Spring and summer are perfect times in Gatlinburg and even better for conventions, meetings and events. With all the new and exciting things that continue to open and be added to already established Gatlinburg venues, your attendees will always have something to do in conjunction with the conference they are attending.

In this issue, we show the highlights of the highly anticipated opening of Blake Shelton’s lifestyle branded restaurant and entertainment venue, Ole Red. In keeping with the always Updating Gatlinburg tradition, Ober Gatlinburg has added a new attraction to go along with the plethora of activities you can do at Ober. There’s a new Gatlinburg Pinball Museum to where you can play vintage pinball machine games and Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales returns for its 14 th year to entertain visitors throughout the famous Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg at a glance
  • Convention Center: (148,000 square feet of total space)
  • Sleeping Rooms (4,000+ surrounding convention center including full and limited service hotels, condominiums, chalets and cabins)
  • Dining Options: (100+ restaurants, from casual to elegant gourmet establishments with the majority within walking distance to hotels and convention center)
  • Shopping: (500+ shops with 5 malls plus largest Arts & Crafts Community in the U.S.)
  • Attractions: (40+ along with many other entertainment options with the majority within walking distance to hotels and convention center)
  • Rocky Top Sports Complex: (Named 2017 top Multi-Use Sports Facility by SportsEvents Magazine) and (2018 Favorite Indoor Venue by Sports Destination Management Magazine)
  • Gatlinburg Golf Course: (Named Best Municipal Golf Course in Tennessee by Golf Digest Magazine)
What's New in Gatlinburg
SKYBRIDGE Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg SkyLift, a Gatlinburg staple since 1954, will be opening SkyBridge 0n May 17 2019. SkyBridge will be the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America measuring nearly 700 feet in length and spanning the valley between ridges on Crockett Mountain. Experience spectacular panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains and see Gatlinburg from a whole new vantage point at thrilling heights of up to 150 feet!

Gatlinburg Pinball Museum
The Gatlinburg Pinball Museum
is the most recent addition to the growing selection of niche attractions in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg! Located next to the iconic Space Needle just off the main parkway , this unique new attraction houses the largest collection of pinballs & retro arcade games in the Smokies.

The museum is interactive with all pinball machines and arcade games on free play (no coins or tokens required). One admission is good for unlimited play on all games all day long! The collection of over 60 pinball machines and 50 favorite retro arcade games includes some Limited-Edition games from modern times as well as some dating back to the 1960’s!

Plan a visit to this exciting new attraction to see if you can become Gatlinburg’s newest Pinball Wizard!

Updates in Gatlinburg
Ole Red Gatlinburg
Ole Red Gatlinburg
Blake Shelton’s    long-awaited restaurant and bar,  Ole Red Gatlinburg ,  is officially open in downtown Gatlinburg. The entertainment venue celebrated “Spring Blake” on March 13, with a full day of activity including a memorable performance by Shelton featuring special guests the  Swon Brothers    on the Ole Red Gatlinburg stage.

The grand opening celebrations began with a ribbon cutting and donation ceremony featuring Blake Shelton and Ryman Hospitality Properties CEO Colin Reed. Gatlinburg-Pittman High School was the recipient of a $54,214 donation to support music education in the local community. The funds were raised by Ole Red Gatlinburg auctioning 70 tickets to a private Blake Shelton concert that took place the night before on the Ole Red Gatlinburg stage. The auction raised a grand total of $29,214 which combined with Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation’s match of up to $25,000, brought the total to over $50,000 for Gatlinburg-Pittman High School’s music programs.

Following the ribbon cutting and donation ceremony, the festivities continued at Ole Red where Shelton officially christened the venue’s stage, performing his extensive catalog of hits for a packed house of over 500 fans. Shelton opened the show with hit songs “Neon Light” and “All About Tonight,” the latter a fitting start to what proved to be an unforgettable evening of music and fun.  “I feel like this place already has good vibes, we have started this off right,” Shelton shared with the rowdy opening night crowd. “This will always be embedded in the walls and all the cracks and crevices in here. This night, the way it all started…thank you all for being here and having this much energy…I love this so much!”

Shelton closed the two-hour set with a collection of his hits including “Austin,” “Honey Bee,” and “Boys Round Here” before returning for an encore of “Footloose” and “God Gave Me You.

Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown
Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown

Conveniently located within .1 mile/3 minute walk of the Gatlinburg Convention Center and a 4 minute walk to the center of downtown Gatlinburg. A short drive of 2.5 miles to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sugarlands Visitors Center provides the perfect beginning of an outdoor adventure.
The Holiday Inn Express recently began working with the Gatlinburg CVB to offer group lodging and features:
  • 113 spacious guest rooms with private balconies to bask in the Mountain views
  • Guest Rooms include Flat screen HDTV, Microwave, Small Refrigerator, Keurig Coffee Maker,
  • Free WIFI
  • Free Parking
  • Complimentary full breakfast served each morning from 6:30 am – 9:30 am in beautiful large lobby
  • Indoor pool with Waterpark access
  • Game Room

Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park
Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park , is entering their third summer and is open year-round and is located just off the Parkway with free parking for their guests. Rowdy Bear is home to two amazing adventure rides including the world’s first Mountain Glider , a single suspended rail coaster and the Alpine Mountain Coaster that reaches speeds of up to 35 mph. Rowdy Bear offers one-hour wristbands, day and night experiences and special pricing for groups of 10+. 

For more information on group pricing visit their website at:
Ober Gatlinburg
Ober Gatlinburg is proud to announce Summer Tubing as an additional mountain-top activity for all of our guests who are seeking a new thrill with fantastic views. The new attraction, arriving Memorial Day Weekend, will be adjacent to the Ski Mountain Coaster, which is the highest coaster in elevation east of the Mississippi River. The Magic Carpet will continue to carry riders and their tubes to the top of the tubing hill where riders will cruise back down on one of four 250’ lanes. The slippery lanes made of synthetic materials, allow riders to feel the sensation of being on layers of compact snow.

At Ober Gatlinburg, the fun never ends!

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales returns this summer to entertain Gatlinburg visitors! Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance festival featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and cloggers portraying characters from time periods as far back as the 1800s. Daily performances will be from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the dates of June 21 to August 3, 2019.

For thirteen years, this popular seven-week event has made the walkable streets of Gatlinburg its live stage, enriching the summer season with interactive, educational and entertaining performances the whole family can enjoy.

Gatlinburg Convention Center
List of Events
The Mountains are Calling
Gatlinburg Accolades
Forbes Magazine listed Gatlinburg one of its top 20 prettiest towns in America in 2017.​

Rocky Top Sports World Voted 2017 Top Multi Use Sports Facility

MSN listed Gatlinburg “The Prettiest Town in Every State” for the state of Tennessee in 2017.​​

City of Gatlinburg and Rocky Top Sports World named winning combo in this year’s Reader’s Choice Awards by SDM Magazine. 

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Named Best U.S. Aquarium for 2017 by USA Today Readers’ Choice.

Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau Annual Readers Choice Award for 2017 and Seven Time Award Winner by Convention South Magazine.
Anakeesta Outdoor Adventure
Gatlinburg CVB
We would love the chance to “update” you on all the new and exciting developments that Gatlinburg has going to ensure that when it comes to your future conventions, meetings and events, Gatlinburg has your event covered!

If you would like to be on the distribution list and receive future Gatlinburg Update Quarterly e-newsletters, please email sales@gatlinburg.com and request to be added. Please feel free to forward The Gatlinburg Update to anyone you feel will find it informative.

This edition of the Gatlinburg Update Quarterly Newsletter is our eighth. If you are interested in viewing earlier editions, please click here GCVB Sales Quarterly Newsletter .