Many people ask, “What is there to do in Gatlinburg in the winter other than skiing or snowboarding?” Gatlinburg has so many fun things to do during the winter, so we thought we’d compile a list of the best activities to help you plan the perfect winter getaway to the Smokies. If you need more help, download a free Gatlinburg vacation guide so that you don’t miss anything while you’re in town!
Gatlinburg’s Incredible Winter Events
Over the last 25 years, Gatlinburg has become the place to be during the holidays. This time of the year is full of great winter events, and a few of them stand out as some of the best of the year – Winter Magic and Chili Cookoff and the New Year’s Eve countdown in Gatlinburg! The Winter Magic and Chili Cookoff are fun and exciting. Visitors can test chili perfected by businesses and organizations all over town in a fun-filled atmosphere as Gatlinburg turns on their iconic winter lights and lighting displays. Winter Magic will be active in Gatlinburg until the end of February, so visitors will have all winter to enjoy the spectacular beauty of millions of twinkling lights situated all throughout Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg’s New Year’s Eve celebration is an electrifying event and truly a sight to behold Thousands of travelers from all over flock to the streets in Gatlinburg to wait for the New Year to begin. Below the space needle, visitors can watch the ball drop and ring in the New Year in stunning style. Immediately after the cock strikes midnight, viewers can enjoy a spectacular fireworks display! With couples kissing in the streets to ring in the New Year, families celebrating with their children, and thousands of laughs and cheers, New Year’s Eve is a magical time here in Gatlinburg.
The Chair Lift and Scenic Chairlift in Gatlinburg are two distinctly different lifts with very different views. The Chair Lift is located in downtown Gatlinburg. You can purchase your ticket at the booth office on the corner of the street (across from Ripley’s Believe It or Not). When you get to the top, you will see a little shop and viewing area. You can find food, drinks, and souvenirs in the shop and then stop by the viewing area so that you can take a look at the beautiful view. Once you get settled in at the top, you can take a moment to relax at one of the patio tables to take in all of Gatlinburg. The view is comparable to looking down at the floor below your feet. When standing at the top of the Chair Lift, you are standing above the city and can look down on it through a very unique perspective.
The Scenic Chairlift is located at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park. This chair lift takes you to the top of Mt. Harrison. From here, you will be able to see the City of Gatlinburg off in the distance, but even more impressively, you will be able to see amazing views of the National Park. During the winter, snow-capped mountains and clear blue skies are as far as the eye can see. Usually, there will be live music on the mountain for your enjoyment depending on the weather. If you want a picture riding through the mountains, those are also available after your ride on the scenic chairlift. The viewing area for the Scenic Chairlift is immediately adjacent to the National Park, so you will be able to view the natural beauty in stunning detail.
Shopping in Gatlinburg
All of Gatlinburg’s shops are open during the winter, and since there are fewer people in town, it’s the perfect time to go on a shopping extravaganza through Gatlinburg. With all of the amazing shops that you can choose from, you can find unique arts & crafts, one-of-a-kind souvenirs, custom t-shirts, delicious sweet treats, and much more!