Sevierville

Things to do in downtown Sevierville TN, is it better than Gatlinburg?

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to escape my home office and enjoy one of my favorite things during a workday: Work on site.

Our staff at TheSmokies.com had a long list of photos that we needed of new attractions and new restaurants around the Smokies, so we split up. I took Sevierville, and the rest of my team headed to Gatlinburg.

As they looked for parking and fought the crowds of downtown Gatlinburg, I was walking around a nearly deserted downtown Sevierville.

And it made me realize that guests who visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park may be overlooking this area.

A sign about the history of downtown Sevierville
Signage about the history of Sevierville can be found throughout downtown (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What is there to do in downtown Sevierville?

After reconvening with the team, we agreed downtown Sevierville is often overlooked.

We even argued back and forth if it should be called “little Gatlinburg”.

Now, does Sevierville have a different overall vibe than Gatlinburg? Yes. Are there more fun things to do in downtown Gatlinburg? Also yes.

Are we firing the staff member who wanted to call it “little Gatlinburg”? Nah.

But, if you like to be adjacent to the mountains, and want to walk around while observing some landmarks and having access to some of the highest quality restaurants, you could reasonably trade a bit of time in downtown Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge for Sevierville instead.

Especially if you’re not a fan of the crowds.

The city went through a renovation project not too long ago which improved the look and feel of the downtown area and made it more pedestrian-friendly.

And the Sevierville Convention Center is a great place to hold or visit special events.

Read Also: Tips on how to avoid traffic in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

A canvas of Dolly Parton hangs in Honeybee Coffee
A canvas of Dolly Parton inside the Honeybee Coffee Co. near downtown Sevierville (photo by Kimberly Grayson/TheSmokies.com)

Downtown Sevierville shopping

There aren’t nearly as many shops specifically in downtown Sevierville as there are in Gatlinburg.

It’s mostly offices, yoga studios or banks. But still, you have a handful of options:

If you like crafting, be sure to check out The Cherry Pit Quilt Shop, where you will find a wide selection of fabrics, books and sewing accessories.

Sweet Pea & Ivy is also a hidden gem in the downtown area. It features home and garden decor, jewelry, candles, cards and gourmet foods, all arranged in an 1800s vintage home. Note, it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Beyond 436 offers a variety of hand-selected accessories and home decor. Here you’ll find clothing, home accessories, candles and purses. Beyond 436 is also closed on Mondays and Sundays.

If you venture away from downtown, Tanger Outlets in Sevierville easily offers some of the area’s best deals, so I would consider it worth the drive.

Graze Burgers downtown Sevierville
Graze Burgers is one of the most popular restaurants in downtown Sevierville (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Downtown Sevierville restaurants

If you spend an afternoon in downtown Sevierville, there’s a good chance you’ll spend a lot of that time eating some great food.

Graze Burgers is famous for its locally sourced, grass-fed beef and family-friendly atmosphere. On select nights, they have live entertainment on the patio.

If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, The Appalachian offers a romantic aesthetic with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The main menu features include chicken, duck breast, pork, burgers, fish and a variety of steaks.

Read Also: New restaurant opens in downtown featuring Appalachian cuisine

Seasons 101 provides another upscale dining option in Sevierville at the Historic Central Hotel. It offers signature dishes and best of all (in my opinion) accepts reservations.

Hickory Cabin Restaurant is a hidden gem located on Joy Street in Sevierville. Its specialty features sweet, southern barbecue with a house-made, top-secret seasoning.

And if you’re in the mood for a pick-me-up, Honeybee Coffee Co. offers some of the best coffee in the entire area.

What is there to do in Sevierville TN for free?

If you are exploring downtown, you can take a free walking tour.

Multiple greenways are available, including the West Prong Greenway which offers views of the Little Pigeon River.

If you want to venture outside of downtown, one of my favorite “free” things to do in Sevierville visiting The Apple Barn Cider Mill.

The area is free to explore, but you’ll probably be tempted to let go of a little cash once you smell the apple fritters.

You can also sample wine and apple cider while you’re here. The tastings are free, but tips are always recommended.

Read Also: 4 reasons you should visit the Apple Barn in Sevierville this fall

3 points of interest in downtown Sevierville TN

If you wish to do a tour of downtown Sevierville, walking tour brochures are available for free near the Dolly Parton statue. They can also be found online here.

As you walk around, you’ll also see additional signage about the city and its history. You can also check out the Visitors Bureau for more information.

Be sure not to miss a few of my favorite spots:

Dolly Parton Statue downtown Sevierville
A Dolly Parton statue sits outside the Sevier County Courthouse (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

1. The Dolly Parton statue

Crafted by artist Jim Gray, the statue was built in front of the Sevier County courthouse to honor the hometown hero, Dolly Parton.

In an interview, Dolly once said that her dad would go down to the courthouse to clean off her statue for her while he was still alive.

She said that he would tell her, “To your fans, you may be some sort of an idol, but to the pigeons down at the courthouse, you’re just another outhouse.”

All joking aside, Dolly has said she is very proud of this statue. Plus, it’s probably the closest thing I’ll personally ever get to a selfie with her, so I’ll take it.

2. Jackson Magnolia tree

Did you know that a piece of White House history grows in Sevierville? The Jackson Magnolia tree has quite the history behind it.

In the 1800s, Andrew Jackson took a seedling from his wife’s favorite magnolia and planted it at the White House.

A seedling from that tree was shared with Senator Howard Baker, who planted it and has since provided a seedling from his tree to Judge Rex Henry Ogle, who donated it to the City of Sevierville. It is near the Bruce Street Gazebo.

Wings of Wander mural downtown Sevierville
The Wings of Wander mural is located along E Main Street in downtown Sevierville (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

3. Wings of Wander mural

During part of the city’s renovation projects, some murals can now be seen around downtown.

For an Instagram photo opportunity, look for a set of wings that are inspired by Dolly herself.

The Wings of Wander was done by local artist Pinkie Mistry and features a monarch butterfly, inspired by Dolly’s song “Love is Like a Butterfly”.

There’s also another mural downtown that depicts a young, blonde child enjoying a burger at Red’s Cafe, a former Sevierville restaurant that young Dolly was said to have favorited.

Things to explore nearby

A popular restaurant that is also in Sevierville, but not downtown, is the Five Oaks Farm Kitchen.

And of course, if you like Dolly Parton, you’ll want to visit her namesake park Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, which I would say ranks as one of the best theme parks in the country. Her waterpark, Dollywood’s Splash Country is also nearby in Pigeon Forge.

If you’re staying in Sevierville, be sure to also check out Soaky Mountain Waterpark, located just off the Parkway. It is one of the newer attractions in the Smokies area.

And above all else, don’t skip out on what made the Smokies famous: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

What are your favorite things to do in downtown Sevierville, Tennessee? Let us know in the comments.

Soaky Mountain announces new coaster, expansions for 2022

Soaky Mountain Waterpark officials have just announced that they will be debuting a brand new ride for their 2022 season.

Soaky Mountain is Sevierville’s new landmark 50-acre waterpark. It originally opened in 2020 as part of the Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks family.

And at just two years old, they already have their eyes on expansions and upgrades to the park.

The latest announcement comes in the form of a new high-speed dueling water coaster. The coaster is set to debut in the summer of 2022.

Unlike traditional water slides, water coasters allow riders to travel both downhill and uphill. Water coasters usually are powered by a series of jets and a propulsion system.

This will be Soaky’s second water coaster. Their original, “Avalaunch, debuted in 2020.

The new coaster has been named “The Edge”.

“Our new water coaster, fittingly named, ‘The Edge’ is going to be a showstopper,” said Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark. “It will be perched on the edge of our waterpark, and span two football fields in length.”

“It’s fusing together WhiteWater’s Master Blaster water coaster with their iconic Boomerango. But, we are not adding just one slide, we are doubling it for a dueling thrill!”

A 70-foot tower will also be built to accommodate the new slides and ride queues.

Double tubes will be located on each side of the tower creating two “lanes” for riders to race.

Soaky Mountain is only two years old, but they are already making new rides and expansions to their park. The new coaster will have a dueling feature for double the fun (rendering courtesy of Soaky Mountain Waterpark)

What we know so far about the ride

Riders will be propelled down a three-story mega-drop that leads to the first valley. Then, they will be blasted uphill into a section featuring a kaleidoscope of colors.

Notably, Soaky Mountain is famous for their use of sunlight-powered color effects on their waterslides and tubes.

“Riders are sure to be mesmerized by the coaster’s AquaLucent rings designed into the tube segments,” adds Andrews.

“The distance between the rings will get closer and closer giving riders an appearance of acceleration.”

A second uphill blast takes riders into another enclosed tube segment. The inside of the tube features colorful, laser-like AquaLucent stripes.

The stripes start longer and then become shorter as the ride progresses. This special effect gives riders a sense of sci-fi speeds as they progress into another turn.

When the riders shoot out of the tube, they will see two imposing Boomerango walls before dropping to the base of the wall, feeling extreme Gs.

As the momentum takes the riders up the parallel walls, they will be able to see their competitor. They will also feel a sense of weightlessness before sliding back down.

Finally, riders go over a zero-G hump to the end of the ride.

The finish line will be stacked with lights and effects to indicate who won and who went over “The Edge”.

“The Boomerango is loved the world over, but our guests will be treated to a very special version of it that has never done before,” said Andrews.

“Our Boomerango walls are being designed to make the riders feel like they are going off the edge of the coaster. It is going to be spectacular.”

The new water coaster “The Edge” will span two football fields in length (rendering courtesy of Soaky Mountain Waterpark)

Also new for 2022 at Soaky Mountain

Finally, Soaky is also expanding the decking in two areas to create more lounging space for guests.

The expansion was inspired by guest recommendations.

The new decking will add 1,000 new seating options to the park.

Additionally, the waterpark is adding large umbrellas to increase shade.

Read Also: Soaky Mountain food menus: A list of snacks, treats

About Soaky Mountain Waterpark

Soaky has many exciting rides. For example, other attractions at Soaky Mountain include: 

  • Avalaunch, a watercoaster with four flying saucer features that create a drop-and-dive sensation and a wave curved wall. 
  • Soaky Surge, a massive, 35,000 square foot wave pool with 6-foot waves. 
  • Black Bear Rapids, a 24,000 square foot adventure river.
  • The Hive, a bee-themed play-and-spray feature with for younger children.
  • Boomers Bay, a kid activity pool area with smaller versions of the adult-size towering slides including Lil’ Rattlers and Mini Mayhem.
  • An Adventure Pool with a water obstacle course.
  • A 3,800 square foot flat-water cabana pool for relaxing poolside.
  • Hang 10essee, a double FlowRider®️ surfing simulator.

Other rides include two five-person raft rides, a tubing tower with five flumes, two high-intensity body slides and a four-lane head-first mat racing challenge.

Read Also: Soaky Mountain Waterpark slides and attractions: Your complete guide

Additionally, some of the slides feature translucent tubes which create a swirling array of light effects. Others are themed in colors like Rainbow’s Revenge and American Racer’s Rush.  

Season passes for 2022 are on sale now at SoakyMountainWaterPark.com

Soaky Mountain is located at 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, Tenn.

Have you been to Soaky Mountain Waterpark? Are you brave enough to ride “The Edge” water coaster in 2022? Let us know in the comments below.