Top 5 Winter Attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

The city of Gatlinburg and the mountains covered in snow.

Winter is one of the very best times to visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN! Offering skiing, snowboarding, seasonal decorations, and plenty of indoor activities, our Smoky Mountain cities are perfect for a getaway with the whole family. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to the top five winter attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

1. Winterfest LightsBeautiful Christmas lights at the Pigeon Forge Trolley Station.

Business Insider recently ranked the Smoky Mountain Christmas lights among the best in the nation, and it’s easy to see why! Throughout the winter season, both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are decked out with millions of breathtaking LED displays. Depicting traditional holiday scenes, nursery rhyme characters, patriotic images, Smoky Mountain animals, and local landmarks, these gorgeous displays are guaranteed to impress visitors of all ages.

The city of Gatlinburg offers special trolley rides from November through January that pass by all of the lovely lights. In Pigeon Forge, vacationers can take a self-guided driving tour of the displays by picking up a convenient map at the Pigeon Forge Trolley Office or the Pigeon Forge Welcome Center. The lights in Pigeon Forge remain on through the end of February, so you can still enjoy the holiday spirit a few months after Christmas has passed.

The station for the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.2. Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area

Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski resort in the entire state of Tennessee! The ski and snowboarding slopes typically open around early to mid-December and close in early to mid-March. However, Ober offers snow tubing beginning in mid-November, so guests who arrive a little too early for ski season can still experience plenty of downhill thrills.

The most convenient way to reach the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area is via the Aerial Tramway, a scenic cable car ride that transports visitors from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Mt. Harrison. In addition to all of the fun winter sports, Ober Gatlinburg boasts a mountain coaster, ice skating rink, alpine slide, wildlife encounter, and a kids’ play area.

3. Titanic Museum AttractionThe Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge TN.

The Titanic Museum Attraction is a can’t-miss stop for any Smoky Mountain vacation. This unique museum is home to over 400 artifacts (valued at $4 million) that were on the actual RMS Titanic. Filled with full-scale re-creations of rooms on the Titanic and a number of interactive exhibits, this immensely popular museum offers a truly immersive experience. Around the holidays, the Titanic features breathtaking Edwardian-style Christmas decorations. In February, the Titanic Museum celebrates Sweetheart Month, which highlights the real-life love stories that played out on the Titanic in 1912.

The MagiQuest castle in Pigeon Forge TN.4. MagiQuest

MagiQuest is another one of the best winter attractions in Pigeon Forge. Perfect for a chilly day, this massive medieval castle on the Parkway is home to four awesome indoor activities that are sure to be a hit with your family. Guests at MagiQuest will have the chance to enjoy a fantasy role-playing adventure filled with wizards and dragons, navigate the world’s largest mirror maze, complete a Mission Impossible-style laser challenge, and play blacklight mini golf. Each activity is available a la carte, or you can bundle the different games for one low price.

5. Ripley’s Aquarium of the SmokiesRipley's Aquarium of the Smokies during the winter.

If you’re in search of some indoor fun in Gatlinburg, it’s hard to beat Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! Voted the best aquarium in the United States by the readers of USA Today, Ripley’s is home to over 10,000 sea creatures.

What sets Ripley’s Aquarium apart from the rest is its interactive exhibits. Guests can explore the aquarium’s Shark Lagoon by taking a glass bottom boat tour or riding a moving sidewalk through an underwater tunnel. Similarly, the Penguin Playhouse features a number of large transparent tubes that kids can crawl through in order to get up close and personal with the aquarium’s adorable African penguins. For an extra fee, guests can even pet and take a photo with a friendly penguin!

The living room of the Rocky Raccoon cabin in Pigeon Forge.Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of these amazing winter attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. 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 Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg!