Top things to do in January 2021 around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

Penguin tunnel at Ripley's
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is hosting special events in January (photo courtesy of Ripley's)

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January is a popular month to visit the Smoky Mountains and enjoy winter activities. If you are planning a trip to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge this January, check out this list of top things to do around the area:

5. Enjoy Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains

Winterfest officially runs through February, so January will your last full month to enjoy the holiday lights around Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Some aspects of Winterfest will end early in the month, so be sure to hurry if any of these attractions are on your to do list:

  • Dollywood closes Jan. 3, 2021 for the season
  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland closes Jan. 3, 2021 for the season
  • SkyLift Park’s Lights Over Gatlinburg event runs through the end of January, 2021
The Island in Pigeon Forge has canceled their New Year's Eve celebration for 2020 (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)
The Island in Pigeon Forge has brought back their New Year’s Eve celebration for 2020 (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Ring in the New Year at The Island in Pigeon Forge

If you have been planning a New Year’s celebration in the Smokies this year, you might have a bit of planning PTSD. The Island’s New Year’s Eve celebration was initially cancelled and later revived in a reversal that “only 2020 could bring”.

Meanwhile, the celebration in downtown Gatlinburg has also been recently cancelled.

Read Also: Gatlinburg cancels 2020 New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration downtown 

If you want to see fireworks in the Smokies this New Year, your best bet is The Island in Pigeon Forge. The Island will be open on Dec. 31 from 10 am to midnight.

The Island cancelled the concert this year, but rides, retail and dining establishments will be operating as scheduled. Fireworks will go off at midnight.

The Island has partnered with WIVK/107.7 FM to simulcast the fireworks celebration so guests can enjoy the fireworks from their vehicles.

Free parking is available in the city’s Municipal Lot, located between The Island and the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge as well as the Mountain Lot, located at 2989 Teaster Lane.

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

Penguins at Ripley's
The penguins are always fun to visit at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (photo courtesy of Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies)

3. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has been voted the best aquarium in North America, and when it’s cold outside, it can be a great time to pop in and visit the penguins and other creatures at the aquarium.

Ripley’s will also be hosting some special events throughout the month, including a Curious Campout Family Sleepover event, home school programs and Ripley’s Aquarium Sensory Night.

If you’re looking for more ways to escape the cold, there are several great museums and walk-through attractions in the area.

Read Also: Top 10 museums and walk-through attractions in the Smokies

2. Visit Ober Gatlinburg

When it comes to winter activities around the Smokies, Ober Gatlinburg rules the land.

Ober Gatlinburg offers skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing, a terrain park, a free play snow zone, ice skating and ice bumper cars.

Ober Gatlinburg also hosts specials, including Ladies’ Nights on the Slopes, which will be held Jan. 12, 2021, when ladies can bring 10 canned food items or a $10 donation and get a free night session ski area ticket.

Ober Gatlinburg will also be hosting a College Night on Jan. 14, 2021, where students can bring 10 canned food items or a $10 donation and get a free lift pass. (Must show a valid student ID).

Proceeds will benefit the Sevier County Food Ministries.

For more information about events at Ober, visit their website.

Read Also: January 2021: Upcoming events in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

Pigeon Forge Snow
Pigeon Forge Snow offers a year-round indoor snow park (photo courtesy of Pigeon Forge Snow)

1. Go snow tubing

Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains enjoyed a white Christmas this year, but no matter what the weather has in store for us throughout the rest of the winter, you can always count on Pigeon Forge Snow for some excellent snow tubing.

Pigeon Forge Snow is a year-round snow park in Pigeon Forge that has a snow play area and indoor snow tubing.

Read Also: Best snow tubing, winter activities in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

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 [email protected] for questions or comments.

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