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Exploring Downtown Gatlinburg: A Complete Guide

Welcome to Gatlinburg Downtown

Nestled at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is more than a mere town; it's a vibrant epicenter of ceaseless excitement! This bustling hub is a treat for pedestrians, with a parkway that stretches from one end to the other, offering a bounty of sights and experiences. But that's not all!

Complementing this pedestrian paradise is the enchanting River Walk along the Little Pigeon River. This serene pathway is the perfect place to wind down after a day of exploration.

Downtown Gatlinburg is not just a location, it's an experience, a vibrant mix of Southern hospitality, natural beauty, and pure, unadulterated fun!

Fun at Downtown Gatlinburg

Downtown Gatlinburg, located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, is a hub of excitement and entertainment, offering a wide array of attractions for visitors of all ages.

Here's a glimpse of what you can experience in downtown Gatlinburg:

1. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

This unique museum allows guests to play with the exhibits, featuring a collection of limited edition pinball machines dating back to the 1960s.

2. The Gatlinburg Space Needle

Standing at 407 feet, the observation deck offers stunning 360-degree views of the Smokies and downtown Gatlinburg. The base of the Needle also hosts various fun activities.

3. Iris Theater

Situated in the bustling heart of Downtown Gatlinburg, the renowned Iris Theater presents captivating shows, awe-inspiring performances, and a unique brand of entertainment that is sure to delight.

4. The Captured

An interactive live escape game located at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, where players must use their wits and courage to escape.

5. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Ranked as America's #1 Aquarium, it offers experiences like splashing with stingrays, penguin encounters, and spectacular underwater tunnels.

6. Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini-Golf

Enjoy 36 holes of entertaining mini-golf with interactive displays and animated animals.

7. Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze & Ripley's Candy Factory

Get lost in surprising corners, dead ends, and rotating mirrors in this fun maze.

8. Ripley's Haunted Adventure

Experience frights, fun, and screams in Gatlinburg's #1 Haunted House with new hauntings, special effects, and live actors.

9. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium

Explore 13 huge galleries with over 500 unusual and incredible artifacts from around the world.

Downtown Restaurants

Downtown Gatlinburg is a culinary haven that offers a wide variety of dining experiences for both locals and visitors. Here's a look at some of the standout restaurants and what they have to offer:

1. The Peddler

The Peddler is widely acclaimed for serving the finest steaks in downtown Gatlinburg. Beyond their delectable steaks, their salad bar is also a standout feature that entices numerous visitors. This establishment comes highly recommended by locals and is an absolute must-visit for anyone who adores steak.

2. Smoky Mountain Trout House

If you're craving the exquisite flavors of fresh trout, look no further than the Smoky Mountain Trout House. Indulge in the culinary delights of this restaurant as they serve trout sourced directly from the pristine waters of the region. Experience the true essence of local cuisine in every delectable bite.

3. Bennett’s BBQ

Bennett's BBQ is a must-visit for those yearning for authentic Southern barbecue. Indulge in their tantalizing ribs and savor their remarkable pulled pork, which rivals the best south of the Mason-Dixon line. Each dish at Bennett's BBQ is crafted to bring joy to every diner, embodying the true essence of Southern barbecue culture.

4. Slice Pizza Bakery

Located at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, Slice Pizza Bakery serves up authentic New York-style pizza. Whether you order by the slice or by the pie, the flavors and quality are sure to leave you craving more.

5. The Pancake Pantry

A downtown Gatlinburg tradition since 1960, the Pancake Pantry is Tennessee's first pancake house. During the busy season, people line up on the street to taste the restaurant's fluffy pancakes. They offer pancakes in various styles, satisfying every pancake lover's taste buds.

Places to stay

To fully experience the Smoky Mountains, stay at one of the downtown Gatlinburg hotels. Each hotel offers unique charm, comfort, and exceptional hospitality to make you feel at home. Conveniently located in the heart of the action, they are just minutes away from the entrance to Smoky Mountain National Park. Whether you need a base for day trips or a cozy retreat after shopping and dining, downtown Gatlinburg has you covered. Book your home away from home and embark on your stylish Smoky Mountain adventure!

River Terrace Resort & Convention Center
Hotel ratings 7.9 Good

River Terrace Resort & Convention Center

240 River Road Gatlinburg, us
Gatlinburg Inn
Hotel ratings 8.7 Very good

Gatlinburg Inn

755 Parkway Gatlinburg, us

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About Author

Nick K

Nick K, a travel blogger based in Europe, has been a solo traveler for over 15 years. He always has had his head over the skies and his backpack all over the world. He has traveled to over 30 countries and has penned down his experience with the motto of "on the next destination." He has written over 300+ blog posts written with a combo of videos and photography.