you’ve ever wished for the power of flight, this is the attraction for you. This single-rail, in-air gliding coaster allows you to experience the exhilaration of flying through the beautiful mountain treetops with total confidence and safety. It combines the experiences of free-falling, hang-gliding, and a suspended coaster all in one unforgettable ride. Individuals, couples, groups of friends and families with older children can all make a lasting memory with a trip on the Mountain Glider, and come away with views of the Smokies that are hard to beat.
Fun Activities For Families
Traveling as a family is a beautiful way to make memories to last a lifetime. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a prime destination for families looking for fun, adventure, bonding experiences, and unforgettable moments!
Ober Gatlinburg has more than just skiing, it’s truly a year-round destination! There are great restaurants, shopping, and even an alpine coaster that can be experienced all year long! In addition to the extravagant winter attractions, there are plenty of other warm-weather activities at Ober Gatlinburg, too! Some favorites include the chair swing, mini-golf, Kiddie Land and rides, a maze, water raft rides, and so much more! Bring your whole family to this fun and memorable Gatlinburg attraction!
Have you heard of the famous Ogle Dog? Well, you should have, and you should definitely stop by Fannie Farkle’s and get yourself one ASAP! But wait, there is more to this exciting establishment…treat yourself and your family to over 10 flavors of shaved ice, tasty cheesesteak and sausage subs, and many more tasty specialties. The kids can enjoy the fun parlor full of games and prize-winning opportunities and parents can enjoy their smiling faces and laughter. Fannie Farkle’s has the best variety of food and entertainment around! Visit today and come back for more, your game card points never expire!
One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg is visit the incredible creatures of the sea at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! There are over 10,000 exotic critters at the aquarium, and they do not disappoint. There are great learning opportunities for children including camps, workshops, painting with penguins, and sleeping with the sharks! One of the most exciting attractions is the Shark Lagoon, filled with giant sharks and mesmerizing marine life. There’s a reason why this attraction was voted the number one aquarium in North America, as it’s definitely one of the top places to visit in Gatlinburg.
An exciting family attraction in Gatlinburg is the Shoot ‘Em Up Cinema. This 7D interactive theater requires a quick draw and some family teamwork. Get ready to laugh and create lifelong memories as you mount your horse, grab your six-shooter and head off on a grand adventure! Take home your souvenir photo after your show for proof that you were some of the sharpest shooters in the Smokies!
Perfect for the car enthusiast in the family, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum displays some of your favorite famous automobiles from the big screen. Some favorites include the General Lee and multiple cars from the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. For a little bit extra, you can even sit inside some of your favorite vehicles! For some, this attraction is also a sweet walk down memory lane with an impressive vintage car collection. Check it out and be sure to take as many pictures as you can.
Miniature golf is a beloved pastime all on its own, but add circus characters and a blacklight, and you get a unique and exciting experience that’s fun for the whole family! Circus Golf in Gatlinburg is a full-18-hole indoor course that combines the charm of a circus funhouse with the strategy and competition of miniature golf. Complete with sound effects, animatronic characters, and computer animations, this is miniature golf like you’ve never played before. Your kids will love the interactive nature of the course, plus the custom effects added by the black light and the sound system. If you’re lucky enough to score a hole-in-one on the 18th hole, you and your family will be serenaded with a special song!
After years of performing psychic abilities to national and international audiences, Erik Dobell’s Impossibilities Magic Show now continues to evoke gasps and laughter in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. Performing at the Iris Theatre inside the Historic Space Needle, Erik Dobell is not just any magician. He is a Master Mentalist who demonstrates attuned intuitive abilities in creating illusions of the mind. Buckle up for a one-of-a-kind show featuring magic tricks, mind reading, and hilarious feats of mayhem that will boggle your mind!
Places to Visit For Shoppers
Over 100 artists and craftsmen occupy this 8-mile loop in Gatlinburg. Enjoy endless works of art made of a variety of mediums, including pottery, stained glass, jewelry, and more! This incredible art community has been developing for over eighty years and continues to grow. If you’re looking for more hands-on experiences, there are many classes and workshops scheduled for your favorite crafts throughout the year. Take home a piece of local art from the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains.
Enjoy 18,000 square feet of an outdoor-enthusiast’s shopping dream. From gear for excursions to clothing and apparel for casual living and running, NOC Gatlinburg has it all. They feature items from manufacturers like Columbia, Patagonia, Keen Footwear, Mountain Hardware, Osprey, Chaco, MSR, Black Diamond Equipment, and The North Face.
Places To Stay In Gatlinburg
With so many things to do in Gatlinburg, you need a comfortable place to stay that’s accessible to all of the action. The following are some of our favorites, offering a wide range of lodging possibilities for families and groups of all sizes!
Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Old Creek Lodge is set up to be your comfortable, fun “home away from home” while you’re visiting the Smokies! All of their rooms have private balconies, gas fireplaces, and views of the beautiful mountain stream. Old Creek Lodge can accommodate solo travelers, couples, and families with ease. They also offer fantastic amenities such as free WiFi, mini-refrigerators and microwaves, and coffee makers in every room! Old Creek Lodge is located just steps away from the world-class attractions in downtown Gatlinburg, offering endless hours of enjoyment for those who appreciate shopping and fine dining. Hikers, fishermen and nature lovers of all ages will enjoy the lodge’s convenient location close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Diamond Mountain Rentals is the premier provider of cabins and condos in Gatlinburg for your next vacation or weekend getaway. Their properties span from 1-4 bedrooms, so groups of all sizes can easily find a comfortable place to stay close to all of the exciting activities. Diamond Mountain Rental properties offer wonderful amenities such as hot tubs, balconies, and views of the Smokies, and you can easily find a cozy spot nestled in the mountains or close to the action in downtown Gatlinburg. For pet parents, many of their properties are also pet-friendly, so you can rest assured that your fur babies will enjoy the vacation right along with you!
Combine convenience with a modern appeal by staying at Fairfield Inn & Suites. Its central location is easily accessible from downtown, where you can spend all day at the Gatlinburg Convention Center or Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Their one- and two-bed suites offer king and queen size beds for a restful sleep after a long afternoon hiking the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Their modern amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool, fire pits, WiFi, and HBO access. When you’re on vacation in Gatlinburg, even your down-time will be pleasant and relaxing at Fairfield Inn & Suites.
There’s nothing quite like the fresh, crisp scent of a crystal clear mountain river in the morning. If you’re looking for proximity to the beauty of nature without skimping on the modern amenities, Baymont Inn & Suites is the riverfront paradise you’ll dream about long after your stay. When you have access to their guest laundry room, business center and fitness center, it’s as though you never left home, but instead, your home got a massive upgrade. Relax after a fun-filled day at their pool or game room, or sip on your hot drink of choice on your private balcony overlooking the sparkling river.
Glenstone Lodge is an excellent choice for families, business conferences and couples with king and double queen sized rooms, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, and catering. The lodge is within quick access to Gatlinburg’s favorite restaurants, shops, hiking, skiing and so much more. Their remarkable indoor pool spans two levels with gorgeous waterfalls and hot tubs to help you wind down at the end of the day.
Built in 1937, the Historic Gatlinburg Inn played an instrumental role in developing Gatlinburg, as the former site of the chamber of commerce, the local newspaper, the city’s first bank and first dentist office. Currently operating as an inn for travelers to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Historic Gatlinburg Inn rests in the center of downtown, close to the Parkway’s top-rated attractions and restaurants. Book your preference among 70 rooms with options like double beds, king beds, family suites, parlor rooms and presidential suites. Every room comes with Serta mattresses, a flat-screen television, coffee-maker, toiletries, WiFi and complimentary breakfast each morning. Explore the inn’s historic photographs and paintings, country-home furniture and rustic décor to immerse yourself in another world. This quintessential landmark is perfect for history buffs seeking an authentic experience of the past or adventurers looking for an unconventional lodging experience.
When you’re taking a trip to the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg should be a “must-see” on your list. Offering unbeatable mountain views, delicious restaurants, and fun activities for all ages, a stop in Gatlinburg will create lasting memories for the whole family. If you’re looking for assistance with planning your trip to Gatlinburg, make sure to access the Gatlinburg Attractions Guide. It’s a thoughtfully curated guide that allows you to learn about a wide array of attractions – in town and outdoors. It’s an invaluable resource when you’re planning your trip, and can help you use every moment in Gatlinburg to its highest potential.
The Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB) is a fantastic resource for all of the insider info you need to personalize your trip to the Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg is full of fun experiences, from fine bars and restaurants, to hikes with beautiful views, and family fun activities that bring you closer together. Visit the GCVB online when you’re planning your trip, or stop by in person when you arrive in Gatlinburg. Their knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you may have and assist you with planning the perfect Great Smoky Mountains vacation for you and your loved ones.