A Bavarian Village
Leavenworth, Washington is a small Bavarian themed town in central Washington about 20 miles west of the city of Wenatchee. It was not until the 1960's when Leavenworth was economically struggling and the community decided to change the appearance of the entire town hoping to bring tourism into the area. Nestled among huge Alpine mountains, Leavenworth had the perfect setting for a little piece of Bavaria in the middle of Washington State. Community members put together a plan to begin a series of festivals in the town, including the most popular Christmas Lighting Ceremony. The new plan worked, and ever since, Leavenworth has been a popular tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest.
A Playground for All Ages
Leavenworth in winter is just like living in a snow globe. Whether you are into spas, wine tasting/tours, sleigh rides, sledding, breweries, or just walking through the beautiful downtown area, Leavenworth has something for everyone. We have made it a family tradition to visit during the Holiday Season and our kids love it. This little town holds so much excitement and so many things to do for all ages. The entire town is alive from Thanksgiving until around the end of January. All of the downtown buildings and businesses are covered in bright colorful lights. Usually there is a nice layer of glistening snow covering the ground which adds to the winter wonderland effect. There is even a sledding hill right in the middle of the main downtown park! There is the Icicle Village Resort just outside of downtown where you could take the family for a toasty bonfire on a chilly night and roast s'mores with snow covering the ground around you. Our kids thought that was really great! The village also has an arcade and snack bar where the teens can hang out. During the daylight hours there is plenty of sledding to be had, snowshoeing, or take in a sleigh ride. Our family took a drive about nine miles out of town to the Eagle Creek Ranch where we rode through the woods on a 30 minute horse drawn sleigh ride. Back at the Ranch we were greeted with hot cocoa and hot cider.
For adults, there are plenty of wine tasting rooms and breweries scattered amongst the outstanding eateries in the downtown area. It is definitely a touristy spot, but the community has succeeded in keeping it unique and giving it a feel as though you are in the middle of an actual Bavarian town tucked in amongst the surrounding peaks. There are your usual small town gift shops and trendy stores, yet they seem so much more inviting here.
Our family has several favorite things to do and places to go in Leavenworth, so I'll give you a few here. For food our two favorite places are the Munchen Haus and Leavenworth Pizza Company. The Munchen Haus has the food and the atmosphere. You can sit indoors, or out in the open air dining section. Even in the middle of winter, sitting outside with your own table top gas fire is a unique experience. As for the food, they serve the most extensive selection of German sausage and sour kraut in town among many other choices. They also have the full local Icicle Brewery selections on tap. The Leavenworth Pizza Company is directly across the street from the downtown sledding hill. Take the kids sledding and work up an appetite, then venture across for great pizza. Their menu has pizza for everyone, and if you order the largest size, well, you better be hungry because it is a huge pie! All of their pizzas are loaded with toppings and cheese and make for a great meal.
Some favorite activities of ours include strolling and window shopping through downtown, and visiting the Icicle Village Resort for some winter fireside s'mores. The downtown area is a perfect place for a nice walk with plenty of sights. There are countless shops including yummy chocolate factories, candy stores, cured meats and cheeses at Cured by Visconti, and more gift shops than you can visit in a day. Along your stroll you will also find multiple quality wine shops and tasting rooms which make for a nice pit stop. The best time to go strolling through Leavenworth on Front Street is at night. It makes for a magical experience. The entire town is twinkling with lights. Every (and I mean every) building is covered, every light pole, every tree, and the ultimate sky scraping Christmas tree in the middle of downtown's Waterfront Park. I doubt you have ever seen a Christmas tree like this one. If you're lucky you might have an enhanced experience sharing the evening with falling snowflakes.