21 best things to do in Gatlinburg TN for couples

couple sits in front of views from gatlinburg skydeck at skylift park

Relax with your date by the SkyDeck after visiting the decorated SkyBridge in Gatlinburg (media photo courtesy of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park)

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Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains are often considered to be a family vacation destination.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a romantic getaway in the Smokies.

Here are some of the best ways to spend time in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas for couples:

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21. Enjoy some shopping

You don’t need to look far for shopping opportunities in downtown Gatlinburg.

Simply walk up and down the strip for some unique shopping experiences. One of my favorite areas is The Village.

If you want an even more unique experience, be sure to check out the Arts and Crafts community nearby.

You can shop for gifts for each other for an extra bit of fun.

Piegeon Forge Ferris Wheel at night
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel lights up at night (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

20. Ride on a Ferris wheel (Pigeon Forge)

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is located at the Island in Pigeon Forge.

Even though it will take you away from Gatlinburg proper, it’s a great way to enjoy the shops at The Island and take in the scenery from this iconic Ferris wheel.

Plus, The Island has free parking, a rare commodity in Gatlinburg.

Interactive colorful puzzle at Activate Games
Activate Games in Gatlinburg offers a variety of high-tech games that test your physical and mental agility (media photo courtesy of Activate Games)

19. Play at Activate Games

For the active couple looking for something different, Activate Games offers a unique gaming experience in the heart of downtown.

This adventure will test your skill level on multiple challenges that you won’t find anywhere else.

Plus, for an added bonus, their sister company also has an escape room next door at Breakout Games.

18. Rent a cabin

If you’re looking for romance, be sure to get a cabin rental.

Then, enjoy the amenities of your traditional cabin during your stay. Nothing says romance like a hot tub, fireplace and crisp mountain air.

Bonus points if you plan some hot tub time around sunset.

Dollywood Flower and Food Fest Umbrellas
Dollywood can be romantic during the seasonal festivals. Pictured: An umbrella sky during the Flower and Food Festival (photo by Kim Grayson/TheSmokies.com)

17. Visit Dollywood (Pigeon Forge)

I would normally rank Dollywood much higher. However, you searched for Gatlinburg and not Pigeon Forge.

Still, if you’re willing to make the day trip, it’s definitely worth it. Dollywood has everything from shows, rides, great food and a large bald eagle habitat.

It’s a great theme park and certainly the best in Tennessee.

Remember, Dollywood is closed between January and mid-March.

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16. Hike to a waterfall

There are plenty of gorgeous waterfalls and trails around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One of the most popular is Laurel Falls, but you’ll have some company if you choose that route. Try Baskins Creek Falls or Grotto Falls instead.

If you don’t feel like hiking, you can also take a scenic drive on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or Cades Cove.

Remember to check for seasonal closures.

Water around Boulder Rock in Chimney Tops
Above: The Chimney Tops picnic area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (photo by Kelly vanDellen/shutterstock.com)

15. Go for a picnic

Going for a picnic is one of the simplest ways to be romantic.

There are several prime opportunities for a picnic in the Smokies. I like the Chimney Tops picnic area.

14. See a show

You have a lot of entertainment venues in the Smoky Mountains. If you wish to do a dinner show, you may have a few more options in Pigeon Forge.

However, there are some great shows right in the heart of Gatlinburg. For example, you could see the Impossibilities magic show with Erik Dobell at the historic Space Needle.

Gatlinburg Space Needle
The Space Needle offers a bird’s eye view of Gatlinburg (photo by Stephen B. Goodwin/shutterstock.com)

13. Visit the Space Needle

Speaking of which, the Gatlinburg Space Needle will not take up too much time on your date night. It was once the tallest attraction in Gatlinburg but has since been surpassed.

Still, if you don’t wish to spring for tickets to a place like Anakeesta (more on that below), it offers great views of the city for a little less.

man on horse at sugarlands
You don’t need to travel far from Gatlinburg to visit Sugarlands Riding Stables (photo by Wendy Key/TheSmokies.com)

12. Go horseback riding

Horseback riding is a great way to do something different and see the mountains.

There are several great horseback riding attractions in the Smokies.

Sugarlands Riding Stables is a great option if you’re trying to stay in the heart of Gatlinburg.

Live music and food at Ole Red in Gatlinburg
Ole Red in Gatlinburg offers good food and live music (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

11. Enjoy live music at Ole Red

If you enjoy live music, be sure to check out Ole Red in Gatlinburg, conveniently located along the Parkway.

Ole Red is a fun place to eat, and while it’s known for the music, the food is surprisingly pretty good.

Ole Red is located at 511 Parkway in Gatinburg.

The Listening Room Cafe stage in Pigeon Forge TN
The Listening Room Cafe offers guests the opportunity to listen to talented musicians in an intimate atmosphere (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

10. Live music at the Listening Room Cafe (Pigeon Forge)

The Listening Room Cafe is a relatively new addition to the Smokies area.

Conveniently located in Pigeon Forge in The Tower Shops at The Mountain Mile, the Listening Room is known for great food in a true listening atmosphere.

The venue celebrates artists and gives the Smokies a taste of the Nashville music scene. It’s a more intimate experience compared to Ole Red.

Visit the website to purchase tickets or see the upcoming lineup of artists.

Ice skating rink at Ober Gatlinburg
You can skate inside at Ober any time of year (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

9. Visit Ober Mountain

If you’re visiting Gatlinburg in the winter season, it’s a great time to visit Ober.

Couples can enjoy ice skating around the rink or soaking in views from the Aerial Tramway.

Ober is a fun place to let your inner kid shine.

Save $2 on the Aerial Tramway

When you visit Ober Mountain

Save $2 on Aerial Tramway tickets

8. Wine and dine around the Smokies

If you’re a traditionalist, you will want to find an excellent restaurant for your romantic evening.

Do some wine tastings around the strip or visit a distillery like Ole Smoky Moonshine or Sugarlands for an experience unique to Gatlinburg.

The good news is, there are many wineries and good places to eat around Gatlinburg. Whether you’re looking for the best steak or the best seafood or simply the most romantic meal, you can find it here in the Smokies.

For dinner, look to some of the classic spots, like The Greenbrier or The Peddler Steakhouse. Be sure to plan ahead though, because wait times will likely be long, and reservations are not always available.

Read Also: Romantic restaurants in Gatlinburg: 6 upscale dining options ranked

The Titanic Museum
The Titanic Museum is a fun place to explore for visitors of all ages (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

7. Visit the Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge)

What better way to propose, renew vows or celebrate love than on the Titanic Grand Staircase?

The Titanic is a great museum along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. Explore real artifacts from the ill-fated ship and make a few jokes about how there was room for Jack on the door.

Titanic

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A penguin at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
The Penguin Playhouse is a fun place to visit at the Gatlinburg aquarium (media photo courtesy of Ripley’s Aquarium)

6. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

There’s something calm and relaxing about visiting an aquarium.

Conveniently located downtown, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has been voted the best aquarium in North America.

Plus, if you plan to visit the aquarium with your date, you can easily bundle your tickets and enjoy even more Ripley’s attractions.

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Davy Crockett Mini Golf
Ripley’s also offers mini golf in Gatlinburg (media photo courtesy of Ripley’s)

5. Play some mini golf

Mini golf is a cute and fun way to enjoy some friendly competition with your date.

If your date has a sweet tooth and feels like venturing over to Pigeon Forge, Crave Golf, a candy-themed mini golf destination, can be a great choice for your sweetie and also features a candy store.

It also offers an indoor course, so it’s a safe bet no matter the weather.

If you’re in Gatlinburg, check out one of Ripley’s mini golf courses and take advantage of the previously mentioned combo passes.

Crave Golf Club Coupons

Save $3 at Crave Golf Club

Save $3 when you purchase two courses online with promo code TSC at Crave Golf Club mini golf.

You may also redeem this coupon at the ticket counter using the barcode below.

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4. Enjoy a painting class

For a date night that comes with a souvenir that you can hang on the wall when you get home, try a local painting class.

The Art Studio of the Smokies offers couples painting classes, private lessons and even painting parties.

Supplies and instructions are included with every booking.

Spots and times may be limited, so plan ahead. Call (865) 325-1888 or visit the website for more information.

Anakeesta's Dueling Ziplines
Anakeesta in Gatlinburg offers a Dueling Zipline (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Go ziplining

For the adventurous couple, ziplining above the treetops of the Smoky Mountains is a memorable experience.

CLIMB Works is a great option in Gatlinburg and is located very close to the national park.

You could also zipline at Anakeesta, which could be a fun activity to do before an enchanting night walk, which brings us to …

pink orbs light up night sky
Anakeesta’s AstraLumina walk is a one-of-a-kind experience in the Smokies (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

2. Astra Lumina at Anakeesta

Anakeesta is one of the top attractions in Gatlinburg.

And, it’s an attraction that is always expanding.

The park now offers the Astra Lumina experience, a night walk that features lighting, projection and sound. The experience connects visitors to the stars as they explore a Smoky Mountain forest.

It’s an immersive experience that is completely unique to this attraction, and an evening that your date won’t soon forget.

Afterward, take in the views at the AnaVista observation tower and enjoy a romantic dinner with a view at Cliff Top Restaurant.

There’s a lot you can do at Anakeesta, but remember that Astra Lumina and ziplining are not included in the regular price of admission.

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The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park at dusk
Above, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is illuminated for a special Valentine’s Day event (media photo courtesy of SkyLift Park)

1. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

Visiting SkyLift Park and taking a walk along the SkyBridge is truly one of the most romantic things to do on the list and has become one of the most sought out proposal locations in the Smokies.

After you walk the famous SkyBridge, grab a drink with your significant other and take in the romantic views from the overlook at the SkyDeck.

Visit the website for more information or learn about special events.

What are your favorite things to do on a date in the Smokies? Let us know in the comments below.

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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