Wilkommen in Leavenworth!
Leavenworth welcomes you with bavarian charm
Leavenworth is a picturesque bavarian village located in north-central Washington state – just short train-trip from Seattle. If you want to visit Germany, but are short on funds or hate plane rides, plan a trip to Leavenworth! You'll find the best of both countries in one alpine town.
Leavenworth was a thriving logging town that suffered when Great Northern Railway Company stopped serving it. The sawmill in town closed down in the 1960's and it seemed destined for economic collapse. But the people in the community weren't willing to allowed Leavenworth to become a ghost town. They decided to change the appearance of the town in hopes of promoting tourism. The town is situated in the high Cascade mountains, which have an alpine feel, so a german theme seemed natural.
Representatives of the town visited Germany to get a feeling for the area, and came back with plans. The townspeople worked together as a community renovate the downtown into a bavarian village, starting with a small park with a gazebo and a traditional maipole. Over the years more and more bavarian-style buildings have been added, and now there are dozens of businesses thriving downtown. In addition, a number of bavarian festivals have been established, such as Maifest in Spring, the Autumn Leaf Festival and the much-loved Christmas-lighting festival with its traditional Kristkindlmarkt have made the town a popular destination at Christmas.
In keeping with the bavarian theme, many of the restaurants offer high-quality german food, with local and imported biers to accompany the bratwurst and schnitzel. Several offer traditional live music and folk dancing shows in the evenings. If German food is not to your taste, there is also wide selection of international cuisines from which to choose.
Every summer, with the majestic mountains as their backdrop, the Leavenworth Summer Theatre performs "The Sound of Music" under the stars at the Ski Hill Amphitheatre. There is also german music and folk dancing at the gazebo, and the Art in the Park showcases the work of local artists from May through October.
Christmas is a special time in Leavenworth. Snow turns the town into a picture-postcard and the town is lit by thousands of twinkling lights. During the weekend Christmas Light Festivals, there are horse-drawn carriages, sleigh rides and children can anticipate a visit from St. Nicholas. There are also weeks of concerts by traditional choirs, handbell ringers, musicians of all stripes and a traditional Kristkindlmarkt. Everything that is beautiful and picturesque about Germany at Christmastime can be found in Leavenworth.