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Family Friendly, Fun & Free
Top ten things to do in Bryson City & the Smokies. (pdf)

Here's What's Happening

Christmas in the Smokies

Date(s): Dec 01, 2015 - Dec 31, 2015

Where: Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam

Bring your family and friends to the Smokies for a traditional Smoky Mountain Christmas Weekend featuring holiday festivities and winter fun! Call 800-849-2258 or click here.

The Polar Express

Date(s): Dec 02, 2015 - Dec 06, 2015

When: Multiple departures

Where: Bryson City Train Depot

The Polar Express

The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad comes to life as the train departs Bryson City for a special visit at the "North Pole." Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story.

The train arrives to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa boards the train greeting each child and presenting them with their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. Call 800-872-4681 or visit the website.

Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Where: Stecoah Valley Center

Christmas in the Mountains Indoor Art & Craft Show & Sale just in time for holiday gift shopping. More info

Cherokee Christmas Parade

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 5:30 pm

Where: Downtown Cherokee

Parade begins by the Bear Zoo, to 441N, ending by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Floats, bands, and of course Santa. A Christmas bazaar and band concert after the parade. More info

12th Annual United Methodist Women's Cookie Walk and Bazaar

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 9:00 am - ?

Where: Bryson City United Methodist Church

Homemade cookies and treats, pecans, handcrafted art and other items. Stop by and meet Gin-Gin the Gingerbread Man and pick up that special something for you or someone on your Christmas list.

For more information: 828-488-8970. Main Street.

Breakfast with Santa

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 9:00 - 11:00 am

Where: Stecoah Valley Center

Breakfast with Santa

Kids of all ages can have breakfast and some face time with Santa himself!  $5 per person: pancakes, sausage, juice, milk and coffee. Bring your own camera to capture this special event. Reservations preferred; call 828-479-3364. More info

41st Annual Bryson City Christmas Parade

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 2:00 pm

Where: Downtown Bryson City

Have you ever been to a small town Christmas Parade? Then join us as we celebrate our 41st Annual Bryson City Christmas Parade complete with floats, marching bands, homecoming queens, and more. Make this a new holiday tradition for you and your famlily for years to come!

Sponsors: Duke Energy, Bryson City Cabin Rentals, Swain County Tourism Development Authority.

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam

Date(s): Dec 05, 2015

When: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Where: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cherokee

First and Third Saturdays, all year. Bring an acoustic instrument and join in on this old-time jam. Or just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds as others play traditional Appalachian Music. On the covered porch at the visitor center. More info

Folk School Fireside Sale

Date(s): Dec 06, 2015

When: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Where: John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown

Stroll through the beautifully decorated Keith House and shop for holiday gifts made by local and regional artists. More treasures await in the Music Studio, and don't miss the Craft Shop's annual sale. Free admission.

More info or or call 800-FOLK-SCH.

Classic Hike of the Smokies: Noland Creek

Date(s): Dec 08, 2015

Where: Lake Shore Drive, Bryson City

Enjoy an easy winter hike with Friends on the December Classic Hike to Noland in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Join Friends of the Smokies on this 4-mile round trip guided hike which is easy in difficulty and has a total elevation gain of 800 feet. Features historic homesites. This Classic Hike features Friends’ support for the water quality monitoring program a special holiday visit to the new Bryson City Visitor Center & Museum. A $10 donation for Friends members and $35 for non-members is requested to benefit the Smokies Trails Forever fund. More info on all hikes & registration

The Polar Express

Date(s): Dec 09, 2015 - Dec 24, 2015

When: Multiple departures

Where: Bryson City Train Depot

The Polar Express

The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad comes to life as the train departs Bryson City for a special visit at the "North Pole." Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story.

The train arrives to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa boards the train greeting each child and presenting them with their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. Call 800-872-4681 or visit the website.

It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

Date(s): Dec 11, 2015

When: 7:30 pm

Where: Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin

It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. Written by Joe Landry. More info

The Lettermen in Concert

Date(s): Dec 12, 2015

When: 7:30 pm

Where: Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin

The Lettermen in Concert

This Christmas, enjoy the harmonies and sounds of The Lettermen. 18 Gold Albums and scores of top singles, including their first hit "The Way You Look Tonight. Look forward to many of their hits, including "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" and "I Only Have Eyes for You" as well as traditional Christmas favorites. More info

It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

Date(s): Dec 18, 2015

When: 7:30 pm

Where: Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin

It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. Written by Joe Landry. More info

Holiday Homecoming

Date(s): Dec 19, 2015

When: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Where: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cherokee

10 am - Noon. Hands-on traditional Appalachian Christmas crafts and activities. 1 - 3 pm. Old-time music jam session featuring holiday tunes. Hot apple cider and cookies, exhibit on Christmas in the mountains. Free events. US 441 in Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance. More info

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam

Date(s): Dec 19, 2015

When: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Where: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cherokee

First and Third Saturdays, all year. Bring an acoustic instrument and join in on this old-time jam. Or just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds as others play traditional Appalachian Music. On the covered porch at the visitor center. More info

The Polar Express

Date(s): Dec 26, 2015 - Dec 30, 2015

When: Multiple departures

Where: Bryson City Train Depot

The Polar Express

The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad comes to life as the train departs Bryson City for a special visit at the "North Pole." Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story.

The train arrives to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa boards the train greeting each child and presenting them with their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. Call 800-872-4681 or visit the website.

New Year's Eve Fireworks

Date(s): Dec 31, 2015

When: Gates open at 5 pm

Where: Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds

New Year's Eve Fireworks

Celebrate New Year’s with a bang at Cherokee’s Annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks display. Part of Cherokee Lights & Legends. Eentertainment starts at 9 pm; fireworks are at 10 pm. Gates open at 5 pm.