Must-See Holiday Events & Attractions in Gatlinburg

The holiday season is a magical time to visit the Smokies. Starting in November, the streets of Gatlinburg will light up with $1.6 million worth of lights and displays that commemorate this special time of year. Enjoy walking the streets of downtown Gatlinburg, or you can ride the Gatlinburg Trolley to take in this amazing sight. The Trolley Ride of Lights runs at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 each evening from November 12, 2015 to January 31, 2016 and costs $5 per person.

Another great way to enjoy the holiday season in Gatlinburg is to attend one or all of these exciting—and FREE—upcoming events. The Smoky Mountains offer fun, family-friendly attractions all year, but these special attractions will only be around for the holiday season—so make your plans to attend today!

Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff (November 11, 2015)—Who doesn’t love a good cup of chili in the wintertime? In Gatlinburg, you can try some of the best cups of chili in the South at the Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff! This exciting event will take place on Veterans Day this year from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg. Enjoy mouthwatering varieties of your favorite wintertime soup as well as the ceremonial lighting of more than 3 million lights, turning Gatlinburg into a winter wonderland!

Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show (November 24, 2015 – November 29, 2015)—If you like arts and crafts, don’t miss this unique Thanksgiving show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in the heart of downtown. You’ll get to view unique, handcrafted gifts made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community—the largest group of independent artisans in North America. These gifts include quilts, old-fashioned straw brooms, woven baskets, hand-dipped candles, pottery, dulcimers, jewelry, and so much more. Check out beautifully crafted products and finish up your Christmas shopping at the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show this year!

Festival of Trees (November 25, 2015–November 29, 2015)—For the past 30 years, the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees has been bringing in the holiday season with crafts, live entertainment, photos with Santa, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees. What’s even better about this event is all its proceeds from the 2015 festival will go toward the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, which serves more than 1,600 local youth across Sevier County. You can make a difference this holiday season by joining their efforts and attending the Festival of Trees!

Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show (November 30, 2015–December 6, 2015)—If you can’t make it to the Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, don’t worry! You can always attend the Christmas show, starting at the end of November. This show features Christmas-related décor and crafts, as well as the signature unique wares made by the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas at this family-friendly show!

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade (December 4, 2015)—This award-winning parade is the highlight of many people’s Christmas season in the Smokies. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4, the 40th annual Fantasy of Lights Parade will begin with thousands of spectators and a mile’s worth of Christmas-inspired floats, marching bands, equestrian units, and giant balloons. Even Santa Claus himself will make a visit to the City of Gatlinburg with this event that’s fun for the whole family!

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show (December 31, 2015)—Cheer in the arrival of 2016 at the 28th annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show at the intersection of the Parkway and the Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle in Gatlinburg. At this must-see event, you’ll get to witness a first-class fireworks show that’s choreographed with special music—all brought to you by Pyro-Shows of LaFollette, Tennessee. Watch the Space Needle light up with an amazing dislpay of LED lights for a New Year’s Eve you’ll always remember!

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