Top things to do in December 2020 around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

Dollywood Tree

Dollywood decorates for Christmas throughout the park at the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration (photo by Alaina O'Neal/

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December is a popular month to visit the Smoky Mountains and celebrate Christmas. If you are planning a trip Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge in 2020, check out this list of top things to do around the area:

13. Attend the Little River Railroad Museum Christmas Celebration

Gather up your family and bring them to the outdoor railroad Christmas display at the Little River Railroad Museum in Townsend, Tenn.

Guests are invited to sip on cider or hot cocoa, munch on some cookies and visit with Santa. Guests can also shop for gifts courtesy of local crafters.

This event will take place on Saturdays throughout December (Dec. 5, 12 and 19) from 5-7 pm. Admission is free.

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

12. Go to a Christmas show

The Smoky Mountains are full of entertainment and talent, and many of the show venues in the area get in the spirit of Christmas with special holiday shows.

Watch elves from the North and South pole compete in friendly rivalry at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, or watch someone else’s family get in fights at the dinner table at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud.

No matter what you prefer, there’s definitely a show for you in the Smokies.

Read Also: Top 12 theaters and dinner shows in the Smokies

11. Go to a Christmas parade

If you’re in town the first weekend of December, be sure to attend one of the area’s annual Christmas parades.

The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade begins at 7:30 pm on Friday, Dec. 4 in downtown Gatlinburg.

The Sevierville Christmas parade will begin at 11 am on Saturday, Dec. 5 in downtown Sevierville.

Read Also: December 2020: Upcoming events in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville 

Titanic Museum
The Titanic Museum is decked out for the 2020 holiday season (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

10. Visit the Titanic Museum

Inside and out, Titanic Museum is magical during the winter holidays.

Guests are invited to enjoy the sights, sounds and joy of the season that surrounds the holiday spirit as the ship glows in glittering lights and festive decorations.

For the 2020 season, reservations are required. Visit the website for more information.

Read Also: The Titanic Museum gets decked out (pun intended) for the holidays 

Ice skating
Guests ice skate at Wilderness at the Smokies (photo courtesy of Wilderness at the Smokies)

9. Stay at Wilderness at the Smokies

Guests can experience all of the seasons in a single stay when they visit Wilderness at the Smokies.

Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark stays open all year long, so you can don a yuletide swimsuit and party like it’s still summer time.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel the spirit of the holidays as well. (Who says you can’t have it all?)

Wilderness at the Smokies turns the outdoor wave pool into an ice skating rink for the season, and they also feature many winter festivities throughout the holidays, including special appearances by Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus and more.

Read Also: Ice skate on a ‘frozen wave pool’ at Wilderness at the Smokies in 2020 

8. Ski or snow tube at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is well known for winter fun in Gatlinburg.

Ski and snowboard season begins around early-mid December at Ober Gatlinburg, but the exact dates are determined by mother nature.

Snow tubing, however, is available all month long. It’s recommended that you book snow tubing in advance since sessions can sell out during holiday periods and weekends.

For more information about winter activities at at Ober, visit them online.

The Island in Pigeon Forge is open year round including Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (individual store hours may vary) (photo by Morgan Overholt/
The Island in Pigeon Forge is open year round including Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (individual store hours may vary) (photo by Morgan Overholt/

7. Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island in Pigeon Forge is open 365 days of the year, and it’s beautifully decorated during winter months.

It’s a great area to explore, take photos, shop and eat. Relax by the water show fountain or ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel to get a bird’s eye view of the lights.

If you’re in town for the New Year, the New Year’s Eve Celebration is back on at The Island and promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Read Also: The Island brings back New Year’s Eve 2020 in even ‘bigger’ celebration 

6. Explore the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Loop

Gatlinburg is home to one of the largest organizations of artisans in the United States. If you’re in Gatlinburg, explore the 8-mile loop of the Arts and Crafts Community.

Make your own crafts or find some unique Christmas gifts. The Christmas Craft Show begins on Monday, Nov. 30 and lasts through Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Show hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am-5pm and Sunday from 10 am-4 pm. Admission is free.

For more information, visit them online.

Bryson City
The Polar Express departs from Bryson City, N.C. (photo by John Gullion/

5. Take a ride on the Polar Express

This round-trip passenger train excursion comes to life with a journey through the wilderness of North Carolina for a special visit to the “North Pole”.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. The train will arrive at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting to greet each child with a special gift from the story, their own silver sleigh bell.

The Polar Express ride will run throughout the month of December. This train ride will be operating at a reduced capacity for the 2020 season. To learn more, visit

4. Visit the Gatlinburg SkyBridge at SkyLift Park

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is celebrating Christmas with their Lights Over Gatlinburg event, which is now underway.

This year, SkyLift Park is bringing even more lights on the SkyBridge along with synchronized lights on the plaza areas and trees throughout the park.

Visit their website for more information.

Rumor has it Santa uses an Anakeesta truck if the reindeer need a night off (photo by Morgan Overholt/
Rumor has it Santa uses an Anakeesta truck if the reindeer need a night off (photo by Morgan Overholt/

3. Enjoy Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta

Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter event is now underway.

Santa’s sleigh will be landing on select dates. It will be colder on the mountaintop, so dress accordingly.

Anakeesta is open on Christmas Eve, but closed on Christmas Day. For more information, visit their website at

2. See the lights during Winterfest

The Smokies are transformed into a winter wonderland during the Winterfest celebration.

Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and the rest of the Smoky Mountains glow with millions of Christmas lights in celebration of the season.

Take a drive to to see it all, and visit iconic landmarks such as Patriot Park, the Old Mill and more.

Read Also: Winterfest events 2020: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge decorate for Christmas

Dollywood lights up with millions of lights during the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

1. Enjoy Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

This festive tradition, presented by Humana, has been voted the best in America for over a decade, and it is even better this season!

Experience the largest expansion ever featuring more lights, more shows and a brand-new themed area along with all the classics that have helped families from around the world make Dollywood their Christmas tradition year after year.

Read Also: Top 6 magical things about Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas 2020

Dollywood will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and on most Mondays and Tuesdays during the month.

Check Dollywood’s calendar for more information.

What are your plans for this month? 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 for questions or comments.


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