Top 15 Things to do in Gatlinburg – For Any Budget

November 26, 2020

Are you looking for things to do in Gatlinburg? If so – you’ll find lots of ideas and inspiration below!

Gatlinburg is an excellent place for family fun, and what’s more, you get some fantastic views of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. So if you’re looking for things to do in Gatlinburg, this list is for you!

I’ve compiled some of the best attractions that Gatlinburg has to offer in one list, so look no further for a list of things to do in Gatlinburg… There’s something on this list for every budget and interest!

With several museums, a tram, sky-lift and a whole lot more, Gatlinburg the perfect place to take it Tennessee’s natural and man-made offerings. So, here are the best things to do in Gatlinburg…

Clingman’s Dome

The highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingman’s Dome sits high above Gatlinburg at 6,643 feet. A short drive from Gatlinburg via the national park, it’s got some great trails nearby that allows you to experience the full majesty of this peak.

If you’re looking to do the full hike, be sure to bring some comfortable shoes or you may live to regret it! Definitely a perfect choice for things to do in Gatlinburg.

best things to do in Gatlinburg

Shopping in Gatlinburg

Next up on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s shopping! A must-do for most tourists visiting a new area is hitting the local boutiques and indulging in a bit of retail therapy! Downtown Gatlinburg is home to over 400 shops and 5 large malls, so there’s plenty of choice!

With the shops here being extremely unique, it’s great fun just to stroll through downtown and see what you can find. Though you may want to look through some of the classic retail stores, Gatlinburg’s home-owned shops are much more interesting!


Festivals in Gatlinburg

I couldn’t write a list of things to do in Gatlinburg, without mentioning the festivals that take place there. Gatlinburg presents a variety of festivals through the year!

Whether you love a good winter festival (Gatlinburg Winter Magic) or prefer a good jive (Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales), Gatlinburg offers plenty for the entertainment fan. Find out more about Gatlinburg’s seasonal festivals and events by clicking here.

Gatlinburg Trolley

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s the Trolley. The Gatlinburg Trolley is an absolute must-visit if you’re in Gatlinburg. With over 100 stops located within Gatlinburg, you can take a ride on any one of the routes to see the best of the city.

It’s a great way to see the area, and taking a ride is super cheap too and you can even get an unlimited daily pass for $2! The perfect way for making your way around town, and such a fun option for things to do in Gatlinburg.


Gatlinburg Skylift

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s the Gatlinburg Skylift. If you’re looking for the best aerial views of Gatlinburg, there’s no better way to find them than on the Gatlinburg Skylift.

Offering views from 1,800 feet up on Crockett Mountain, you’re sure to see some unforgettable sights. It’s open year-round, so you needn’t worry too much about missing it!

Take your camera and take some great snaps of the local landscape on the way up… Just don’t drop it!


Cades Cove

Next up on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s Cades Cove. This is a scenic 11-mile loop located in a valley surrounded by mountains.

Cades Cove treats you to abundant wildlife, historic sights and hiking, biking, and horse riding galore. If you’re a fan of all things natural, give Cades Cove an explore!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the few national parks that does not charge admission, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of Gatlinburg’s most visited attractions. Welcoming over 10 million visitors annually, the park offers historical exhibits, trails and other activities.

A great place to spot wildlife and bask in nature’s wonders, it’s absolutely a must-visit if you’re visiting Gatlinburg. A great choice for things to do in Gatlinburg.


Things to do in Gatlinburg: Aerial Tramway

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s the Aerial tramway. If you’re looking for another birds-eye view of Gatlinburg, hop on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. One of the country’s largest tramways (yes really!), it goes 2.1 miles up the mountain to a peak of 11,000 feet!

At the top, you’ll find shopping, dining, an amusement park and more. Worth a visit just for the ride on the tram alone, giving this one a try is a no-brainer.


Gatlinburg Space Needle

A 407-foot tower that overlooks Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Space Needle is equipped with viewfinders and exhibits that outline the town’s amazing history, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Gatlinburg.

Most visitors say that the view from the observation deck here is unbeatable (though somewhat overpriced). If you’re looking for Gatlinburg’s finest views though, you may just find it worth the money!

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ripley’s believe it or not

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not. This is a classic museum, and it’s really interesting and fun too. Popular amongst little ones, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers the chance to get up close and personal with marine life!

Here you can pet a penguin or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. Though this tends to attract hordes of visitors, if you’ve got kids that love marine life, it’s well worth the time.There is also the classic Ripley’s believe it or not too – for the curious minded visitors!


Great Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts

Established in 1937, this arts and craft loop is home to the largest group of independent artisans in North America, so it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg.

Visitors will find unique pieces of pottery, glass leather and more. A totally quaint and free experience (should you decide to just look!), it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Visit one of Gatlinburg’s delicious restaurants

There are loads of amazing places to eat in Gatlinburg, so if you’re looking for Gatlinburg restaurants you’re going to have lots of options, from traditional US diner food, to Italian food – there’s something for everyone!

You can spend your daytime seeing the sights of Gatlinburg and then enjoy some of Gatlinburg’s restaurant scene in the evening! Eating is definitely one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg.


Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg… it’s the scenic overlook. If you love enjoying a little scenery and seeing everything nature has to offer around Gatlinburg, then you’re going to love the Gatlinburg scenic overlook.

If you’re into photography too, this is an amazing place to capture some beautiful photographs! Enjoy the scenic outlook at sunrise and sunset for the ultimate view! There are several hikes around this area too, so if you fancy stretching your legs, this is the place to do it.

Gatlinburg Farmer’s Market

Next on my list of things to do in Gatlinburg, it’s the Gatlinburg Farmer’s Market. It offers many delicious Tennessee-grown produce, from fruit, vegetables and delicious pre-made food too.

You’ll find amazing baked treats, jams, marmalades, etc – it’s basically a food-lovers dream day out in Gatlinburg! If you’re stopping in an apartment or an AirBnB, this is a great idea, because you can stock up on lots of delicious food and ingredients for the rest of your trip to Gatlinburg.

Watch a movie

If it’s raining, or if the weather isn’t great, watch a movie! The cinema is always a classic activity for couples or families, so I obviously had to include it on this list!

Hopefully this list of things to do in Gatlinburg is helpful and has given you plenty of ideas!

There are so many great things to do in Gatlinburg, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Which activities in Gatlinburg will you be ticking off your list first?

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