Ring in the holidays with Smoky Mountains traditions and fun for kids and adults. Try these festive outings and entertainments.
1. Marvel at Museums
For a break from the winter chill, take the whole family on a museum expedition.
At Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge, kids will relish hands-on fun that’s also educational. Play with a gigantic Lite Brite, take the astronaut training challenge, lie on a bed of nails, or create bubbles big enough to stand inside. Step into the past at the Titanic Museum Attraction, where the replica of the great ship is decked out for Christmas. Visit sea creatures and penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and check out their special events between Christmas and the New Year.
2. Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter
Mountaintop park Anakeesta is aglow with its Enchanted Winter festival. The new AnaVista Tower, highest spot in downtown Gatlinburg, is perfect for breathtaking 360-degree views. Stroll the Treetop Skywalk, suspended high in the canopy. The whole 70-acre park sparkles with seasonal décor and lights, and you’re invited to take selfies inside a giant snow globe. End the day with hot drinks by the fire pit while you listen to carols.
3. Delightful Dinner Theater
Music is a Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg tradition, especially at Christmas. Treat yourself to classic holiday music, comedy and seasonal stories at dinner theaters.
In the Hatfield and McCoy “Christmas Disaster” show, these famously feuding families bury the hatchet, with hilarious results. Dolly Parton’s Stampede serves up a holiday show including the Stampede’s beautiful riding demonstrations and fun with Santa. Singers at Biblical Times Dinner Theater serenade you with carols, then present a nativity play.
4. Warm Up with Wine and Moonshine
If you want to bring a taste of Tennessee to your friends, do your Christmas shopping at Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge’s moonshine distilleries. Try Firecracker from Doc Collier’s, Maple Bacon from Sugarlands Distilling Company, Moon Pie from Tennessee Shine Company, or many more. Ole Smoky’s Shine Nog is a Christmas “nog” as only moonshine can make it!
Tennessee Homemade Wines, the Apple Barn Winery, and Little Bear Winery are just a few of the area’s wineries. Call about tastings at both wineries and distilleries—a tasting is a great way to pick your favorite flavors.
5. Shop at the Gatlinburg Art and Crafts Community
The historic Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community trail links more than 100 artisans’ workshops and galleries. Drive the eight-mile loop and visit shops along the route. Watch weavers, sculptors, silversmiths, potters, woodworkers, painters and more as they work.
Bring your treasures back to your warm, comfortable rental cabin. Staying in a Smokies cabin is a perfect way to enjoy the charm of the mountains at Christmas.