christmas parade in gatlinburg

Planning Your Gatlinburg Christmas Vacation

Located along the foothills of Tennessee’s spectacular Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg’s picturesque location has guaranteed it a spot as one of America’s most popular vacation resorts for years. During a Gatlinburg Christmas, the town transforms into an even more beautiful winter wonderland brimming with a variety of fun things to do for the entire family, young and old!

There is always so much going on from festivals to craft shows, it can really seem like you need a calendar to keep up! If you’ve finally made the decision to see what Gatlinburg has to offer, but are feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with a guide to everything you need to know in order to make your success you have dreamed of. This list contains of all the “hottest” things to do in Gatlinburg during the cold winter holidays that’s sure to put a smile on the face of each member of your family!

Be Aware of Traffic

First of all, it’s important to remember that even on vacation, you can’t escape traffic. Before we get to all the fun things you can do in Gatlinburg, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect on the roads.

Because Gatlinburg is a very popular destination among tourists during the winter season, traffic can be really hectic. The main road, Parkway, can be especially troublesome during this time of year. Not just because of all the extra congestion from increased tourist traffic, but also because there is so much beautiful snow! As some of it melts on the road, it can cause icy conditions that may be dangerous. Although, most likely it will simply mean that driving time will be longer as other drivers slow down for the ice. Just drive cautiously and you’ll be fine.

In other words, you’ll have plan ahead and arrive earlier than you might think you need to in order get the most out of your trip. Bringing along a GPS or using an app on your smartphone might be helpful in finding alternative routes, if necessary. But it isn’t all bad – if traffic is a little slow, just look out your window and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

With all that out of the way, let’s get to the fun activities! During a Gatlinburg Christmas time, there’s something fun and exciting happening every day of the week. Even difficult relatives (like surly teenagers!) who never want to go anywhere will find they just can’t complain! And, that’s really what vacations are all about- family and coming together to make great memories! This list is just some of the fun that awaits you in the lovely Gatlinburg!

Magic Chili Cookoff

Nothing says winter like blowing on a nice hot bowl of chili. If you can’t get enough of the delicious meaty treat, you are in luck! Every year the Smoky Mountain Winterfest kicks off with the Winter Magic Chili Cookoff in downtown Gatlinburg not too far off from the Parkway. With the delicious aroma of chili in the air, you won’t be able to drive past it! You shouldn’t feel bad about blowing off your diet, though. The cook off is for a good cause. A portion of all the revenue generated goes to charity.

Delectable Downtown Dishes

You don’t have to wait until the Winter Magic Chili Cookoff to get a tasty meal in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is literally a dieter’s worst nightmare! There’s temptation everywhere and for every meal. Try a mouthwatering pancake breakfast oozing with maple syrup at the Pancake Pantry or savory chicken and dumplings for dinner at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. If you have got little ones, don’t worry these eateries are family friendly!

Gatlinburg also offers a wide range of other kinds of cuisine like Italian and seafood. Meat lovers will want to head down to The Peddler which is famous for their scrumptious steaks. Not sure what you’re interested in? You can’t go wrong with a nice slice of pizza! Gatlinburg has several pizzerias including the Mellow Mushroom, Luigi’s Pizzeria, and Slice Pizza Bakery just to name a few.

Explore the Breathtaking Outdoors

If you’re dreading what the scale will look like after you have returned from your overindulgent vacation, why not get a little exercise in while you are in Gatlinburg? We don’t mean the gym! Gatlinburg’s natural setting offers a variety of active activities that you and your family can take part in. Enjoy a walking tour of Gatlinburg’s historic mountains. If you want to be even more adventurous, go out on a hike! Just don’t forget your camera!

Get Your Gatlinburg Christmas Shopping Done!

Remember when you plan your Gatlinburg Christmas trip, not to forget that Christmas list of yours! After all, what’s a Christmas vacation without Christmas shopping!? Plus, if getting caught in long lines at the tourist spots is bumming you out, shopping is a great way to relax. Avoid the crowds of your local malls and wipe out your Gatlinburg Christmas list in a few hours. With over 400 shops and boutiques and an incredible five malls in the Gatlinburg metro area, we’re sure you’ll manage to find something for everyone on your list, even those friends and loved ones hard to shop for. Got an outdoors lover in your life? Then, be sure to stop at the NOC Great Outpost to get them something special. If you’re looking for one stop shopping, the Village located a short trip from downtown Gatlinburg has over twenty stores to please any taste.