Best time to go to Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg Christmas Lights 2024-2025

From light displays to Christmas trees and shows – Tennessee Smokies is a must-see in the winter

Dates: mid-November–mid-February

Gatlinburg Christmas Lights
The Island at Pigeon Forge during Christmas time

Everyone needs to visit Gatlinburg during wintertime at least once. The Great Smoky Mountains is the perfect spot for a family holiday trip due to millions of spectacular lights turning Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge into a fairytale. Additionally, there are tons of fun seasonal activities, fireworks, and shows to create many special moments to remember.

Winter Magic in Gatlinburg (November 10, 2023)

Winter is a special time in Gatlinburg. The area gets draped in about five million lights, shining from early November up to early February. Beautiful decorations and fun seasonal events transform the Smokies into a winter wonderland. Gatlinburg paid over a million dollars for this extravaganza, and people from all over the U.S. flock to see the traditional holiday scenes, Smoky Mountain critters, and other light installations.

To enjoy the dazzling displays, take the Trolley Ride of Lights, passing through the downtown area. To get the best view of the Gatlinburg parkway lights go up the Gatlinburg Space Needle. From 400 feet (121 m), you'll be able to see the panorama of the city and the Christmas Tree.

SkyBridge and Lights Over Gatlinburg (November 9, 2023–January 31, 2024)

Gatlinburg’s famous SkyBridge is North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, which is all lit up during the holiday season at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. From mid-November to late January, SkyLift Park is decorated with over 40,000 twinkling lights. The main attraction is a 300-foot (91-m) tunnel of lights on the SkyBridge. A 30-foot (9-m) Christmas tree is another frequently photographed spot with lights animated to music.

Festival of Trees (November 22–26, 2023)

If you want to enjoy the lights and beautiful decoration indoors, visit the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees, which is held in late November at the WL Mills Conference Center. In addition to beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths, there's a children’s craft area, play area, entertainment, photos ops with Santa, and booths with handmade holiday decorations.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest (November 9, 2023–February 18, 2024)

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a sparkling lights wonderland with three Christmas trees, a mile of garland, carolers, and lots of dazzling lights. Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel to see the whole picture from 200 feet (61 m) in the air. Watch the Island Show Fountain and enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment options at one of the premier East Tennesee holiday destinations.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (November 11, 2023–January 6, 2024)

One of the most popular Smokey Mountains holiday attractions is the Showstreet theater at Dollywood, lit up with thousands of Christmas lights. Visitors can enjoy lights & shows, and famous productions such as It’s a Wonderful Life, the Parade of Many Colors and others. Glacier Ridge is a magical winter wonderland adorned with more than a million sparkling lights with a 50-foot video motion Christmas tree to enjoy.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland (November 17, 2023 - January 7, 2024)

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is a drive-through Christmas light show, which runs nightly from dusk to 10 pm at Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Photos and visits with Santa, a petting zoo, pony rides, food vendors, Santa’s workshops, are among some of the attractions available. Dozens of light displays, such as the North Pole and Santa with his Friends, are synced to music, which you can listen to in your car.

Winter events in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge attract hundreds of thousands annually. If you believe in Christmas magic, the Smokies in Tennesee is a great vacation spot to create some lasting memories.

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