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Pigeon Forge vs Gatlinburg

Pigeon Forge vs Gatlinburg: Which is Better?

Most people would say that Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are mostly the same, since they’re only about 6 miles apart! We know they are quite different and offer completely different experiences for visitors! We’ve put together a few differences between the two to help you decide which is better – Pigeon Forge vs Gatlinburg!

Pigeon Forge by the NumbersPigeon Forge by the Numbers

County: Sevier County

City Population: 6132 people (2014 estimate)

Elevation: 1001 ft.

Area: 12.208 square miles

Population Density: 464 people per square mile

Total Sales Tax Rate: 9.75%

(All statistics were found using WolframAlpha)

Pigeon Forge Shopping

When you’re shopping in Pigeon Forge, you’ll notice things are a little different between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. The Pigeon Forge area shopping is known for:

  • Shopping malls (Red Roof Mall, outlets in Pigeon Forge)
  • Designer brands, labels
  • Discounts on designer brands and high end merchandise

Click here for all of the best places for Pigeon Forge shopping.

Pigeon Forge RestaurantsPigeon Forge Restaurants

The food in Pigeon Forge is very similar to Gatlinburg. Many people would recognize Pigeon Forge as having more of the true southern comfort type of foods. When you think of comfort foods – fried chicken, mashed potatoes and more – you can definitely find it in Pigeon Forge. As you drive along the Parkway, you’ll find everything from pancake houses to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, the Apple Barn Pigeon Forge Restaurant and more.

Click here for a complete listing of restaurants in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge Attractions and Entertainment

Pigeon Forge Attractions and EntertainmentHaving fun in Pigeon Forge is easy! Pigeon Forge is known for having dinner theaters, large attractions and a few outdoor activities that are super fun! Here’s a few favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge:

  • Dinner theaters (Dixie Stampede, Hatfield and McCoy and more!)
  • Large attractions (Titanic Museum, Wonderworks and more!)
  • Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • The Island in Pigeon Forge
  • Go kart tracks and miniature golf
  • Ziplining
  • Horseback riding

To learn more about all of these fun things to do in Pigeon Forge, click here.

Gatlinburg by the Numbers

Gatlinburg by the NumbersCounty: Sevier County

City Population: 4158 people (2014 estimate)

Elevation: 1293 ft.

Area: 10.35 square miles

Population Density: 402 people per square mile

Total Sales Tax Rate: 9.75%

(All statistics were found using WolframAlpha)

Gatlinburg Shopping

Shopping in Gatlinburg is a lot of fun, but it’s quite a bit different than shopping in Pigeon Forge! Here’s what makes Gatlinburg shopping different:

  • Arts and crafts shops
  • Quaint, unique to the area, specialty shops
  • Outdoor-themed shops for hiking equipment and more

Click here for all of the best places for Gatlinburg shopping.

Gatlinburg RestaurantsGatlinburg Restaurants

Restaurants in Gatlinburg are very similar to Pigeon Forge, with a few exceptions. There’s a few more steakhouses in Gatlinburg, and if you’re looking for more of a fine dining dinner, you’ll find it in Gatlinburg. There’s also quite a few local restaurants and many snack shops and candy shops along the Gatlinburg Parkway. The Greenbrier Restaurant is local to Gatlinburg and is extremely popular and the Peddler Steakhouse is a great choice when you’re looking for a nice, steak dinner.

Click here for a complete listing of restaurants in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg Attractions and Entertainment

Gatlinburg Attractions and EntertainmentGatlinburg has lots of great attractions for kids, adults and families. Of course, Gatlinburg is known for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which can’t be beat! Here’s some of the most popular things to do in Gatlinburg:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • Moonshine distillery tours
  • Gatlinburg Space Needle
  • Ober Gatlinburg & the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

For more information about these attractions and other fun things to do in Gatlinburg, click here.

The Decision – Pigeon Forge vs Gatlinburg: Which is Better?

It’s definitely not easy to decide which is better – Pigeon Forge vs Gatlinburg. There’s so many great things in both areas, so we’ll just have to leave it up to you to decide!

Let us know in the comments section below – which do you prefer?


  • Avatar for Barbara Jones
    Barbara Jones

    Love Pigeon Forge, the atmosphere, the people and the shopping. The shows rank so far above what you can see in Gatlinburg. For a couple on romantic trip maybe Gatlinburg, but for a family with kids definitely want to be in Pigeon Forge! Thanks for the comparison!

    April 19, 2016 at 7:01 am
  • Avatar for kinkettes

    Haha the author is so cute! :3

    August 30, 2016 at 4:17 am
  • Avatar for Andrea

    I love both but we always stay in Gatlinburg. The atmosphere is so low key and relaxing! We love the hiking there too. Both places hold space in our hearts though. Can’t wait to get back!

    May 31, 2017 at 7:00 am
  • Avatar for Bronson Gordon
    Bronson Gordon

    Ever since I was little (5-7) me and my grandmother would always go to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge. It was a tradition to go every year before she got sick. I recently just went back all by myself now that I am 19 years old, went for the 4th of July weekend about 4 days. I can honestly say every time I go back, I always feel like it is my home. I actually lived in the outer-skirt of Gatlinburg when I dated this one girl. Glad she is out of my life. But honestly, Gatlinburg has always been the “OMG I’m here. I’m here!” Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have one thing in common, hospitality. I used to go to Memories Theater every time I went with my grandmother, even when Charlie Hodge was still alive. It has changed so much from 2 years ago, no one I remember is there I knew everyone. Since my last visit (in 2015, until this July) It has gotten a tad bit smaller and my first night I cried a little bit before I went to sleep to see it this way and also know this is my home. Gatlinburg is the perfect place for a walk, some killer food, shineries, literally everything for the whole family and the best shops around. Pigeon Forge is the extended Gatlinburg but of course with more to do. I have always loved Pigeon Forge more because that is where I always stay and I walk everywhere I go. From the Island, Margaritaville, Alcatraz East, Trapped, Titanic, Wonderworks, Hatfields, Dollywood, etc, Pigeon Forge has not been my place because of more, It’s just home.

    September 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

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