Pigeon Forge has a little bit of everything when it comes to live shows. There are country and bluegrass music festivals, spectacular holiday events, local live music, and… some seriously cool magic shows that deserve more recognition than they receive. If you’re into sleight of hand and mind-bending showcases of pure skill and wonder, you’ll find it here. These are some of the top magic shows in Pigeon Forge. You might not be able to work them all into your visit, but any of them would be a worthwhile investment in your vacation time.
1. Illusionation: The Magic of Jason Hudy
Jason Hudy is a world-class illusionist with an impressive array of experience under his belt. He’s performed on Disney Cruise Lines, on the Late Show on CBS, and has toured at locations around the world. Now, he’s the star of Illusionation, a magic show that premiered in Pigeon Forge in July of ’23. This show is completely family-friendly, and it offers something that will grab the attention of visitors of all ages.
If you can only hit one magic show during your vacation, and you have kiddos along for the ride, it would be hard to beat this one; it’s a high-budget show with an impressive cast of assistants, excellent choreography, music, and multimedia elements, and a clean, well-maintained setting that invites you to relax and enjoy.
2. Impossibilities – Magic, Mindreading, and Mayhem
A little chaos goes a long way–especially the kind that makes your mind do gymnastics. The Impossibilities show is headlined by Erik Dobell, a master mentalist and magician. Erik has also performed around the world, from South Korea to Las Vegas, boggling the minds of showgoers for years. This show consistently earns five-star reviews for the truly mind-blowing nature of the show, which includes lots of audience interaction and participation.
Impossibilities is probably best appreciated by older kids (eight and up, perhaps). While it’s totally family-friendly, older kids tend to enjoy the mind-melding show a bit more. The show lasts about an hour and a half, and seating is theater-comfortable; it’s held at the Iris Theatre by the Gatlinburg Space Needle, a lovely venue for a truly magical performance.
3. Terry Evanswood at the Grand Majestic Theater
Terry Evanswood is a talented performer and magician, and his shows always provide a welcome escape from reality–at least for a little while. One hallmark of Terry’s shows is that they vary by the season. Christmas, Halloween, and summer shows all vary widely; they’re not just the same rehashed material with different themes thrown over, but offer truly unique content every time, making them worthwhile to visit again and again.
These family-friendly shows delight the youngest to the oldest visitors. They’re great for date nights or for family outings on a rainy day. Stay afterward for an autographed photo to remember your visit! You can also take a tour of the Evanswood Magic Mansion, Evanswood’s personal home which is full of memorabilia from P.T. Barnum, Disney, and even the Titanic! Definitely a worthwhile tour for magic fans of all ages.
4. Steven Best’s Unbelievable Magic
This show was voted the “Best Family Magic Show” by the International Magicians’ Society–for good reason. Steven Best found fame in Las Vegas, where he performed for years before moving to a cruise ship circuit, then ending up in Pigeon Forge. His extensive entertainment experience paired with an uncanny knack for mind-bending magic has set him apart from the magic crowd. The 90-minute show takes place in a relatively small venue, making the show feel intimate and exclusive–a truly memorable experience.
Adults, couples, and kids of all ages love Steven Best’s shows; it’s hard to go wrong with any of his performances. Expect plenty of audience participation, and stay to meet Steven Best and get his autograph after the show in the lobby.
There are other magic shows in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, but these are the most consistently highly rated among them, a welcome break from traditional dinner shows or large-scale events and concerts. Even non-magic-aficionados will find something to love about each of these performances, and even those most adept at spotting the “secrets” to illusions will find themselves hard-pressed to figure out the magic tricks being performed in plain sight.
Take time to take in a show or two during your vacation, and you might just awaken your sense of wonder–while sharing memories with your family and friends that will last well beyond any one single performance.