Gatlinburg Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by TravellerMel
  • Things to Do
    by TravellerMel
  • Things to Do
    by TravellerMel

Best Rated Things to Do in Gatlinburg

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    Ripleys Believe it or Not! Museum

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Jun 20, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum

    Relatively few people in today's younger generation are familiar with Robert Ripley, but in 1936 he was voted the most popular man in America. In his lifetime Ripley traveled 198 countries of the world in search of the odd, the unusual and the bizzare. He shared his incredible findings in a syndicated newspaper column and on a radio program which made his name a household word in many parts of the world.

    Today the legacy of Robert Ripley lives on in this museum, and others like it in various tourist oriented locations. The building is created to look like the aftereffects of the great San Francisco earthquake. Inside you will see things so wierd that your eyes find them hard to believe, yet each exhibit is authentic and documented. At Ripley's you will explore strange worlds that you never knew existed, and come away shaking your head in astonishment.

    I've taken visitors through Ripley's Believe it or Not! on several occasions. There is so much to take in that I on every visit I discover something I did not remember before.

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    • Museum Visits

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    Forbidden Caverns

    by monica71 Written Oct 9, 2009

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    People in the cave during the guided tour
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    This is a very nice cave to visit while vacationing in the Gatlinburg area. The cave is located in Sevierville, a short drive from Gatlinburg. The cave was open to the public in 1967.

    Bootleggers used to come here and make moonshine. During the tour you will see an example of a moonshine still while visiting the caves. The guide will also point the entrance that it was used by bootleggers to bring in the supplies needed for making the alcohol.

    You will also hear the legend of the cavern during the guided tour. The story is interesting and the lightning show that accompanies it is really cool.

    The cave is closed from beginning of December to the end of March and is open from 10am to 6pm the rest of the year (except Sunday).

    I do not recall how much was the ticket, but it was not expensive. The organized tour lasts about 1 hour.

    They also have a really nice gift shop from where you can buy souvenirs. I got a very cool table lamp made of white onyx that has the shape of a mountain and has 3 bears on top of it. The lamp is entireley hand carved in a solid onyx block and it looks awesome. The best thing is that I got a really unique souvenir from here and I paid a fraction of the cost I would have paid in Chicago for something similar.

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  • Ghostwalks Of Gatlinburg

    by Ghostwalk Written Feb 18, 2004

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    Ghost Walk

    One mile evening walking tour of Gatlinburg's most haunted places, ghosts, murder and mayhem. This is not a haunted house, it is a lantern led journey with a mix of drama, horror, humor, and history. Check out website for more information!

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    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel

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    Christus Gardens

    by Stephen-KarenConn Written Jun 20, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Christus Gardens

    One of the oldest and most tasteful attractions in Gatlinburg is Christus Gardens, winner of "Travel Attraction of the Year." Christus Gardens offers a series of inspiring dioramas with more than 100 life-size wax figures in realistic settings. They relate the Greatest Story Ever Told, and have been called "America's # 1Religious Attraction."

    Also featured at Christus Gardens:

    The Promise - a 900 square foot original mural featuring over 30 characters from the Old Testament.

    The Place of Parables - a series of life-size paintings depicting the beloved stories told by Jesus.

    Biblical Era Coins - America's finest collection of Ancient coins from the Holyland and Imperial Rome.

    The Carrara Face of Christ - a 6-ton marble sculpture of the head of Christ, so skillfully crafted that the entire face seems to follow your movements.

    I first visited here in 1965, and the place is still drawing new visitors, and returning ones, every day.

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    • Historical Travel
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    Get a bird's eye view of Gatlinburg

    by melanief Written Feb 29, 2008

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    Smoky Mountains viewed from the tram
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    The aerial tram from Gatlinburg to Ober provides you with a panoramic view of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. It is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. Take in the views from the tram as it takes you up to Ober, where you can see the attractions up there.

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    • Religious Travel
    • Skiing and Boarding

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    Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

    by victorialynn618 Written Aug 31, 2008

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    Watch them make the candy!
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    If you take a walk through downtown Gatlinburg (which I strongly recommend for the scenery alone) you will end up passing quite a few stores that sell nothing but tourist crap. However, the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is definitely worth a stop, if for nothing else than how neat it is. They have lots of candy/treats and you can buy it in all different amounts (like any candy store). The real draw for this place though is that you can watch them pull the taffy and sometimes you can watch them make candy apples. They also sell name brand things like Jelly Belly's and the like (in lots of different sizes, great for little Christmas gifts!)

    If you stop in this store, you ~have~ to buy at least a small box of their Mountain Log Taffy. I am not a fan of taffy but we bought a small box just out of curiosity. We took them back to our cabin that night and thought they were so amazing that we made a special trip back into downtown Gatlinburg just to buy a few more boxes. We made sure to share them with all of our friends when we got home. The taffy is very soft and doesn't hurt your jaws. It also comes in tons of flavors in each box. (Some admittedly better than others) When we go back this year, we plan on buying a box for everyone on our gift list for the holidays because everyone loved it so much!

    Even if you're not a candy fan, I would recommend stopping in here just to look around. It is a very cute/quaint little store that really captures the mood the people of Gatlinburg are going for. (Even though no one actually lives there)

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    Check out the view from the top

    by HotRodEtte Written Oct 12, 2008

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    There are 2 ways to go to the top of the mountain and get a great view of the Smokies from up above:
    Ober Gatlinburg is a cable car tram that holds up to 120 passengers, or you can be real daring and take the sky lift, which is a regular ski lift-type chair that holds 2 people, feet dangling and all.
    We chose the Ober Gatlinburg, and enjoyed the views from all 4 directions. Atop the mountain, we found an outdoor bear habitat and wildlife exhibit ($5 to get through the doors), a skating rink, an arcade, food court, shops and during the proper seasons, an amusement and water park. They also have the observatory where you can look through binoculars at the views below.

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    Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

    by Darkeyedgirl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    joy to the fishies in the deep blue aquarium

    This aquarium is way-cool. Must see! Several levels... from the walk-through shark tank thingy, to the manta rays that smile down at you... the fish tube kids can hide in... the manta ray petting pool... it's just dang fun.

    And, for Titanic fans (of the actual ship, not of freaking Leonardo), they have a Titanic exhibit that's very worthwhile & moving. Way-cool if you are into history (even tho it's a tragedy).

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    Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

    by monica71 Written Oct 8, 2009

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    Driving the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
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    Roaring Fork was the first auto tour we have done in the Smoky Mountains. It is a 6 miles drive through the forest. During this drive you will see several well preserved log cabins, grist mills and historic buildings. There are also some very nice spots where you can park your car and enjoy the forest and some hikes if you want to. At the end of the road you will see a very nice waterfall called "Place of a Thousand Drips".

    "Roaring Fork" is the name of the stream that runs parallel with the road. It is one of the larger and faster flowing mountain streams in the park. If you can, drive this road after a hard rain. Everybody says that the

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    Take a hike up to see the Avent Cabin

    by melanief Updated Mar 30, 2008

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    Avent Cabin
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    The Avent cabin was built around 1845. In 1919, Nashville artist Mayna Avent bought the cabin to use as an art studio until 1940. The cabin in now on the National Register of Historical Places because of the importance of the artwork which Mrs. Avent did which is now in the Smithsonian.
    To get to this cabin, leave the Sugarlands Visitor Center and go to the Elkmont campground area. Once you get close to the campground, look for the road that veers to the left leading to the Little River and Jakes Creek trails. Park and get out of your car at this point and hike. Follow Jakes Creek trail past Cucumber Gap trail. You will be looking for an unmarked trail on the right, you should see a steep incline with a footbridge that leads over the creek. Cross the bridge and go up the mountain to the Avent Cabin.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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  • Fannie Farkle's

    by Snovak Updated Apr 3, 2007

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    Whenever we go to Gatlinburg we plan our trip around a few visits to Fannie Farkle's. I like it for their giant hand dipped corndogs. I usually go straight there to get our corndogs and crushed-ice cokes so we can start our vacation on a positive note, and it is the one thing the family agrees on with me. I have tried corndogs at a lot of fairs and amusement parks, but Fannie Farkle's has them all beat. They also have giant sausage dogs and shaved ice, but the main attraction besides the corndogs is their gameroom. They have a combination of old time and new games, and they all pretty much work. It is a well-run establishment, great family food, entertainment and atmosphere, friendly staff, and the place is always clean. We all love it, and it is one of a few reasons we continue to travel to Gatlinburg.

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    Star Car Museum

    by AVG2319 Written Nov 24, 2005

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    Jurassic Park Car
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    Ok this is a touristy museum filled with over 30 cars used in famous Hollywood movies,TV, and Superstar's cars. It was interesting and mindless fun. If you like cars or movies or both it is a fun place to visit.

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    Ripley's Moving Theater

    by bigorange1103 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Ripley's Moving Theater

    Ripley owns alot of attractions downtown. This one is also located on the parkway. I have not been to this attraction yet, but it seems very popular. I shows two movies in 3D and has surround sound. You are suppose to "move" to the movie. Ripleys offers discounts on combo tickets to their attractions also!!!!!

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    Cades Cove

    by BurrGump Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Cades Cove

    Take some time to enjot the Cades Cove Loop Raod. It is a short drice from Gatlinburg and well worth the time. You will love the history behind cades cove. You can pick up a pamphlet just before entering at a stop on your left.
    The Cove is best seen via Cades Cove Loop Road, which is a one way paved lane that skirts the bottoms of the forested mountains which surrounds the fields of the valley floor. The Loop Road takes Smokies vacationers on a historical tour of early pioneer farms, fields, roads and trails, leaving the Smokies visitor with the feeling that they have witnessed something wonderful and wholesome.
    Cades Cove Loop is open to auto, bicycle and foot traffic every day of the year from sunup to sundown with a few exceptions. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has designated that May through September on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the loop is reserved for hikers and bicyclist from sunup to 10am only. Auto traffic on those days is permitted in Cades Cove after 10am. Expect to spend one to two hours for the Cades Cove auto tour including a few stops along the way.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

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    Horseback riding

    by jyan313 Updated Apr 2, 2003

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    Everytime we visit Gatlinburg we like to go horseback riding. We like to try a new stable every time we go. There are so many to choose from and each one offers something different. The terrain or the view and even the guide. We have never had a bad ride or bad guide. They have all been wonderful. Try any of the stables in the Great Smoky Mountains Park. McCarters is right inside the entrance from downtown Gatlinburg. That one is adventureous due to the mountains that you are traveling through. The stable inside Cades Cove was a little more tamer. But both have beautiful scenery. Waldens Creek stable in Pigeon Forge is very nice also. Another one we rode at was right near Dollywood. I don't remember the name of the stable but we had the nicest guide who attends college in Berea KY.

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Comments (1)

  • OpieW's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    One of our favorite family vacation spots. We take the whole family one or twice a year total of 12 of us ranging from 1 year old grand child to 91 year old mother in law. There is something for everyone and all ages in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area. We have found we love the fall October early November the best although we have been there in March, April, June and September.

    Our favorite place to eat is old Mill for lunch or dinner and Pancake Pantry for breakfast.. There are several pancake places but non are as yummy as Pancake Pantry in Gaitlinburg on main drag. we have seen pretty much all shows and dinner theaters and have not found any to have a bad show or food. Love the Hatfield and McCoys been there 4 time and Dixie Stampeed is always a winner and we have seen several Christmas show and the regular show as well and both are amazing. Comedy barn is corny but hilarious. been there twice. Titanic is really great and one of our favorite attractions. cirque Sol is hold your breath excitement. Country Tonight, Smokey Mountain Opry both are great shows. Lumber Jack show very very good. Magic show was awesome but think it has since closed. One of our favorite things in Pigeon Forge besides the go cars and arcades is.. The Three Bears General Store not only can you do some shopping but you get to see a whole bunch of real black bears to feed and enjoy. we go there several times a week when we are in the area. So beautiful and entertaining.

    Cades Cove is Spectacular but make sure you have lots of time. The 7 mile one way loop out of Gatlinburg is a wonderful drive its one of our favorite drives but unless government gets funded soon I guess we will miss these things this October. Keep in Mind there are many many things to do!

    Dicks food and spirits is on the main drag in Gatlinburg. Lots of fun, but do not go there if you do not have a fun loving sense of humor cause its their jobs to treat you just like the name says. first time eating there they threw the silverware and place mats on table and told my 15 year old grandchild that since she found it more important to use the restroom than get to table on time she could just set the table. then when my daughter ask for a small glass of water with her beer, ... they provided her with a ketchup cup (about 1 once) with a little tiny straw about 2 inches long. they are rude. crude but sooooo funny! But saw many people with little anger flairs over the nonsense. but we love it.

    Hope everyone enjoys the Great Smoky Mountains as much as we do.

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