Gatlinburg Christmas Activities: How to Celebrate in the Smokies

Full of country charm and Southern hospitality, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, loves to celebrate Christmas and the meaning of the season. From its winter festival to a ball drop, visitors find plenty to do and reason to cheer. Read about the top Gatlinburg Christmas activities and start planning a holiday getaway.

4 Gatlinburg Christmas Activities to Share With Loved Ones

Gatlinburg Winter Magic

From November through February, the city lights up cold winter nights with millions of fantastic lights and lighted displays. Every year, hundreds of thousands of travelers flock to the event and its bright colorful lights. The event includes displays of animals indigenous to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including foxes, deer, rabbits and squirrels. As people stroll or drive through Gatlinburg, they also see dancing fountains, fancy snowmen, a rocking horse and youthful children displays.

Trolley Ride of Lights

These guided excursions begin from Gatlinburg’s trolley center. Travel through downtown experiencing Gatlinburg Winter Magic. The Trolley Ride of Lights is available from early November to late January and takes guests around the area at night when the lights radiate in full color.

Winter Magic Tunes and Tales

Running late November to mid-December, Winter Magic Tales and Tunes showcases a different time period. The event occurs on the Parkway on Friday and Saturday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. While on the Parkway, enjoy entertaining groups in Dickens-style costumes and hear a mix of music, including Appalachia, bluegrass and country.

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks

The annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show occurs around the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle on December 31. Kick off the new year with music and a choreographed fireworks show suited for all ages. The free event attracts a large crowd, and the ball drop from the Space Needle is the highlight of the evening. Gatlinburg also celebrates New Year’s Eve in a big way with many attractions and restaurants providing special celebrations.

While vacationing in Gatlinburg during December, don’t miss the Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival!