6 Things to do in Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a popular vacation destination for many reasons. It rests right on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains, making it the perfect location for many outdoor adventures and historical adventurers. But Gatlinburg isn’t just beautiful on the outside. Its interior is quite exquisite as well.

Visiting Gatlinburg you’ll be able to sample its rich culture, rife with arts, music, and more. Of course, visiting the Smoky Mountains is a must, but there are also distilleries and moonshine tastings, an aquarium, a whole area dedicated to the craft of art, and even a tramway that takes you high above the beauty of the city. There is no short list of things to do in Gatlinburg TN to keep you busy.

1. The Great Smoky Mountains

Sunset at the Great Smoky Mountains


The majestic Smoky Mountains are nestled right on the exterior of Gatlinburg, so getting there is an extremely easy task. This is a must on the list of things to do in Gatlinburg TN. Prices depend on what you’d like to do there. Take a short hike, plan a camping trip, or check out Cades Cove for historic homes and churches and wildlife viewing. The Smoky Mountains are the number one visited National Park in the country for a reason. It’s purely magical. Visit the National Park’s page to learn more.

If you’re wondering when the best time to is, the answer is simple: any time. Timing depends on your personal preferences. Visit in the summer to see the plethora of green and array of wildlife. Go in the winter to see the majestic white snow unfold everywhere. Or go in the fall to see the amazing, unforgettable foliage. Depending on the choice of activity, this is a wonderful adventure for the entire family, regardless of age, though those who have a hard time getting around may have difficulties.

2. Gatlinburg’s 8-Mile Loop

Pots on shelves in a store


Located 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg there lays an 8-mile loop of shops that sell almost anything you can imagine, and it’s only a short drive. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the trolley. There are over 100 shops, studios and galleries, making it the perfect destination for a day of shopping and perusing. And of course, it’s free to walk around. This loop of road, established in 1937, is home to the largest group of independent artisans in the country. For more on the loop, check the Loop’s official website.

As these shops take a bit of walking in the outdoors, the loop is best visited in the warmer months. If you don’t mind being bundled up however, these shops can also be enjoyed during the colder months! Children and adults alike can enjoy the magnificent loop of artists and small businesses, as there is a shop for everything and everyone! Be advised however, that as it is 8 miles long, so there is a bit of walking involved! The trolley is always around for assistance though.

3. Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies

Tourists at the Gatlinburg aquarium


One of the top 5 aquariums in the county and world, this spectacular underwater adventure is located right in Gatlinburg, on River Road. Ticket pricing varies depending on age and package selections, but basic children’s tickets are $13.99 and adult tickets are $25.99. It is home to an underwater tunnel with 12-foot sharks, a giant sea turtle, and thousands more sea creatures. There are dive and feeding shows, and more, making Ripley’s Aquarium an excellent place to spend the day!

As this aquarium is a mostly indoor attraction, it can be visited any time year-round. There is something here for every member of the family, from the youngest to the oldest. The shows and attractions will excite everyone, regardless of age. They even have specific shows and a Penguin Playhouse that is specifically tailored to the little ones! This is a wonderful spot to bring the family and experience some underwater culture.

4. Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery

Ole smoky moonshine Gatlinburg


For hundreds of years, people in the Appalachian area hid the secret craft of moonshine. Now, you can celebrate that rich history at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, located on Parkway, right in Gatlinburg. Step inside to experience the true sounds, aesthetics, smells and tastes of an authentic moonshining culture. The Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery hosts tastings, live music, exclusive flavors, and even distillery tours. For more about this legal authentic moonshine business, visit Distillery’s official website.

This amazing spot is meant to be visited year-round! You can come sample their homemade whiskeys and moonshine any time of the year. While children are not prohibited, this adventure might be best enjoyed without any of the little ones tagging along. You can sit and enjoy the moonshine while you listen to the magical music, or take some home with you to enjoy later!

5. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg aerial tramway


Another one of the amazing things to do in Gatlinburg TN, Ober is an amusement park and ski area. Pricing is dependent on the activity you choose. They are also located on Parkway and this complex place is home to a ski mountain coaster, wildlife encounters and an aerial tramway that takes your visit to new heights! There are also plenty of shops and dining options for everyone in your group. Ober Gatlinburg is a great way to spend the day, especially for the outdoor enthusiasts in your family!

Ober can be enjoyed any time of year, however, they are best known for their skiing! For skiing, it is obviously best to visit them in the winter. Other times of the year though, they is no shortage of fun things to experience there! This may not be as exciting for the very young or very old, but there are still things for them to do, making this a great place for the whole family.

6. The Space Needle

Space Needle in Gatlinburg


This attraction takes your visit to new heights! Located on Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, this is a must on the things to do in Gatlinburg TN list. You can ride glass elevators up over 400 feet to an observation deck that gives you a beautiful 360 degree view of the city and landscape. Prices for just the Space Needle ride vary from $5.00 for children to $9.50 for adults. They also boast other entertainments options like a theater, dining options, and more. The Space Needle is a necessary stop.

You can enjoy the beautiful scenic view provided by the Space Needle at any time during the year. It accommodates any member of the family, from the young to the old. You must be mindful however, if anyone in the family has a fear of heights, this may not be the best attraction for them to enjoy. Those with a fear of heights could enjoy the full menu of amusements offers down below however!

The things to do in Gatlinburg TN are completely varying, but fun and exciting! Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers attractions and activities for every member of the family and will create memories that last a lifetime! This list is just a short summary of the many wonder things to do in Gatlinburg TN, but some of the more memorable options to consider.

Gatlinburg is full of history, life and intrigue. It is a truly beautiful and magical place meant to be enjoyed and remembered. The most important thing to remember: Gatlinburg is a place to be visited and relished, time and time again!

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