Gatlinburg is home to countless fun things to do – from its rich history to bustling culinary scene – this Smoky Mountain town has something for everything. But if you’re reading this article, you probably already know that Gatlinburg has a lot to offer – and now you need to narrow it down to the perfect way to spend a day in town.
Luckily, this list is packed with exciting attractions, and all of them are located just minutes away from the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle on foot. We’ve gathered all the information you need to plan your trip – from addresses, to websites, to reviews from real visitors. Plus, we have also included links to all of the locations on this list that are currently accepting GiftYa cards.
As a reminder a GiftYa digital gift card is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A gift card that functions just like every other gift card. It lets you make purchases at a participating bar, restaurant, or store up to the face value of the gift card. However, unlike traditional gift cards. GiftYa digital gift cards come with a few additional benefits. For instance, unlike a traditional gift card, a GiftYa can be sent straight to your phone in seconds. That way you don’t need to deliver a GiftYa in person if you want to give it as a gift. You don’t even have to go to a store in person if you want one for yourself. You can just visit the GiftYa website and pick one up today.
Since GiftYa cards are sent directly to your phone you never have to worry about misplacing them or forgetting to take them with you. In most instances you are going to have your phone with you so in most instances you will have your GiftYa cards right in your pocket. In addition to that, your GiftYa also keeps track of the balance for you. Which is so much nicer than having to try to remember how much was left over on those antiquated plastic gift cards.
When you think of the Space Needle, the Seattle landmark is probably what comes to mind – but Gatlinburg is home to its own Space Needle, too! The iconic 407-foot-tall building is located in the heart of downtown, surrounded by restaurants and attractions. Not sure how to turn a trip up the Gatlinburg Space Needle into a whole day of fun?
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re an art lover or a gamer, or you simply enjoy a good scare – here are some of the most popular things to do near the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
115 Historic Nature Trl | 1 min walk | gatlinburgarcade.com
You can’t get much closer to the Gatlinburg Space Needle than Arcadia. Located in the shadow of Gatlinburg’s famous futuristic attraction, Arcadia is considered a hidden gem in the Gatlinburg arcade and video game community. In our book, that makes it the perfect stop for anyone looking to experience Gatlinburg’s local attractions.
Arcadia markets itself as 30,000 square feet of fun, and based on its impressive Yelp reviews, it truly lives up to the tagline. Enjoy 200+ arcade games, play for big prizes (from brands like Xbox, YETI, and Coach), or simply chow down on some pizza and soda while you game the day away at Gatlinburg’s favorite family fun center.
“While there are many "other" arcades with more visibility, this one out does them all.... By a long shot! Not only does it have twice as many games, they have more options for prizes, the Space Needle with an epic view (as long as you don't mind heights and open areas with heights), a pizza shop, and just seconds from the main strip of Gatlinburg. ” - Yelp Review
903 Parkway | 1 min walk | olesmokymoonshine.com
This one’s for the grown-ups – if you’re exploring the area around the Gatlinburg Space Needle with friends or have left the kiddos at home for the night, Ole Smoky is a fun stop for anyone over the age of 21. Ole Smoky has been making moonshine for over a century – since their “great mawmaws and pawpaws” stepped foot in the Smokies. They became Tennessee's first (legal) moonshine distillery in 2010.
Not only does Old Smoky make moonshine with that classic Tennessee kick, they also have a whole host of innovative flavors in the mix. Try the Apple Pie, Orange Shinesicle, or even Moonshine Pickles for something a little different.
“Ole Smoky Moonshine is someplace I've always wanted to come. I went on the Behind the Still tour where you get to see and learn how moonshine is made and then you get to taste about 13 flavors of moonshine.” - Yelp Review
919 Parkway | 2 min walk | mirrormazegatlinburg.com
If you want to snap some Insta-worthy pics that are a little bit artsier than the beautiful panoramas you’ll encounter on a hike through Shenandoah National Park, the Amazing Mirror Maze is a great place to start. The Mirror Maze is Gatlinburg’s largest indoor mirror maze, and it’s conveniently housed inside the same building as the blacklight-illuminated Circus Golf putt-putt course. Choose your adventure – you can save when you buy tickets to both, or you can pay for just one.
Perfect for families with youngsters or anyone who is young at heart, the Amazing Mirror Maze & Circus Golf is sure to be fun for the whole family.
“This was a ton of fun! The deal they have going on right now is so cheap! Great fun on a budget!! Loved it!!” - Yelp Review
812 Parkway | 1 min walk | @benderswireart on Instagram
Whether you’re new to Gatlinburg or a longtime resident, you’ll enjoy getting a glimpse of Gatlinburg’s local art scene at Bender’s Wire Art. Something between a storefront and a kiosk, visitors can get up close and personal with the artist and his cool wire creations just steps from the Space Needle.
Watch art come to life with a wire art demonstration, get your name folded into a take-home masterpiece, or enjoy some of the groovy paintings that make the space such a memorable addition to the Gatlinburg Space Needle area.
“While on a trip to Gatlinburg this past August, I had the pleasure of meeting Greg Gard of "Bender's Wire Art". This guy is not only talented, but also quite humorous.” - Trip Advisor Review
908 Parkway | 1 min walk | ripleys.com
It's spooky season all year round at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. Not an all-day event, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is a fun 5-10 minute attraction that can be added on to admission to other Ripley’s attractions in the area. Live actors turn the haunted house into an interactive adventure, making it a great way to get your heart racing after an otherwise chill trip to the Gatlinburg Space Needle area.
“Is this the scariest haunted house, no it is not. Was it worth it, absolutely. I would not suggest doing this as an only attraction for the price but if you were doing it as an add-on attraction to the other Ripleys things it is well worth it.” - Yelp Review
88 River Rd | 11 min walk | ripleyaquariums.com
Cast your net a little wider with a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. It’s an 11 minute walk down Parkway from the Gatlinburg Space Needle – or hop in a car and you’ll arrive in just 1 minute. Either way, it’s well worth the (short) trip. The aquarium is home to over 10,000 exotic creatures from 350+ individual species.
Fun fact: That means the aquarium is home to more fish than there are in all of Gatlinburg!
Hang out with adorable penguins, or if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for an overnight excursion when you have a sleepover with the sharks. Enjoy special late-night activities like midnight snacks and scavenger hunts, and then drift off to sleep with your new fishy friends.
“Truly nothing beats a good aquarium. Ripley's Aquarium is a staple on every family Gatlinburg trip and for good reason! They host a collection of unique and well cared for species that will leave you in awe every time. Also, penguins!! Need I say more?” - Yelp Review
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, surrounded by all sorts of things to do. Whether you’re trying to turn a trip to the Space Needle into a magical date night, a family-friendly adventure, or simply trying to squeeze as much fun into your next trip to Gatlinburg as possible, we hope this list has given you some ideas of how to fill up the rest of your day.
And remember, if you know someone living in or visiting Gatlinburg, we’ve marked off all of the things to do near the Space Needle on this list that currently accept convenient GiftYa digital gift cards. Text it, email it, schedule it in advance – GiftYa is an easy way to get your gift to the people you care about.
But even if you find yourself headed for an attraction that doesn’t accept GiftYa right now, worry not. We’re always adding new things to do in Gatlinburg to our catalog, and things to do in cities all around the country. Be sure to check back on the GiftYa blog for our latest updates and guides!