A Travel Price Comparison for Tennessee Gatlinburg vs. Nashville for Nightlife, Resorts, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Gatlinburg or Nashville?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Gatlinburg and Nashville can help you decide which place is right for you.

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a flashy, high energy, and wild city. Other reasons to visit include skiing, nightlife, and hiking.

Nashville

Nashville is a eclectic, southern, and country music lovers city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and live music.

Gatlinburg and Nashville: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Gatlinburg or Nashville?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Nashville. Although Gatlinburg and Nashville are both popular with visitors, Nashville has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Nashville is more popular for its food, music, and big city activities, while Gatlinburg is known for its skiing, nightlife, resorts, hiking, and shopping. Gatlinburg is more touristy than Nashville and is known for its countless entertainment venues as well as its easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nashville is popular for its influence in country music and its many live music venues. It is also home to The Grand Ole Opry.

How is Gatlinburg different from Nashville?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Skiing?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a city with good options for skiing and snowboarding. However, Nashville is not a skiing destination.

Gatlinburg is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski area in Tennessee. The winter activities open after Thanksgiving and include snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and tubing.

Nashville is not a skiing destination.


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

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Spend time exploring the good sights and museums in either Gatlinburg or Nashville.

Gatlinburg is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.

Nashville offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. It is famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry. It's also where you'll find the Country Music Hall of Fame and the unique Johnny Cash Museum.

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

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Nashville 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 Nashville. The city is known for some southern favorites including southern barbecue, mac and cheese, and biscuits and gravy.

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 Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Nightlife?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a world-class destination for nightlife. Also, Nashville is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

People head to Gatlinburg just to party. 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.

Nashville is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city is popular for it's music scene, particularly the country music scene. You can take in one of the free Honky Tonks or head to a rooftop bar. It's also a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties.


Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Music?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Nashville is renowned for live music. However, Gatlinburg is not a live music destination.

Nashville is known as a music capital around the world. The city is famous for country music, blues, and rock and roll. Popular venues include The Basement, The 5 Spot, and The Cannery Complex.

Gatlinburg is not a live music destination.

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Resorts?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. Also, Nashville is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its resorts.

In Gatlinburg, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. There are plenty of resorts and vacation clubs near town. Many have pools, waterslides, or hot tubs.

With a selection of resorts, Nashville makes a nice vacation spot. There are a couple of famous resorts in the area including the Gaylord Opryland Resort, the Hermitage Hotel, and the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Hiking?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Nashville is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Gatlinburg. 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.

Nashville is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Gatlinburg or Nashville?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a city with good options for shopping. However, Nashville is lacking in good options for its shopping opportunities.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Gatlinburg. 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.

If you're looking to go shopping, Nashville has some nice offerings. The town has a number of boutique shops as well as major department stores. You'll find all of the major American chains around town.

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Christmas?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Nashville is very good for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas activities.

Plenty of visitors enjoy Christmas activities while in Nashville. Several different venues decorate beautifully for the Christmas season including the Gaylord Opryland.

Gatlinburg does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Families?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Nashville is very good for its kid-friendly activities. However, Gatlinburg is not a family-friendly destination.

Nashville offers lots of family activities. The city has a handful of kid-friendly activities like a science center and kid-friendly music venues.

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 Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Couples?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for romance. Also, Nashville is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

Gatlinburg makes for a fun place to visit for 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.

Nashville makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. For music lovers, this is the ultimate couple's destination. There are also a number of romantic activities around town including horse drawn carriage rides through the downtown. To enjoy the beautiful weather, head to Centennial Park or take a hike in Forest Hills.

Is Gatlinburg or Nashville Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Nashville is very good for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Gatlinburg is not a good destination for backpackers.

Nashville is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are one or two hostels around town and there's a great live music scene that attracts a young crowd.

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

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a city with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Nashville is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Gatlinburg has some public transit options. There's a free trolley service that offers a convenient way to get around town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Nashville. Public transportation is very limited and you really need a car to explore the city in depth.


Is Gatlinburg or Nashville a more walkable city?

Gatlinburg
Nashville

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for its walkability. However, Nashville is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

Gatlinburg is very walkable. 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.

Nashville is not a walkable city. There aren't many parts of the city that are pedestrian-friendly.

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

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Nashville or Gatlinburg?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gatlinburg is $190, while the average daily cost in Nashville is $172. 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 Gatlinburg and Nashville in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gatlinburg $80
    Nashville $99
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gatlinburg $160
    Nashville $198
Compare Hotels in Gatlinburg and Nashville

Looking for a hotel in Gatlinburg or Nashville? 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 Gatlinburg


Hotels in Nashville


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: Gatlinburg Hotel Prices and Nashville Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gatlinburg $35
    Nashville $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nashville

Also for Nashville, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Round trip transfer - Nashville International Airport (BNA): $260
  • Transfer from John C Tune Airport-JWN: $150
  • Private transfer to Nashville Airport and Hotel: $128
  • Airport to Hotel Private Transfer: $125
  • Nashville Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Nashville: $90
  • One way Private Transfer from Nashville to Nashville Airport: $90
  • Best limousine service in Nashville (Airport transfer ): $85
  • Private Departure Transfer from Downtown Nashville to Nashville Airport (BNA): $84
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Nashville Airport (BNA) to Downtown Nashville: $84
  • Nashville Airport (BNA) to Nashville accomodation - Arrival Private Transfer: $67
  • Nashville accomodation to Nashville Airport (BNA) - Departure Private Transfer: $67
  • One Way Airport Transfer Service: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Gatlinburg or Nashville?

Prices for flights to both Nashville and Gatlinburg 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
    Gatlinburg $85
    Nashville $41
Typical Food Prices in Gatlinburg

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


  • Chinese Food Dinner (for 2)
    $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Gatlinburg

For Gatlinburg, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Smoky Mtn Photo Workshop-Tour-Dinner and Country Tonite Show Tour: $55

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nashville

For Nashville, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - Franklin, TN: $94
  • The Gulch Walking & Tasting Food Tour: $96
  • Nashville 12South Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • Nashville Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise in Nashville: $104
  • General Jackson Showboat Dinner Cruise: $138
  • Factory at Franklin Food Tour: Indoor Culinary Adventure: $145

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gatlinburg $24
    Nashville $27
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.

  • 3-Hour Nantahala River Fully Guided Rafting Experience: $65
  • 6-Line Zip at Night Tour: $72
  • 7-Line Zipline Experience in Sevierville: $119
  • Admission Ticket: Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton: $35
  • Admission Ticket: Patty Waszak Show in Pigeon Forge: $35
  • Appalachian Trail Adventure: $175
  • Beyond The Lens Interactive Museum Admission Ticket: $27
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Cherokee to Asheville) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Audio Driving Tour: $25
  • Cades Cove Sightseeing Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Douglas Lake View Scenic Helicopter Tour: $41
  • East Tennessee Off Road ATV Guided Experience: $73

Tours and Activities in Nashville

For Nashville, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Franklin Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour with Live Narration: $39
  • "Murder in Music City" Night-Time Ghost Walking Tour of Nashville: $35
  • 2 Hour Narrated Sightseeing Tractor Tour of Nashville: $59
  • 3 Hour Back Country Can-Am Experience: $229
  • 3D Panoramic-View BYOB Public City Tour by Glass Vehicle: $70
  • 4 Hour Back Country Can-Am Experience: $255
  • 4 Hour Can-Am Experience to Hampshire Wineries: $255
  • 90-Minute Monster Truck Joyride City Tour of Nashville: $53
  • Adventure Park Ziplining and Climbing in Nashville : $52
  • Amazing Nashville Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Before-Hours Guided Tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame: $52
  • Belmont Mansion All Day Admission Ticket in Nashville: $18

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gatlinburg $15
    Nashville $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Gatlinburg

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Gatlinburg:

  • Pigeon Forge: Sugarlands Distillery Cocktail Tour: $17
  • Famous Moonshine & Wine Tour From Pigeon Forge: $70

Sample the Local Flavors in Nashville

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Nashville:

  • Nashville's Annual New Year's Eve Pub Crawl: $25
  • Music City Pub Crawl: $25
  • Nashville's Annual Saint Patrick's Day Pub Crawl: $25
  • Belle Meade Guided Mansion Tour with Complimentary Wine Tasting: $29
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $29
  • Tacky Sweater Pub Crawl: Nashville's Holiday Bar Hop: $30
  • Seeking Spirits Haunted Night-Time Pub Crawl in Nashville: $30
  • Seeking Spirits Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Nashville's Honky-Tonk Walking Sightseeing Pub Crawl: $31
  • Drinkers & Thinkers Pub Crawl: $33
  • Booze, Brews, and Boos: Nashville's Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Nashville's Lost Spirits: Murder and True Crime Haunted Pub Crawl: $35


When comparing the travel costs between Gatlinburg and Nashville, we can see that Gatlinburg is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Gatlinburg or Nashville?

Nashville has a larger population, and is about 130 times larger than the population of Gatlinburg. When comparing the sizes of Gatlinburg and Nashville, 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 Gatlinburg or Nashville?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Gatlinburg or Nashville in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Gatlinburg and Nashville. Many travelers come to Gatlinburg for the hiking. Furthermore, many visitors come to Nashville in the summer for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

Gatlinburg is around the same temperature as Nashville in the summer. The daily temperature in Gatlinburg averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Nashville fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Nashville this time of the year. In Gatlinburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. Gatlinburg usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nashville during summer. Gatlinburg gets 294 hours of sunny skies, while Nashville receives 276 hours of full sun in the summer.

Gatlinburg gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Gatlinburg usually receives more rain than Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain, while Nashville receives 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Gatlinburg 81°F (27°C) 
    Nashville 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Gatlinburg or Nashville in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Gatlinburg as well as Nashville. Many visitors come to Gatlinburg in the autumn for the hiking trails and the shopping scene. Additionally, most visitors come to Nashville for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene during these months.

In the autumn, Gatlinburg is around the same temperature as Nashville. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Gatlinburg in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Nashville averages at about 62°F (17°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Nashville. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Gatlinburg this time of the year. In the autumn, Gatlinburg often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 213 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nashville receives 212 hours of full sun.

Gatlinburg usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Nashville receives 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gatlinburg 63°F (17°C) 
    Nashville 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Gatlinburg or Nashville in the Winter?

Both Nashville and Gatlinburg are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Gatlinburg for the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Nashville because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Nashville can be very cold. Gatlinburg can be very cold during winter. In January, Gatlinburg is generally a little warmer than Nashville. Daily temperatures in Gatlinburg average around 40°F (5°C), and Nashville fluctuates around 38°F (4°C).

Gatlinburg usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nashville during winter. Gatlinburg gets 134 hours of sunny skies, while Nashville receives 134 hours of full sun in the winter.

It's quite rainy in Gatlinburg. In January, Gatlinburg usually receives more rain than Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain, while Nashville receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gatlinburg 40°F (5°C) 
    Nashville 38°F (4°C)

Should I visit Gatlinburg or Nashville in the Spring?

Both Nashville and Gatlinburg during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, the activities around the city are the main draw to Nashville this time of year.

Gatlinburg is around the same temperature as Nashville in the spring. The daily temperature in Gatlinburg averages around 62°F (17°C) in April, and Nashville fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

In Nashville, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Gatlinburg. In the spring, Gatlinburg often gets more sunshine than Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 263 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nashville receives 234 hours of full sun.

Nashville gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Gatlinburg usually gets less rain in April than Nashville. Gatlinburg gets 3.6 inches (92 mm) of rain, while Nashville receives 4.3 inches (110 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gatlinburg 62°F (17°C) 
    Nashville 62°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Nashville and Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg Nashville
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm) 38°F (4°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Feb 44°F (7°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm) 52°F (11°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 62°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm)
May 70°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 70°F (21°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 78°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm) 81°F (27°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 80°F (27°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 52°F (11°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm) 43°F (6°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)