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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.