New Year's Eve in Gatlinburg: Things to Do and Where to Celebrate

December 20, 2021

On the hunt for a New Year’s Eve retreat this year? We know an ideal spot to celebrate the upcoming year, nestled in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg is a rustic ski town we can’t get enough of. Picture cozy cabins, delicate snow, and evergreen trees lit up by the lights and parties of New Year’s Eve in the heart of winter. It’s one of the smaller towns in Tennessee, but that doesn’t stop it from showing off with plenty of sights to see and things to do.

As a bonus, it’s close to Pigeon Forge, which means there are even more opportunities for fun, just a short drive away. Natural beauty and tourist attractions combine to create a New Year’s Eve destination for the books! We’ve compiled the best of the Can't-miss events taking place on the final night of 2021 in Gatlinburg.

Fun Fact: Gatlinburg was named after a former resident who was less than popular, as he was known for being difficult and involved in multiple lawsuits. Radford Gatlin opened a general store and the only post office in the city in 1854. He was eventually ran out of town, but that didn’t stop him from going down in history as the source of the city’s name!

fireworks over gatlinburg for new years eve

Gatlinburg’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Photo Credit: Gatlinburg Visitors Bureau

New Year’s Eve Events in Gatlinburg

33rd Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show

Most Gatlinburg New Year’s Eve revelers will be heading to the base of the Space Needle downtown to spend the evening. As the location of an entirely spectacular fireworks show and ball drop, it’ll be the happening place. This free New Year’s Eve event is one of the largest in Gatlinburg and the country! 

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Live music by Slippery When Wet and the Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute Band begins at 10 p.m. We recommend arriving early to secure your spot for the eagerly anticipated ball drop from the Space Needle and accompanying fireworks show at midnight! 

Gatlinburg Fireworks

Visitors can also get a good vantage point of the fireworks show from Park River Road if the party atmosphere isn’t for you.

Related Post: What You Should Know Before Visiting Gatlinburg for the First Time

No matter what you do, be sure to have a plan, as prime real estate along this road is occupied as early as possible in the day.

New Year’s Eve at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg serves as Tennessee’s only ski resort, so you know its standards are high. This means it hosts a New Year’s Eve party that will live up to your expectations for the evening, too!

Related Post: Gatlinburg Hidden Gems: 7 Secret Spots You Don't Want to Miss

Included with your ticket is a round trip Aerial Tramway ticket so you can end the year on a high note, along with heavy appetizers and a champagne toast. Note that this event is for guests 21 and older.

Buckhorn Inn’s All That Glitters

Pack your sparkliest attire to attend this glittering event at Buckhorn Inn! Upon your arrival, enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and pan for gold at Bebb’s Mine.

Related Post: 7 Spectacular Things to Do in Gatlinburg at Night

The gold nuggets you find can be traded in for drinks and prizes. A delicious dinner by Chef Frank Downs will be the talk of the night!

New Year’s Eve at Arcade City

New Year’s Eve at Arcade City is an event for kids and kids at heart! It’ll all be fun and games as you spend your $20 Arcade City playcard included with your ticket throughout the evening.

Related Post: 16 Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Adults You Don't Want to Miss

Afterward, catch a great view of the ball drop and fireworks show. Enjoy complimentary sparkling cider to give the new year a proper welcome.

People playing on the bridges and in the trees houses adorned with yellow lights at night at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Anakeesta via Facebook

Attractions Open on New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg

So you’ve made your evening plans, but it’d be a shame to waste any time in a beautiful city like Gatlinburg during the day! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fill your daytime itinerary, too. 

Here are some of our favorite things to do while you’re there: 

The Best Eats on New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg 

Wrangling a group full of varied tastes is never easy, but the myriad of great restaurant options in Gatlinburg certainly helps! Follow the flavors you’re craving to help decide where to go on New Year’s Eve for a taste of Gatlinburg.

Related Post: 10 Cheap Things to Do in Gatlinburg That Are Actually Fun

Dining on New Year’s Eve means these excellent spots are bound to be bustling, so call ahead to ask about reservations and any holiday schedule changes.

Wide shot of the Cliff Top Grill and Bar at dusk at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Anakeesta via Facebook

Here’s where to go if you’re craving… 

Classic American cuisine

Cliff Top in Anakeesta offers a mouthwatering dinner with a breathtaking view.

Mediterranean and European fare

Our vote is Red Oak Bistro, which uses only the freshest locally-sourced ingredients.

Related Post: Gatlinburg Day Trips: Where to Go & Why

A juicy steak

One of our favorites is Crystelle Creek. This restaurant also offers many other cuisine options, like pasta, chicken, and seafood.

Fresh seafood

Chesapeake’s Seafood and Raw Bar sources the freshest seafood from the coasts.

Related Post: 14 Absolutely Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg

Hand-tossed pizza

Go to Smoky Mountain Brewery and thank us later.

Where to Stay on New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg

Many Gatlinburg hotels also offer great views of the fireworks from their respective balconies. Just be sure you’re able to see the top of the Space Needle from your room.

Related Post: Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Couples

If you can, you’ll be guaranteed a great view of the celebration. Make your reservations early, though, as hotels book up quickly on this holiday.

Book your hotel with Tripster to land a steal for a stay:

How Will You Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg?

Head to Gatlinburg this New Year’s Eve for a ski town retreat that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new year.

Related Post: 8 of the Most Popular Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Kids

The city’s New Year’s Eve events will make sure you give the old year a proper farewell and start the new one-off right! 

If one of your resolutions is to save more money this year, book your tickets and hotel with Tripster! The best deals are yours for the taking.


michaela smiling holding magazine with body of water in background

Written By Michaela

Michaela is a journalist who views every story she writes as an adventure, leading her to explore new places and meet new people. She is based in the Midwest ...

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