By Leif Palmer
Posted on December 26, 2018
Are you looking for the most happening place to ring in the new year in the Great Smoky Mountains? Then you'll need to head to downtown Gatlinburg on December 31 (or earlier) for that city's annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show. It takes place every year at the Gatlinburg Space Needle attraction, located at the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail.
The party features music and dancing and favors, but the big moment occurs at the stroke of midnight, when a massive fireworks show commences from the roof of the 400-foot-tall attraction. In addition to the fireworks, LED light displays on the Space Needle will be in animated motion, and it's all going to be synchronized to a special musical score designed specifically for the event. It's a dramatic and dazzling way to ring in the new year, to be sure.
Typically tens of thousands of people from all over the region and the country gather near the Space Needle for this event, so it helps to do a little bit of planning in advance if you intend to be there. One thing many visitors do is book accommodations in or near downtown Gatlinburg so all they'll have to do on New Year's Eve is walk to the Space Needle (not to mention nearby restaurants like The Melting Pot, the shops at The Marketplace or other attractions like Star Cars. One advantage to this option, particularly since the New Year's Eve party won't end until the wee hours, is that you can simply walk back to your hotel/motel room.
Another option, especially if you're not staying overnight, would be to arrive much earlier in the day, at least well before evening. Traffic into Gatlinburg will likely be a little heavier than usual, so plan on arriving in town and then finding a place to park until the celebration is over.
We offer plenty of public parking in Gatlinburg at very affordable daily rates, and once you've got your vehicle situated for the day, that's one less concern you'll have while you're enjoying your evening on the town. Just walk or take a trolley to the destinations of your choice, and as midnight grows nearer, you'll be just steps away from the Space Needle; in fact, we have several lots located within just a block or two of that attraction.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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.