And it’s a lot closer than you think!

Quick notes

  • There are lots of great shops and restaurants.

  • Consider attending a festival or coming during the Christmas season.

  • There are fun activities for every season.

Leavenworth Washington is a small town nestled in the mountains running through the state. This town isn’t like most small mountain towns. Every downtown building is designed in a classic Bavarian style, which makes a striking visual image. The main streets consist of a vast collection of specialty shops and restaurants that lend the town its own brand of Leavenworth Fame.

While the touristy feel of this town might be intentional that doesn’t make it any less worth the visit. There are events and activities happening year-round, including a Leavenworth Christmas event, which draw crowds from around the world. This town makes a real effort to be a place worth visiting, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job. And yes, they have a Starbucks.

Leavenworth shops you won’t want to miss

Leavenworth’s collection of unique and incredible shops is definitely worth a visit. For example, the famous Leavenworth hat shop can get so busy, people will queue up outside to get in. Inside, you will find hats of every sort from fabulous to silly.

This town makes a real effort to be a place worth visiting, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job. And yes, they have a Starbucks.

There are plenty of great restaurants in Leavenworth, but one, in particular, stands out above the rest for many people. Andreas Keller is an authentic German restaurant located in the heart of Leavenworth. If you want to eat dinner there, be prepared to arrive early, or wait for a while. Especially on weekends, the restaurant is packed. And for good reason. The food is great, and so is the atmosphere. Occasionally, you might even be serenaded by a live musician with an accordion. For those with a sweet tooth, consider making a stop at the bakery down the street for some high-quality treats after your meal.

Never a dull moment in this town

Leavenworth’s fame comes primarily from two of its many annual festivals. The first, of course, being Oktoberfest. There is hardly a better place to hold this popular autumn festival than in the middle of Leavenworth’s Bavarian atmosphere. If you plan to stay for the weekend, make sure to book your rooms well in advance as hotels fill up quickly.

The other is less a festival and more an event. It’s the Leavenworth Christmas Lights lighting ceremony. Every year starting the first weekend after Thanksgiving, Leavenworth transforms into a “city of lights” for the season. From that weekend on, at dusk, they light up the town with over half a million lights on the buildings and trees.

On the weekends during this season, they host live performances by local groups in the center of town. With the classic Bavarian building designs, amazing snowy mountain scenery, thousands of twinkling lights, and warm community atmosphere, Leavenworth becomes an amazing winter wonderland.


Leavenworth boasts many exciting activities year-round. In the summertime, consider floating the river, taking a horseback trail ride, or attending one of the amazing performances by the Leavenworth Summer Theater group.

In the wintertime, skiing or snowshoeing along the Icicle River is a must-do! Adding to the cheery atmosphere, you will find kids sledding down the small slopes in the center of town. You’ll also see folks from all over shopping, admiring the lights, and enjoying hot roasted chestnuts.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, or a little slice of Europe a bit closer to home, visit this incredible town tucked between the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

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