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Things to Do at Christmas & Holidays
in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Mother and child spend quality family time making Christmas and Holiday crafts with pine cones
fresh Christmas wreath on cabin deck, decorations for Christmas at the cabin, Holiday decorated cabin

Is the Christmas Holiday Season

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 of a traditional Smoky Mountain, romantic Christmas or any other holiday 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 shopping, brilliant Christmas lights, winter attractions, indoor and outdoor fun, parades, festivals,

and Christmas and Holiday cheer

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


My Cabin Suggestions

My Hotel Suggestions


Car Shows

Food & Restaurants


1.) Skybridge Christmas Lights, 706 Parkway, Gatlinburg

SkyPark is where you will find the iconic Chairlift, SkyDeck, SkyTrail, 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's 140 feet above ground between 2 mountains. The panoramic views of the city are unlike any other. 


You can relax and have drink, or a bite to eat inside at the SkyCenter or outside in a comfortable chair by the firepit. Walk on the Skytrail and go even higher in the Observation Tower.

SkyBridge attraction in Gatlinburg is Decorated with lights in Gatlinburg, Skybridge and Skylift Park at during Holidays and Christmas, night view
SkyBridge attraction in Gatlinburg is Decorated with lights in Gatlinburg, Skybridge and Skylift Park at during Holidays and Christmas, night view

2.) Wonders of Light Walking Trail, 2936 Teaster Ln., Pigeon Forge

New - walk the beautiful tree-lined Riverwalk Greenway, listen to the river, and see the Winterfest lights decking out the trail with over a million magical led lights, and holiday displays.  Music plays as you take a relaxing walk through a fun wonderland and feel the joy of Christmas time.

walking trail called "Wonders of Light" in pigeon forge for christmas
Riverwalk Greenway Wonders of Lights Pigeon Forge Christams light display at the Riverwalk

3.) Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland Drive Thru
2023 New Location! Soaky Mountain Waterpark, Sevierville

Get in your car, tune into the radio station that will play the music, and drive through this awesome spectacular Christmas and Holiday 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 attraction for the holidays and Christmas time, Kodak TN, Sevierville
Shadracks Christmas Wonderland attraction, Kodak, Sevierville Tennessee,

4.) Get A Cozy Smoky Mountain Cabin

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 & More, just to name a few.  Call or go online early as possible for reservations.

Dolly's Stampede Christmas and Holiday Show in Pigeon Forge, TN Holiday attractions in Pigeon Forge tn
Dolly's Stampede Christmas and Holiday Show in Pigeon Forge, TN Holiday attractions in Pigeon Forge tn

6.) Do a Frozen Waterfall Hike in the 
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 friendly 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.

Holdiay Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg, a girl dressed as anAngel spreads her wings
White Parade Horse Pigeon Forge, Holiday attraction in Pigeon Forge

8.) Christmas Shopping

You can find the best and most unique gifts 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

  • The Mountain Mile, Pigeon Forge

See some of Gatlinburg's best shopping downtown 

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

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.

My photo of The Christmas Inn, in December in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Hotel room with bed at The Christmas Inn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

10.) Ober Mountain, 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, summer AND winter snow tubing, panoramic views, ice skating, ice bumper cars (FUN!), 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 with otters.

See What's New at Ober Mountain!

Ober Gatlinburg attraction snow tubing Santa Claus
Ober Attraction's aerial tram, Ober Gatlinburg tram, aerial tram floats over a winter wonderland in Gatlinburg TN

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 and desserts at the park's restaurants and 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 Amusement Park Attraction holidayFireworks and Christmas Tree, Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood Holiday and Christmas lights on Showstreet at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN

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

Carolers, Santa sightings, shopping and Christmas and holiday 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 attraction's Christmas tree in front of "The Wheel" ferris wheel attraction at the Island, Pigeon Forge TN
girl drinking coffee out of snowman cup at Christmas

14.) 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.

Ask about the trolley's NEW REAL TIME locator!

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

Pigeon Forge Trolley, tour bus
my photo of The Old Mil Historic District Christmas Lights, Pigeon Forge, TN

15.) Skyland Ranch Festival of Lights, Sevierville

Skyland Ranch is all decked out for Christmas, with over half a million lights, and even the Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster is lit up for the holidays!  

They are celebrating Christmas with a life-sized nativity, Christmas cooking and treats like eggnog and gourmet hot chocolate, wassail, games, campfires, illuminated tunnels, and more.  All in addition to the things we love best about Skyland - the chairlift views, the cute farm animals, live entertainment and gorgeous town views from the lookout bridge.

More About Skyland Ranch

Skyland Ranch Christmas dinner, Sevierville, tennessee attraction
Skyland Ranch firepit at Christmas, Festival of Lights at Skyland Ranch attraction and theme park in Sevierville, Tennessee

16.) Ice Skating at The Wilderness

November - January! (check dates and confirm) 

The outdoor wave pool is magically transformed into a 3,200 square foot ice rink!  Skate with the festive holiday lights and decorations. And yes, it's open to the public and guests as well.

Check out this Highly Rated Wilderness Resort Suite

Wilderness Ice Skating logo and dates for Christmas and holiday season ice skating in Sevierville, Tennessee
2 people skate at Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

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

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