There is nowhere else in the world quite like downtown Gatlinburg, TN. Despite being only a few blocks long, The Strip is jam packed with a seemingly endless variety of attractions, restaurants, and shops. When you visit the heart of the city for the first time, the sheer amount of activities can be almost overwhelming! To help you make the most of your vacation, Stony Brook Cabins has put together a guide to four of the best things to do in downtown Gatlinburg:
1. Drive the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 5.5 mile one-way loop road located right off of the downtown area. This incredibly scenic drive is one of the most convenient ways to see Gatlinburg’s natural beauty. Along the trail, visitors will have the chance to see historic buildings from the 1800s, stunning views of the forest and the mountains, and (if you’re lucky) some of the area’s beautiful wildlife. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail also features the trailheads for the Rainbow Falls hike and the Grotto Falls hike, two of the most popular trails in the Smokies.
2. Eat at the Pancake Pantry
Gatlinburg is famous for its numerous breakfast restaurants, and the Pancake Pantry is definitely the cream of the crop! This iconic eatery is Tennessee’s first pancake house, and it has built a legendary reputation over the years for its delicious hotcakes made with real butter and the finest ingredients. All of the flapjacks at the Pantry are incredible, but we recommend trying one of their more unique offerings, such as the Swedish Pancakes with imported lingonberries, the Sweet Potato Pancakes, or the Orange-Walnut Pancakes.
3. See the Fish at Ripley’s Aquarium
Visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of the very best things to do in downtown Gatlinburg. This hugely popular destination is ranked among the top 10 aquariums in the United States! With over 10, 000 sea creatures, Ripley’s Aquarium offers hours of entertainment and education for families. Highlights of the aquarium include the Shark Lagoon, which features an underwater tunnel filled with the ocean’s most fearsome predators, and the Penguin Playhouse, a special habitat for some adorable African penguins.
4. Ride the Gatlinburg Sky Lift
The Gatlinburg Sky Lift offers some of the most breathtaking views in the Smoky Mountain area. This one of a kind chair lift ride takes guests up 1,800 feet to the top of Crockett Mountain. From this spectacular vantage point, you will enjoy the majesty of the mountains and the beautiful city below. Binoculars are available at the mountain’s peak, so you can zoom in on all of your favorite sights. For a romantic date, we suggest taking the Gatlinburg Sky Lift at night, so you can see the city’s glittering lights from high in the air.
When you stay with Stony Brook Cabins, you will be just a short drive from all of the best things to do in downtown Gatlinburg. To start planning your next vacation, browse our selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals!