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Christmas, to many,  is all about spending time with your family and loved ones celebrating the magic of the season!  Christmas in Gatlinburg is a big deal.  During November and December this Smoky Mountain town comes to life with Christmas. As soon as you near the town, you can see the glow of Christmas and what’s better than viewing Christmas lights to get everyone in the holiday spirit? I believe everyone should experience a Gatlinburg, TN Christmas at least once! One of my favorite traditions as a kid was driving around neighboring towns to see all the different lights.  Gatlinburg has a light display to please everyone! There’s just something about seeing Christmas lights that give me that warm fuzzy feeling inside, or maybe it’s the hot chocolate that is usually accompanied. Here are some of the best ways to view the Christmas lights this holiday season.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

One of my family’s favorite’s  that we have visited nearly every year, is Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland . You can enjoy this amazing light display from the comfort of your own vehicle.  Here you drive thru hundred’s of thousands of lights, including a 300′ RGB tunnel.  The lights are perfectly synchronized to holiday music that is played over your car radio. While you’re visiting,  stop in and say hello to Santa in his village, take a train ride, grab a snack or partake in other fun activities that they will be offering. The lights will be available from November 5, 2021 to January 2, 2022 nightly from 6 pm until 10PM. 

Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta

Another way to view the Christmas lights in Gatlinburg is to make a visit to Tennessee’s Award-Winning Theme Park,  Anakeesta! Anakeesta is conveniently located in the heart of downtown and has so much to offer! This mountaintop attraction offers amazing views of downtown Gatlinburg and has its own decorations and Christmas lights throughout the park to create their very own winter wonderland.  You can view the twinkling lights as you explore Vista Gardens and the Firefly Village, or climb to the very tip top of the AnaVista Tower for even more amazing views for miles! It’s the perfect spot to see the Christmas lights here in Gatlinburg. And if a trip to visit Santa is on your agenda, you can check it off while you’re there. 

Lights over Gatlinburg

Lights over Gatlinburg is one of the most popular light displays around. Over 40,000 lights will light up the SkyBridge and SkyDeck  every night from November through January.  It truly is a site to see! If you’re feeling brave, take a stroll across the SkyBridge. In order to cross the 680 foot record breaking bridge, you will need to purchase an admission ticket to the SkyLift Park. Your Skypark admission includes your admission to Lights Over Gatlinburg at no extra cost.  See the magnificent mountain views of the Smoky Mountains during the day and come back after the sun goes down to enjoy the beautiful Christmas light display. The SkyBridge in Gatlinburg is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America! The decorations will include a 300-foot light tunnel as well as a 30-foot Christmas tree where the lights dance to holiday music.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas has been voted the best Christmas event for more than a decade. Dollywood does an extraordinary  job of capturing all the heartwarming feelings that go with Christmas. Their Christmas light display will not disappoint! Dollywood features more than 5 million glimmering Christmas lights  and offers daily holiday shows. Do a little Christmas shopping and grab a bite to eat while you wander. Make sure you wait around for the Merry and Bright seasonal firework show. Every night during the Smoky Mountain Christmas the firework display lights up the sky in sync with holiday music. It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss! If you want to take part in this Smoky Mountain Christmas tradition, make a visit between November 6th and January 2nd. 

Festival of Trees

If viewing Christmas lights indoors is more your style, try visiting The 48th annual Festival of Trees  This festival will feature Christmas trees of course! The Christmas trees and wreaths will be decked out with lights and gorgeously decorated. The festival will be open  from 10 am to 7 pm Wednesday, November 24th through Saturday, November 27th and on Sunday, November 28th from 10 am to 4 pm. They will be hosting silent auctions and all proceeds go to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of The Smoky Mountains and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

Have you ever wondered what Christmas lights look like from 407 feet above Gatlinburg? Well, take a trip to the Gatlinburg Space Needle to do just that.  Take a ride up the glass elevators to the observation deck for a panoramic view of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. The town glows like a winter wonderland straight out of a holiday movie. 

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

On December 3, 2021, Gatlinburg will host the 46th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. This historic parade will drive right through downtown Gatlinburg. The parade will feature floats that will be decorated with exquisite LED Christmas lights and accompanied by bands playing holiday music, dancers, giant balloons and some of your favorite holiday characters. The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is said to be one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.”   


Every year around Christmas time, my family and I have kept our tradition of seeing the Christmas lights. It’s been a magical tradition that we always look forward to. Gatlinburg has so many light displays to choose from. I know you will not be disappointed.

Whether it’s a long weekend or a week long getaway you are looking for, try booking a trip this holiday season with us. Make memories that will last a life time and experience the magic of the holidays that Gatlinburg has to offer.  We decorate each of our luxurious cabins every year in mid to late November for the holidays.  From the beautiful views, warm glow from the Christmas trees and fireplace, you will feel like you are sitting in a Hallmark Christmas movie.  It’s sure to give you that warm fuzzy holiday movie feeling, I know it does for me and my family.