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Christmas is a magical time in the Smokies, and if you’re already in town, congratulations! It’s hard to go wrong from here.
But if you’re looking for something more specific, look no further. Here are my top 5 picks on what to do to put ya right in the Christmas spirit:
6. Check out Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Each Christmas season, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland takes over the large parking lot of the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team and creates a drive-thru Christmas event that literally lights up the holidays.
Hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights – some crafted into entertaining scenes like a snow-boarding Santa – dance along to Christmas music to create a sensory experience that brings visitors from all over. It’s an orchestra of colored lights, all seen from the warmth of your car as you drive through the display specifically designed to engender Christmas spirit even in the most ardent of Scrooges.
Shadrack’s is open from early November until early January and has become a staple of East Tennessee Christmas celebrations.
5. Visit Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park features the longest pedestrian bridge in North America, and it’s famous for offering some of the absolute best views of the Smokies, complete with a glass bottom at the highest point and heights at about 140 feet.
Around Christmas, the park puts on the Lights Over Gatlinburg event, where thousands of lights illuminate the bridge.
Take a stroll through a mesmerizing tunnel of Christmas magic. Afterward, relax on the SkyDeck by the fire pit, sipping on hot chocolate or cider. It’s a walk you’ll definitely remember, without the sad ending.
4. Go to Anakeesta
Gatlinburg’s Anakeesta is a great place to eat, shop and chill out. Their special event for the holidays is the Enchanted Winter Celebration, which features thousands of canopy lights, a walk-in snow globe and photos with Santa on special dates. In Firefly Village you’ll find whimsical Christmas trees, each decorated with a unique theme. The Treetop Skywalk at night is illuminated to create a memorable experience for kids young and old. There’s enough here to keep you entertained all day, and it’s an experience that won’t be easily forgotten.
Read Also: Anakeesta announces dates for Enchanted Christmas, Local Appreciation Days
3. Take a trolley tour
There are a lot of lights to see in the Smokies if you haven’t caught on yet, and one of the best ways to see them is by taking a trolley tour. The trolley carries you through downtown Gatlinburg and down the Parkway.
Last year, visitors received a complimentary cup of hot chocolate (courtesy of Ripley’s Aquarium) and a special commemorative token. A portion of proceeds went toward benefitting the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.
2. Go to Dollywood
In case you haven’t heard, Christmas at Dollywood is so magical someone wrote a whole movie about it. Dollywood pulls out all the stops when decorating for Christmas. Their newest expansion, Glacier Ridge, features a Northern Lights display, a 50-ft tree and a symphony of lights in the plaza. Throughout the park, you’ll find special crafts, holiday treats and a variety of shows. To boot, most of the rides and roller coasters will continue to run through the cold weather conditions permitting.
1. Rent a cabin
Last but certainly not least, rent a cabin. Relaxing in a rustic cabin with mountain scenery is one of my absolute favorite things to do all year, but especially in Winter. With the breathtaking tree-top views, cozy fireplaces, outdoor hot tubs contrasted with the crisp mountain air, it’s enough to keep you from wanting to venture anywhere else.
Read Also: 6 tips to consider BEFORE you rent a cabin in The Smokies
Merry Christmas and happy planning!
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.