When the sun goes down over the Great Smoky Mountains, the city of Pigeon Forge lights up. Whether you have an appetite for a big dinner or a delightful show, this is the place to be, and you can find them both in many theaters.
Dinner shows in Pigeon Forge are a rite of passage for Smokies visitors. A kaleidoscope of shows awaits, from “slap your momma” funny variety shows to magical illusions dazzling the crowds to holographic Dolly Parton crooning about rhinestones and country roads.
The performances are up there with anything you’d see in Branson or Las Vegas, with a special blend of Appalachia to make it a unique experience for all.
Pigeon Forge offers a buffet of delights for every taste, age, and attention span.
Things to Know Before You Go to a Pigeon Forge Show
I’ve seen the bulk of shows on this list during the busiest times of the year. The city runs like a machine, with ample parking (once you find it), and from ticket lines to exit lines, you spend very little time waiting. They have this down to a science.
- Worried about traffic? Even at its most intense, you get great people watching and wonderful views.
- Don’t wait to wait around? Most venues will have pre-show entertainment, whether in the lobby or the theatre while you wait.
- Have dietary restrictions? Most dinner theatres will accommodate you if you let them know when you book the reservation.
- On a family budget? Most shows allow kids three and under to enter for free and sit on an adult’s lap.
Buy your tickets early, especially during peak seasons (June through December). Be aware that some shows will have upgrade options like “premium seating.”
Also, check if the meal is served with the show or before the show. It could mean arriving an hour or more before showtime.
There’s a lot of feudin’ going on in Pigeon Forge, and one of the most popular shows involved the famous Hatfields and McCoys yucking it up on stage to sold-out crowds. The performance is a mix of comedy, singing, dancing, and stunts. You’ll need to pick a Hatfield or McCoy side when you book tickets. Options to upgrade are premium seats and VIP seats.
Arrive 45 minutes early to get seated at your table. Granny’s Award-Winning Homestyle Feast is served family-style, with all-you-can-eat food.
Witness feats of strength and agility as talented lumberjacks square off in axe throwing, log rolling, and tree climbing competitions. The performance is outside, and the crowds sit in a (somewhat) climate-controlled amphitheater. You are welcome to meet the lumberjacks after the show.
From BBQ to hot dogs to holiday fixings, “supper” is served in to-go containers, and you eat where you sit in the stands or at the picnic tables outside. Don’t expect a big meal like some of the other shows, but you’ll find this show more affordable than others.
Get there early to pick the best seat (and your lumberjack team).
When Dolly’s stamp of approval is on something in Pigeon Forge, you know it will be awesome. This show offers arena seating with several purchase upgrades. The meal is served during the show in four courses, and the wait staff is impeccably able to be ever ready yet never in the way.
The show changes iterations each season, but the staple performances come from the horses and majestic performances through the arena. Get there early and take the World Famous Horse Walk past the stables to see the horses.
Southern Gospel, as you’ve never heard it before, echoes through the Biblical Times Dinner Theater. The venue changes songs, performances, and topics throughout the year and hosts special concerts along the way.
Shows are generally split into two sections. First, the meal is served with each chair having its own mini-table while singing delights on stage. After the meal, a theatrical performance from a bible chapter is held.
You’ll find the same excellent Dolly Parton level of service mixed with swashbuckling good times at the Pirates Voyage show. This show also has two tiers of upgrade options.
On stage, a mesmerizing array of pirate battles, mermaid tricks, and even a friendly sea lion navigate through time, water, and fire to tell the story of Blackbeard, who’s always up to no good. You’ll enjoy four courses of grub that are unapologetically nothing that real pirates would eat. Southern cooking still reigns here.
As an extra experience (and ticket purchase), you can also book an Animal Encounter to meet the stars of the show.
In the era of true crime fascination and citizen investigators, this theater rotates different shows throughout the week and adjusts throughout the year. Can you help solve the crime du jour with a three-course meal?
The performances are an engaging mix of comedy, whodunnit, and hoopla, with the cast working the crowd more than the stage. Table seating makes this feel more like a banquet than a performance.
Audience members are encouraged to get involved, but it’s okay if you just want to watch the hilarity ensue. The show is rated PG-13.
You won’t get a full meal at the Comedy Barn, but you’ll be laughing so hard it’s probably best. Don’t worry if you arrive hungry, a robust snack bar is available in the lobby.
The venue emphasizes that it offers “clean” comedy, meaning the whole family will have a gut-busting good time. Get ready for barnyard animals and bib overalls mixed with singing, dancing, and delightful antics.
If you’re into this vibe, don’t miss breakfast or lunch at the Frizzle Chicken Cafe next door. The animatronic chickens are worth any wait.
The performances at the Grand Majestic can be a dinner show if you’d like, or you can skip it–the meal is an add-on you can order right from your seat and pay for separately.
The most popular show is the Soul of Motown, with hit song after song that gets the audience excited, clapping and dancing. Other shows offer the Magic of Terry Evanswood or the Johnny Cash and Elvis grit of Lou Vuto.
No matter what show is in season or what new acts take the stage, this venue is known for bringing classic and modern hits to life. Everyone from Boomers to Gen X will love this show.
You don’t even have to live country music to appreciate this diving collection of songs and dances that runs a full two hours. I was surprised by many people I met along the way who had seen this show in either Las Vegas or Branson and came back for another dose of country crooning.
Please note – this isn’t a dinner show. However, I suggest pairing this with a trip to the Hollywood Wax Museum, which is right next door. The Wood Grill Buffet is also within walking distance.
One of the newest shows in Pigeon Forge mixes a (very) little Cirque du Soliel into Appalachia. The variety show’s colorful costumes break the mold of “down home” and bring a more sophisticated cast of performers to the stage.
You’ll still get a variety show of singers and dances infused with comedy and calamity. A handful of stunt performers round out a good time.
Array is held at the Mountain of Entertainment Theater, which opened in the summer of 2023. Several other shows are on the schedule, including a magic act. No meals are served here but a snack bar is inside.
While the majority of shows are in Pigeon Forge, it’s worth the drive through the Smokies in the summer to Unto These Hills in Cherokee, North Carolina. The dramatic performance tells the story of Cherokee Indians who lived on this land before settlers came in – a place where friendship turned to fight and, eventually, the Trail of Tears.
To see this performance in the homeland of the Eastern Band of Cherokee is an emotional experience. It is appropriate for children, with fight scenes carefully choreographed for all audiences.
Best Time to See Pigeon Forge Shows
The darkest months for theaters are January, February, and March, but not all the shows take a hiatus. Some limit late winter performances to just weekends. It’s worth noting that Dollywood closes during these months as well.
The shows can be as seasonal as the Smokies themselves, with different themes, songs, and performances. That means the best season to see Pigeon Forge shows is anytime but the first few months of the year.
Summer shows are a nice respite from the heat and humidity. Fall brings the largest crowds, with October being the most popular month to visit the Smokies. Most shows kick off a Christmas iteration right after Halloween—those run through early January.
As the Smokies keep expanding, we can’t wait to see what show is next. Even if you’ve seen a show before, the cast and performance keep evolving, so it’s never the same show twice.
What’s your favorite show in Pigeon Forge?