gatlinburg skylift chairs going up the mountain

Top 5 Things to Do in Gatlinburg for First Time Visitors

Have you never been to Gatlinburg? There are so many great attractions and places you need to visit to really see why people love coming here so much! From incredible mountain views to attractions with animals, you’ll enjoy all of these fun things to do in Gatlinburg! Check out these top 5 things to do in Gatlinburg for first time visitors:

1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

ripley's aquarium of the smokies in gatlinburgYou can’t come to Gatlinburg without visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the number 1 attraction in the area! Everyone from kids to grandparents love the aquarium. You’ll see all kinds of cool creatures, including sharks, penguins, and stingrays. There are many exhibits where you can interact with the animals while you learn more about them. Ripley’s also offers extra experiences you can pay an extra fee for that are definitely worth it, such as the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure or Splash With the Stingrays.

2. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

If seeing the mountains in a unique way is on your Gatlinburg bucket list, then you have to go to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. The chair lift was brought to Gatlinburg in the 1950s, and it’s a tradition many people have to go on the lift before they can leave! Since they expanded, you can ride up to the top and get off at the SkyDeck where you’ll have amazing mountain views. Take pictures in front of the mountain range then grab a bite to eat in the SkyCenter. Don’t forget to walk across the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America!

3. Anakeesta

anakeesta in gatlinburgIf you’re looking for a place where you can relax, have fun, and eat delicious food, you should visit Anakeesta. You can get to the top on a chair lift or riding a jeep. Once you’re at the top, you’ll have fun exploring the Firefly Village. There are shops where you can grab souvenirs and a playground where kids can play. Take a walk through the trees and the Vista Gardens. Then rest on the rocking chairs and benches that overlook the mountains. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks or restaurants!

4. Moonshine Tasting

Gatlinburg is known for its moonshine, so if you’re 21 years old and up, you should go moonshine tasting! One of the popular distilleries is Ole Smoky Moonshine. For a small fee of $5, you can taste a few of their signature flavors. You’ll enjoy walking around the shop and seeing all the flavors. You can even book a tour of the facility, and you might even see some live entertainment at The Holler! Sugarland Distillery is another moonshine company where you can pay $5 to taste their moonshine and tour their facility.

5. Gatlinburg Trail

bridge along the gatlinburg trailWant to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? You should hike the Gatlinburg Trail! This hiking trail is right outside of Gatlinburg. This out-and-back trail is 3.8 miles roundtrip, and you’ll walk across foot bridges, along creeks, and even see some remains of old homesteads. The Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only trails in the national park that allows dogs.

You have so many fun things to do in Gatlinburg when you visit for the first time! Want to know about even more attractions in the area? Check out these other fun things to do!