Gatlinburg, TN can feel like a world unto itself! From the bustling downtown to the majestic splendor of the mountains, Gatlinburg is overflowing with eye-catching attractions and beautiful scenery. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together the ultimate Gatlinburg sightseeing guide. Read on to learn about the top seven landmarks in town:
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is arguably the most iconic landmark in the Great Smoky Mountains. Modeled after the Seattle Space Needle, the Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 400-foot tall observation tower that overlooks The Parkway. The Space Needle is a very impressive sight from The Strip, but if you’re after the full experience, we recommend paying the $11 admission fee and taking the thrilling glass elevator ride to the tower’s peak. Once you reach the top, you will enjoy panoramic views of the downtown area and the Smokies that simply can’t be beat.
2. Historic Ogle Cabin
Located at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center, the Historic Ogle Cabin has the distinction of being the very first log cabin built in Gatlinburg! The logs for the cabin were fashioned in 1802 by William Ogle, who planned to move his family from South Carolina to the Smokies. Sadly, William fell ill and passed away in 1803 before he could return to Gatlinburg with his wife, Martha Jane, and five sons. However, William’s efforts were not in vain. In 1807, Martha and her children made the trek to Gatlinburg to finish building the cabin that William had started five years earlier. The Historic Ogle Cabin is free to visit and features a number of plaques and signs with information about the log home.
Roaring Fork is a lovely mountain stream that flows minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg. The best way to see the stream is to take the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a 5.5-mile, one-way drive that passes by the bubbling water. In addition to the famous Roaring Fork, the scenic drive also includes historic log cabins, a grist mill, an old-growth forest, a wet weather waterfall, and stunning mountain views.
4. Arrowmont School
The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is another popular destination for Gatlinburg sightseeing. Initially founded in 1912 as the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School, over the years, the institution slowly morphed from a traditional schoolhouse into an internationally recognized education center for the visual arts. Today, visitors to Arrowmont can see beautiful artwork in a variety of rotating exhibitions.
Tucked away behind the Pancake Pantry in downtown Gatlinburg, The Village is a charming shopping and dining area. What sets The Village apart from the rest of the Parkway is its unique architecture and design. Inspired by quaint European towns, The Village features German-style buildings, a gorgeous fountain, and a brick walkway. This peaceful spot is the perfect place to sit down, relax, and maybe enjoy a delicious pasty from The Donut Friar.
6. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook provides one of the area’s best photo ops! Located along the Gatlinburg Bypass, this scenic pull-off offers a striking view of downtown Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The vista is so unique because it highlights the dramatic contrast in elevation between the city’s skyline and the Smokies. While Gatlinburg rests at an elevation of around 1,300 feet, Mount LeConte is 6,593 feet tall! Be sure to bring your camera, because you will definitely want to snap a picture with this breathtaking scenery in the background.
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is the largest group of independent artisans in the United States! Situated off of the East Parkway, this 8-mile loop is lined with galleries, studios, and shops that house the work of local artists and craftspeople. If you’re in search of handcrafted souvenirs from Gatlinburg, this is the place to find it!
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of these Gatlinburg sightseeing destinations. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 18 bedroom lodges, we are guaranteed to have the perfect accommodations for your escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg!