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Gatlinburg is one of the top travel destinations in the world, which means it’s full of exciting and popular attractions for visitors to enjoy. But, if you’ve already been to all the main attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium and the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and are looking to try something new, we can help! We’ve put together a list of 8 things to do in Gatlinburg you’ve never done but have to try.
1. Climbed to the Top of the AnaVista Tower
Anakeesta has quickly become one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg, and it’s not hard to see why! In 2020, the adventure park completed its $6.5 million expansion. Included in the expansion was the AnaVista Tower. If you’ve never climbed to the top of the AnaVista Tower, you have to do it on your next visit! This observation tower is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg and offers 360 degree views. You have to climb 84 steps to get to the top, but the views are well worth it! The AnaVista Tower has interpretive signs that identify the mountain ranges and peaks, and there are 2 glass panel floors so you can look at the Vista Gardens below.
2. Taken a Tour of the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
If you’re looking for something completely off the beaten path, visit the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum! This unique museum is filled with more than 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from all around the world. You can see shakers designed to look like just about everything, including animals, foods, cars, famous people and more! The best part about this museum is that it’s only $5 a ticket, and that $5 can go toward any purchase in the gift shop.
3. Visited a Ghost Town
Did you know there was a ghost town in the Smoky Mountains? If you love learning more about Smoky Mountain history, then you’ll love visiting Elkmont Ghost Town in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Elkmont was once a booming logging town and a resort town for wealthy vacationers. It slowly turned into a ghost town with the establishment of the national park, when residents had to decide if they wanted to sell their homes or sign lifetime leases. When you visit Elkmont, you can see a hidden gem that visitors love, the Elkmont Troll Bridge, as well as historic buildings and remnants of old chimneys and home sites.
4. Sat in the Driver’s Seat of a Famous Car
If you love famous and classic cars, a visit to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum should be at the top of your bucket list. This museum features cars from your favorite Hollywood movies and TV shows, all in recreated settings with sound, lights and action. See everything from General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard” to cars from the Fast & Furious franchise! The museum also provides visitors with the one-of-a-kind opportunity to climb into the driver’s seat of the car of their choice and get a souvenir photo!
5. Had Lunch at Parton’s Deli
One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg that you’ve never done but have to try is enjoying lunch at Parton’s Deli. We know there are so many great restaurant options along the Gatlinburg Strip, but there’s a reason this hidden gem is a favorite among locals! Parton’s Deli has been an icon in Gatlinburg since 1974. This Gatlinburg restaurant serves up the best sandwiches in town for an affordable price. If you’d rather take your meal to-go, Parton’s Deli also has picnic supplies!
6. Gotten a Cinnamon Twist from the Donut Friar
Everyone always raves about donuts and coffee from the Donut Friar, but have you ever had a cinnamon twist? The cinnamon twists from the Donut Friar are the best way to start any morning! In fact, you’ll be able to smell them before you even enter the shop. We recommend grabbing a cinnamon twist and a cup of coffee, then relaxing by the fountain in The Village to enjoy the delicious treat!
7. Ice Bumper Cars
We know you’ve heard about snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding at Ober Gatlinburg, but have you ever tried ice bumper cars? If you haven’t, this exciting experience is one you have to do next time you’re in town! The Ice Bumper Cars are round colorful tubes with wheels and their own motor, which lets you glide around the ice with ease. The controls are similar to a video game, and you can choose to race around the ice or smash into other cars like a true game of bumper cars!
8. Mountain Glider at Rowdy Bear
Rowdy Bear Mountain in Gatlinburg is home to the nation’s first Mountain Glider! The Mountain Glider is a single-railed, in-air coaster that makes you feel like you’re flying through Rowdy Bear Mountain! The experience is a combination of free falling and hang gliding for an unforgettable ride. Rowdy Bear Mountain is also home to its famous mountain coaster, which allows you to race around the mountain at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. The best part is that you’re in control of your own speed!
More Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN
These are just some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg if you’re looking for something different and unique. The truth is, there are endless opportunities for fun when you visit Gatlinburg! Learn more about all the fun things to do in Gatlinburg TN, then start planning your vacation!