Things to Do at Christmas 

in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Christmas sm.png
wreath cabin

Is Christmas a Good Time to Go to the Smoky Mountains?

Because each of the 4 seasons in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area are different, anytime is a good time!  Every season has something special and something different.


If you want all the happiness and trimmings of a traditional mountain, romantic Christmas that you have seen only in pictures, you will find it here.  You have so many options!  From getting away from it all in a cozy, warm mountain cabin, to joining the hustle and bustle of shopping, Christmas lights, winter attractions, indoor and outdoor fun, parades, celebrations, and Christmas cheer. It's all up to you, and you don't have to choose, you can have it all.

Below is a list of some of the best and favorites!  (in no certain order)

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1.) SkyLift Park, 706 Parkway, Gatlinburg

Skylift Park is where you will find The iconic Chairlift, SkyDeck, SkyWalk Boardwalk, and SkyBridge!  All are decked out for Christmas in beautiful lights that you can't see just anywhere. SkyBridge is a unique pedestrian bridge that goes 140 feet above ground between 2 mountains. The panoramic views are unlike any others.  You can relax and have drink, or a bite to eat inside at the SkyCenter or outside in a comfortable chair by the firepit.

Decorated with lights in Gatlinburg, Skybridge and Skylift Park at Christmas, night view
Gatlinburg Skybridge Christmas view of walking on bridge with Christmas lights

2.) Trolley Tours of Lights, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg

Let the trolley take you so you don't have to drive and you can relax and stay warm too. See the millions of energy efficient LED light displays that twinkle all over Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge every year. (Note: Trolley tours do not run on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) Call Pigeon Forge Trolley Office for more information at 865-453-6444.  Gatlinburg Trolley at 865-436-3897.

To do your own driving tour of Winterfest lights, check out my video here.

Gatlinburg, TN downtown decorated with millions of Christmas lights
Trolley, tour bus

3.) Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland, 3540 Line Dr., Sevierville

Get in your car, tune into the radio station that will play the music, and drive through this awesome spectacular Christmas light show. Great for staying warm, families, relaxing and getting into the Christmas spirit. Note: Due to popularity, it can be a long wait, you will be in the car for a couple hours. Plan accordingly!

Shadracks Christmas Wonderland, Kodak TN, Sevierville
Shadracks Christmas Wonderland, Kodak, Sevierville Tennessee,

4.) Get A Cozy Cabin, Gatlinburg

If you do nothing else, it is worth it to book early and get a cabin to stay in at this time of year. ​Just being in the Smoky Mountains at Christmastime is magical enough.  Be sure you check out the secrets to getting the best cabin as you browse through the thousands of cabin listings.  Wouldn't you love to have dinner with your loved ones as a warm fire burns in the fireplace, and a beautiful view and a porch to watch the snow on?  Also check out Large Cabins, Small Cabins, Cabins with Indoor Pools and Cabins with Elevators.

Log Cabin in mountains with snow
warm cozy fire in fireplace with Christmas stockings

5.) Dolly's Stampede Christmas Show, 3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge

A tradition some families refuse to miss!  Especially loved by Dolly fans and horse lovers, this is a great show. 


There are also other dinner shows in the area that also have Christmas shows as well. Check out Hatfield & McCoy's, Biblical Times, The Grand Majestic Dinner Theatre and Pirate's Voyage, just to name a few.  Call or go online early as possible for reservations.

Dolly Stampede Christmas show.jpg
Dolly Parton's Stampede Christmas Show Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dolly Parton, angel, wise men

6.) Do a Frozen Waterfall Hike, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains look alot different in winter. You'll see things in winter months that you never knew were there after the leaves reveal what they have been hiding.  It's like a whole new world. Caution is advised for slippery surfaces, but take your time, dress warm and check out Laurel Falls, a 2.4 mile hike to the falls.  While there's no guarantee it will be frozen, the scenery during winter is unlike any other season. Also check out Porter's Creek Trail, and Cataract Falls for other family frienly day hikes.  See my tips on how to hike safely.

Laurel Falls, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee waterfalls
Couple Enjoying Sunset, hikers

7.) Christmas Parades, Gatlinburg & Sevierville

Each year in December, Gatlinburg holds its annual Christmas parade downtown, so arrive early to get the best spot!  Sevierville also has its annual parade in December as well. It's fun and its free entertainment, and the Smoky Mountains know how to entertain! Check my Events pages on the menu at the top of this page for dates.

Christmas Parade Gatlinburg, Angel
White Parade Horse Pigeon Forge

8.) Christmas Shopping

You can find the best and most unique shopping in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.  Whether it's Christmas shopping or other Smoky Mountain gifts and souvenirs, you will find what you want.  Here's a list just to get you started:

  • Tanger Outlets, Bass Pro Shop, Harley Davidson in Sevierville

  • Smoky Mountain KnifeWorks, Sevierville

  • The Island in Pigeon Forge

  • The Village and Downtown Gatlinburg

  • Pigeon Forge Old Mill District

  • The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community

  • The Shops at Lumberjack Square, Pigeon Forge

  • The Christmas Place, Santa's Claus-et, and Christmas & Collectables

  • Pigeon Forge Factory Outlets

See some of Gatlinburg's best shopping downtown here.

Buying Gifts, girl in gift shop at Christmas
Christmas present and Christmas lights

9.) Stay at The Christmas Inn, 2470 Parkway, Pigeon Forge

You can stay at this award winning, year-round Christmas themed hotel that sits right on the main Parkway in the middle of all the action.  It's also across the street from the famous Christmas Place, the largest Christmas store in the south. It has an indoor pool for cold days, fitness and business center, a Visiting Santa, beautiful Bavarian décor, Christmas music, rooms with fireplaces, elevators, and more.

The Inn at Christmas Place.jpg
The Christmas Inn room interior, decorated for Christmas holidays

10.) Ober Gatlinburg, 1001 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN

Ober Gatlinburg is a Winter lovers paradise and has TONS to offer.  Drive or ride the iconic aerial tramway up to the top of the mountain for year round fun.  Christmas and winter are the perfect time for snow skiing, snow tubing, panoramic views, ice skating, ice bumper cars, arcade, carousel, snowboarding, freestyle terrain park, chairlift, alpine slide, rides, restaurant, shopping and more. There's even a small kid's area to play in the snow.  Oh and let's not forget the Mountain Coaster and Wildlife Encounter.

Ober Gatlinburg snow tubing Santa Claus
Ober aeriel tram, Ober Gatlinburg tram, aerial tram

11.) Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas, 1020 Dollywood Lane,

Pigeon Forge

Everything Dolly touches turns to gold and Christmas at Dollywood is no different. See exciting live holiday shows, millions of lights, and fireworks.  Taste the seasonal food at the park's eateries and shop your heart out.  The rides, Christmas music, snowmakers, and hot chocolate are just the beginning of this world famous, very family friendly park.

Dollywood Fireworks and Christmas Tree, Pigeon Forge, TN

12.) The Island Christmas Tree Lighting, 131 The Island Dr., Pigeon Forge

Carolers, Santa sightings, shopping and Christmas treats are just a few things The Island has at Christmas time. This pet friendly park has a ropes course, kid's rides, arcade, food and popular restaurants, Escape Games, and the now famous landmark, "The Wheel" ferris wheel. Also you will enjoy relaxing in a rocking chair, and having a drink around the beautiful, colorful, musical fountains and much more.  Check  out these links for cabins near The Island or more information about The Island.

The Island Christmas tree,The Wheel at the Island, Pigeon Forge TN
girl drinking coffee out of snowman cup at Christmas

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For more information about where these cabins are located, see my Area Guide page.