Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg

As one of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's principal gateway communities, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, hosts many of the park's millions of annual visitors. It is located on U.S. 441 on the park's northern border, which is just two miles north of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The city offers lodging, dining and shopping, and other services to make your stay convenient and comfortable. 

As one of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's principal gateway communities, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, hosts many of the park's millions of annual visitors. It is located on U.S. 441 on the park's northern border, which is just two miles north of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The city offers lodging, dining and shopping, and other services to make your stay convenient and comfortable. 

Lodging

Gatlinburg offers accommodations to suit everyone's taste and budget. There are more than 75 hotels and motels; 1,200 chalets, condominiums and cabins operated by 125 rental companies; seven bed-and-breakfasts, inns and lodges, and three private campgrounds. Book early, especially if you're visiting during the summer or over the weekend. For more information, please call the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce at (800) 568-4748 or (865) 436-4178 or online at www.gatlinburg.com.

Dining

More than 70 restaurants serve old down-home Southern cooking featuring local specialties such as country ham and red-eye gravy, southern fried chicken, fresh mountain trout, and biscuits and gravy, as well as gourmet meals with champagne and caviar, seafood, prime rib or wild game.

Shopping

Gatlinburg has more than 400 gift and specialty shops. Handcrafted leather goods, wood carvings, baskets, quilts, jams and jellies, homemade fudge and candies, jewelry, custom glassware and furniture, antiques and pottery are widely available. Of particular note, Gatlinburg is home to Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, the largest gathering of independent artisans in North America. Located on an eight-mile loop only three miles from downtown Gatlinburg on East Parkway (U.S. 321-N), the Arts & Crafts Community features over one-hundred shops, studios and galleries for those who are interested in collecting one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork and crafts.

Entertainment

In the $42 million Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, billed as "America's most fun aquarium," more than 1.3 million gallons of salt water are home to thousands of rare and exotic fish including 12-foot sharks and other aquatic wildlife. Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park offers winter skiing and snowboarding, year-round indoor ice skating and America's largest tram, a 120-passenger Alpine tram that whisks you from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Mt. Harrison. You can also see a live performance at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, replete with slapstick vaudevillian comedy.

Public Transportation

Convenient trolley service travels throughout Gatlinburg and into the Park to Sugarlands Visitor Center, Laurel Falls trailhead and Elkmont Campground.

Special Events Year-Round

No matter what season you choose to visit Gatlinburg, chances are there is always going to be something going on during your stay. Here is an overview of the calendar of events for 2008-09:

The Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games on May 16-18 is a great festival to experience. Caber tossing, stones, dancing, bagpipes and haggis are all part of the Scottish festivities. There's a Scottish Parade on the Parkway on Friday with activities scheduled in Mills Park. Gatlinburg's Fine Arts Festival, also held on May 17-18, offers a beautiful relaxing day along the river at the gorgeous Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and a juried art show with local and international artists, live entertainment along with wine & cheese served from the Veranda Restaurant.  MountainFest reflects the heritage and culture of the Smoky Mountains on May 23-34 with bluegrass music and crafters spotlighted downtown.

A historic Civil War Reenactment takes place at Mills Park on June 13-15, then Downtown Gatlinburg becomes a stage during Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales from June 13 toAugust 31. All summer long visitors will meet whimsical characters, hear mountain music and learn about the wildlife and plant life of the Smoky Mountains on the streets of Gatlinburg. Storytellers, musicians and cloggers perform at different locations along the Parkway every evening during this third annual event.

On the evening of July 3, tens of thousands of people gather for Gatlinburg's 4th of July Midnight Parade, sponsored by Red Baron Pizza. Distinguished as the first Independence Day Parade in the country, it starts at the stroke of midnight. The event's festivities conclude with a downtown fireworks extravaganza the night of the 4th.

At the Craftsmen's Fair on July 18-27 & October9-26, you'll find the best in art, crafts and music with over 200 exhibitors from all across the country!

From September 1 through October 31, take the family on an old-fashioned hayride to see the spectacular autumn colors and fall decorations of Gatlinburg during the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.

If you love good food, don't miss the Taste of Autumn on September18, featuring menu favorites from our finest restaurants at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

On November5, Gatlinburg kicks off one of the largest holiday lighting festivals in the country during the Winter MagicKick-Off and Chili Cook-Off. 

The Winter MagicCelebration runs from November 5 through February28, 2009, with millions of LED lights to twinkle and dazzle, illuminated chandeliers on the streets and displays up to 40 feet tall.

On November 11, honor Veterans Day in Gatlinburg with World War II vintage planes performing flyovers, an American Eagle and your favorite patriotic music. Go Christmas shopping early for a one-of-a-kind present during the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Craft Show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center November20-30.

The Schwan Food Company sponsors Gatlinburg's Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on December 5when Santa comes to Gatlinburg for one of the most cheerful and exciting holiday Christmas parades in the country!

Gatlinburg celebrates Auld Lang Syne with a New Year's Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show.

During2009, Spring is celebrated with Spring Fest, March through mid-June, when Gatlinburg blossoms with Mandevillas, Bougainvilleas, Lantanas, Scaveolas and Wave Petunias.

The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Craft Show, held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center during March, features local artisans' demonstrations, displays, and sales.

In April, Gatlinburg throws a street party called Ribfest and Wings, an outdoor barbeque with live blues at this celebration in front of the Aquarium!

The 59th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage the last week of April boasts over 170 programs, including hiking tours, motorcades, demonstrations and classroom lectures centered on the flowers and plants of the National Park.

For more information about any of Gatlinburg's special events, please call (800) 568-4748 or (865) 436-4178, or visit www.gatlinburg.com.

Guide Services

Smoky Mountain Angler offers full- or half-day group and personally guided fishing trips, including waders, rods and license; call (865) 436-8746 for more information. A Walk in the Woods features guided day hikes, nature walks and backpacking trips; call (865) 436-8283 for more information.

Miscellaneous Services

There are six banks with 24-hour automated teller machines, several service stations, grocery stores, liquor stores and film-processing services. Please call (865) 436-5112 for ambulance service.

For More Information

For brochures and additional information, contact the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce at (800) 568-4748 or (865) 436-4178; or go to www.gatlinburg.com.