6 Things You Need to Know About The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade

Nov 30, 2015

A marching band in holiday costumes in the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade.Acorn Cabin Rentals is excited to welcome guests to our luxurious cabins to enjoy the many exciting Christmas events in Gatlinburg. One of the highlights of the holiday season is the Gatlinburg Christmas parade, locally known as the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. This popular annual event is expected to bring over 80,000 spectators to downtown Gatlinburg, so we recommend planning ahead to attend the event! To help you prepare, we have put together six things you need to know about the Gatlinburg Christmas parade:

1. What to Expect

The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is a holiday tradition consisting of many parade entries of floats, performers, balloons, marching bands, and of course Santa Claus himself!

(See Also: 5 Benefits of Spending Christmas in a Gatlinburg Cabin)

2. Cost of the Parade

The parade is completely free to attend! Most folks stand or sit along the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg for the best views of the parade. For optimal views, spectators can purchase a bleacher seat for $20 in a reserved television zone. In addition, these ticket holders will receive a Santa hat to wear during the parade as well as a download of the parade to watch at home. 

3. Date and TimeA float in the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade.

The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade is set to kick off at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4th at traffic light 1A on Highway 321. Therefore, your actual start time may vary depending on where you choose to view the parade. The parade ends at traffic light 10 and is expected to reach that point by approximately 8 p.m. Note that the entire parade generally lasts about one hour.

4. Parking Information

There are two convenient parking garages operated by the city that are situated within easy walking distance of the parade route. One of these garages is located at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, while the other is the McMahan Parking Garage located at traffic light 3. Both of these garages have plenty of spaces, so finding parking should not be a problem.

Note that there are also parking spots along River Road, which are generally free. However, if these are not available, there are also several privately owned paid parking facilities situated on River Road. As with any large event, arrive early for the best parking options and allow plenty of time to walk to your desired viewing area.

5. Parkway Closures

Remember that the Parkway through downtown Gatlinburg will not be open during the Christmas parade, and that it will be closed for a short period of time before and after the parade. Therefore, we recommend driving into downtown Gatlinburg early to enjoy dinner in town and to secure an excellent viewing spot for the parade. There are plenty of local shops and restaurants to enjoy while you look forward to the start of the event. Make an evening out of it and enjoy the magical holiday spirit with your family or friends!

A horse drawn carriage in the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade.6. Where to Stay

When searching for the best accommodations for attending the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade, look no further than the affordable vacation rentals from Acorn Cabins! Our properties have everything necessary for a wonderful holiday getaway in the Smoky Mountains. Choose from a cozy one bedroom cabin for a romantic winter vacation or book one of our five bedroom cabins for a festive family reunion. Our Gatlinburg cabins come with a collection of fantastic amenities to enjoy, such as hot tubs, fireplaces, full kitchens, and breathtaking views of the mountains. We look forward to seeing you this Christmas season!

Category: Gatlinburg
Jason Fishman

Jason Fishman is a writer and editor specializing in history, dining, travel and tourism. In his spare time, he enjoys science fiction, breakfast food and bad puns.