10 Gatlinburg Sites to Complete Your Smoky Mountain Vacation
Nestled in east Tennessee, Gatlinburg features some of the best mountain views and down-home fun in the state. Each year, more than 11 million people visit the area, and many come back to try new attractions. Why do people love Gatlinburg so much? Learn about some popular and lesser-known Gatlinburg sites to complete the Smoky Mountain vacation experience.
10 Gatlinburg Sites for Travelers: How to Experience the Smokies
Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
For scenic mountain views, visit Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook. Located on Gatlinburg Bypass, guests have access to four parking areas and a short walk to admire the area. The overlook also provides a top spot for fall foliage in Tennessee, but no matter what time of year, travelers can’t get enough of the town and its mountain backdrop. Get directions to Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook.
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Another must-see for mountain views is Gatlinburg Space Needle. This 407-foot observation tower overlooks the city and Smoky Mountains, and provides 360-degree views of the area. Guests can ride two elevators, which hold 20 people each, to the deck and learn about Gatlinburg’s history.
Tickets cost less than $15 per adult or buy the VIP experience for discounted rates and a play-card for the arcade. Families of four also have a discount option if they purchase tickets online.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Dating to 1938, historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church was Gatlinburg’s first Catholic Church and still serves the community. Visitors are welcome to tour the grounds, photograph the church’s exterior, and attend daily Mass or weekend service while traveling.
Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens
Those who practice Christian beliefs should also visit Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens. Located in the city’s center, the museum and gardens feature life-size scenes featuring Jesus and his life’s story. These 3-D dioramas delight all ages, and special exhibits are also displayed.
Tours last about an hour and cost between $6 and $15 for visitors over the age of 6 years old. Children under 6 receive free admission, and all visitors receive complimentary parking.
Looking for that perfect piece to display at home? Stop by Alewine Pottery, which features handmade treasures created by local artisans. For over 30 years, the pottery shop has ranked as one of the most iconic businesses in Gatlinburg. While browsing, expect to see luminary pieces that feature intricate designs and showcase mountain living.
Historic Ogle Log Cabin
The historic Ogle Log Cabin was the first cabin in Gatlinburg and dates to 1802. Located at Gatlinburg Welcome Center, the site welcomes visitors Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the cabin is free, but there is a parking fee adjacent to the center for $6 per day.
Once inside, guests learn about Gatlinburg’s early settlers, the Ogle family. In addition, enjoy a historic loom, spinning wheel and tools.
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
Those who have more time should visit Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Community. For over 80 years, local craftsmen and craftswomen have gathered and become one of the largest groups of independent artisans in North America.
Located on an 8-mile loop in Gatlinburg, visitors find dozens of shops, studios, galleries and cafes. In fact, over 120 of them. Shop for baskets, candles, quilts, leather, stained glass, paintings and collectibles only found in Gatlinburg. Don’t forget to ask locals about their creations and find a little inspiration to take home.
Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Perfect for car lovers, Hollywood Star Cars Museum opens every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The museum ranks among the top Gatlinburg sites for its 40-plus cars from movies, TV shows and pop culture icons.
A few examples include: Fast and Furious film franchise, Herbie the Love Bug, Flintstones car from the Universal movie and the Harley bike used in Terminator 2. Tours last about an hour, and admission ranges from $7 to $15 for guests older than 6.
Know any Dukes of Hazzard fans? Let them step into their favorite TV show with a stop at Cooter’s in Gatlinburg. Located in downtown, this indoor attraction welcomes the family to visit the museum and gift shop, ride indoor go-karts, or play indoor mini-golf. In addition, guests can bring take in-car photos with the ’69 Charger and meet original cast members.
Groups of five can purchase tickets for less than $40 per group, and individual tickets range from $5 to $15 per person depending on the package. Cooter’s Place is open every day from 9 a.m. to later than 9 p.m., depending on the day.
Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
Full of quirky and well-known attractions, many say Gatlinburg has it all – even a museum dedicated to salt and pepper shakers. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is one of the only museums of its kind and houses over 20,000 sets of shakers and a Pepper Mill collection.
Located in Winery Square, the museum opens Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Adult admission is only $3, and children under 12 receive free access. Before leaving, buy a set to take home.