Pigeon Forge in Sevier County, Tennessee, is a must-visit tourist destination in the south-eastern part of the United States.
This mountain resort city is home to tourists all over the world descending to witness the scenic Great Smoky Mountains and the National Park, which is 8 km from Pigeon Forge. On top of that, there are plenty of things to do in Pigeon Forge in December to make your holiday even more fascinating and entertaining.
Among others, Pigeon Forge attractions include:
- World-class outlet malls
- Titanic-simulated museum
- One-of-a-kind restaurants
- Great museums
- Fun Rides
- Christmas festivals where you get to enjoy live performances by renowned artists
The resort is also a pleasure center for the young ones to play interactive games and enjoy best menus after a long day of hiking. Titanic-simulated museum is also a must-see and is certainly one of the things to do in Pigeon Forge.
The abundance of things to do in Pigeon Forge in the holidays can be confusing. With that said, we’ve selected the best 10 things that will surely keep you coming to the resort and its nearby Great Smoky Mountains every year. The area is always prepared to host innumerable festivals to entertain guests. There are also plenty of options to take a nap in a hotel or a rented Pigeon Forge cabin.
1. Dollywood Theme Park
Dollywood theme park is one of the best things to embrace in Pigeon Forge during the festive season, especially from the 4th of November to the 1st of January.
It is usually adorned with exotic decorations and sparkling holiday lights to give a great feeling of the festive. There are plenty of things to do in this theme park which includes:
- Live music performance
- Amusement rides
- Christmas shows
Distinguished guests are also invited to entertain tourists in this theme park!
The ownership of Dollywood belongs to the famous Dolly Parton and the Herschend Family. Visitors can also tune in to Dolly Parton’s performance in addition to other music events annually hosted in the theme park.
Hall of Fame and the Southern Gospel Museum are also part of add-ons in this 295 acres park. Also added is the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction.
2. Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights
The Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights is an amazing attraction in Pigeon Forge that gives you a great feeling of spending the Christmas season.
The tour runs from November to February every season. Over 5 million lights are installed to give this a spectacular and unparalleled view.
PRO TIP: To make your tour an absolute breeze, you can collect the tour maps upon arrival at the Welcome Centers or the Trolley Office.
Surely, Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights is one of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge in December to keep your family entertained.
3. Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival
While at Pigeon Forge, Smokies Bluegrass Festival could give you the best company, especially if you’re a music lover. The festival runs from the 6th of December to the 9th of December.
It’s a 4-day festival hosted at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. But, be alert that this is a popular event in Pigeon Forge and tickets might get depleted before it even starts.
We, therefore, advise you to purchase tickets in time to avoid disappointments.
4. Spending Christmas in a Pigeon Forge Cabin
If you want an experience of outdoors Christmas celebration, then spending your festive in a cabin could be a great deal. A great cabin will provide you all the amenities to make your Christmas fascinating.
There are fully-furnished cabins with a home theater to enjoy music, fully-equipped kitchen to make great cookies, as well as amazing bedrooms. Some are well decorated, so you don’t need to bring your own decors.
Well, don’t forget customized decors, Christmas gifts, and your cookies, unless you’re prepared to dine in one of the best restaurants that Pigeon Forge offers.
Also worth noting with Pigeon Forge Cabins is that you have to reserve them on time because many people are descending to this exotic resort.
They are available in different sizes from 1 to 16 bedrooms to accommodate large families. Fireplaces are the best to host braais in designated areas.
In addition to this, it’s also recommended to read this in-depth guide on how to utilize your stay at a cabin over Christmas.
5. Have Breakfast or Lunch at the Old Mill
After a long day of activities or games in Pigeon Forge, one can have a retreat at the famous Old Mill in Tennessee.
Founded decades ago, the mill has grown into a tourist hub where you get to see amazing restaurants and gift shops. It was initially designed to refine flour and meal until it was later transformed into what it is today as the popular tourist attraction.
There is, among other things:
- A General Store
- A pottery shop
- Jewelry shop
- Two restaurants
Just make sure you haven’t eaten too much prior to coming to the mill because it has lots of appetizing menus you would love to spend a day chowing. This is certainly one of the must-do things in Pigeon Forge.
6. Visit Titanic Museum
To get a feel of what had transpired during the notorious Titanic era, this museum might help fulfill that feeling.
The museum is at the parkway of Pigeon Forge, and it is built in a shape that mimics the original ship. It’s been over 8 years now since the museum has been opened and operated, and it is a popular destination for tourists. However, the downside is that no photography is allowed in the museum.
To further reinforce the feel of the Titanic downfall, the museum is immersed in a pool of water. There are some photographs of what had transpired back then. You will be guided throughout the museum.
Time: It can take about 2 hours while exploring 20 galleries and 400 historic artifacts.
This museum is home to world-class one-of-a-kind exhibitions that can keep you visiting it every festive season. You will feel an emotional connection with the lost souls the time the ship had sunk, and can also relate to the disaster. Don’t worry there is nothing scary! The feel is just overwhelming especially if you’ve been curious about what had happened.
The iceberg exhibition is also present to relive the historic moments.
7. Spend New Year’s Eve at the Island
The Island in Pigeon Forge also brings you lots of fun of crossing to the New Year.
There are live music performances, jaw-dropping fireworks, and many more celebrations to embrace on the Island. The picture below gives you a glimpse of how the celebrations unfold on this Island.
You may also visit their website for an update on the upcoming events for this year.
8. Hollywood Wax Museum
Because kids are always determined to meet their favorite celebrities, this museum could be the best place to visit in Pigeon Forge to satisfy your kids. Young ones get to see exhibitions of the best Hollywood stars and pose to capture pictures with them.
Celebrities exhibited include the likes of John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Downey, Bradley Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Julia Roberts and Elvis Presley. The list continues.
The museum has two floors of these exhibitions of both Hollywood and film industry stars. It’s been 6 years that this museum has opened in 2012.
9. Elvis Presley Museum
In addition to the aforementioned Hollywood museum, you can visit the Elvis Presley museum dedicated to this famous American star. There is an audio tour throughout the museum to see plenty of exhibits as well as historic artifacts.
There are pictures, belongings of Elvis, memorabilia and many exhibits to explore.
10. Hiking in Pigeon Forge
Our last thing to do in Pigeon Forge is hiking in the nearest Great Smoky Mountains.
A word of advice here! Please make sure that you observe the climate before deciding to hike in The Great Smoky Mountains.
The conditions of trails could be dangerous and slippery during the downpour, and so we advise you to hike cautiously. It’s common to come across washed out bridges and fallen trees. We have tried to hike two holidays in a row but couldn’t do it on either of the occasions.
Try to find a good pair of hiking boots or rain boots for long distance warning.
Nonetheless, hiking in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains is the best gift you can give to your family.
There are many attractions you can explore during your hiking journey. But, you must be decided that which trail you are going to take in line with your wishes. Perhaps you can decide to explore waterfalls, scenic mountains or rivers.
To help you decide, you can purchase the trail map from outlets nearby or at the Great Smoky Mountains reception area. Alternatively, you can call (888) 898-9102 to get hold of the online store and order this trail map.
Also, the Backcountry Information Office can be reached at (865) 436-1297 to help you with your hiking plan.
Important: There could be moments where you encounter aggressive bears in the wilderness. To stay safe, you are advised to bring the approved pepper spray. The pepper spray can protect you and your family against possible attacks. Do not spray anything else other than the animals. The active ingredients in the spray should be the capsaicin. If there is a different chemical, enquire with the office for clarity.
Also important is your vigilance against thieves in the surrounding area. Watch out where you park your car and where you put your belongings.
Note that for an overnight stay in the park you may need the permits and reservations, especially for a multi-day hiking.
EDIT: Added Extra Tips from Last Year!
Special food to eat in Pigeon Forge in December
Not only is Pigeon Forge home to innumerable attractions to do during December, but also a home to a diverse menu.
Visit Mam’s Kitchen
You can dine with your family at Mama’s Kitchen after a long day of hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains or activities in Pigeon Forge or any of the surrounding museums.
The kitchen is home to a wide range of recipes and mouthwatering old-fashioned food. You can opt for a plate of fried chicken, mash potatoes, meatloaf, green beans and creamy cheese. After your meal, there is dessert to complete the menu.
Mama’s kitchen is the best way to save you the energy of having to cook for your family while you’re tired in Pigeon Forge. It’s also the best way to explore local dishes in Tennessee. The restaurant is open all the days.
FLAPJACK’S Pancake House
If you love pancakes then FLAPJACK’S pancake cabin is your ultimate stop in Pigeon Forge. It’s one of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge in December to experience the best-baked pancake while away from home.
Although it is located in Gatlinburg, it is the nearby and the best pancake hub while enjoying yourself in Pigeon Forge resort.
J.T. Hannah’s Kitchen
If you want to sink your teeth in one of the best burgers in the country, then Hannah’s kitchen has the best one waiting for you. It is home to a broad range of delicious meals such as seafood and steaks.
You will never go hungry for delicious BBQ and other after-meals strawberry cake. The picture below says it all that this kitchen is huge and eye-catching.
There are many places to have delicious foods in Pigeon Forge than what we have mentioned here. Well, if you want to keep enjoying your local foods, you can order rent a cabin and cook for your family in the cabin to give them a customized Christmas menu.
Wrapping up this December Pidgeon Forge Guide
Pigeon Forge in Tennessee is a must-visit resort to have unsurpassed fun during December. The resort is in close proximity to the famous Smoky Mountains National Park where you can take long hikes and explore plenty of attractions.
Spending the December festive holidays in this resort is surely a wise decision because of lots of fun with live music performances and festivals.
In addition to the Christmas festivals, there are iconic museums to visit and explore hundreds of exhibitions and historic artifacts.
Among others, the relived Titanic museum is top. It is one-of-its-kind in the world. Unfortunately, you won’t have a proof for your friends to see that you have been to the museum because there are no photographs allowed. It is nonetheless a great place to be while in Pigeon Forge.
Also worth considering are innumerable places to eat in and around the Pigeon Forge. We have selected only a few above where you can dine and have fun.