An image of the Gatlinburg Space Needle in Tennessee.

Come See the Wonder of the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Want a panoramic view of the Great Smoky Mountains? Get yourself a ticket to the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

The iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 407-foot observation tower that overlooks the city and mountains — but it has more than just amazing views of the surrounding area. If you’re looking for a jaw-dropping stop to add to your Tennessee getaway, this is it. Let us tell you why.

History of the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Construction on the tower began in 1969, but it wasn’t officially open to tourists until 1970, and its opening was cause for great celebration in the city of Gatlinburg. The ribbon cutting was celebrated throughout the city with a parade through the streets. At the time, it was the second-highest tower in Tennessee. Now it stands as the fifth tallest tower.

The Gatlinburg Space Needle was made to last – and it has, despite not one but two fires that threatened the structure, first in 1992 and then again in 2016. While the first fire did some damage to the base of the tower, the efforts of the Sevier County Fire and Rescue Teams saved it from the second.

The Gatlinburg Space Needle has housed several attractions throughout its lifespan, including Ripley’s Believe it or Not Gatlinburg Museum. Now, Ripley’s can be found down the street.

Getting to the Observation Deck

To get to the observation deck of the Space Needle, you’ll ride 400 feet in a glass elevator, taking in the view of the city as you do. At the top of the ride is a viewing platform that offers a 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Space Needle is open 365 days a year, so you can get a bird’s eye view of the foliage as the surrounding forest changes with the season.

But there’s more to do than just admire the beauty of the mountains – from the New Year’s Eve ball drop to the perfect slice of pie, there’s plenty of fun to be had at the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

What to Do at the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Once you’ve taken in the views, you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy some video games, or even take in a show. The Gatlinburg Space Needle is jam-packed with opportunities for fun and learning.

Higher Learning

Higher Learning is an educational experience housed on the observation deck. You can take a good look at the city using free viewfinders and learn some fun facts and history about downtown Gatlinburg while you do.

Iris Theater

The Iris Theater is located on the ground level of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. If you love a good magic show, this is the place to be. The theater is home to the Impossibilities, a nightly performance of mind-reading and magic tricks that wow audience members of all ages.


If the view from the observation deck wasn’t enough to get your heart pounding (doubtful), then maybe the prizes at the Arcadia will. Acadia is a 25,000-square-foot arcade that features both classic and modern video games. Score high enough, and you can even win an Xbox or Playstation to take home with you.

Slice Pizza Bakery

Do you love New York-style pizza? Then you’re in luck. Inside Arcadia, you can find Slice Pizza Bakery. Originally run by a New York native, it’s the perfect place to find authentic Italian ‘za. You can grab a whole pizza or a giant slice — then wash it down with a cold draft beer.

How to Find the Gatlinburg Space Needle

If you’re in the city of Gatlinburg, it’s kind of hard to miss the Space Needle. The huge tower is easy to spot, no matter where you are downtown.

But for those who still need a map, you can find the Gatlinburg Space Needle at 115 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

It’s approximately just two minutes by car from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fact, the entrance to the Gatlinburg Trail is just a ten-minute walk from the Space Needle.

Ticket Prices for Admission

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a great place to spend the day without breaking the bank. Adult tickets are $15.95 each, and children can get in for $9.95. Military members and seniors can gain admission to the tower for a discounted price of $12.95.

Adult tickets for the Impossibilities at the Iris Theater are $32.95 for adults and $16.95 for children. Seniors, members of the military, and first responders can attend for $23.95.

You need a Play Card for the games at Arcadia. You can pre-purchase these online before you go or in the arcade. They offer a range of pre-loaded amounts online, ranging from $10 to $100.

More Gatlinburg Attractions to Marvel At

Looking for more to do? After you take in the sights from the Gatlinburg Space Needle, why not hike some of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trails? Or maybe take a trip down Parkway to Pigeon Forge to see the Titanic Museum. There’s always something to do in Gatlinburg. Need proof? Check out our blog for more awe-inspiring and thrilling recommendations, and start planning your next trip today.