A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Asheville vs. Gatlinburg for Nightlife, Resorts, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Asheville and Gatlinburg. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Asheville

Asheville is a open-minded, eclectic, and outdoorsy mountain town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a high energy, wild, and flashy city. And you can't forget about the nightlife, hiking, and shopping.

Asheville and Gatlinburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Asheville. Although Asheville and Gatlinburg are popular destinations, Asheville has more sights and attractions for tourists. Asheville is very popular for its food, music, historical sights, shopping, christmas markets, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Gatlinburg attracts visitors for its skiing, museums, nightlife, and resorts. Gatlinburg is more touristy than Asheville and is popular for its countless entertainment venues as well as its easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Asheville is famous for its fall foliage, artsy downtown, local North Carolina barbecue, and being home to the Biltmore Estate. It is also well known for The Biltmore Estate.

How is Asheville different from Gatlinburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Gatlinburg and Asheville. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Skiing?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for winter skiing. However, Asheville is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Gatlinburg is a great destination to visit. Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski area in Tennessee. The winter activities open after Thanksgiving and include snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and tubing.

Asheville is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Gatlinburg offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Museums range from gaudy to quirky. Check out the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the Titanic Museum. There's also the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Asheville or Gatlinburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is very good for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Gatlinburg is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Asheville. Downtown Asheville is filled with local restaurants that serve everything from brunch to late night snacks. There are many vegan and vegetarian options as well as a number of international restaurants. Popular local dishes include North Carolina barbeque and country ham biscuits.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Gatlinburg. Staying true to form, restaurants in Gatlinburg cater to the tourist scene and serve up burgers, pizza, pancakes, and other classic favorites.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Nightlife?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is an unbeatable place for nightlife and partying. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Gatlinburg is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. Live music, theatrical shows, as well as bars and clubs that stay open late into the night give this town a huge party atmosphere. During the peak season the town is packed with people looking to have a good time and you'll find tons of things to do by simply walking down the main drag.

Many people head to Asheville for the nightlife scene. The city has a fun and eclectic nightlife scene that centers around the city's breweries and live music venues.


Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Music?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for live music. However, Gatlinburg is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Asheville draws a good crowd. The city has grown into a world famous music destination that holds true to its mountain roots and independent artists.

Gatlinburg is not a live music destination.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Resorts?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is well known for its resorts. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

There are plenty of resorts in Gatlinburg to choose from. There are plenty of resorts and vacation clubs near town. Many have pools, waterslides, or hot tubs.

Asheville has a few great resort options. The most famous resorts in the area are the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn. Both offer luxury restaurants and beautiful grounds that are particularly nice during the holidays.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for its Old Town?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is adequate for its historic old town. However, Gatlinburg does not have a historic old town.

Asheville is a good place to visit the old town. Downtown Asheville maintains much of its historic vibe, but it's smaller than some of the more notable old cities around the country.

Gatlinburg does not have a historic old town.


Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Hiking?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Hiking trails can be found around both Asheville and Gatlinburg, and they are high quality.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Asheville. Just outside of town are many great hikes to waterfalls or through the mountains. The hikes range in skill level and length but many pass through local forests or along the beautiful skyline.

Many visitors go to Gatlinburg for the hiking trails. You'll need to head out of town into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but once you're there the hiking is impressive. There are waterfall hikes, trails to viewpoints, and loops that take you through wildflowers. Some of the most popular trails include Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Middle Prong Trail, and the Gatlinburg Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for shopping. Also, Gatlinburg is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Asheville. The city has many local shops that sell local crafts and independent art. The downtown area is filled with art vendors and you'll find the greatest concentration of shopping along the pedestrian-friendly Lexington Avenue.

Gatlinburg offers some nice shopping areas. There are tourist traps and souvenir shops around town, but you can also head to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community where you can meet local artists and learn about their work.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Christmas?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas activities.

Asheville is a very popular destination during Christmas. Head to the Biltmore Estate to see it fully decorated for the Christmas season. It's also worth going to see the winning Gingerbread Houses on display at the Grove Park Inn.

Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Christmas Markets?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is adequate for visiting Christmas markets. However, Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas markets.

Asheville is a good spot to see some Christmas markets. There are a handful of local Christmas shops around town where you can buy personalized gifts.

Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Families?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for its kid-friendly activities. However, Gatlinburg is not a family-friendly destination.

Asheville is a very family-friendly destination. With its beautiful hiking, interesting nature centers, and outdoor adventure activities, this mountain town makes a great kid-friendly destination. There are outdoor adventure parks where kids can zipline or climb. There are also hands on farms and orchards for fruit-picking.

Gatlinburg is not a family-friendly destination. Ober Gatlinburg is a combination ski resort and amusement park that is a highlight for many families. During the warmer season, horseback riding and waterparks are popular. There's also a Ripley's Aquarium, minigolf, and Gatlin's Fun Center. Nearby you'll find Dollywood and Pigeon Forge.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Couples?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville and Gatlinburg both high quality destinations for a couple.

Couples visit Asheville frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples enjoy exploring the beautiful Biltmore Estates or visiting the spa at the Grove Park Inn. The quaint town makes a great honeymoon destination or a nice romantic getaway. There are luxury hotels or intimate bed and breakfasts that offer different options for couples on a romantic trip.

Gatlinburg is a great mountain town if you're traveling as a couple. If you're looking for a flashy and ostentatious experience, then there are all the typical activities around town - Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, or Ober Gatlinburg. For a bit more nature, you can head out of town and enjoy one of the many hiking trails. There are also breweries and wineries in the area, as well as a range of resorts.


Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Gatlinburg is not a good destination for backpackers.

Asheville is very popular with the backpacker crowd. The town has an eclectic vibe that backpackers appreciate. There are a few good hostels around town as well as nearby campgrounds that are perfect for budget travelers or hikers.

Gatlinburg is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's a touristy town with plenty of cheap motels in the area. There are also campgrounds and hiking not far away.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Students?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Asheville is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Gatlinburg is not popular with students.

Asheville is very popular with students. With its progressive personality and charming downtown, students enjoy spending time in this great town.

Gatlinburg is not popular with students.

Is Asheville or Gatlinburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for its public transit. However, Asheville is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Gatlinburg, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There's a free trolley service that offers a convenient way to get around town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Asheville. There are buses around town, but almost everyone gets around town with their own vehicle.


Is Asheville or Gatlinburg a more walkable city?

Asheville
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is well known for its high level of walkability. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Gatlinburg is a very walkable city. The downtown area is pedestrian-friendly and most of the attractions in town can be reached on foot. If you want to leave town, a car is a must, but in town traffic and parking can be frustrating, so walk when you can.

Asheville is a somewhat walkable mountain town. If you stay downtown and don't plan to explore the outlying areas, then it's possible to walk around town. Otherwise, you'll need a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Asheville Worth Visiting? and Is Gatlinburg Worth Visiting?.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America, The Best Polar Tours & Cruises in United States of America, The Best Walking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Gatlinburg or Asheville?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Asheville is $133, while the average daily cost in Gatlinburg is $190. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Asheville and Gatlinburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Asheville $89
    Gatlinburg $80
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Asheville $178
    Gatlinburg $160
Compare Hotels in Asheville and Gatlinburg

Looking for a hotel in Asheville or Gatlinburg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Asheville


Hotels in Gatlinburg


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Asheville Hotel Prices and Gatlinburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Asheville $14
    Gatlinburg $35

Is it cheaper to fly into Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Prices for flights to both Gatlinburg and Asheville change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Asheville $33
    Gatlinburg $85
Typical Food Prices in Asheville

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Asheville:


  • Biltmore Estate Entrance Fee
    $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Asheville

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Asheville.

  • Electric Bike Tour of Asheville's Best Pizza: $98
  • Best Pizza E-bike Tour: $111

Typical Food Prices in Gatlinburg

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Gatlinburg:


  • Chinese Food Dinner (for 2)
    $21

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Asheville $16
    Gatlinburg $24
Typical Entertainment Prices in Asheville

Here are a few typical costs in Asheville for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Massage
    $40

Tours and Activities in Asheville

Here are a few actual costs in Asheville for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • (3 HR) Off-Road UTV Wilderness Adventure : $175
  • (4 HR) UTV Sunset, Waterfall, and Eco Elk Wilderness Adventure : $275
  • 2.5-Hour Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Jeep Tour: $99
  • Amazing Asheville Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Asheville Child-Focused Mountain and Waterfall Tour: $250
  • Asheville Coffee Tours: $65
  • Asheville Ghost Tour: A Walk Through Riverside Cemetery & Montford Neighborhood: $27
  • Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views: $75
  • Asheville Historic Highlights: Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Asheville Insider Guided Walking Tour: $35
  • Asheville Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour : $27
  • Asheville Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25

Typical Entertainment Prices in Gatlinburg

For Gatlinburg, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Horseback Riding Photos
    $22
  • Horseback Riding (for 2)
    $55

Tours and Activities in Gatlinburg

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Gatlinburg.

  • Museum of the Cherokee People Admission Ticket: $8.00
  • Roaring Fork Trail Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Cherokee to Asheville) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour: $17
  • Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Admission Ticket in Pigeon Forge: $18
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Pigeon Forge by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Scenic Blue Ridge Parkway Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $25
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Audio Driving Tour: $25
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cades Cove Self-Driving Bundle Tours: $25
  • Ghosts of the Smokies Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Beyond The Lens Interactive Museum Admission Ticket: $27

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Asheville $16
    Gatlinburg $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Asheville

Also in Asheville, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Skip the Line: Copper Barrel's Premium Distillery Tour & Tasting: $10
  • Terrors, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Ultimate Late Night Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Asheville Terrors Boos and Brews Haunted Pub Crawl: $39
  • Expert-Led Brewery Walking Tour with Beer Samples: $65
  • Downtown Asheville Guided Brewery Walking Tour: $69
  • 3-Hour Guided Walking Brewery Tour Through Downtown Asheville: $69
  • Electric Bike Brewery Crawl of Asheville: $74
  • Guided Craft Brewery Tour with a Snack: $99
  • Asheville Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105

Sample the Local Flavors in Gatlinburg

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Gatlinburg:

  • Famous Moonshine & Wine Tour From Pigeon Forge: $70


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Asheville and Gatlinburg, we can see that Gatlinburg is more expensive. And not only is Asheville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Asheville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Asheville and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Gatlinburg would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Gatlinburg than you might in Asheville.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Asheville Expensive? and Is Gatlinburg Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Asheville has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Gatlinburg. When comparing the sizes of Asheville and Gatlinburg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Asheville or Gatlinburg?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Asheville or Gatlinburg in the Summer?

Both Gatlinburg and Asheville during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Asheville for the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Gatlinburg in the summer for the hiking.

In July, Asheville is generally around the same temperature as Gatlinburg. Daily temperatures in Asheville average around 82°F (28°C), and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

In Gatlinburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Asheville. In the summer, Asheville often gets less sunshine than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 268 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Gatlinburg receives 294 hours of full sun.

Gatlinburg gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Asheville. Asheville usually gets more rain in July than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Asheville 82°F (28°C) 
    Gatlinburg 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Gatlinburg in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Asheville and Gatlinburg. Many visitors come to Asheville in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Gatlinburg for the hiking trails and the shopping scene during these months.

Asheville is around the same temperature as Gatlinburg in the autumn. The daily temperature in Asheville averages around 64°F (18°C) in October, and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Gatlinburg this time of the year. In Asheville, it's very sunny this time of the year. Asheville usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Gatlinburg during autumn. Asheville gets 229 hours of sunny skies, while Gatlinburg receives 213 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Asheville usually receives more rain than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Asheville 64°F (18°C) 
    Gatlinburg 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Gatlinburg in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Asheville as well as Gatlinburg. Most visitors come to Asheville for the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Gatlinburg because of the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Gatlinburg can be very cold. In the winter, Asheville is a little warmer than Gatlinburg. Typically, the winter temperatures in Asheville in January average around 44°F (7°C), and Gatlinburg averages at about 40°F (5°C).

In the winter, Asheville often gets more sunshine than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Gatlinburg receives 134 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Gatlinburg. Asheville receives a lot of rain in the winter. Asheville usually gets less rain in January than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Asheville 44°F (7°C) 
    Gatlinburg 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Gatlinburg in the Spring?

Both Gatlinburg and Asheville are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Asheville because of the natural beauty.

In April, Asheville is generally around the same temperature as Gatlinburg. Daily temperatures in Asheville average around 64°F (18°C), and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

It's quite sunny in Gatlinburg. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Asheville. Asheville usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Gatlinburg during spring. Asheville gets 266 hours of sunny skies, while Gatlinburg receives 263 hours of full sun in the spring.

It's quite rainy in Asheville. In April, Asheville usually receives more rain than Gatlinburg. Asheville gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 3.6 inches (92 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Asheville 64°F (18°C) 
    Gatlinburg 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Gatlinburg and Asheville

Asheville Gatlinburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 40°F (5°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm)
Feb 47°F (8°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm) 44°F (7°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Mar 55°F (13°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 54°F (12°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
May 71°F (22°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jun 79°F (26°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 78°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 81°F (27°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (118 mm) 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 55°F (13°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 47°F (8°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 44°F (7°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)