The 8 Best Spots To Listen To Live Music in Gatlinburg
Raised by the longstanding musical traditions of Appalachia, this area has birthed a wealth of bluegrass, folk, rock, and country music stars. For starters, iconic country music legends like Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, and Roy Acuff all grew up around the Smokies between the cities of Gatlinburg and Knoxville.
For those visiting the Great Smoky Mountains, there is no better way to get a feel for the local culture, understand Tennessee’s bright musical history, and have fun than to hit the town for a night of live music.
Here are a few of our favorite spots that are welcoming artists from far and wide to share their original songs in 2024:
This food joint serves award-winning wings and smoked ribs and is a go-to venue for live music in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. A local favorite, Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery is a unique family restaurant just off Glades Road on the way to Elk Springs Resort.
Three Jimmy’s has two stages — a main stage in the dining area in front of the bar, and a second stage in the back reserved for special events. Three Jimmy’s frequently hosts musical groups from as far as New York and Chicago, and musical stylings range from modern country and southern rock to Hot 100 hits.
Visit Three Jimmy’s to knock back a cold beer, talk with friends, munch on some local favorites like spicy pork skins or prime beef brisket, and get an introduction to the booming local music scene.
Experience a two-hour powerhouse production featuring some of the best singers, dancers, and musicians in the business. At Country Tonite, guests can enjoy sidesplitting comedy acts, youth performers, bluegrass, gospel, and patriotic compositions.
Country Tonite offers a family-friendly variety show, and the cast sings live and from the heart. If you’re looking for music and a show, Country Tonite is sure to deliver a high-energy performance with dazzling costumes and talented dancers.
Consistently ranked the #1 Best Show in the Smokies, Country Tonite is an entertainment experience you won’t want to miss!
Best for: Taking a break from whirlwind shopping and attraction-hopping
Address: 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
You may know Anakeesta as a hotspot for food, fun, and shopping — but it’s also a great spot for music lovers to relax and unwind. Situated atop the Anakeesta mountain is the Cliff Top restaurant in Black Bear Village.
There, Anakeetsa’s in-house band performs pop, rock, and country hits every night. This is a great option to keep your family entertained without racking up entertainment costs since live shows are free with admission to the mountaintop adventure park.
Keep up with live music shows at Anakeesta by visiting their events calendar.
Best for: Locally-made moonshine and live Bluegrass performances
Address: 903 Parkway #128, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Loosen up with some moonshine and step to the syncopated rhythm of live Bluegrass music at The Holler. Hosted by the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg, this is a phenomenal place to listen to music inspired by old Appalachian tunes.
While you’re there, take advantage of Ole Smoky’s $5 tasting deal to decide which moonshine flavor you like best. Most days, you can listen to local bands and sip on drinks like whiskey or canned cocktails.
Hop on the escalator at Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina and make your way up to the rooftop for a lively night of music. Along with food even the pickiest of eaters can enjoy, views of the city, and warm fire pits — this is a great family-friendly option for live music in Gatlinburg.
Or if you’re part of the 21+ crowd, you can come dancing on Tuesday nights. These nights tend to be packed and full of energy, so come ready to let loose!
Wear out your dancing boots at Ole Red Gatlinburg. Ole Red is a major venue in Gatlinburg where music lovers can let loose and listen to talents like Vinny B, Emily Ann Roberts, Whiskey Business, Tyson Leamon, and Dalton Dover.
The venue is hit country music star Blake Shelton’s crown jewel. Inspired by Shelton’s song “Ol’ Red,” the venue is known for giving up-and-coming artists their break. If you want to say you saw the next big country star in concert before they blew up, make your way to Ole Red to see which artists are hitting the stage.
Whether you’re standing front of house with a cold brewski in hand or sitting down to a delicious Southern meal made from scratch, you’ll be glad you added this stop to your itinerary.
Best for: Listening to artists perform their original songs
Address: 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Stop by the Sugarlands Distilling Company to get a taste of authentic spirits and an earful of Appalachian-inspired music. At this barn-style venue, you can listen to genres like Appalachian Americana, Roma jazz, bluegrass pickin’ jams, and folk.
Jay Miller, the Public Relations Coordinator for Sugarlands Distilling Company says, “We don’t pigeonhole our acts to a specific type of music, but the stipulation is that all artists play a majority of original songs. Our focus is on original music that incorporates elements of traditional music that are prevalent in East Tennessee, past and present.”
A few artists that have graced the Sugarlands Spirit Stage in the past include Aaron Lee Tasjan (Folk), Jason Eady (country), and American Aquarium (Alternative Country). Known for filling their events calendar with regional and national musical acts, as well as talented local favorites — the Sugarlands Distilling Co. is at the heart of Gatlinburg’s nightlife.
Best for: Pleasing acoustics and delicious food (try the beer cheese!)
Address: 703 Teaster Ln, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Listening Room Cafe in Pigeon Forge offers an acoustic space for aspiring singer-songwriters to belt out original songs. The cafe often books local East Tennessee singers, bands, and national acts. This is a family-friendly option for guests in search of dinner and a show.
This is the place to be if you want to hear spins on the radio hits you know and love. The Listening Room welcomes artists no matter their followings to perform, and there are two live performances every night they’re open.
Relax Between Shows at a Luxury Cabin
After a great night of good drinks and better music, head back to your Gatlinburg cabin for some shut-eye. Elk Springs Resort cabins are cozy and offer several group amenities — especially if you want to keep the night going into the morning hours.
Book one of our cabins for your next vacation and enjoy the comforts of our indoor pools, saunas, fire pits, game rooms, and more.
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