4 Things to Know Before Going to the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade

The city of Gatlinburg at night.

Nothing says Christmas more than the Gatlinburg Christmas parade. On Dec. 1, thousands gather for the award-winning parade and experience everything from lighted floats, to marching bands, to Santa Claus! When you stay at Black Bear Inn & Suites, you’ll be in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg — the perfect spot to catch the excitement of the Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Here are 4 things to know before going to the Gatlinburg Christmas parade.

1. More than 60,000 people attendmarching band

Gatlinburg’s annual Christmas parade is one of the largest in the Smokies. That’s why each year, more than 60,000 people attend to see the magical event. Every year, attendees get to experience illuminated Christmas floats, marching bands, balloon characters and, of course, Santa Claus. There’ll even be some surprises throughout the night! The parade is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

2. The lineup includes many local performers

The Gatlinburg Christmas parade is unique in that many local businesses and theater shows participate. If you attend the parade, you’ll get to see floats from the well-known spots in the area such as the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, the Live Rock N’ Roll Theater in Pigeon Forge and even Ober Gatlinburg. You’ll also see local marching bands perform and Christmas floats decorated perfectly for the season.

3. Location and time

The Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 1 will take place along the Gatlinburg Parkway. The exciting event will begin at traffic light 1A on Hwy 321 and travel to Hwy 441 on the Main Parkway, then will continue from traffic light 3 to traffic light 10. The 42nd-annual parade starts at 7:30 p.m., but most people start arriving to find a good spot about 5 p.m. Luckily, Black Bear Inn & Suites is within walking distance to the parade, so you won’t have to worry about finding a place to park.

night view of Gatlinburg from hotel balcony4. Best places to watch from

With more than 60,000 people attending, you’ll want to arrive early to find a good place to see the incredible floats and performers. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to stay comfortable and warm during the parade! High up places that put your head above the rest of the crowd are the best places to watch the parade from. When you stay at the Black Bear Inn & Suites, you have the ideal spot to see the magical Christmas event: your private balcony. Avoid the crowd and cozy up on your balcony with a cup of hot cocoa to watch the festivities.

Whether you’re coming to the Gatlinburg Christmas parade with your family or with your significant other, Black Bear Inn & Suites has the perfect room to make sure your visit to Gatlinburg is the best. Book one of our Gatlinburg hotel rooms to start planning your holiday trip!