This is the center of Cherokee culture in North Carolina (and indeed the eastern United States). Many natives call this area home, the Cherokee language is also spoken by many in this area. The town was established by the Cherokee who stayed behind while the US Government forced them west in the Trail of Tears. Those who stayed behind hid in the mountains that now make up the Great Smokey Mountains National Park .
The Cherokee people are eastern Native Americans, do not ask them where the tipis are. Tipis were made by western Native Americans. The Cherokee people lived in houses made of woven grass covered with mud, and after the European settlers arrived, log cabins.
Cherokee is one of the gateways to the [Great Smokey Mountains National Park], and it's economy is mainly tourism based. There is no "downtown" to Cherokee; the entire built up area is mainly composed of hotels and tourist shops selling "Indian" themed merchandise.
The only way to "get around" is with your own vehicle. There might be a taxi service in town, but it would be mainly for locals use. Many of the larger hotels have a shuttle service.
Cherokee is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village  ($15) and learn about Cherokee Native American culture. The tour takes you through various live demonstrations of Cherokee life, including two educational and informative talks. The description says it shows a "typical day in a Cherokee village". There are several small stands when you walk in, one shows a person forming clay pots, another weaving baskets, and another displaying arrowheads. There is a man burning wood to hollow out of log for a canoe.
There is also The Museum of the Cherokee Indian  ($9).
A popular attraction in Cherokee is Harrah's Casino, which is owned by the local Cherokee tribe. There are a limited number of other attractions in the area, most of which are related either to Indian culture or natural landmarks.
Also located around the town are many indians showing traditional dances and educating you on the history of the Cherokee tribe. None of them cost money to watch, but some do accept tips.
The entire built-up area of Cherokee is tourist stores, almost all of which sell Indian-themed merchandise. There is a grocery store on the outskirts of town.
One stand-out is the Talking Leaves Native American Bookstore  (Highway 441 & Highway 19 Intersection) which has a huge inventory of Native American book. They also sell clothing and Native American-made jewelry. Bookstore is owned and operated by a Native American woman. If you really want to learn about the Cherokee people and other Native Americans, stop here and buy a few books.
There are several locally owned restaurants offering typical American food. There are also some franchises such as McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
There are several biker bars in the town, and several hotels have bars. You can also drink at the casino.
Cherokee has no shortage of hotels, motels and Inns.