Visitors line the streets of Downtown Gatlinburg.

What Can A Visitor Expect In Downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

The beautiful city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one of the most visited cities in the country. Tucked neatly within the Great Smoky Mountain region, Gatlinburg’s downtown area is a mecca for shopping, eating, sightseeing, museums, and much more. The downtown area is very convenient because most attractions are centrally located and within walking distance.

When you visit Downtown Gatlinburg, be prepared to have the time of your life. There is so much to do and see. You will quickly discover the quaint, homey feel and natural beauty that sets Gatlinburg apart from other places. Although there are many cool places to visit while on your Gatlinburg vacation, here is a list of some things you can expect in Gatlinburg downtown.

Restaurants In Downtown Gatlinburg

The Pancake Pantry

This place makes some of the best hotcakes in the South. For 57 years, this establishment has served millions of visitors with its delicious made-from-scratch creations like Swedish Pancakes, Sweet Potato Pancakes, Cornmeal Pancakes, and more. All these delicacies are served with real butter, whipped cream, nuts, and other toppings.

The Donut Friar

Can you say yum? According to reviews, this place is one of the best reasons to go to downtown Gatlinburg. These melt-in-your-mouth treats are all the rave. Not only are they unbelievably tasty, but they are also unbelievably cheap. If you aren’t in the mood for donuts, try one of the tasty bear claws or the equally delicious cinnamon bread with homemade butter.

Wine Sampling Sugarland Cellars

Located right in the West End of downtown, Sugarland Cellars is a great place to sample some really good wines. The place is open seven days a week and offers superb vintages like Century Red Pinot, Hellbender Red, Wiley Oakley Blueberry Wine, and Blackberry Peach Wine. If wine isn’t your thing, the area has several moonshine distilleries in the downtown area. All these businesses have patios where you can listen to live music while you relax and sip.

Downtown Gatlinburg Attractions

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Get on over to what USA Today voted the best aquarium in the South. This three-story exhibit has thousands of species of ocean life, a glass bottom boat where you can see sharks, puffer fish, sting rays, and more. The Penguin Playhouse is a special treat where visitors can get an up close and personal interaction with these friendly creatures. It’s an amazing educational adventure. Check out our blog about planning a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg!

Gatlinburg Space Needle

This 407′ observation tower located right in the heart of downtown gives visitors a beautiful 360-degree view of the city and the Smoky Mountains. Take a thrilling ride on this iconic glass landmark to the top and enjoy the breathtaking views down below. You can also take in a magic show at Iris Theater and tour Arcadia and the Captured Escape Game inside the Space Needle.

Historic Ogle Cabin

This small historic log cabin is a mainstay of the downtown Gatlinburg area. Constructed around 1807, it is believed to be one of the first cabins built by European settlers in the region. The cabin remains in excellent condition, giving visitors a chance to see how people of the Smoky Mountains region actually lived before modern technology and modern conveniences. The cabin has moved frequently to accommodate new construction in the area. It now sits in its permanent location at 520 Parkway. You can also learn more about the area’s history at the Arrowmont School of Arts, just a short distance away.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

Another attraction from the people at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! If you like exploring haunted houses, you will love this exhibit along with the nearby Mysterious Mansion. Have a great time with the local ghouls and goblins. Both sites have a lot of adrenaline-pumping things to see once you go inside. You can also check out some of the local Walking Ghost Tours to get a good fright.

Gatlin’s Mini Golf

45 holes of fun right on the Parkway! Gatlin’s Mini Golf has two courses on a wooded hillside. You can learn about the history of Gatlinburg’s early pioneers as you play on the historically-themed courses.

Gatlinburg Skylift

Home of the first chairlift in Tennessee! First opened to the public in 1954, you can ride the SkyLift up to 1,800 feet above sea level at the top of Crockett Mountain. When you’re up there, you can cross the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, walk the SkyTrail, and get a snack at the SkyCenter. No wonder it’s the “Best Seat in Gatlinburg!”

Shopping in Downtown Gatlinburg

The Village Shops

This charming, old-world area is situated right in the middle of the downtown area. Visit a number of amazing shops like The Hayloft, The Honey Pot, The Cheese Cupboard, The Candle Cottage, and more. There are several boutiques and places where you can purchase souvenirs.

Towne Center Plaza

Towne Center plaza has an eclectic assortment of shops, including t-shirt vendors, martial arts supplies, souvenirs, and more! When you work up an appetite, you can stop at Big Foot Sandwich Shop or get Indian food and funnel cakes at Raj’s!

Other Fun Things To Do Downtown

This is just a short list of a few more places you can hit in Downtown Gatlinburg if you have time:

  • Old Time Photography Studio: Dress up like the old West or in a saloon and take pics. Lots of fun!
  • Gatlinburg Trail Hiking: The Gatlinburg Trail Trailhead is just outside of downtown. This is a beginner hiking trail that many visitors enjoy. You can either hike or jog on this trail and enjoy the beautiful nature. It’s a great getaway that’s right in town!
  • Nahantale Outdoor Center: This is a huge outdoor store where you can pretty much find anything you’re looking for — even hiking gear. They can even help you with a cabin rental!
  • Anakeesta: This award-winning theme park is just north of downtown, with plenty of family-friendly fun! The chondola, a combination of chairlift and gondola, gives you a chairlift ride over the Appalachian landscape as you make your way to the top. Firefly Village is a great place to explore. You can also go ziplining, ride the mountain coaster, or even go on a gem ride.

Plan Your Gatlinburg Trip

If you want to visit a place that is not only beautiful but also has some of the best shopping, lodging, attractions, and restaurants, find it in Downtown Gatlinburg. This family-oriented hub is filled with fun and excitement. The main strip has everything you need to make the most of your time. If you need more information about staying in Downtown Gatlinburg or planning a trip to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit Relax Gatlinburg!