Bavarian Escapade to Leavenworth, Washington
Erinn Maher Shaw
Leavenworth offers a bounty of exploration, be it nature or its Bavarian charm. Located at the foothills of the sunny side of Washington State, on the base of the Cascade Mountain Range, its landscape is marked by vast wilderness. Thus, it is also very popular with outdoor recreation enthusiasts looking to explore its wildlife, rivers, trickling streams, mountain meadows and alpine lakes. But you don’t have to be a skilled athlete or go very far to enjoy this region. Its Bavarian-themed downtown is a charming village complete with all the essentials, including bratwurst and sauerkraut on every corner.
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Where to stay in Leavenworth, Washington
Haus Rohrbach Pension
A taste of Bavaria in the Leavenworth Valley, this cozy B&B is the perfect jumping-off point for adventures in the great outdoors.
Alpen Dorf Pension
This sweet three-unit lodge is in the heart of town overlooking the Community Park and Gazebo.
Cascade Valley Inn
A short hop from Leavenworth, this luxe B&B is a showcase of its spectacular mountain setting and artisan traditions.
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Things to do in Leavenworth, Washington
When in Leavenworth, you’ve got two ways to go: enjoy the town and/or the surrounding nature of the Cascade Mountains. Both are filled with the essence and the heartbeat of this magical little town in Washington State.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, Leavenworth, Washington is a very charming Bavarian village complete with bratwurst and sauerkraut. Stroll through this little village and enjoy everything that it has to offer. Start at the town square Maypole — a 96 foot handcraft structure that happens to be a significant attraction. As you walk around and enjoy the Bavarian Alpine design set against striking mountain peaks, you’ll swear you are in Bavaria! On your walk, you might see some murals that demonstrate the beauty of yesteryear. Finally, you might even run into the Bier Wagon, courtesy of Projekt Bayern, each weekend from spring through fall.
For Bavarian charm, check out the Carillon Bells and the Die Bergfreunde Fountain in front of the Leavenworth Festhalle. Bonus: it includes a goat!
Head to the Nutcracker Museum, where you can venture through an extensive collection of historical and international nutcracker paraphernalia. A fun activity around town might also be to dress up in trachten, dirndls and lederhosen and take some pictures. Finally, wash down the day with German beer, prost and munch on some schnitzel.
For a truly immersive Bavarian experience check out the live production of "The Sound of Music”, performed on an outdoor stage at sunset in the hills at the Leavenworth Summer TheaterSki Hill Amphitheater. The beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family never fails to enchant audiences of all ages and will make this a perfect event for the whole family.
Day Trip to Alpine Lakes Wilderness/Boudreaux Cellars Winery
If you are burned out on Bavaria and bratwurst, head out of town and take a scenic drive along Icicle Creek Road that travels 25 miles into Icicle Canyon on the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The road follows alongside the Icicle River, and there are multiple pull-offs with picturesque views of the towering canyon walls, rocky peaks and the winding river below. In the spring, the hillsides along the roadway are covered with bright yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot and various other colorful native wildflowers. In the fall, the deciduous trees “light the canyon on fire” with vibrant shades of orange, yellow and red.
If you like serious, well-made Washington State wines, make an appointment to visit Boudreaux Cellars Winery. The winery is named after a colorful Louisiana folklore character “Boudreaux”, widely known for his keen sense of adventure and good humor and if you are lucky enough to meet winery owner Rob Newsome, you will quickly learn why! Located high up on Icicle Ridge Rd, this small boutique winery sources the very best Washington fruit and painstakingly crafts some truly noteworthy wines.
Once you’ve experienced Leavenworth in the spring, summer or fall you will definitely want to return for the holiday Village of Lights and Christmas Town! Every December, Leavenworth celebrates with over half a million lights, music & entertainment, holiday characters, carolers, kids’ activities, roasted chestnuts, Santa photos and so much more!
Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend, a girls getaway, or fun filled family holiday, Leavenworth provides the perfect destination with all the ambience, beauty, and romance of Europe, without the extra hours of travel time.
Places to eat & drink in Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth Sausage Garten: Enjoy homemade bratwursts at this local staple.
Try some locally made award-winning ales at Icicle Brewing Company.
Cured by Visconti: Try locally cured meats and gelato at this unique shop in town.
The Cheesemonger’s Shop: Try out the local cheesemonger filled with numerous varieties of cheese.
JJ Hills Fresh Grill: Indulge in some Bavarian favorites at this traditional-style restaurant.
Mana: Farm-to-table, multicourse organic culinary experience.
Yodelin Broth: An all-around delicious restaurant with various organic offerings, including broths.
Watershed Cafe: Organic cuisine sourced from the North West mountains.
Need to Know
Getting to Leavenworth:
Drive time from Seattle Airport (SEA) 2.5 hours
Drive time from Wenatchee Airport (EAT) 40 minutes
Drive time from Spokane Airport (GEG) 3.5 hours
Interested in more ways to explore the outdoors in the PNW? Check out my guide on Things to do Outdoors in Bend, Oregon!
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