Jolly Encounters: Where to Find Santa Claus in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Published Nov 13, 2023

Santa’s the busiest guy on Earth, yet never too busy to visit the Smokies! Find Santa in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge this holiday season. Bring your wish list! 

Pigeon Forge

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland Shadrack’s drive-through holiday light show is dazzling! Get tickets to the light show, open Nov. 17, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024. Once you’re inside, Santa welcomes you for photos between 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 24, 25, 30; Dec. 1, 2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23. 

Dollywood Families discover whether their names are on the Nice List and have their photo made at Santa’s workshop. Santa’s List is open to all Dollywood guests.

The Island in Pigeon Forge On select days until Dec. 23, Santa visits The Island, a shopping and entertainment destination. Check the website for times.

Beyond the Lens: An Evening with Santa Claus. On Dec. 14 only, from 6-9 p.m., meet Santa, enjoy desserts and photos, and then experience a thrilling, immersive ride on The Polar Express. You get admission to Beyond the Lens as part of the fun.

Christmas Place Santa holds court throughout the holiday season, Thursdays through Mondays, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., with special hours on Dec. 23-24. Visit the site for details.

Crave Golf Club Play candy-themed, interactive mini golf, then see Santa on Dec. 2 and 16 from 3-6 p.m.


Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Santa’s in residence Nov. 7-Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily for aquarium visitors. Where else could you see both Santa and sharks in one spot?

Santa’s Claus-et This shop offers three ways to meet Santa. One, drop in for a visit through Dec. 22, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Two, book a private, in-person visit for $200. Three, book a Zoom chat with Santa for $50. 

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Take photos with Santa in Lumberjack Square, from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. daily, Nov. 27-Dec. 22. Watch Santa demonstrate ax throwing like a true lumberjack! 

Anakeesta’s Breakfast with Santa Enjoy breakfast, crafts, a Christmas carol sing-along, a photo with Santa and a special gift, on Nov. 24-25 or Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23. 

Reserve a Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge cabin now and plan your Christmas getaway. See Santa again and again!

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