Our Guide to Pigeon Forge During Christmas and Winter
During the holidays, Pigeon Forge turns into a winter wonderland! 6 million twinkling lights sparkle as part of the town’s Winterfest celebration. Shoppers visit the many boutiques, galleries, outlets, and other shops while hunting for the perfect gift. Meanwhile, others are relaxing with a glass of local wine or a holiday meal.
Pigeon Forge is a top Southern destination all year, but it’s extra captivating in winter. Here’s a guide to what to do in Pigeon Forge this winter:
Winter Special Events in Pigeon Forge
Winterfest in Pigeon Forge begins in November. The lights and holiday decorations are magical leading into Christmas, although the fun doesn’t stop there. The celebrations continue into February!
Part of the countywide coordination between the towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, Winterfest attracts millions of guests annually. The tour of lights begins in Sevierville, winds through Pigeon Forge, and ends in Gatlinburg. This resplendent event imparts awe to wintertime guests, so turn up the Christmas carols and grab some hot cocoa for an evening of magic and memories.
Pigeon Forge businesses like Dollywood and The Island offer festive displays, while the City of Pigeon Forge paints the whole town bright! Learn more about Winterfest in Pigeon Forge here.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
The famous Dollywood Theme Park is where Christmas dreams come true! Dollywood’s lineup of special events begins in Spring and changes with the seasons, ending with Christmas right before the park closes for winter. Imagine fresh hot cinnamon bread, specialty hot cocoa, inspiring light displays, and Christmas music radiating throughout the park. Plus, the team surprises guests with new features every year! Christmas at Dollywood is heartwarming, no matter how low the temperatures drop – learn more about Christmas at Dollywood here.
New Year’s Eve at The Island
Ring in the new year with a ball drop and midnight fireworks at The Island in Pigeon Forge! Home to dozens of shops, eateries, rides, and The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, this amusement park has plenty for guests to do during the daytime. Once midnight approaches, enjoy a free concert and epic fireworks after the ball drops. Learn more about New Year’s Eve at The Island here.
Wilderness Wildlife Week
After the holiday rush, the town slows down a bit. Still, a bevy of visitors make the trip to enjoy a quieter version of Pigeon Forge. Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge is an annual event that celebrates the fauna and flora of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Exhibitors and speakers offer free lectures and information, and attendees can take part in guided hikes inside the park. Shop for local art and handmade goods and enjoy crafts and interactive classes. An event for all ages, this is an excellent opportunity for homeschooled families and children who love nature and science. Discover the diverse landscape of the Smoky Mountains at this inspiring event in Pigeon Forge. Learn more about Wilderness Wildlife Week here.
Visiting Pigeon Forge During Christmas and Winter
You don’t need a special event to shop ‘til you drop! Pigeon Forge is home to hundreds of boutiques, outlet malls, and big-name retailers. The weather may be chilly outside, but the deals are always hot! The Incredible Christmas Place is a Bavarian-style Christmas shopping village that spreads holiday cheer all year long, but a visit in December is extra special. Meet Santa and shop for ornaments and Christmas décor.
This area is a hot spot for sales, but retailers offer deeper discounts after the holidays. Spend a day shopping in Pigeon Forge to take advantage of the bargains. Find popular brand names at Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall and discover local artisans at the small shops around town. We love Pigeon River Pottery and Old Mill Candy Kitchen, both located in the Old Mill Historic District.
While you’re there, visit Mill Bridge Winery to warm up with a complimentary wine tasting. Purchase wine and other goodies in the wine shop, and then take in the wintry view of the Little Pigeon River from the winery’s outdoor seating area. Learn more about Mill Bridge Winery and the Rocky Top Wine Trail to plan a cozy winter day of wine tasting!
Most restaurants in Pigeon Forge stay open year-round. The area is highly congested between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, so planning meals in advance is a clever way to maximize your time. Purchase dinner theater tickets in advance and check with your favorite restaurants to see if reservations are available.
Getting into popular restaurants like Local Goat is nearly impossible during peak times, so plan to dine during slower times like lunch or mid-afternoon. Another smart option is to pick up a meal and take it back to your cabin or hotel in Pigeon Forge. We love the drive-thru at Corky’s Ribs & BBQ in Pigeon Forge. This is a quick and easy way to get a delicious and hearty meal without battling the crowds. This popular BBQ restaurant in Pigeon Forge also offers Grubhub orders and holiday meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Read more about this award-winning restaurant here.
Watch a Holiday Show
Pigeon Forge is home to the best theaters in the Southeast! These entertaining attractions offer holiday productions leading up to Christmas. Dolly Parton’s Stampede puts on a mesmerizing Christmas show with live animals, mouthwatering food, and a heartfelt message. Array Variety Show is one of the newest shows in Pigeon Forge, and the holiday production is available through late December.
If you hope to visit your favorite show or dinner attraction in Pigeon Forge during winter, check its operating calendar before making plans. Many theaters sell out in advance before Christmas. After the holidays, some completely close until spring while others offer a limited schedule.
Indoor Family Fun
Looking for indoor things to do in Pigeon Forge? Your favorite family destination boasts year-round indoor fun! WonderWorks is a great place to lose the winter blues. Treat the family to a fun learning experience at the “upside-down house.” Nearby, Titanic and Hollywood Wax Museum are among the area’s top indoor attractions.
Pigeon Forge Snow is a year-round indoor attraction, although a visit here is exceptionally fun when the temperatures outside are too cold for small children. Play in the snow and ride snow tubes in 60–70-degree indoor temperatures!
With a movie theater, trampoline park, indoor mini-golf courses, museums, and other attractions, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of family fun for those frigid days. These ideas are exciting ways to entertain the family during rainy days in Pigeon Forge too.
The winter weather in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains varies from mild and sunny to blustery. Flurries can add magic to an already amazing experience while heavy snow accumulations can halt the town. Do you dream of getting snowed in at a cabin in Pigeon Forge? That’s a real possibility. Check the weather before your trip, but don’t let it ruin your plans. Be flexible and know that your family will have an unforgettable time in Pigeon Forge this winter!
Planning to visit Pigeon Forge for winter break? Subscribe to our newsletter and find us on social media to stay updated on what to do in Pigeon Forge!
(Cover Photo Credit: mypigeonforge.com)
Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton