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There’s something about a new decade that brings with it fresh beginnings, and it seems that the Great Smoky Mountains is getting some new life as well. With so many new attractions coming to the Smokies, there will be plenty of new activities to add to your list of goals and resolutions.
Here are some notable new attractions to be on the lookout for:
1. 360 Tower at Anakeesta
Anakeesta announced plans recently for its 2020 expansion — a wood and steel observation tower which will provide a 360-degree view of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. The observation tower will become the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg. Anakeesta also plans to open the Smokehouse Restaurant and Brewery with an outdoor patio and fully enclosed dining, as well as an outdoor water play area with cool wading streams and a cascading waterfall, both scheduled to open in Summer 2020. The observation tower is set to open in Spring 2020.
2. Blue Mist Mountain Resort
This one isn’t coming to the area until 2021, but the 188-acre resort is worth mentioning. This resort will consist of more than 310 hotel rooms, 200 townhomes and 40 vacation residences. An entire wing will be devoted to a wellness retreat, including the nation’s very first outdoor Nordic Spa. The resort will also include a whiskey distillery, artisan shops, an amphitheatre and an ice-skating rink during winter months. It is scheduled to open Spring 2021.
3. Buzzed Bull Creamery
Buzzed Bull Creamery offers liquid nitrogen ice cream — with booze! Guests will be able to watch their made-to-order ice cream being formed in front of their eyes in a matter of seconds. Guests of all ages can come in and enjoy their specialties, but guests aged 21 and older can take part in alcohol-infused ice cream, milkshakes and coffee. Buzzed Bull Creamery is scheduled to open Spring 2020. We’re pretty excited based on the chain’s Twitter feed.
4. Chicken Guy Restaurant
Guy Fieri is getting in on the Smokies action and bringing his famous chicken to East Tennessee. The restaurant will offer something for everyone, specializing in all-natural chicken tenders and sandwiches with 20 different house-made sauces to choose from. Guests will also be able to enjoy “Flavortown Frozen Treats,” which is hand-spun soft serve. Chicken Guy is coming to Gatlinburg in 2020. Locations will also be opening in Nashville, Knoxville and Johnson City.
5. Dollywood Resort Expansion
Dollywood has plans to build a new resort addition near Splash Country and DreamMore. The addition will include a 310 room hotel and a 325-seat restaurant and conference space. Dollywood has not released details about the expansion at this time.
6. Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival
Dollywood brings in a new experience each year, and this year, guests will experience the brand new Flower and Food Festival. Guests can expect to see half a million flowers and plants throughout the park along with tributes to some of Dolly Parton’s hit songs such as “I Will Always Love You” and “Coat of Many Colors.” The festival will also include interactive displays, specialty food and drinks. The festival is scheduled to run from May 8 through June 14, 2020.
7. Double Decker Bus Tours
Double Decker bus tours are nothing new to “touristy” cities, and they have officially made their presence known to the Smoky Mountains. The tours are hop on, hop off, with tour guides to tell guests what to do and where to eat. The tour features 10 stops in Pigeon Forge and four in Gatlinburg.You may have seen these double deckers driving around town since they officially kicked things off in late December, but specialty tours such as Cades Cove, Moonshine and Wine, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino are scheduled for Spring 2020. Single, one-way rides start at $5, and full day passes start at $14.99 for adults and $9.99 for children.
8. Flying Theater at the Island
This $20 million, state-of-the-art, immersive flying theater ride is scheduled land at the Island, adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and the Show Fountain. The ride will show a custom film that features some of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders and landmarks. The theater was originally set to open in early 2020, but new reports say that the opening is now expected in 2021.
9. Pigeon Forge Chairlift
While not many details have been released yet, PIgeon Forge is in the works to get its very own chairlift. While there are many chairlifts in Gatlinburg, this will be the first of its kind in PIgeon Forge. According to their Facebook page, they are expected to open in late 2020.
10. Ruby Sunshine
This new diner specializes in brunch and cocktails inspired by New Orleans flavor. They have existing locations in Franklin, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Birmingham, Ala. The restaurant is scheduled to open early 2020.
11. Soaky Mountain Waterpark
Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks have begun construction on a new 50-acre outdoor waterpark. The waterpark will feature a 35,000-square foot wave pool, a kids play area, activity pool, obstacle course, poolside cabanas and a double FlowRider for surfing, as well as four large slide complexes. This attraction is set to open Summer 2020.
12. The Tower Shops at the Mountain Mile
Exact release dates have yet to be determined, but guests can expect to see some new eateries and shops coming to The Tower Shops in 2020, including a new Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) store, which specializes in biking, hiking, camping, climbing and more.
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.