Gatlinburg Space Needle

Gatlinburg Space Needle: A Smoky Mountain Tradition
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

<section class="bottom-line"> <p>Although the Gatlinburg Space Needle is a bit dated, the glass elevator and amazing views of the surrounding area is well worth the $8.50. Make sure to use your ticket for a second trip (free) within 24 hours of purchase. </p> </section>

- The Local Expert Team

The Gatlinburg Space Needle, which originally opened in 1970, is probably the most iconic attraction in Gatlinburg, TN. The Space Needle towers high over the Parkway at a height of 407 feet and offers visitors the chance to view the Smoky Mountains from a 360 degree platform.

Upon arrival at the Space Needle, guests will enter through a 25,000 square foot arcade complete with a hurricane simulator, lazer tag, and every video game imaginable. In addition to the arcade, the space needle houses a quick service restaurant and a small theater that is home to several popular shows.

Two glass elevators whisk visitors to over 400 feet for an incredible view from the 360 degree viewing platform. If you are afraid of heights, the elevators in much need of TLC may be enough to push you over the edge.

Upon exiting the elevators, you will enjoy views of the town below, the surrounding National Park, and Mount LeConte. The Space Needle provides SeeCoast view finders for visitors at no additional charge, which is a nice touch. The panoramic views are complemented by historic pictures and educational information.

On windy days, the space needle is designed to sway in the wind – this is by design! Steel structures are engineered to sway in the wind to ensure that the supporting structure does not twist or become compromised.

While overall appearance is a little lacking and there may be some paint peeling, the Gatlinburg Space Needle is safe and well maintained. Are you coming up here to critique a paint job or enjoy the scenery?

Although you should expect to fight the crowds during special events, the Space Needle offers unparalleled views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. This attraction is especially incredible during the Fourth of July fireworks, Christmas parade, and several other popular events.

Don’t miss the view of the city in the evening – the sparkling lights and silhouettes of the surrounding mountains are gorgeous. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunset!

Insider Tip:
A little known fact about the Gatlinburg Space Needle is that tickets are valid for a second trip within 24 hours of purchase. Now you can check out both daytime and nighttime views for no additional fees!