Anakeesta, located in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, offers a unique outdoor experience that is especially enchanting during the Christmas season. This mountaintop park transforms into an enchanted winter wonderland, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages. Guests can explore the whimsical treehouses, walk along the scenic canopy walkways, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. The ride to the summit provides a breathtaking journey, showcasing the beauty of the area in all its winter splendor. Anakeesta also features interactive activities for kids, cozy fire pits, and delightful dining options, making it an ideal destination for families looking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit. The blend of natural beauty, holiday cheer, and a range of activities, from zip-lining to gem mining, ensures that a visit to Anakeesta during Christmas is a memorable experience.
The 25 Days of Christmas at Ober Gatlinburg are extra special. Beginning on December 1st, the 25 Days of Ober may be the coziest and happiest event in Gatlinburg. Each year, Ober Gatlinburg transforms its area into a snowy wonderland, inviting guests to enjoy tubing, skiing, and other winter activities. Tickets are now available for the Family Snow Zone. After enjoying the frosty fun, warm up next to one of the fire pits, roast marshmallows, and listen to carolers. Featured artisans will be exhibiting their wares, and there will be crafts for kids to enjoy. As always, indulge in delicious fudge, visit delightful critters, and take in amazing views as you ride the alpine tram to the mountain’s summit!
Just north of Gatlinburg, the town of Pigeon Forge goes all out with its Christmas decorations. Each year, Winterfest celebrates the season by adorning the town with over 5 million lights, creating an unbelievably festive display at every turn. Embark on a self-guided tour through the 24 illuminated attractions and marvel at the twinkling lights. You can download a map of the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights from the Pigeon Forge Winterfest website. This activity is completely free and fun for the whole family. The lights don’t stop there; many ticketed attractions, like Dollywood and the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, join in with incredible displays of their own. Don’t miss the Christmas parades in Downtown Gatlinburg on December 1st, following the Christmas tree lighting ceremony!
Need to tackle some Christmas shopping during your stay? Here in the Smokies, we take that term literally. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to several Christmas shops that offer everything you need to celebrate the season. Find lights, trees, garlands, ornaments, gift wrap, home decor, and more at stores like The Christmas and Candle Shop, Santa’s Claus-et, and the Christmas Place. Once you’re decked out for the holidays, find gifts for everyone on your list at the many souvenir shops, retail outlets, and specialty shops throughout the Smokies.
**BONUS: Great Smoky Mountain Railroad**
The Smoky Christmas fun isn’t limited to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The Smokies stretch into North Carolina, home to many Christmas-loving mountain towns. One such town is Bryson City, home of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. This fully functioning train tour takes you through the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Every Christmas season, the train transforms into the Polar Express. Climb aboard to meet Santa, enjoy hot chocolate, and embrace the music and merriment of the season as you ride through the mountains on this historic train and rail line. This is an incredible Christmas experience like no other and one you don’t want to miss. Book early, as tickets sell out fast!
If you’re looking to capture the beauty of the mountains on your Christmas vacation, the Smoky Mountains are a great place to visit. You’ll have the mountains as your scenic backdrop, and the weather gets chilly but doesn’t drop down to be so cold you can’t head out and enjoy your share of Christmas themed events and parties. If you’re coming from somewhere that doesn’t get any snow, there’s even a chance you might get to see some on your visit and have your very own white Christmas.
There are a few nearby towns you’ll be able to visit when you’re away from your rental, many of which have plenty of Christmas fun for you to enjoy. When you aren’t attending the events, there’s also a ton of fine dining and shopping for you to take part in, so you’re sure to enjoy your time in the area. While you’re in town, here are some recommendations for things you might enjoy.
Christmas Craft Shows
If you’re still looking to finish up some of your holiday shopping, the Christmas Craft Shows happen earlier in the month and will give you plenty of opportunities to find the unique Christmas gift for someone. There is a massive variety of different goods presented by local artisans. You’ll see wood carvings, paintings, jewelry, pottery, and dozens more different kinds of artwork if you’re in attendance. Previous events have had up to 50,000 visitors and over 500 different vendors, and many of the craftsmen will be creating goods live if you want to see how it’s all made.
Santa’s Village at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Having started back in late November, you’ll be able to see Santa on Wednesday through Sunday all the way up to Christmas Eve. He’ll be on site from 10AM – 4PM, and this is a great opportunity to bring the kids along to get a picture with the hero of the season. Every child that visits Santa will get a candy cane and their own coloring book. While you’re there, you can also visit one of the best aquariums in North America, making this an easy destination if you want to fill the whole day up with something fun.
Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales
Every Friday and Saturday through December 18th, talented singers and storytellers will take to the streets of Gatlinburg in holiday appropriate costumes to bring holiday joy to anyone in attendance. You’ll hear a variety of songs and get to know some of the local history while you’re taking in the sights, because Gatlinburg will be well lit with plenty of Gatlinburg TN Christmas lights to really bring out the holiday cheer.
Walk in Your Own Winter Wonderland
Enjoy the great outdoors on one of the many Smoky Mountain hiking trails while you’re visiting. You’ll find trails of all difficulty levels, so if you’re looking for that leisurely winter stroll, or you want to challenge yourself after a filling Christmas dinner, it’s all right there waiting for you. If you’re lucky enough to catch some snow while you’re in town, you’ll love the unique views the mountains provide.
Many of the trails also have their own streams and other bodies of water that freeze into stunning formations when the weather has been cold for long enough, so bundle up and brave the trails. You won’t be disappointed.
Have Christmas Dinner in Your Private Getaway
Our Smoky Mountain cabins are the perfect spot to put together a lovely Christmas dinner while you enjoy the peace and quiet with your loved ones. Our properties come with fully equipped kitchens, and the modern appliances are sure to make cooking your family feast an easy task. If you head into town, you’ll be able to buy anything you need to finish the meal, and our kitchens have plenty of storage to ensure you can keep everything fresh and ready for the big day.
You’ll be able to enjoy your meal in multiple ways with our different seating options. Adjacent to the kitchen you’ll be able to find a dining room table for a traditional seating experience, and you’ll stay nice and cozy while you avoid the winter cold. On the other hand, if you want to eat outside and feel the cool winter air, our patios have their own tables and grills for you to make use of. Wrap up the whole experience in the living room by sharing gifts and putting on your favorite Christmas movie.
Your Smoky Mountain Christmas Awaits
Our homes provide the perfect space for you to unwind and enjoy the serenity of the Smoky Mountains after you’ve gotten your fill of Gatlinburg TN Christmas events. Our agents have wonderful knowledge of all of our properties and are committed to making sure you’re matched up with the perfect home for the perfect vacation. Get in touch with us now to get your Gatlinburg TN Christmas started!