Christmas Events to see in The Smokies

Winter in Gatlinburg

Photo by backdrift- (Flickr)

Grab your festive sweater, pull out the hot cocoa, and get ready for the Christmas season in the Smokies! Kicking off in early November, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge light up the area as part of Winterfest. Dollywood is decked out for Christmas, and attractions start putting on their Christmas shows.


In Sevierville, the over 15 million holiday lights are turned on for Winterfest from November 6, 2017– February 28, 2018. Stop by the Sevierville Visitor Center and purchase a souvenir t-shirt. The purchase will get you a pair of 3D Winterfest glasses, which turn each light into a snowflake (you can also buy the glasses for $1 each). The Winterfest Map will pinpoint all the notable displays to check out. Also located in Sevierville is Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium. This attraction runs shorter (November 3, 2017 – January 7, 2018) than Winterfest. It offers fun activities for the whole family, like crafts and photos with Santa, music, hot chocolate, coffee, pony rides, and a petting zoo.


Winter Magic starts on November 8, 2017, alongside the annual Chili Cookoff (chili sampling tickets are $10). The Journey tribute band, Departure, will perform alongside other performers. The lightning ceremony bathes the city in over three million lights. During Winter Magic, the Gatlinburg Trolley strolls down the Parkway, allowing riders to see the unique LED light displays for only $5 a ride. Riders under age three are free if they sit on a lap. The Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights drives through January 27, 2018.

Pigeon Forge

The lights of Winterfest brighten Pigeon Forge from November 7, 2017 – February 28, 2018. Dollywood is aglow with over four million lights across the 150-acre park during their Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, which starts November 4, 2017 (running through New Year’s Day) and includes Dolly’s Parade of Many Colors nightly on Showstreet. Dollywood also brings “It’s a Wonderful Life” on stage at the Showstreet Palace Theater. Other areas come to life like Dolly’s Christmas Chapel, offering Sunday services at 5:30 p.m. throughout the Christmas festival time. Musical acts get into the holiday spirit with Christmas hymns, songs, traditional classics, and more.

Dinner show and theater attractions in Pigeon Forge also switch over their repertoire to feature special holiday shows, and they decorate accordingly. The Smoky Mountain Opry offers a special Christmas show with reindeer, dancing elves, lights, and flying sugar plum fairies. Dixie Stampede changes up their area into a magical fantasy with evergreens and poinsettias, and the riders are decked out in holiday attire as the North and South Pole have a friendly competition. The Smoky Mountain Adventures offers a challenge to its lumber camps to see which can supply the best Christmas trees.

Keep checking the Rafting in the Smokies blog area for more fun things you can do in the Smokies between and during rafting seasons!