Things to do in Gatlinburg this weekend

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Gatlinburg, nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, offers a blend of natural beauty, entertaining attractions, and cozy getaways. If you’re planning a weekend trip, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy in this picturesque town. 

From thrilling outdoor adventures to relaxing strolls through unique shops and galleries, Gatlinburg has something for everyone. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg this weekend, ensuring your visit is both memorable and enjoyable.

Exploring the Great Outdoors

  • Hiking in the Smokies: Start your weekend with a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This park, known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes, offers trails for all skill levels. Whether you choose the easy walk along the Gatlinburg Trail or the more challenging hike to the summit of Mount LeConte, you’re in for a treat.
  • Aerial Adventures: For a bird’s eye view of the mountains, consider a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift or the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. These attractions provide panoramic views that are especially breathtaking in the early morning or at sunset.
  • Whitewater Rafting: If you’re feeling adventurous, join a guided whitewater rafting trip on the Pigeon River. This exhilarating experience offers both thrilling rapids and serene floats, depending on your preference.

A Cozy Stay in a Condo

  • Relaxing Accommodations: For those seeking a comfortable and private experience, staying in one of the many Gatlinburg condos can be an excellent choice. These accommodations often provide amenities like fully-equipped kitchens, private balconies, and communal pools or hot tubs.
  • Convenient Location: These condos are ideally situated, allowing easy access to the town’s attractions while offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy a morning coffee with a view of the mountains before heading out for the day’s activities.
  • Personalized Experience: Unlike standard hotel rooms, condos in Gatlinburg often offer a more personalized touch, making your stay feel like a home away from home. This can be particularly appealing for couples or families looking for a more intimate getaway.

Delightful Downtown Gatlinburg

  • Unique Shopping: Downtown Gatlinburg is a hub of activity, featuring a variety of shops selling everything from handmade crafts to specialty foods. Spend an afternoon browsing through The Village Shops, a charming European-style shopping area.
  • Local Cuisine: Gatlinburg boasts an array of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. Sample some Southern comfort food, indulge in freshly made fudge, or enjoy a gourmet meal with mountain views.
  • Art and Culture: Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the local art galleries and studios. The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, located off the beaten path, is home to numerous artisans showcasing their talents in pottery, painting, jewelry, and more.
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Evening Entertainment

  • Live Music: As the sun sets, the streets of Gatlinburg come alive with the sound of live music. Venues like Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler and The Smoky Mountain Brewery often feature local bands and solo artists, providing the perfect backdrop for an evening out.
  • Dinner Shows: While some popular shows are off-limits for this article, there are still plenty of dinner theaters offering a mix of comedy, music, and magic. These family-friendly performances are a great way to end a fun-filled day.
  • Stargazing: For a more tranquil evening, head back to the National Park for some stargazing. Far from city lights, the clear mountain skies offer a spectacular view of the stars and constellations.

Discover Gatlinburg’s Rich History and Heritage

  • Historical Landmarks: Gatlinburg’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved landmarks. The Ogle Cabin, one of the first settlements in the area, offers a glimpse into 19th-century pioneer life. 

Similarly, the Historic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a must-visit, showcasing the remains of early mountain communities.

  • Museums and Cultural Centers: Visit the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, a unique attraction featuring over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world. Also, the Gatlinburg Heritage Museum celebrates local history through various artifacts and exhibits.
  • Cultural Festivals: Throughout the year, Gatlinburg hosts several festivals that celebrate Appalachian culture and history. These events often feature live music, traditional crafts, and folk performances, offering an authentic experience of the region’s heritage.

Gatlinburg’s Natural Wonders and Wildlife

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: This world-class aquarium offers close encounters with a variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and colorful fish. The Penguin Playhouse and the Shark Lagoon are particularly popular among visitors of all ages.
  • Wildlife Watching: The Great Smoky Mountains are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and wild turkeys. Take a guided wildlife tour, or simply keep your eyes peeled during your hikes and strolls around town.
  • Scenic Drives and Overlooks: For those who prefer a leisurely exploration, the scenic drives around Gatlinburg are not to be missed. The Foothills Parkway and the Cades Cove Loop Road offer breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys, perfect for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Adventure Sports and Thrills in Gatlinburg

  • Ziplining and Aerial Parks: Experience the thrill of ziplining through the Smoky Mountains. There are several zipline operators in Gatlinburg offering various courses that cater to all levels of adventure seekers. Additionally, aerial adventure parks provide high ropes courses and suspended bridges for a unique treetop experience.
  • Mountain Biking and Off-Roading: Gatlinburg’s rugged terrain is perfect for mountain biking and off-roading adventures. Rent a bike or an ATV and explore the numerous trails that offer both challenging rides and spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Indoor Skydiving: For an adrenaline rush without the heights, try indoor skydiving. This activity is perfect for those who want to experience the sensation of freefall in a safe and controlled environment. It’s a great way to add a bit of excitement to your weekend getaway.

Conclusion

Gatlinburg is a destination that combines natural beauty, cultural richness, and leisurely comfort. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a shopaholic, a foodie, or someone looking to unwind in a scenic setting, this town has something special to offer. 

By staying in one of the Gatlinburg condos, you can enjoy a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Remember, the best way to experience Gatlinburg is to explore its diverse offerings and find what speaks to you. 

Make this weekend in Gatlinburg one to remember!

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