We continue with Part 3 in our Gatlinburg “Great” Things series with number three:

3. Downtown

As a visitor or a local, you can either bemoan the commercialization that the city has undergone the past few decades, or you can embrace it for what it is and see beyond the tacky Ripley’s Attractions; we have only given our money to the Aquarium by the way. There is much more going on than just overpriced attractions and cheap t-shirt shops that line the two mile stretch which beg for your attention, especially on a rainy day.

The first thing a visitor should note is the “Gatlinburg Goes Green” initiative which has turned the city into an environmentalist’s dream. In fact, Gatlinburg has diverted 70% of its municipal waste to a state of the art composting plant. Also, the Gatlinburg Winter Magic celebration has converted three million light displays from incandescent bulbs to LED lights. Future projects are in the works as well; the city is looking at a co-generation system that will produce enough electricity to power the waste water treatment plant. You can see a full list of projects past, present and future here.

I have already mentioned the abundance of restaurants downtown that are sure to satisfy, but they have snacking covered as well. There are at least a half dozen places that offer up not only fudge, but ice cream as well. Our favorite place for fudge is Chocolate Monkey, but Kilwin’s comes in at a close second. There are also arcades for the kids, and gift shops with knick-knacks for adults.

A notable attraction located at the northern edge of downtown is the Sweet Fanny Adams Theater. I don’t want to go into too much detail, since I want to write a separate post on this, but this is an absolute can’t-miss in town. This is live entertainment at its best, with plenty of laughs to go around. They’ve been in business doing yearly live shows since 1977 so check them out.

That is all for Part 3. Stay tuned for Part 4 coming up on Saturday. *fingers crossed*