Located in Tennessee, Gatlinburg is a quaint little town with a population of roughly 3,750 people. It attracts millions of visitors every year. With a slew of tourist attractions, Gatlinburg attracts all types of visitors. So if you have never been to this place and are planning to go there, you might have difficulty figuring out where to start and fail to make the most of your vacation.

With that in mind, we have put together a list of must-visit places in Gatlinburg. So without further ado, let’s dive right into it:  

  1. Anakeesta

Gatlinburg is known for its picturesque resort-like mountainous scenery, ideal for hiking and leisure. At Anakeesta, you may enjoy the complete spectrum of adventure and calming fresh air. We promise you will not have a dull moment. The plethora of options will, quite literally, keep you occupied for hours, giving you plenty of time to indulge your inner child. 

Anakeesta offers adventures such as a chairlift ride, dueling zipline, treetop skywalk, treehouse town adventure, and much more. Great Outdoors Trading Company, Cliff Top Grill & Bar, and Pearl’s Pie in the Sky restaurant have you covered if you want to engage in shopping and eating. 

If you are short on budget to indulge in all these activities at Anakeesta, you can save money on accommodation. For example, some luxury cabin rentals Gatlinburg offers give out discounts and even offer free attraction tickets to visitors

  • Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

The summit of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest point in the state of Tennessee. Driving up to the 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome Observation Tower from the city center takes nearly one hour. The 45-foot-tall Observation Tower provides a panoramic view of Tennessee and the surrounding states of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

When you get to the parking area at Clingmans Dome, take the paved walkway half a mile long to the base of the tower and then follow the concrete ramp to the top. You will also encounter the world-famous Appalachian Trail on the ascent, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The tower features interpretive signage that provides a backstory on the surrounding mountains and cities.

  • Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls is not too distant from the city center, yet it is hidden so far in the woods that the gorgeous, lush forest obscures any sounds that could otherwise reach your ears.

This beautiful and tranquil environment is bursting to the seams with natural wonders. Purely natural, the waterfall is the result of streams cascading over rocks. Cataract Falls also boasts a mile-long multi-purpose route that is a great place to hike, mountain bike, or ride horseback.

  • Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

The smooth swing as you top each tower, the cheery and eager waves out the bay windows, and the hillside rising and falling beneath you like ocean waves all contribute to the enchantment of a ride on a mountain tram. The casual conversation between the tram’s passengers and the conductor makes this classic mountain excursion all the more memorable. One such attraction in the city is the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.

With hospitable conductors knowledgeable about the sights, Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is an ideal way to enjoy breathtaking views in a controlled and warm atmosphere. However, the journey up is only the beginning of the excitement.

Once you reach the top, you may engage in various sports, including skiing, tubing, ice skating, etc. The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is hands down the best option for those searching for spectacular views and exciting winter activities.

  • Ripley’s Aquarium

There is more to Ripley’s Aquarium than the standard fare of ‘oohing and aahing.’ It offers unforgettable experiences, such as getting up close and personal with penguins, swimming with stingrays, and spending quality time with the turtles. The basement also houses a stingray bay, a penguin playhouse, a discovery center, and an unusual coral reef.

Shark Lagoon is a mandatory stop on your tour of Ripley’s Aquarium. Using a moving glide path is one of its coolest features. Once inside, the 340-foot glide path will take you through the tunnel at a leisurely pace, allowing you to watch the fish and sharks swim by. Snappers, grunts, tarpons, squirrelfish, and sawfish are just a few of the fish you could encounter.

  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

You may begin the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail by taking Old Cherokee Road from downtown Gatlinburg. When travelers come to the Smoky Mountains, one must-do activity is to drive around this loop road. The 5.5-mile loop might take a long time to complete due to the numerous trailheads and historical stops along the twisting, narrow route.

Make sure you have a copy of the park’s motor trails guide before you hit the path. The fascinating history of the area’s pioneer cottages, small-scale farming, and grist mills from the beginning of the twentieth century provides a fascinating background to the beautiful waterfalls, creeks, and old-growth forests you will see on your hike. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail leads to hiking paths that lead to two of the park’s most well-known waterfalls: Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls.

  • The Village Shops

Feel like you have exhausted your options in the hills and need a change of scenery? Is there an essential item that you needed but did not bring with you on your trip? Well, The Village Shops will take care of everything.

The Village Shops are a collection of roughly thirty independent stores, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries, each offering a special selection of goods and services. Buildings in the Tudor style and quaint alleyways lined with cobblestones create an atmosphere that will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time. It is also a great spot to stock up on beautiful keepsakes for the ride back home or as gifts for friends and family.


There is always something new going on in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. So regardless of what time of year you visit, you will always find fascinating things. The article includes a selection of places to explore when visiting Gatlinburg. Get your bearings with this, and then strike out on your own to see the wonders outside and inside this special town in the Smoky Mountains.