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New Years Eve in Gatlinburg: 8+ Fun Activities and Events

Spending New Years Eve in Gatlinburg, but not sure exactly where to go or what to do? We got you!

Gatlinburg is a fantastic family-friendly destination, with endless activities and mountain scenery all year-round. In the winter, and specifically during the holidays and New Years Eve, it’s even more magical and fun.

Whether you have your family in tow or you’re in town strictly to party (yep, Gatlinburg has plenty of 21-and-up fun, too!), the new year festivities have something for everyone.

Plus, it’s also a great home base for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park or embarking on a classic Gatlinburg hike.

In this guide, we’re sharing all the most fun ways to celebrate New Years Eve in Gatlinburg! 🎆

You’ll find events and activities for both families and adults only, the best hotels, where to indulge in a special holiday meal, and much more.

What to Expect on New Years Eve in Gatlinburg

Before building your itinerary, it’s a good idea to set some realistic expectations. There is no off-season in Gatlinburg, especially in the heart of town.

That means it will most definitely be CROWDED on New Years Eve, and maybe even more so because it falls on a 3-day weekend.

If you’re staying downtown, most hotels offer onsite parking. Ditch your vehicle and walk everywhere or take the Gatlinburg Trolley. It’s totally free, and even adds special extended hours for NYE.

For folks staying outside of the walkable downtown area, we strongly encourage you to use Uber or Lyft.

Parking is a bit of a nightmare even on random weekdays, not to mention expensive, and the holiday will throw even more of a wrench into that.

Also, keep in mind that several roads in downtown Gatlinburg will close for the New Years Eve Ball Drop.

Again, believe us when we say you don’t want to be driving down there!

In terms of weather, you really never know what East Tennessee might throw at you in the winter.

You’re just as likely to get snow as you are to be soaking up sunshine, comfortable in short sleeves. Pack a few different outfit options, and plenty of layers for this NYE trip to Gatlinburg.

The Best Things to Do for New Years Eve in Gatlinburg

Fireworks in Gatlinburg! Photo credit

1. New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show

THE event for New Years Eve in Gatlinburg, the annual ball drop and fireworks show is a huge deal.

In fact, it’s widely considered the “best New Year’s Eve show in the South!” 2023 is its 35th consecutive year, and the city expects over 50,000 people to come celebrate!

The iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle hosts the FREE event from the center of town.

It’s a true block party, with roads shutting down, live music, and tons of other entertainment. Plus, local restaurants and bars offer all sorts of specials.

This year’s event features the 400-foot tower covered in LEDs, synchronized with music to the fireworks. There will even be a drone show above the Space Needle, with the drones projecting various scenes from around Gatlinburg.

Note that you should arrive VERY early. Parking is a nightmare, streets close down, and you’ll want to find a good place to watch the fireworks, also.

Winter at Ober, Gatlinburg

2. New Years Eve Lights of Wonder at Gatlinburg SkyPark

If you want to watch the town’s main fireworks show but don’t necessarily want to be in the middle of the crowds, this is a great option.

Gatlinburg SkyPark hosts the New Year’s Eve Lights of Wonder, from high above the Space Needle.

Ride the tram up the mountain to enjoy Lights Over Gatlinburg, one of the best holiday events in the Smokies.

Walk across North America’s longest pedestrian cable bridge, then stay for the party!

The SkyPark sits about 100 feet higher than the fireworks launch, so you’ll enjoy a birds’ eye view of the display (and the entire town!). Plus, only a limited number of admission tickets are available. This will truly feel like a VIP event!

New this year, the park will transform its SkyDeck into a giant dance party, complete with a DJ.

Even better, your NYE ticket grants unlimited admission to the SkyPark the following day, on January 1st. So you can ride up and check out the scenery during the day, also.

3. Anakeesta Enchanted Christmas

Firefly Village, Anakeesta (Photo credit)

Although ‘Christmas’ is in its name, the final evening of Anakeesta’s Enchanted Christmas is also a fantastic way to celebrate New Years Eve in Gatlinburg.

The family-friendly event takes over the entire park!!

Expect thousands of twinkling holiday lights, a 40-foot Christmas tree, fire pits, and plenty of cocoa!

You can also stroll through several unique villages, including beautiful Vista Gardens, Firefly Village, Arctic Alley, and Stone Village.

Make your way over to Black Bear Village as it gets closer to midnight. It’s the best spot in the park to catch the Gatlinburg fireworks!

Throughout the day and night, Anakeesta will also host several live performances. Aerial performers, carolers, and juggling stilt walkers will keep you entertained between attractions and bites.

4. New Year’s Eve Pre-party at Ober Gatlinburg

Kick off your New Year’s Eve celebration at Ober Gatlinburg, the state’s ONLY ski destination.

Before heading out for a night full of festivities, Ober hosts a pre-party from 3-6:00 PM. This way, you can do both, enjoy the mountain and check out other NYE events down in town!

The highlight of the evening is the performance by Liquid Velvet, a beloved ’70s and ’80s tribute band with a huge local following. To make the experience even cooler (pun intended!), guests can ride Ober’s iconic aerial tram up the mountain.

Once at the summit, enjoy the concert and treat yourself to some of Ober’s food offerings.

Although no details have been released about it as of now, prior years have always included a complimentary champagne toast and passed appetizers after the performance.

5. Dick’s Last Resort NYE Celebration

Love it or hate it, Dick’s is somewhat of a local institution. It also happens to be right next to the Space Needle, where the fireworks display is.

So what better place to celebrate New Years Eve in Gatlinburg?

During the Dicks NYE Celebration, you can reserve a table on either the upper or lower patio between 7:00 PM and midnight.

While you can’t choose your seat, both patios have heat and offer the same menus.

Each reservation includes dinner, soft drinks, and a champagne toast.

For anyone under 21, Dick’s will replace the champagne with a dessert.

The dinner options include entrees such as steak, salmon, and ribs. Guests can also order from the full bar.

Dick’s will also offer live music, as well as a DJ, starting at 7:00 PM.

New Years Eve in Gatlinburg — for Adults

Shamrock Pub (photo credit)

6. Rooftop New Years Eve at Jason Aldean’s

With a reputation for being quite the party scene on any given day, Jason Aldean’s is the place to be on New Years Eve in Gatlinburg. (For the 21 and up crowd, anyway.)

A newcomer to Gatlinburg’s nightlife scene, 2024 is the bar’s first New Year’s Eve.

But don’t worry — Jason Aldean’s other location is right on Broadway in Nashville, so he knows a thing or three about how to throw a party.

Rooftop New Year’s Eve 2024 has musical acts lined up from noon to 1:00 am. General admission tickets give full venue access, including to WannaB’s Karaoke Bar.

Guests under age 21 are welcome on the main level all night, on a first-come, first-served basis.

To be honest, however, it’s really not a scene for little kids (maybe older kiddos, though!). Also, the party will go on rain or shine.

7. Ring in 2024 at Loco Burro

Another awesome rooftop bar on the main strip in town hosts its own NYE festivities.

Loco Burro is a popular place to hang out, especially on New Years Eve in Gatlinburg.

What makes this particular party so special is that it’s actually THREE parties! Tickets include admission to Loco Burro’s main floor, its rooftop bar, and Crawdaddy’s oyster bar, next door. Pricing varies, with options that also include just the Loco Burro parties.

Guests must be 21 to attend all three parties. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, regardless of which bar you’re in when the clock strikes 12am.

8. Shamrock Pub BYE Celebration

Known as one of the city’s most fun and lively bars year-round, there’s no doubt Shamrock Pub will be a blast on New Years Eve in Gatlinburg.

For $25 per person, you can reserve a table on either the upper or downstairs patio.

There will be live music on both patios all night, as well as several fun themed drink specials.

The bar is also well-known for its rowdy karaoke nights, so go prepared with a song picked out!

Tables are expected to sell out, so reserve yours ASAP! The pub is very casual, so reach out to them on Facebook or call to book your spot.

Where to Stay on New Years Eve in Gatlinburg

Gatlinbrug at night

💃 Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

Tucked right in the middle of downtown and within walking distance of hot spots like Anakeesta, this tropical-themed paradise is one of the best hotels for New Years Eve in Gatlinburg.

The resort has four onsite restaurants, plus new years-themed activities planned for the entire weekend.

Listen to live music, enter the cornhole tournament, take a mixology class, and try your luck in the pop-up casino.

Then, toast the new year with champagne just before the midnight fireworks.

❤️ Baymont by Wyndham Gatlinburg On The River

If you’re traveling with children, hoping for a romantic getaway, or just want to get away from the crowds downtown, the Baymont is ideal.

It’s just a 15-minute walk to the main hub, but feels far more secluded.

Guest room balconies overlook the Little Pigeon River, and the hotel has an indoor pool and fitness room. Hot breakfast and parking, including for large vehicles, are complimentary, making this a particularly solid option for families.

🌟 Star Dancer Cabin

This massive Star Dancer cabin has 4,400 square feet of living space and comfortably accommodates up to 14 people.

If you’re celebrating New Years Eve in Gatlinburg with a group, this is the perfect cabin!

Enjoy the theater room or game room, complete with a pool table and vintage arcade games, in your downtime at Star Dancer. Or, soak up the panoramic views of the national park as you soak in the hot tub on the deck!

Looking for more cabins in Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg Restaurants Open for New Years

New Years Eve Dinner

  • Melting Pot – Indulge in the special reservations-only ‘Due Years Eve dinner, which includes a champagne toast and fun party favors
  • Firefly’s Patio Lounge at The Park Vista – Serving an upscale buffet with a carving station and dessert bar, plus live entertainment and a great view of the fireworks
  • Chesapeake’s – Always offers a special holiday menu and keeps regular opening hours
  • Smoky Mountain Brewery – Technically not a ‘special’ dinner, but the brewery will have live music from 9:30 to close on NYE, plus serve some special pizzas

New Years Day Brunch