Summer is Gatlinburg’s best season, and it’s nearly upon us! There’s a lot to do in Gatlinburg year-round, but in the summertime, the town’s special character really comes out to play. Here are ten things you can do in Gatlinburg during the middle of the year.
1. INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE
The 4th of July is big in Gatlinburg, and they’ve got one of the oldest Independence Day parades in the nation. In fact, it's the first Independence Day parade in the nation that kicks off at midnight.
2. FIREWORKS OVER DOWNTOWN
Celebrate Independence Day in Gatlinburg! Admission to the fireworks show is free so if you’re looking for a fun activity to add to your itinerary that won’t tip your budget, look no further. Fireworks take place after dark on the night of July 4th.
3. ICE SKATE AT OBER GATLINBURG
This is an enormous, family-friendly indoor ice arena. Whether you’re a triple salchow-ing pro or a complete beginner, you’ll have a lot of fun here.
4. EXPLORE THE DEEP SEA AT RIPLEY'S AQUARIUM
Ripley’s has more than just a museum, there’s an aquarium, too. And like everything down south, it specializes in big. While you’ll still find plenty of cute penguins and colorful starfish, their big attraction is their sharks.
5. WALK THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN
Sometimes the best things to do are unscripted. When you plan your trip to Gatlinburg, be sure you leave at least one free afternoon to wander the streets of downtown at your own pace. Here you’ll find museums, theaters, one-of-a-kind shops, aquariums and more. Start your walk with no plans and see what you stumble across!
6. EAT SOME GOOD FOOD
Gatlinburg has no shortage of places to eat, from casual eateries to fine dining. You’re sure to find something to your taste.
7. TAKE IN THE VIEWS AT ANAKEESTA
If Gatlinburg knows one thing, it’s outstanding mountain views. There’s so much to do up high in the sky in this town. Anakeestais a fun place to play and relax from some really great heights. Looking for something calm? Take a stroll through the gardens and check out the restaurants. Looking for more adventure? Zipline right through the Smoky Mountains!
8. VISIT THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The most popular national park in the country is right in Gatlinburg’s backyard! There are plenty of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and photo ops throughout the park.
9. DINE ON THE ROOF AT LOCO BURRO
One of summer’s greatest benefits is that you can eat outdoors. Enjoy a house-made margarita along with some mesquite-grilled Tex-Mex at Loco Burro in Gatlinburg. All with a great outdoor view and a lot of fresh, July air.
10. SEE LIVE MUSIC AT OLE RED
Live music is a big part of Southern culture. Ole Red gets its name from one of Blake Shelton’s first hits, and they do their best to recreate Shelton’s laid-back, genuine feel. This is the place to be if you’re interested in seeing some of country music’s newest rising stars (and maybe some yet-to-be-discovered superstars, as well!).