By Leif Palmer
Posted on December 11, 2018
The holiday season is always a magical time of year, and that's especially true if you're visiting downtown Gatlinburg, TN. Our cozy little mountain village isn't a big town by any stretch of the imagination, but we sure do pack a lot of fun into a small area. So here are just a few suggestions for some cool ways to get into a real Christmas-y mood this year.
Hop on board a specially designated trolley and enjoy one of the city's Trolley Rides of Lights, which depart the downtown trolley center at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. nightly. These climate-controlled vehicles will take you around downtown and a few outlying areas to see the millions of Winterfest lights that light up Gatlinburg with colorful static and animated displays. Admission is $5 per person.
All you'd have to do is stroll up and down the Parkway, and chances are you could get every name crossed off your holiday shopping list. That's because Gatlinburg features dozens of unique shops and specialty stores, some located right on the street, others in shopping centers like Mountain Mall or Baskins Square Mall. You could even hop the regular Gatlinburg trolley to the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community to browse some 100 different studios, shops and galleries for some of the region's finest handmade wares.
Whether you're in town just to see the lights or maybe gathering for a family reunion weekend or corporate Christmas party, Gatlinburg has just the right venue to help you celebrate the occasion. The city has all kinds of restaurants and events locations that are well suited to group festivities, including The Melting Pot or The Park Grill.
The season is just getting started up at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. Whether you drive to the top of Mt. Harrison or take the Aerial Tramway, this mountaintop destination offers snow skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing and ice skating as well as family attractions like a mountain coaster, alpine slide, scenic chair lift, ice bumper cars and more.
If you're in downtown Gatlinburg on a weekend night, there's a good chance you'll experience Winter Magic Tunes & Tales, an evening of sacred-secular Appalachian, bluegrass and country music courtesy of costumed street performers. Taking place on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9:30 p.m., these shows include Santa's elves, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, local history, humor and more.
If you're staying in a local hotel, you can access most of these activities by foot or by trolley. If you're coming in just for the day or evening, simply leave your vehicle in one of our parking garages in Gatlinburg, TN, and then walk or ride your way to the places you most want to revel in our city's holiday magic.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.