Festive Things to Do in Gatlinburg During Christmas
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The Most Festive Things to Do in Gatlinburg during Christmas

Can hear those sleigh bells ringing? The holidays are right around the corner, and you can celebrate with festive things to do in Gatlinburg during Christmas. To discover all that’s happening in this Smoky Mountain town this season, read on.

Friends dressed in winter coats, hats, scarves, and mittens laugh and walk through a snowy forest

Trolley Ride of Lights

Through January 26, 2019, you can hop aboard a Gatlinburg Trolley to see the Winter Magic Light displays.  The guided, enclosed excursions leave from traffic light #5. Then, they travel through downtown and Highway 321. Multiple tours leave nightly at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. Cost is $5 per person.

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Bundle up for the 43rd Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Downtown Gatlinburg. The larger-than-life parade features dozens of marching bands from Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, George and Alabama, whimsical balloon characters, more than 100 floats, and, of course, Santa Claus. The parade is held December 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Generally speaking, it’s best to arrive early for a prime viewing spot.

Dollywood adorned in Christmas lights

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

Over five million lights decorate Dollywood during a Smoky Mountain Christmas. Accordingly, park goers can enjoy a breathtaking display of holiday lights, along with spectacular holiday entertainment. During your visit, watch Carol of the Trees, which dazzles with synchronized lights and holiday music to transform Rivertown Lake into a seasonal symphony. Then, enjoy The Parade of Many Colors. Featuring floats adorned with bright lights and interactive characters, this nightly parade quickly wins over the heart of visitors.  You can also meet Rudolph and Friends at Holly Jolly Junction, and watch spectacular shows like It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas in the Smokies.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Known as the “world’s largest drive-through, fully synchronized, LED Christmas light and music show,” this experience is a highlight of the Christmas season. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is located at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium at 3540 Line Drive. The light display is open from November 9, 2018 through January 6, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm every night (later on weekends).

Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings

Experience the grand tradition of the holidays at Biltmore Estate. The Christmas at Biltmore Celebration is scheduled for November 3, 2018 through January 6, 2019. America’s largest home is decorated with dozens of Christmas trees, hundreds of wreaths, bows, and poinsettias, as well as miles of evergreen garland and thousands of ornaments. In addition, there is a massive 35-foot Fraser Fir tree will be adorned beautiful ornaments and presents. Don’t forget about the Christmas-themed wine available at the Biltmore winery!

Santa Claus sits on his sleigh adorned with Christmas decorations and waves to the show crowds

Christmas Shows

Get into the spirit of the season with Gatlinburg Christmas shows. Family-friendly productions like Christmas at Dolly Parton’s StampedeHatfield & McCoy Christmas Dinner Disaster, and Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures are all popular holiday dinner shows. Likewise, Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry is a stunning show featuring the area’s largest living nativity, dancing elves, flying sugar plum fairies, Santa Claus and so much more. However, these are only a few of the shows that will delight your family this holiday season in Gatlinburg.

Ober Gatlinburg

Visiting Ober Gatlinburg is an easy choice for things to do in Gatlinburg during Christmas. The Gatlinburg attraction is your home for all ski sports with tubing and skiing available. Furthermore, there’s an on-site ski rental shop and instructors on site. As a result, Ober Gatlinburg is able to cater to every visitor’s needs ensuring they have a spectacular time on the slopes.

Make these things to do in Gatlinburg during Christmas part of your holiday plans. The Smoky Mountains are waiting!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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