Smoky Mountains Holidays Bring Families Together

Smoky Mountains holidays provide a memorable family experience. Packed with old-fashioned fun served with Southern hospitality – set against the backdrop of snow-dusted mountains – a Smoky Mountains holiday vacation is a feast for the senses. Holidays in the Smokies put the emphasis on family with lots of activities and events they can enjoy together. Here are the top events that showcase the best of the Smoky Mountains holidays.

Tis’ the Season: Smoky Mountains Holidays Events

Smoky Mountains holidays

Photo: Jason A G

Smoky Mountain Winterfest

Sevier County in southeast Tennessee turns into a magical land from late fall to early March. Twinkling lights and holiday displays decorate the streets of downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Carolers sing on street corners. Delicious aromas fill the air. Holiday shows delight visitors. The snow-dusted landscape beckons skiers, sledders and hikers. And the holiday shopping is fabulous during Smoky Mountain Winterfest!

Winterfest Trolley Tours

A trolley tour is a must for a Smoky Mountains holiday vacation. Hop aboard a beloved trolley, and see more than 5 million lights. Winter trolley tours in Pigeon Forge run from mid-November to February. On the tour, see major Smoky Mountains attractions decked out in holiday flare. Additionally, special scenes are set up in places such as the Winterfest Express, Mill Scene and Lights of Island drive.

Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Celebrating over 40 years of pageantry, this Christmas parade in Gatlinburg welcomes more than 60,000 guests a year. For only one evening in December, the award-winning parade features Santa, lighted floats, marching bands, equestrian units and giant balloons.

Smoky Mountain holidays tennessee

Photo: Valerie Everett

Sevierville Christmas Parade

For more than 50 years, Sevierville Christmas Parade has been a hometown favorite. The parade features baton twirlers, pageant winners, marching bands, floats and family fun. Located in nearby Kodak, guests can also see the Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium.

Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees

A tradition for more than 30 years, Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees – held in November – showcases dozens of elaborate Christmas trees. The event also serves as a local fundraising event, with all proceeds donated to a local charity.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Voted Best Christmas Show in the U.S. for several consecutive years, Dollywood knows Christmas. The theme park offers multiple shows and parades throughout the holiday season. Younger kids love meeting Rudolph and friends and seeing Santa’s workshop. Celebrate the reason for the season with Christmas in the Smokies – featuring 12 performers – or attend a service at Dolly’s Christmas Chapel. Delight in light displays while watching the Timber Canyon Festival of Lights and Parade of Lights. Both run the full holiday season.

Christmas gatlinburg pigeon forge

Photo: Thomas Pittman

Arts and Crafts Shows in Gatlinburg

Crafts shows in Gatlinburg attract visitors from all over the country. Held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, these events showcase heritage and culture, as well as provide a great shopping opportunity. Explore more than 100 artists and crafters, and learn how they make special products. Additionally, many events support the Gatlinburg arts and crafts community. Special holiday shows include Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is free.

Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

Late November and December bring holiday music, costumes, history and humor. The Tunes and Tales event features local performers scattered throughout Gatlinburg who sing holiday favorites in Appalachia, bluegrass and country styles. All ages love interacting with performers and learning about the area.

Gatlinburg’s New Year’s Ball Drop

To end the year and kick off a new one, don’t miss the Space Needle’s ball drop. Midnight brings a fireworks show, and the Space Needle glows in dancing lights. Free entertainment begins at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. For added fun, arrive early and play arcade games or try to escape with a group.

Planning a Smoky Mountains holidays adventure? Find more things to do in Pigeon Forge.