8 best ways to celebrate 4th of July in Gatlinburg [2022]

Gatlinburg 4th of July on SkyBridge

One of the most popular ways to view the fireworks in Gatlinburg is from the SkyBridge (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Between the fireworks, grilled foods over charcoal and the sweet apple pie, it’s a celebration I look forward to each year.

There are so many ways to celebrate the 4th of July in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas. Whether you want to eat some great food, watch some fireworks or even enjoy some outdoor activities, the possibilities are just about endless around the Great Smoky Mountains. 

In honor of the big day, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations and most fun things to do in the Smokies. 

Many of the following events are free, but some events require tickets and reservations. Book as early as possible. Space is often limited.

If you have an event that you’d like to add to our list, contact us.

Here are some of the best Fourth of July celebrations in Gatlinburg in 2022:

Space Needle in Gatlinburg
Fireworks will light up the sky from the Space Needle in downtown Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. Gatlinburg 4th of July Fireworks

As the sun goes down, the city of Gatlinburg will light up with a grand Independence Day fireworks display. The fireworks launch from the top of the Space Needle in downtown Gatlinburg on July 4th. 

The spectacular show will begin at 11 pm. Guests can view the fireworks that will light up the night sky from any vantage point in Gatlinburg in the heart of downtown.

Admission is free. Claim your spot early for the best views.

Patriot Park entrance in Pigeon Forge
Patriot Park will offer a celebration in Pigeon Forge with music, food and games (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival

The city of Pigeon Forge will celebrate Independence Day with music, food and games on July 4 at Patriot Park.

This event will feature food, games and a fun evening that ends with live fireworks. The musicians Liquid Velvet, Swamp River Revival and Josh Turner will be performing.

The activities are free and open to the public. Bring chairs and blankets. Coolers and umbrellas are not permitted. 

Parking is free and available at the city parking area on Teaster Lane between the Island and the LeConte Center. There will also be food vendors on site serving delicious American classics such as burgers and hot dogs.

Read Also: Upcoming events in July in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville

3. Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

This free, fun-filled July 4th celebration features an annual highly competitive race of unmanned floatables down the Little Pigeon River. 

Contestants may register their floatable at the starting line at the former Christ in the Smokies Museum at 11 am to register. 

The race kicks off at 1 pm and ends after all floatables cross the finish line at Ripley’s Aquarium plaza.

Contestants can also rent a rubber ducky and enter it into the competition. Rubber ducky rentals start at $2 each, or 3 for $5 on-site. Alternatively, competitors may bring their own at no cost. 

This event is a family-fun tradition in Gatlinburg that is enjoyed by visitors of all ages. For more information visit Gatlinburg.com.

Anakeesta Lego flower with bee in the center
Anakeesta will be continuing its Summer Celebration with these whimsical LEGO art creations (media photo courtesy of Anakeesta)

4. Summer in the Smokies at Anakeesta

While you’re waiting for fireworks to light up the night in Gatlinburg, spend a day surrounded by beautiful mountain views at Anakeesta.

The park Anakeesta will be continuing its Summer in the Smokies celebration, which features Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects sculptures using LEGO bricks.

Summertime menu items and cocktails will be served throughout the park. Additionally, Liquid Velvet will perform at Black Bear Village.

Anakeesta will be open until 10 pm on July 4th.

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Flag at SkyBridge
SkyLift Park offers a one-of-a-kind viewing party (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

5. SkyBridge Fourth of July Celebration

Celebrate the 4th of July at the biggest fireworks viewing party in Gatlinburg at SkyLift Park’s SkyBridge. 

The SkyBridge is located directly above the Gatlinburg Space Needle and offers one of the best views in town, far away from the crowds below. There isn’t a bad seat in the house at the SkyBridge.

It’s the best place to be to see the spectacular fireworks. This event often sells out, so buy now if you are interested in attending.

Learn more at GatlinburgSkyLift.com

Read Also: Anakeesta vs. SkyLift Park: Which attraction is better?

Drone show at Dollywood Summer Celebration
The Summer Celebration at Dollywood will continue through July 4th and feature a drone show (media photo courtesy of Dollywood)

6. Dollywood’s Summer Celebration

Dollywood’s Summer Celebration event isn’t a July 4th exclusive – BUT it’s still a great way to celebrate Independence Day.

The theme park summer event runs until August and includes extended hours and nightly fireworks. 

If you’ve never been in the park after dark, having the opportunity to ride their award-winning roller coasters at night is a real treat. 

During the celebration, Dollywood features a spectacular 3D drone and fireworks show. The park will be open until 9:30 pm.

Book your tickets in advance with Tripster.

4th of July Parade in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg offers an award-winning parade for Independence Day (archive photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

7. First Independence Day Parade 

Show your American pride and be among the first in the nation to celebrate this year’s Independence Day.

The 4th of July Midnight Parade is back this year, kicking off at 11:59 pm on the evening of July 3rd.

The award-winning Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade has received national attention and recognition for its excellence.

The parade steps off at the intersection of east Parkway and Baskins Creek Bypass at traffic light #3.

For more information, visit the event page here.

Ole Red cocktail
Ole Red will be celebrating with a Patio Party (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

8. Ole Red July 4th Patio Party  

Ole Red will be offering visitors a great way to enjoy July 4th in Gatlinburg. They will be offering live country music, seasonal food and special events.

Be sure to join Ole Red for the Patio Party during Gatlinburg’s Midnight Parade. It’s sure to be the perfect viewing area for the parade in the downtown area. There will be a limited number of tickets for this event, so be sure to plan ahead.

Are you spending the 4th of July in Gatlinburg TN? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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