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5 Things to Do in Gatlinburg in December

DATE : November 1, 2022

Tis the season for holiday fun in Gatlinburg and the Smokies! The month of December is filled with festive events and extra sparkles of Christmastime beauty around every corner of our charming town. It’s a wonderful time to make memories with your loved ones that you’ll remember for many years to come. Below are just 5 of the many things to do in Gatlinburg in December.

1. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade and Winterfest

OAK-TENN-ONLY-downtown-gatlinburgEvery year on the first Friday of December folks from near and far gather in downtown Gatlinburg for the annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. The evening is filled with beautiful floats, marching bands, performers, and Santa. If the parade isn’t enough to get you into the spirit of Christmas, then the millions of twinkling lights will. Winterfest runs from mid-November to mid-February and lights up not only Gatlinburg but also Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. To truly experience the lights of the Smokies during December, take a drive down the Parkway to see all the beautiful lights and decorations!

2. Lights Over Gatlinburg

After you’ve taken in all of the sights around town, take a trip up to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park for their “Lights Over Gatlinburg” event. This opportunity is available until the end of January and is one of the most spectacular experiences in the area. It's one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg in December! You’ll have the chance to see Gatlinburg from above, walk the infamous SkyBridge while being surrounded by lights, and take your photo next to their 30-40 foot tall Christmas Tree of Lights. Riding the Gatlinburg SkyLift is the only way to access the top but it’s also the perfect excuse to bundle up and get cozy with your sweetheart! If you’re visiting on an extra chilly day take advantage of their toasty fire pits or head into the Gatlinburg SkyCenter for a hot drink and to pick up a few souvenirs. You’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the lights around town on your way back down.

3. Winter Fun at Ober Mountain

Aerial Tram in the winterYou can’t visit Gatlinburg during December and skip out on a trip up to Tennessee’s only ski resort. Ober Mountain has been a winter destination for couples, families, and friends for decades and will continue to be for many years to come. You can hop on the Ober Mountain Aerial Tramway with a short walk from our hotel and take in the views on your way to the top. Once at your destination you’ll have the opportunity to ski, snowboard, go tubing, ice skating, and much more. A trip to Ober is perfect for all travelers and there’s always plenty of year-round fun for everyone. Learn even more about what to expect when there's snow in Gatlinburg!

4. Anakeesta’s Enchanted Christmas of Lights

Anakeesta turns into a winter wonderland during December. The top of one of Gatlinburg’s most favorite mountain tops is covered in whimsical lights and holiday magic until the 2nd of January. Guests can explore AnaVista Tower, sip on warm cocoa, explore the Treetop Canopy, and on certain dates, you can visit with Santa. Great foodie spots like Pearl’s Pie in the Sky, Smokehouse, Cliff Top, and others are also available if you’re up for dining with a view.

5. New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show

Gatlinburg Space Needle in downtown gatlinburgCan’t make it to town until the last weekend of December? Then join in for the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show on December 31st. It’s a tradition for the town and an event that is perfect for welcoming the new year in a festive and fun way.

Trying to decide what else you want to do while you're here? Check out these fun things to do in Gatlinburg this winter!

Are you ready to experience Gatlinburg in December? A stay at Our Gatlinburg Hotel will place you in the perfect location for walking around downtown to the events. You can ride the trolley to numerous destinations from our hotel, explore the national park that’s just steps away, or take a stroll to your favorite shops and dining spots. You'll be close to all the best things to do in Gatlinburg in December! Our Guest Rooms are perfect for solo travelers, families, couples, friends, and more. Take a minute to check out Our Amenities and then start planning our trip to the Smokies this winter!