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The Appalachian Lodge

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg.

Downtown Gatlinburg can feel like a world unto itself! Commonly known as “The Strip”, the downtown area is jam-packed with amazing attractions, shops, and restaurants. To help you make the most of your next vacation, The Appy Lodge has put together a guide to six of the best things to do in downtown Gatlinburg.

1. Exploring Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a can’t-miss destination for any getaway in Gatlinburg! Voted the best aquarium in America by the readers of USA Today, this popular attraction is home to over 10,000 beautiful sea creatures. Ripley’s is famous for its interactive exhibits, which include glass bottom boat tours of Shark Lagoon, a Penguin Playhouse with tubes that kids can crawl through, and a special area where you can pet a real live stingray.

2. Shopping at the Mountain MallThe outside of the Gatlinburg Mountain Mall.

The Mountain Mall has been a Gatlinburg landmark for decades! Perfect for a rainy day, this indoor mall is home to more than 30 unique shops. Some of the most-buzzed-about stores at the Mountain Mall include Paws & Claws Pet Fashion, Aunt Mahalia’s Candies, and Pepper Palace. If you get hungry during your shopping spree, we recommend stopping by New York Pizza & Pasta to grab an enormous slice of authentic Empire State-style pizza.

3. Wine Tasting at Sugarland Cellars

Wine tasting at Sugarland Cellars is another one of our favorite things to do in downtown Gatlinburg. This superb winery offers free tours and complimentary samples for guests who are over the age of 21. Sugarland Cellars is dedicated to preserving Gatlinburg’s local history, and each bottle of wine includes a story from the Great Smoky Mountains.

Ripley's Haunted Adventure in downtown Gatlinburg.4. Conquering Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is guaranteed to give you the fright of your life! This spooky haunted house is overflowing with monsters and maniacs who can’t wait to say hello. The mansion is open 365 days a year, so you don’t have to wait until Halloween to enjoy some serious thrills and chills. Please note that guests must be at least 6 years old to enter Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.

5. Touring the Hollywood Star Cars Museum

TV and film buffs will definitely want to stop by the Hollywood Star Cars Museum! Guests at the museum will have the chance to see some of the most famous vehicles to ever grace the silver and small screens, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Drag-u-la from The Munsters, the Jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies, and two different Batmobiles. For an extra fee, you can even purchase a souvenir photo of yourself driving one of the iconic cars.

6. Playing Putt-Putt at DavyRipley's Davy Crockett Mini Golf in downtown Gatlinburg. Crockett Mini Golf

Putt-putt is a classic family vacation activity, and you won’t find a better course than Davy Crockett Mini Golf! Featuring cartoon animal characters, fun sound effects, and unique obstacles, Davy Crockett Mini Golf is great for kids and parents. Be sure to focus extra hard on the last hole, because a hole-in-one will earn you a free game!

When you stay at The Appy Lodge, you will be near all of these wonderful things to do in downtown Gatlinburg. With free parking, complimentary breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, and walk-in showers, our hotel has everything you need for an incredible getaway. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!