Gatlinburg is a great place to spend the holidays. There are a lot of events going on, the streets are lined with festive lights, the beautiful Smoky Mountains surround you, and you might just catch a few of those flakes that you were longing for back home. But because it is such an amazing place to be this time of year, thousands of people bustle in at the same time. This is wonderful, but it also means that there are a few things you should know ahead of time in order to make the most of your Christmas vacation. Here are some dos and don’ts for Christmas in Gatlinburg:
DO be prepared for road conditions. Gatlinburg is very busy around Christmas, so traffic on the Parkway can sometimes be very congested. With falling temperatures, the roads might also be icy at times, so make sure you are well prepared. If you’ll be traveling up a steep road to your cabin, consider tire chains, if necessary, but definitely always exercise caution. Have patience with the slow moving traffic through town, and do a little research ahead of time (or bring your GPS) so you can take alternate routes if possible. If traffic is slow, just enjoy seeing the sights! The LED light displays along the way will surely brighten the trip.
DON’T miss out on the fun. You can’t come to Gatlinburg during the holidays and say there isn’t anything for you to do. Every weekend (and weekday) is packed with festivals, parades, craft shows, and more. Check our Gatlinburg calendar of events before your trip so you know what will be happening while you’re there and you won’t miss out on any of the great activities.
DO bring your Christmas list. You probably planned to get all your Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, right? Every year, you say you’ll beat the crowds, knock out your entire list in a weekend, and have the presents under the tree before you can finish off all your turkey and dressing. But because it’s the holiday season, a dozen other things undoubtedly came up, and you may not have been able to get much (or any) shopping done yet. Lucky for you, you’re headed to Gatlinburg soon, so you still have time to be a savvy shopper. Shopping is at the top of the list for most people visiting the area, and that is for good reason. There are over 400 shops and 5 malls in downtown Gatlinburg, so bring your list and you can find something for mom, dad, the kids, and everyone else. NOC Great Outpost has everything for the outdoor enthusiast, Pigeon Forge’s Tanger Outlets has dozens of brand name stores, and The Village in downtown Gatlinburg offers 27 boutiques for all different tastes.
DON’T stick to your diet. While you don’t want to completely blow your diet just because it’s Christmas, Gatlinburg offers some of the best and most diverse food options around, so you don’t want to miss out. The Pancake Pantry downtown and Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant in Pigeon Forge are both great options for breakfast, and if you’re craving a sizzling steak, you should head straight for The Peddler. There are dozens of other amazing restaurants in the area, from Italian and seafood to barbecue and burgers, so a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains is just the right time to splurge (just a little bit).