The biggest tourism-based mountain town in Tennessee, making it for one of the biggest in the United States, is our own Gatlinburg, TN right at the main entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The city of Gatlinburg is an interesting combination of very tightly compacted modern attractions and historic Appalachia right in the highlands of the Smoky Mountains. These aren’t the foothills of the Smokies, these are the Smokies! No trip to East Tennessee is complete without visiting Gatlinburg.
How Far From Wears Valley is Gatlinburg? Gatlinburg is 30-40 minutes driving distance from the center of Wears Valley. The easiest way to get there is to drive to Pigeon Forge, then turn right on the main parkway at Stoplight #3 and keep going for another 12-15 minutes.
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Ride our glass elevators over 400 feet to observation deck for a 360 degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg. The view is a panorama of beauty without equal year-round. While up top, enjoy Higher Learning, an education experience from the Space Needle’s perspective with free viewfinders! The view from the Gatlinburg Space Needle is an unequaled panorama of beauty year round enriched by our free viewfinders. But, it’s more than a view; it’s also an information-packed experience thanks to our Higher Learning exhibits, an educational feature rich in facts and history about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Also onsite at the Needle is Arcadia, a 25,000 square-foot playground with the latest video and redemption games including the area’s largest redemption center, The Captured escape games, and the Iris Theater which features some of the most refreshingly-unique acts in the Smokies. The Gatlinburg Space Needle is the premiere Gatlinburg attraction. Open 365 days a year!
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Enter into an underwater world of wonder at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Soar through moving glide paths alongside rays and sea turtles, soak up the beautiful colors of exotic fish, and come face-to-fin with thousands of other fascinating creatures, from barracudas and sharks to jellies and eels! Ripley’s Aquariums’ animal experts also entertain and educate through many hands-on experiences, including touch tanks and behind-the-scenes encounters! Set sail over Ripley’s Shark Lagoon with only three inches of class separating you from predators of the deep! Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure launches every 20 minutes and is an add-on to your Aquarium ticket.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
The weirdest place in Gatlinburg is back and better than ever with an ALL NEW experience. Get up close to a car completely covered in crystals, see a dragon made out of recycled scrap metal, check out the National Anthem on license plates from the 50 states, you will not believe the beautiful Last Supper artwork made out of lint! Get ready to experience the excitement of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!—where the unbelievable comes alive right before your eyes! Visit any one of Ripley’s 29 museums around the world to marvel at hundreds of unusual artifacts and get hands on with amazing interactives. Venturing through themed galleries, adults and children alike will become immersed in curiosities, incredible art, animal oddities, pop-culture memorabilia, interactive games, and stories of people and places that are incredibly hard to believe, but undeniably true!
Your journey begins here… at Anakeesta where we have created a unique outdoor experience by immersing guests of all ages in the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, our mountaintop park is a great family value! With elements of adventure and relaxation, we are sure to offer a memorable experience in the Smokies! Admission to Anakeesta includes all day park access and unlimited scenic rides via the Chondola or Ridge Rambler before arriving in Firefly village with quaint shopping, dining, and a whimsical mountain atmosphere. We invite you to join us at Anakeesta—to be inspired by nature, enjoy time with family and friends, and discover the magic in the mountains!
Gatlinburg Skylift Park
Ride the iconic yellow SkyLift chairs 1,800 feet above sea level to North America’s record-breaking Gatlinburg SkyBridge where you can experience the best panoramic views of the awe-inspiring Smoky Mountains and the lovely town of Gatlinburg below. Explore the SkyTrail, conquer the SkyBridge, pass the 30 feet of see-through glass in the middle of the cable bridge, eat and drink in the SkyCenter, and take in the mountain vistas on the SkyDeck’s amphitheater. A visit to the SkyLift Park gives you easy access to the best views of the Smokies and plenty of time to sit back and relax in our mountain-top setting. Come visit us and experience the best of the Smokies!
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park
Welcome to the scenic and exciting four-seasons world of Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area. A mountaintop of fun, excitement and beauty high above Gatlinburg, TN, is waiting for you! Ober Gatlinburg is most famous for being the state of Tennessee’s only Ski and Snowboard Area. While winter is definitely peak season, we keep our doors open when the snow melts! Ober Gatlinburg is a year-round destination that is worth visiting no matter the season. A must-see Smokies Attraction, Ober has plenty of activities for ALL ages and is a place everyone can enjoy. Shop while they play or play while they shop. At the end of the day, dine together & travel together in style via the Aerial Tramway! The Aerial Tramway transports you 2.1 miles from downtown* up to the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area, where all our attractions/activities are located. You may also drive up to the same location.
Ole Smoky Distillery
Visit Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery! A mason jar of Ole Smoky Moonshine is the finest souvenir in the Smokies. Hundreds of years mountain people hid their craft. Now celebrating the rich history, genuine moonshine is being made on Gatlinburg’s Parkway. Experience sights, sounds, smells and tastes of true moonshine culture. Sample a centuries-old family recipe and learn more about the rich history of moonshine in East Tennessee. Our authentic copper stills are always working to keep the shine flowing. Ole Smoky Moonshine offers 15 flavors for purchase in our bottle shop! Our distillery is open for self-guided tours to all ages so bring the whole family. Our holler has live bluegrass music playing every day from noon until dark. Come by, grab a jar, and sit a spell with us! Shine responsibly! (Description from gatlinburg.com)
Gatlinburg Axe House
The Gatlinburg Axe House takes pride in proving a unique experience to all visitors. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg above The Chocolate Monkey, the location provides easy access to the strip, stores, and restaurants. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind Smoky Mountain Experience you have come to the right place.
Alpine Axe House
Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, The Axe House brings one of the fastest growing sports to Sevier County. With two locations, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, this family-friendly experience is the ultimate adventure for those looking to step outside of their comfort zone. Axe throwing as a sport has taken the world by storm. Now, it’s your turn to, “Throw like a Pro!” Fun for the entire family! Bring your family for a fun outing. Got kids? No problem! Ask about our foam axes for those younger than our minimum age requirement.
Sugarlands Distilling Company
Sugarlands Distilling Co. is a proud, locally owned, community–minded, “give-back” brand that produces quality, craft spirits. Sugarlands opened its downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn., distillery in March 2014 to perform the age-old craft of distilling fine Sugarlands Spirits. The distillery is a popular attraction where guests are invited to taste samples of our award-winning spirits, take behind the-scenes tours of the production, and purchase their favorite spirits, mountain merchandise, and apparel. Its authentic spirits, barn-house location, and first-class entertainment offer visitors the complete Tennessee distilling experience.
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
The Arts and Crafts Community is the largest independent organization of artisans in the United States. As such it doesn’t disappoint in the diversity of crafts you can see when you visit. You’ll find a wide assortment of items from dulcimers to stuffed bears to ceramics. The artists often will talk with visitors and discuss the history of their craft. Each shop offers plenty of free parking.