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8 Fun Things To Do In Winter In Gatlinburg, Tennessee (USA)

Gatlinburg is a mountain town in Tennessee known for its winter season splendour. From its iconic winter magic festival to the many fun indoor activities, Gatlinburg welcomes people with open arms.

Best time to of year to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Gatlinburg’s winter season activities kick off with full zeal as the temperature falls. From December to February, you can enjoy the pure white snow during the town’s famous winter festival, and discover the breathtaking landscapes of the mountain-resort city. 

Here we have listed eight activities for you to enjoy during the wintertime Gatlinburg.

1. Attend Gatlinburg’s Legendary Winter Festival 

For ages, Gatlinburg has been hosting the annual winter magic festival. About four million Christmas lights decorate the city, celebrating Christmas and the snowfall season. The whole town glistens with Christmas lights. The fest starts with a chili cook-off on the 8th of November. The trolley ride of lights begins on the 8th of November and stays until the 27th of January. You can also enjoy Winter Magic Tunes, Arts and crafts shows, Black Friday shopping, Festival of Trees, and Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade.


While there is a lot to see in the winter in Gatlinburg, cozying up on the couch with mesmerizing views of the Smokys still tops the list. The Gatlinburg cabin rentals provide spectacular views, great amenities, and pet-friendly cabin options, and some of them even have hot tubs. So after you’ve spent a long day exploring the beautiful town’s winter wonders, you can have a cozy cabin to return to for the ultimate Gatlinburg winter experience. 


During your stay at Gatlinburg, you can also go hunting for frozen waterfalls at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. During the quiet season, the mountains are less crowded. And when the temperature falls below freezing, you will see beautiful frozen waterfalls like Laural Falls, Ramsey Cascades, The Sinks, Abrams Falls, and The Cascades At The Chimney Tops Trailheads. You can also spot wildlife in the park, making the trip more interesting. 


Ober ski mountain prides itself as the only ski mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennesse, which is why there is a rush of people here at the end of the year. The ski area is an all-year-round and family-friendly place to visit. If you plan to visit the mountain in the snowy season, you can have fun skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing down the icy slopes. You can enjoy indoor ice skating and a downhill mountain coaster. The type of activities available is not just limited to mountains. You can have fun in aerial Tramways; ice bumper cars, scenic chairlifts, and carousels are also available. 


Sometimes, during the chilly winter, you may not be able to enjoy the outdoors due to heavy snowfall. That is when indoor activities come to your rescue. Gatlinburg has some of the best indoor entertainment that is enjoyable year around. 

The places you can visit to enjoy indoors are:

  • Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a museum that has some of the famous care in the history of TV.
  • Gatlin’s Indoor Mini Golf and Laser Tag is the area’s largest miniature golf destination.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies even provides a virtual aquarium tour. 
  • Wild Bear Falls is an indoor waterpark with hot tubs, swimming pools, a lazy river, and various water slides.


You can have the best time just by taking a drive around Gatlinburg. On the scenic trip through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll experience mesmerizing winter scenery without spending a dime. If you miss the snowfall, you can still find the white flakes scattered all over the mountains, specifically near the Newfound Gap road. You can use high-elevation roads or hiking trails to discover stunning mountain views, snow, and ice. LeConte Mountain is the perfect spot to find a sweeping landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains.

If you are not a fan of a long winter hike, you do not have to go far from the city to see the mountains covered with snow. You can always stay in the town and help yourself to some jaw-dropping winter scenes.


The food places are also worth a visit. You can have a warm plate of flapjacks, courtesy of the Pancakes Pantry, or you could enjoy $5 samples from Ole Smoky Distillery or Sugarland Cellars. Winter means comfort food, and in Gatlinburg, you will get various comfort food to enjoy. From Southern cuisines like fried chicken and biscuits to a Tennesse whiskey paired with hot chicken, you will get anything you want. Sweet treats and savories are also available in the town bakeries.


While Anakeesta is a stunning destination at any time of year, the winter months bring out its true enchantment. The Enchanted Winter of Lights festival in Anakeesta takes place between November and February. Anakeesta Mountain is a great place to see holiday lights, do some holiday shopping, and warm up with some hot cocoa by the fire pit. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the Smokys from the top of the AnaVista Tower, and if you’re lucky, you might even see the mountains covered in snow! Visiting this landmark should be at the top of your list of things to do in Gatlinburg during the colder months.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, there are many fun activities that you can do during your trip to Gatlinburg. You can enjoy your holidays by watching the scenic views, playing indoor games, and watching snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes. Gatlinburg will make it festive for you with its winter magic fest, and you will feel warm as you snuggle inside the cozy wooden cabin you have rented to enjoy the year’s ending. 

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