42 Magical Things to Do in Leavenworth, Washington

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Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth, Washington is a magical Bavarian-themed town that is packed with beauty and adventure! With bucket list hikes, incredible restaurants and experiences for all ages, we’ve put together a guide with the best things to do in Leavenworth so you can plan the perfect trip.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Front Street

Smack dab in the center of the Pacific Northwest, the small Bavarian-inspired town of Leavenworth, Washington will make you swear you’ve been transported to Germany. 

While snow sports and the famed Christmas lights draw visitors in the winter, Leavenworth has bucket list hikes and water activities in the warmer months, making it a great year-round destination. 

In this guide to Leavenworth, Washington, we’re sharing the best things to do, where to eat and how to experience this town beyond the typical touristy spots.

Whether you’re visiting as a weekend getaway from Seattle or Leavenworth is a spot on your Washington state road trip, we’ve got everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip.

Leavenworth, Washington Travel Guide

For more tips and advice for planning your trip to Leavenworth, jump to the following sections (or just keep scrolling to see it all!).

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History of Leavenworth, Washington

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Front Street

Leavenworth traces its roots back to the ancestral lands of the Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes. The original town was established by early pioneers in 1890 on the Icicle Flats. 

The late 19th century saw the transformative impact of the Great Northern Railway, bringing economic opportunities. However, the town faced decline with the withdrawal of the railway and the closure of the local mill. 

In a bold move in the early 1960s, community leaders revamped Leavenworth into a Bavarian village, leveraging its alpine backdrop. Festivals like the Autumn Leaf Festival and the Christmas Lighting Festival were introduced, sparking a tourism boom. 

Today, Leavenworth stands as a tourism hub in the Pacific Northwest drawing over a million visitors annually eager to experience its charming Bavarian atmosphere.

About Leavenworth, Washington

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Enchantments Colchuck
Just a glimpse of the epic natural beauty you’ll find surrounding Leavenworth!

Located just a 2.5-hour drive from Seattle, Leavenworth, Washington offers a mix of adrenaline-pumping adventures and opportunities to relax and turn on “vacation mode”. 

Leavenworth’s German theme is charming yet undeniably kitschy. But if you know where to look, you’ll find that there is much more to Leavenworth than lederhosen and pretzels. (Though while we’re on the subject, you should definitely get a pretzel while you’re there!)

For starters, Leavenworth is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise

The Cascade Mountains that loom in the nearby distance are the gateway to all sorts of adventure—hiking, skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, floating on SUP, backcountry camping—I could go on and on! 

And for all the foodies out there, you’ll find a surprising assortment of excellent places to eat (and drink!) in Leavenworth.

Why listen to us?

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Downtown winter

We lived in Leavenworth for 8 months and seriously fell in love with this mountain town. We try to go back at least once a year, so we’ve truly been to Leavenworth, WA more times than we can count! 

We update this article often to keep it relevant and packed with the top things to do and see. We’re honored to share one of our favorite towns with you!

Top things to do in Leavenworth

If you’re looking for a quick list of the very best things to do in in Leavenworth, here you go:

  1. Check out the lights and festivities at Christmas time (winter)
  2. Ski at Stevens Pass (winter)
  3. Float on the Wenatchee River (summer)
  4. Hike to Colchuck Lake
  5. Eat at the best restaurants in town
  6. Drink local beer
  7. Soak at Scenic Hot Springs

But don’t stop here…

Want more ideas? Well, you are in for a treat, my friend, because this article is absolutely PACKED with tons of fun things to do in Leavenworth plus all sorts of insider tips. Keep reading for all the information you need!

1. Check out the lights and festivities at Christmas time

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Christmas Lighting Ceremony

It’s no secret that Leavenworth, Washington is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in North America. Downtown Leavenworth boasts more than half a million Christmas lights, which illuminate the town every day from the end of November through February

Front Street is extra festive this time of year, with food vendors, carolers, and musicians getting visitors in the Yuletide spirit.

There are so many seasonal activities and things to do, we put together a complete guide to visiting Leavenworth at Christmas time. You’ll want to be sure you read out insider tips to avoid unnecessary crowds and have the most pleasant experience.  

Important Note: To ease overcrowding in town, Leavenworth no longer hosts a lighting ceremony. Instead, you can visit the Bavarian village anytime from late November to February to see the magical town lit up, all the time. 

2. Go Skiing at Stevens Pass

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Stevens Pass Snowboarding

We may be a bit biased (because we spent a winter season working at this ski resort!), but we think a visit to Stevens Pass is a must during any winter trip to Leavenworth

Located about 45 minutes west of Leavenworth on Highway 2, so you’ll go right past Stevens Pass on your way to or from Seattle, making it a perfect stopping point.

The mountain has 52 major runs varying in difficulty, making the resort suitable for all levels, from beginners to experts. 

Insider Tip: Our favorite runs are on the backside of the mountain. Try Gemini and Outer Limits!

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Stevens Pass Mountain Resort
This was the view from my office when I worked at Stevens Pass!

If possible, plan your visit to Stevens Pass for a weekday because you’ll avoid the weekend crowds on the mountain. 

However, if Friday to Sunday is the only time you can visit, plan to arrive by at least 8 a.m. for decent parking and shorter lines. Instead of waiting to purchase your ticket at the ticket booth, get them ahead of time online

Psst! Check out this guide for what to wear skiing to help you pack for your trip!

Stevens Pass Noodle Bowls

Looking for food? There are a few restaurants to choose from on the mountain – from sit-down meals at the Bull’s Tooth to specialty pizzas at the Iron Goat, there’s something for everyone.  

For a morning meal, try the super filling and delicious breakfast burritos, and for a quick lunch, our go-to choice is chili from Cascadia Kitchen or a slice of pizza from the Iron Goat.

Alternative: Leavenworth Ski Hill

If you want to stick a bit closer to town and are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, Leavenworth Ski Hill is a great option. Located right on the northwestern corner of town, you can purchase an adult day pass for just $29. 

Alternative: Mission Ridge 

A second alternative, Mission Ridge Mountain Resort is located about an hour southeast of Leavenworth, just outside of Wenatchee. Uniquely positioned on the east side of the Cascade Crest, Mission Ridge boasts around 200 inches of snowfall annually.

8. Float on the Wenatchee River in a tube or SUP 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Wenatchee River Floating

Summer is the perfect time to rent a tube or SUP and float down the river, with a can of beer… err I mean, water…. in hand. 

You can rent water toys from Leavenworth Outdoor Center (LOC), and they will shuttle you to a drop off point.

Along the float, there are a few rocky beaches you can get out at, and once you make it back to town, there is a big red sign where you should get off the river. If it’s a weekend, just follow the crowds of other people getting out.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA SUP Wenatchee River
Things to do in Leavenworth, WA SUP Wenatchee River

Do it yourself: If you have your own SUP or inner tube (you can buy cheap versions at Safeway for under $10), you can drive to Leavenworth Fish Hatchery and park your car.

This is where you can enter the water; but remember you’ll need another car in town to get you back to where you parked.

Important Note: If you go floating (we highly recommend it!) remember to be responsible with your trash. Please, please don’t litter in this beautiful area. Beer cans washed up on beaches make for a far less incredible experience.

4. Hike to Colchuck Lake

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Colchuck Lake Hike

If you’re an avid hiker and want something truly epic during your time in Leavenworth, hiking to Colchuck Lake will be a highlight of your trip

Just a 35-minute drive from downtown Leavenworth will bring you to the Colchuck Lake trailhead. Be warned that this is a very popular trail, so we’d recommend getting there early so you can get a parking spot.

Colchuck Lake Hike

  • Distance: 8 – 9 miles, depending on how far along the lake you go
    • (it is roughly 4 miles just to get to the lake)
  • Elevation gain: 2,280+ feet
  • Type of hike: out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Timing: 4-5 hours total hiking time (but factor in at least 1 – 1.5 hours for hanging out at the lake)
  • Camping: In order to camp around Colchuck Lake you must have a permit
  • View the trail guide

Pack a picnic lunch and a swimsuit, and plan on spending at least an hour (hopefully more!) hanging out at this stunning lake.

Insider Tip: Colchuck is refreshingly chilly, but for a slightly more comfortable swim, the smaller neighboring lake to the west is heavenly, especially in the late afternoon.

Pack a picnic lunch and a swimsuit, and plan on spending at least an hour (hopefully more!) hanging out at this stunning lake.

Insider Tip: Colchuck is refreshingly chilly, but for a slightly more comfortable swim, the smaller neighboring lake to the west is heavenly, especially in the late afternoon.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Colchuck Lake Hike

Are you a serious hiker? If so, you’re gonna want to hear this…

As you’re looking at the mountains behind Colchuck, you’ll likely see people making a very steep ascent to the top of the ridge. This is known as Aasgard Pass, and it is notoriously difficult.

But if that doesn’t scare you off, you’ll want to read the next idea on this list, because this route leads to the magical Enchantments wilderness area.

Hiking there is truly a dream…

5. Take a selfie with mountain goats in The Enchantments

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Enchantments mountain goat selfie

The Enchantments is a bucket list hike for many avid hikers, and after having been there twice ourselves, we can confidently say that it should be at the top of your list.

With sparkling glacial lakes, alpine meadows and mountain goats milling about, this place is straight out of a dream.

Now, I will warn you and say that this trek is hard. And long. And requires a great deal of planning.

But if the amount of effort doesn’t scare you off, you will be greatly rewarded. We’ve done lots of hiking around the world, and The Enchantments is one of our very favorites.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Enchantments mountain goat

Important: If you plan to camp overnight in the Enchantments, you need a permit, which can be obtained by a (very competitive) lottery application (typically opening in February of each year).

Obtaining a permit to the Enchantments is notoriously difficult as it is incredibly competitive. We have applied for several years and have only gotten permits once.

If you don’t get a coveted permit, there is one other option…

If you’re a little crazy (like us!), it is possible to do the entire Enchantments thru-hike in one — very long and very strenuous — day. 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Enchantments

We have done both camping in the Enchantments as well as the 1 day thru hike, so we created a guide with everything you need to know about hiking the Enchantments. 

Alternative: If you’re not up for the entire hike (which is totally understandable), set your sights on hiking to Colchuck Lake (described above). This is the entry point for the Enchantments, so you’ll get a taste of this stunning area.

6. Eat German food

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Munchen Haus Sausage and Beer

If you’re in Leavenworth to soak up all the German vibes, you’ll definitely want to dine on Bavarian cuisine. 

And you’ll be spoiled for choice as there are plenty of German restaurants in this Bavarian-inspired town!

Here are some of the best German restaurants in Leavenworth:

  • Munchen Haus: casual place serving sausages in a biergarten setting 
  • Andreas Keller: For a sit-down German meal, this Bavarian pub is one of the best choices
  • Gustav’s: Cozy Bavarian tavern with a great location, this is a tourist favorite
  • Leavenworth Sausage Garten: An outdoor eatery serving up German-style sausages cured right next door.

Not a fan of German cuisine?

Don’t worry – there are plenty of incredible restaurants in Leavenworth that don’t have wiener schnitzel on the menu.

If I’m totally honest with you, in all our time in Leavenworth, we’ve hardly eaten at any German restaurants (other than Munchen Haus). That’s not to say they aren’t worthwhile, it’s just that there are so many other amazing (non-German) restaurants that aren’t always packed with tourists! 

Jump down to our favorite restaurants in Leavenworth!

7. Cheers at a local brewery

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Icicle Brewery

From German style biergartens to true craft breweries, Leavenworth has no shortage of places to toast to a day of exploring. 

Icicle Brewery

This is a town staple and is without a doubt the most popular brewery in Leavenworth. They have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (with fire tables), pub snacks and they often have live music. 

If you like dark beer, you have to try Dark Persuasion, which is a German cake stout. It’s so good and what better place to try it than in Leavenworth?!

Blewett Brewing

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Blewett Brewing pizza

With a pretty wide selection (especially IPAs), this brewery has perhaps our favorite beers in Leavenworth

We’re also huge fans of their woodfired pizzas. The Hot Mama is fabulous, as is their summer salad.

Doghaus Brewing 

For a hidden gem of a brewery, this pocket-sized spot is a great pick. 


Looking for a taproom with more of a biergarten vibe than a brewery? You’ll have a few to choose from in this Bavarian-inspired town. 

Here are two to check out:


If you prefer cider to beer, we’ve got options for you too! 

Make a visit to Bushel & Bee Taproom where they have more than 20 taps of unique ciders, meads and beer in a cozy atmosphere. Alternatively, Leavenworth Cider House is a family-friendly venue with a cider-focused appeal.

8. Soak at Scenic Hot Springs

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Scenic Hot Springs

We’re kind of obsessed with hot springs, and this one is pretty special. We’ve been to Scenic Hot Springs a few times, and think soaking here is one of the best things to do in Leavenworth.

Soaking at Scenic Hot Springs will require a good chunk of a day, as you will need to drive 50 minutes from Leavenworth (just past Stevens Pass). Plus, you’ll need to do a little bit of planning, as soaking here requires a permit (more on that later).

How to get to Scenic Hot Springs

After parking, you will need to hike (roughly an hour) into the mountains to reach Scenic Hot Springs.

If it has recently snowed (yay, this is when it is prettiest!), you’ll need snowshoes for this trek, and you’ll likely need to factor in more time (1.5 – 2 hours, depending on your snowshoeing level).

Don’t worry – you will be rewarded for your effort!

The views of snow capped ponderosa pines and the Cascades Mountains peeking out in the distance is quite spectacular.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Scenic Hot Springs

The hot springs itself has changed a bit in the last few years. Though we’ve been told that Scenic isn’t what it used to be in the past, we still thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the steamy water as snow kissed our shoulders and we chatted with the others.

What used to be one large pool with a wooden platform, is now 3 tubs of water in varying temperatures. A maximum of 10 people can be at the hot springs at one time, and you are likely to have company during your visit. 

We have a complete guide to Scenic Hot Springs, including how to make the required reservation and how to get there on our sister site, Go Wander Wild. 

Responsible Soaking Tip

Please don’t litter – not even fruit peels! On one visit to the hot spring, the snow was starting to melt which revealed grapefruit peels and pistachio shells that someone had left in the fall. It really was not a nice sight when the rest of the surroundings are so beautiful.

If you plan to eat, please pack out all your garbage because there is no trash bin at the hot springs.

Looking for other epic places to soak? Here is a list of the best hot springs in Washington state.

9. Indulge in the best local ice cream at Whistlepunk

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Whistlepunk Ice Cream

I’d like to consider myself an ice cream aficionado of sorts. After years and years of research, I’d say I have a pretty discerning “ice cream palate”.

So when I say that Whistlepunk serves seriously good handmade ice cream, do yourself a favor and get your booty over there for a binge-worthy scoop (or two!). Oh, and definitely upgrade to the waffle cone!

They have some really good staple flavors, like Bertha’s Caramel Brownie (oh em gee, those brownie chunks!), Blackberry Fool, and Chai. But also look for their seasonal specialties. On one summer visit to Leavenworth, I had a lemon bar cone that to this day I still dream about!

Good to know: They have a handful of vegan offerings.

10. Walk around Blackbird Island

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Blackbird Island running

Literally steps from the main part of town sits Blackbird Island, sandwiched by Waterfront Park on one side and Enchantment Park on the other. Aside from the small walking bridge that connects it to the “mainland”, you probably wouldn’t notice that it’s an island at all. 

There is a roughly mile-long trail around the island that you can follow for a leisurely walk (grab a coffee first!) or a morning run. 

This is one of the things to do in Leavenworth that can be enjoyed all year round.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Blackbird Island summer
Summer on Blackbird Island
Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Blackbird Island winter cross-country skiing
Winter on Blackbird Island

Summer is scenic, and if you pay attention, you’ll find small trails leading to little beaches where you can relax, swim and picnic.

And in the winter, you can explore Blackbird on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Tip: Don’t forget to look around. The views on this island facing west are some of my favorites in town! Also,

11. Shop local at the Leavenworth Community Farmers Market

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Community Farmers Market

Local vendors, growers and artisans gather each Thursday evening in the summer and fall in a community market that’s well worth a visit. 

Support local artisans selling paintings and handmade soaps, or grab locally grown produce, like peppers and foraged chanterelles. 

On most market nights, there is live music, book readings hosted by the local library, and vendors selling snacks and food.

Leavenworth Farmers Market Information

  • Thursdays, June – mid-October
  • 4-7pm
  • Location

Find more information about their music lineup and other events on the Cascade Community Markets website.

12. Hike to the best view above town at Icicle Ridge

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Icicle Ridge Viewpoint

If you’re looking to get the best view of Leavenworth from above, the hike to Icicle Ridge will deliver.

Facing the west edge of Leavenworth, you’ll see Icicle Ridge towering above town. 

Trekking to the top requires a moderate hike with several switchbacks. It takes roughly 1 hour to reach a beautiful viewpoint that offers sweeping panoramic views over town

Bonus: You can stop here, or choose to continue up the trail to complete the full hike if you want more of a workout and more beautiful views!

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Icicle Ridge Hike

Icicle Ridge Hike

  • Distance: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,755 feet 
  • Type of hike: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • View the trail guide

More hikes near Leavenworth

There are so many hikes near Leavenworth that you could literally go on a new hike each week and still not exhaust all the trails. 

Psst! Check out our full list of the best hikes near Leavenworth on our sister site, Go Wander Wild. 

13. Go Mountain Biking 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Stevens Pass Mountain Bike Park

Bike Park at Stevens Pass

After the snow melts, Stevens Pass transforms for the summer. The main attraction is the epic mountain bike park.

New to Mountain Biking?

If you’ve never been mountain biking before, we’d definitely recommend taking a lesson, as there’s so much more to it than simply “biking downhill”. And if you’re an expert, Stevens Pass has some incredible (super scary-looking!) runs.

You’ll get geared up in a full-face helmet, knee and elbow pads, and gloves, and you’ll feel like a total badass. I’ll be honest and tell you that it is scary your first time, but it is such a rush! 

Our very first time mountain biking was at Stevens Pass, and let me tell you, it is an experience! (We liked it so much that we have since bought our own mountain bikes.)

Other summer activities at Stevens Pass: After tackling the mountain bike park, play a leisurely game of disc golf or take a scenic chairlift ride. There is space in the parking lot for RVs so you can make a whole day of it if you’re camping!

Mountain Biking at Ski Hill

If you prefer free trails to the resort or want to stick closer to town, head to Freund Canyon where there is a collection of trails you can ride. 

Trails are maintained by locals in an honor system, so be respectful.

Where to rent bikes in Leavenworth:

14. Jump into a glacial lake (on one of our favorites hikes!)

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Valhalla Hike

Lake Valhalla is one of our all-time favorite hikes near Leavenworth, as it’s not too crowded and the endpoint is epic. I mean, just look at that glacial lake!

If you’re hiking in the summer, you’ll definitely want to jump in the lake to cool off. And if you’re lucky enough to be here at the right time in the fall, you’ll be rewarded with incredibly vivid fall colors.

Looking for more epic hikes? Check out this list of the 50 best hikes in Washington state and see how many you can check off your bucket list.

15. Go Whitewater Rafting on Class III+ Rapids 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Whitewater Rafting Wildwater

During the late spring and early summer months, the Wenatchee River attracts water sports enthusiasts from all over the state and country. 

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, book a whitewater rafting trip, as it is truly one of the most adventurous things to do in Leavenworth

There are a few rafting companies to choose from in Leavenworth, but our friends Lance and Justine own Wildwater River Guides, which is our top pick

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Whitewater Rafting Wildwater
Photo courtesy of Wildwater Rafting Guides

Wenatchee River Rafting Trip Info

The best time of year to go whitewater rafting is in the late spring when the snow is melting and the river is high. This is when you’ll have the most exciting rapids! 

As summer progresses, the Wenatchee River gets lower and eventually rafting trips are moved elsewhere to rivers like White Salmon and Tieton Rivers.

Psst! If you book a trip with Wildwater, make sure to tell them Ben and Katie from Two Wandering Soles sent you!

16. Go Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Snowshoeing

After a fresh snowfall in the Cascades, there’s nothing better than strapping on a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and getting out onto the pillowy trails.

Surrounding Leavenworth, there are plenty of trails to choose from

Here are just a handful of our favorites places to explore Leavenworth on cross-country skis or snowshoes:

Where to rent snowshoes and/or cross country skis in town:

Psst! If you’re a total newbie, check out this beginners guide to snowshoeing to find out everything you need to know to get started!

17. Visit Lake Wenatchee

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Lake Wenatchee Summer

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, Lake Wenatchee is about a 25-minute drive from Leavenworth in the Wenatchee Valley and is a fun place to explore at any time of the year. 

During the winter, try the cross-country ski trails and in summertime, relax at the beach.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Lake Wenatchee Winter

This is a stunning lake to photograph as well.

If you’re near Lake Wenatchee and you get hungry, keep reading for a tip…

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Wildflour Restaurant

Foodie Tip: Wildflour is a restaurant located on a nearby golf course and has the most insanely good mushroom starter we’ve ever had. Seriously, get it! I sent my parents there and they said the crab and shrimp cakes are fabulous as well. Pair them with a crisp Bodhizafa IPA for a nice midday nibble!

18. Shop your heart out on Front Street & downtown 

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Front Street

Front Street is packed with all sorts of shops – touristy souvenirs to handmade soaps to sauce and spice purveyors to clothing boutiques – you’ll truly find it all. 

Here are a couple of our favorite shops in downtown Leavenworth

  • Jubilee: Fair Trade goods from around the world, featuring items like woven bowls, scarves, and handmade children’s toys.
  • Posy Handpicked: Cute boutique with a small collection of artisan-made goods (with a focus on local makers). Prices are on the higher side, as you’d expect for handcrafted items.

19. Start your day with a killer breakfast sandwich at Argonaut

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Argonaut Coffee breakfast sandwich

If you’re looking for a place to fuel up for a day of adventuring, stop by Argonaut Coffee & Biscuits for one of our all-time-favorite breakfast sandwiches.

A housemade buttermilk biscuit is topped with an egg, smoked ham, Tillamook sharp cheddar, local greens and Sriracha-maple. I mean, yum!

We’re also huge fans of their white chocolate lavender mocha and horchata latte!

20. Drive down Icicle Road 

At the west end of Leavenworth, you can continue out of town on Highway 2, or you can take a left on Icicle Road. Take the left. 

Icicle Road hugs the river all the way out of town and has some interesting stops to explore along the way:

21. Do a wine tasting

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Wine Tasting

If you consider yourself a wino, you’re going to love Leavenworth even more than the average person, as there are so many wine tasting rooms in town.

So. Many. 

Wine Tasting Rooms in Leavenworth

There are truly too many to name, but here are some of the best:

Wineries in Leavenworth

If you want to actually visit the vineyards, you’ll find those in Leavenworth too!

  • Eagle Creek Winery: A short and scenic drive up Eagle Creek Road will lead you to this excellent winery.
  • Icicle Ridge Winery: Located just outside of Leavenworth in the small town of Peshastin, this is another great option if you’re looking to visit a winery.

Need a nibble with your vino? Stop by the town’s cheesemonger for a nice pairing.

22. Order a handcrafted cocktail in this hidden speakeasy bar

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Pika Provisions speakeasy cocktail bar
Photo courtesy of Pika Provisions

While we’re on the topic of imbibing, let’s talk cocktails.

The best place to get creative and boozy concoctions in Leavenworth is at Pika Provisions

Tucked away, this cocktail bar oozes speakeasy vibes and is the perfect spot to grab a post-dinner drink.

Love mezcal? Come for Mezcal Mondays for $12 mezcal cocktails. If you’re a fan of tequila’s smokier cousin, you’ll be pleased to know that Pika has an extensive mezcal list and even offers specially curated mezcal flights. 

Don’t drink alcohol? Pika has a few mocktails on their menu and can also make non-alcoholic drinks to suit your taste.

23. Meet Reindeer on the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

Taking a tour of the Leavenworth Reindeer farm and meeting these cuties up close is one of the best things to do in Leavenworth with kids.

Offering a variety of tours throughout the year, you can see the reindeer babies in the summer months, and you can get in the Christmas spirit with Santa and his reindeer in the winter.

Reservations are encouraged (especially in the wintertime), as it is one of the more popular activities in town. Tours start at $25 per person ($5 for children under 3 years old).

24. Eat a giant pretzel (with mustard & cheese!)

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA pretzel

You know when we said there’s more to Leavenworth than the Bavarian theme? Well, we weren’t lying. (Hopefully you’ve gathered that while reading this list!) 

But still, a visit to this town should include at least one pretzel with cheese sauce. 

You’ll find pretzels on menus all over town, but Icicle Brewing and Munchen Haus both have great versions of this carb-a-liscious snack.

25. Groove to Live Music

There is no shortage of live music in Leavenworth. Each weekend night, there are simultaneous performances all over town. 

Even on most weeknights, you can wander down Front Street and hear crooning voices of local musicians coming from the bars, breweries and restaurants along the street.

Insider Tip: Check out Leavenworth’s event calendar to see if there is any live music taking place during your visit.

26. Go Sledding in Leavenworth

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Sledding Front Street

After a powdery snow, there’s nothing better than whooshing down atop a sled or tube! Some may say it’s an activity for kids, but why should they get all the fun?!

We’ve been sledding in Leavenworth plenty of times (before we had kids ourselves) and think it’s the perfect winter activity for families and for anyone who is a child at heart!

Front Street Park sledding

If you’ve got kiddos in tow, there’s no way you’ll miss the super popular sledding hill in Front Street Park in the center of downtown. 

Tip: Bring a sled from home if possible because the ones for sale on Front Street are overpriced and there aren’t a ton to choose from.

Secret sledding hill

It’s a fun sight watching all those kids, but if you’re in search of a bigger hill with less crowds, head down to Waterfront Park

Walk southeast on 9th Street and take a left when you hit a T in the road, this will take you down into the park. 

Leavenworth Ski Hill tubing

If your heart is set on tubing, head to Leavenworth Ski Hill, where you can tube down the snowy hill for 90 minutes for $20 per person.

27. Try your luck at Trivia night

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA The Loft trivia night

If you want to avoid the tourists and soak up some local vibes, head to one of our favorite bars for trivia night!

It’s a good time! We used to go to trivia night almost every week when we lived in Leavenworth.

See if you’ve got what it takes to win… The prize is often money towards your bar tab FYI, so don’t slack off!

28. Take a day trip to Cashmere

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA El Chavo tacos Cashmere

Leavenworth’s less popular neighbor is worth exploring if you want to explore the surrounding area. 

Cashmere sits on the banks of the Wenatchee River and is known for its fruit packing industry. You won’t have to look far to see all sorts of orchards – apple, peach and pear. 

Places to check out in Cashmere

  • Aplets & Cotlets Candy Kitchen: This factory makes signature apple “candies”, similar to Turkish delights. They offer free samples and tours. 
  • Taqueria El Chavo: Our favorite place in Central Washington for authentic Mexican food, this local gem is seriously good. (And cheap!) If you’re in town on Mondays, they have deals on tacos and quesadillas. Oh, and try the Miracle Water – a refreshing blend of lime, mint and cucumber.
  • Milepost 111 Brewing Company: Dive bar atmosphere, killer truffle fries and delicious craft beer selection near the river.

29. Explore Ohme Gardens in nearby Wenatchee

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Ohme Gardens Wenatchee

This seasonally-open garden features a mile of natural stone paths, pools, gardens and woodlands. 

This family-run garden was created in harmony with its alpine forest setting, making it a perfect place to find peace and get in nature without a major hike.

Admission prices:

  • Adults: $8
  • Children 6-17: $4
  • 5 and under: Free

If you’re visiting in the summer months, check out their event calendar, as Ohme hosts a variety of events:

  • Thursday evening yoga in the gardens
  • Friday outdoor movie nights
  • Occasional concerts in the garden

Located in Wenatchee, getting to Ohme Gardens requires a 25-minute drive from Leavenworth, but if you love the idea of spending the morning in a garden, it’ll be well worth the effort to get here. Plus, there are more things to see in Wenatchee, if you want to make a day of it.

Other places to go in Wenatchee

30. Get an adrenaline rush while ziplining

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Ziplining
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Ziplines

If you’re looking to get your heart pumping, Leavenworth Ziplines will have you screaming (but in a good way!).

With 9 ziplines – the longest of which is a ¼ mile long – you are in for quite the adventure! Soar nearly 200 feet off the ground and take in the views of the valley below and the mountains in the distance.

Zipline tours usually start in mid-April and go through the early fall. Learn more about the tours and make a booking here.

31. Go on a snowmobiling tour

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Snowmobiling Tour

Visiting Leavenworth in the winter and looking for something adventurous to do that’s not skiing? We’ve got just the thing in mind! 

Join a snowmobile tour that takes you on stunning forested trails and to mountain overlooks very few visitors get to see. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the moose that visitors often glimpse on these trails.

This tour was our first time ever riding snowmobiles and we had so much fun! We would highly recommend it.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Snowmobiling Tour

Operating out of the Mountain Springs Lodge in the town of Plain, Leavenworth Snowmobile runs tours ranging from 1 to 3 hours, so you can choose whichever suits your timeframe, budget and experience level best. 

They provide guests with all the gear you’ll need – a full-body snowsuit, gloves, boots and a helmet.

Check out the snowmobile tours and make reservations here.

Insider Tip: While you’re in the area, stop by the Plain Hardware (which is so much more than a hardware store – trust us!).

32. Cool off in this secret swimming hole

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Swimming Hole

If you’re visiting Leavenworth on a hot summer’s day and want a place to take a refreshing dip that’s not on most tourists’ radars, head out of town and follow Icicle Road all the way to Eightmile Campground, which is roughly 15 minutes from town.

The small swimming hole is partially shaded and the perfect spot to cool down.

Good to know: Cell signal here is not the greatest, so just be prepared to go without service for a bit.

33. Explore Tumwater Canyon

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Tumwater Canyon

The Wenatchee River flows through the Tumwater Canyon just before snaking through town, and it is truly a sight to behold.

Beside the river, Highway 2 hugs the water, and mountains loom on either side. This section of the river is known for rapids (especially in the spring) and whitewater kayakers can often be spotted here.

There are some pull outs along the road where you can park and marvel at this canyon. 

If you’re up for a little hike, the Old Pipeline Bed trailhead is in the Tumwater Canyon, just a 5-minute drive from town and starts with a walk across an old steel bridge.

34. Go on a magical sleigh ride

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Sleigh Ride
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Sleigh Rides

There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride in a peaceful snow-covered forest.

Can’t you just feel the magic?!

Mountain Springs Lodge, located in a picturesque valley just a 25-minute drive from Leavenworth, offers a couple of different types of sleigh rides throughout the winter months. 

Learn more about the tours and make your reservations here.

Visiting in the summer months? If you’d rather get on the horse than be pulled in a sleigh, you can go horseback riding instead!

35. See salmon spawning at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery

Once the largest fish hatchery in the world, today they raise more than 1.2 million Chinook salmon each year.

The Leavenworth Fish Hatchery offers tours where you can learn about the process and see the fish. 

Or you can simply come to the hatchery to enjoy the more than 5 miles of public trails.

36. Wander the famous Nutcracker Museum

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Nutcracker Museum

The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum makes most “things to do in Leavenworth” lists, and with thousands of nutcrackers of all different styles, it is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

There’s a gift shop where you can buy your own nutcracker or  something a little different like a paint-your-own Nutcracker kit, which could make a fun souvenir from your time in Leavenworth.

Admission: $5 per adult

37. Visit Leavenworth during the Oktoberfest celebration

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Munchen Haus

Don lederhosen or dirndls and get ready for a day of beer, live music, and mingling with friends (and strangers who will become friends!).

Oktoberfest is celebrated for 3 weekends, from late September to mid- October

If you plan to visit Leavenworth for Oktoberfest, know that you will need to purchase tickets to the festival ($10-$25 depending on the day). Plus, you will need to book your accommodation well in advance, as the hotels in town will completely fill up during this popular festival.

Here’s more information on Oktoberfest dates and tickets. 

38. See an alphorn performance

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Alphorn performance
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Alphorn Association

I bet you’ve never heard an alphorn played. I hadn’t until seeing a performance in Leavenworth!

The local alphorn club performs at many of the larger town celebrations, like Maifest and Oktoberfest, so be sure to see them play if you’re visiting during these times.

39. Explore the grounds at Sleeping Lady

As you drive down Icicle Road, keep your eyes on the mountain range in front of you and eventually you will see the very clear outline of a woman sleeping on her back – known as Sleeping Lady.

The aptly named Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort boasts the best view of this ridgeline and is a great place to stay if you’re looking for cozy, cabin vibes and hot tub access (heck yes!) in a picturesque setting. (Check out rooms here!)

But even if you’re not a guest, you can explore the Sleeping Lady grounds. 

Enjoy brunch at their onsite restaurant, O’Grady’s Pantry or rent cross-country skis and explore their collection of trails (for a fee). You can also play a round of disc golf or book a treatment in their spa.

40. Take an e-bike tour

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA e-bike Tour
Photo courtesy of Bavarian e-bike Tours

If you want to see the most of Leavenworth and the surrounding area in a short amount of time, an e-bike might just be the way to go.

Bavarian e-bike Tours brings guests on a 16-mile loop over the course of 2.5 hours. You’ll see some of the area’s highlights, from downtown Leavenworth to Icicle Creek Canyon, and learn things about the area that you would likely otherwise miss.

  • Monday – Thursday: $99 per person 
  • Friday – Sunday: $125 per person

41. Spoil yourself with a spa treatment

If you’re visiting Leavenworth for a relaxing getaway, or if you simply need a little R&R after all the adventures you got up to, there are two spas in town that will have you ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing.

Book a massage or a facial at the Posthotel Spa or the spa at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort.

42. See “The Sound of Music” performed at an outdoor theater

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Leavenworth Summer Theater South of Music
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Summer Theater

Seeing The Sound of Music perform on an outdoor stage at Ski Hill Amphitheater is a must-do Leavenworth experience if you’re visiting in the summer.

With the Cascades looming in the distance makes you feel as if you’re actually seeing the beloved story of Maria and the von Trapp family play out in the Austrian Alps.

Watch the story unfold as the sun sets and the stars start to twinkle overhead for a truly magical experience.

You can see The Sound of Music in Leavenworth on Fridays and Saturdays in July, August and the beginning of September.

The Sound of Music Leavenworth Info

Where is Leavenworth?

Leavenworth, WA Map

Located 117 miles east of Seattle, Leavenworth is a popular spot for Seattlites to visit on weekends and makes a perfect addition to any visit to Washington state.

Nestled in a valley with Washington’s iconic Cascade Mountains as the backdrop, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic setting. 

How to get to Leavenworth, Washington

The scenic, 117-mile drive on Highway 2 from Seattle should take around 2.5 hours if the roads are clear of traffic and snow. 

That said, winter conditions can make this drive much longer, and in those conditions, 4-wheel drive and/or tire chains are necessary. 

Also, during popular festivals, like Christmas lighting ceremonies and Oktoberfest, expect traffic to be backed up on Highway 2, which narrows to one lane for much of the drive.

Seattle to Leavenworth: Best stops along the way

If you’re coming from the westside and have a bit of time to spare, here are a few good stops to make along the way.

Burrito Sultan Bakery Hwy 2

Sultan Bakery: This local favorite is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall diner. With incredible treats (like the buttermilk bars & chocolate chip coconut macadamia cookies) and splittable breakfast burritos mean we almost always stop here on our drive! Their sandwiches are super good as well (get the turkey bacon Swiss!) – served on homemade bread.

Deception Falls Washington

Deception Falls: If it’s a nice day, a stop at these falls will only add 20 minutes to your trip and will let you stretch your legs.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA 59er Diner Milkshake

59er Diner: If your tummy’s a rumblin’ on the drive to Leavenworth and you just can’t wait, this diner is located kind of in the middle of nowhere and serves all the diner staples: burgers, crinkle fries and milkshakes.

Are you coming from Eastern Washington?

Getting to Leavenworth from Eastern Washington depends on your specific starting point, but essentially if you are coming from the Spokane area, you’ll have 2 options: You can take the I-90 route West towards Seattle (the southern route). Or you can take US Hwy 2 West (the northern route) until you reach Leavenworth.

Getting around Leavenworth

The actual downtown area of Leavenworth is small enough that it is easily walkable, no matter which season you are visiting. However, having your own vehicle in Leavenworth is helpful as it’ll help you get to activities outside the downtown area with ease. 

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available in Leavenworth as well as taxis (though those will likely be more expensive) and public buses

If you are visiting Leavenworth during Christmas time, parking downtown becomes a major issue. Instead of driving into town and parking, we recommend utilizing the Link Bus, which offers a free park-and-ride option. 

The shuttle runs seven days a week and departs from behind Safeway at the Wilkommen Park n Ride and runs to both Wanatchee and up Icicle Road.

Best time to visit Leavenworth

Honestly, each season in Leavenworth is distinctly different and has its own perks. 

Spring in Leavenworth

Best time to visit Leavenworth, WA Spring
Spring in Leavenworth means you’ll have the opportunity to spot lots of beautiful wildflowers!

Blankets of wildflowers cover the mountainsides, making spring a fantastic time for hiking and mountain biking. 

Summer in Leavenworth

Best time to visit Leavenworth, WA summer
Summer is the best time for hiking in Leavenworth, as most of the snow has melted and the glacial lakes are refreshing to jump in!

With endless sunshine, summer in Leavenworth is the perfect time to grab a tube or paddle board and float down the calm waters of the Icicle Creek. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try whitewater rafting. 

Fall in Leavenworth

Best time to visit Leavenworth, WA fall Enchantments larches
In the early fall, it is popular to hike into the Enchantments to spot the larches turning gold! This is called the “larch march”.

Autumn brings with it colorful trees (hike to see the golden larches in the Enchantments!), crisp air and festivals, like the famed Oktoberfest celebration. 

Winter in Leavenworth

Best time to visit Leavenworth, WA winter
Winter is the perfect time to visit Leavenworth if you like snow sports or if you’re looking for a cozy getaway!

Known for its famous Christmas-lighting ceremonies, Leavenworth is undeniably magical in the wintertime and is a perfect home-base for a multitude of snowy activities.

Winter activities in Leavenworth:

  • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Sledding
  • Snowmobiling tour

Read our guide to winter in Leavenworth for more tips!

Leavenworth Festivals

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Christmas lighting ceremony

It seems like there are festivals every weekend in Leavenworth.

Some are small, but if you visit during one of the bigger festivals, you’ll need to book your accommodation in advance, as the town fills up to capacity. 

Oh, and if possible, arrive early in the day on Friday because traffic will back up all along Highway 2 on busy weekends, like the Christmas Lighting ceremonies. 

Here is a list of just the major festivals Leavenworth hosts:

  • Bavarian Ice Festival: January – Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
  • Taste of Leavenworth: 1st weekend of April 
  • Maifest: May (typically Mother’s Day weekend)
  • Bavarian Bike & Brew: 1st weekend of June
  • Kinderfest: 4th of July weekend
  • Autumn Leaf Festival: 4th weekend in September
  • Oktoberfest: 1st 3 weekends of October 
  • Christkindlmarkt: Thanksgiving weekend (November)
  • Christmastown / Village of Lights: Day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve (December)

How many days is enough in Leavenworth?

The ideal duration for a visit to Leavenworth, Washington, depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in. 

For a comprehensive experience that includes exploring the Bavarian village and enjoying outdoor activities (winter or summer) we’d recommend a stay of 3 to 5 days. 

Staying a week allows for leisurely exploration of the charming downtown and the opportunity to venture into the surrounding nature, such as hiking and biking trails, skiing/snowboarding and/or scenic drives.

Tips for visiting Leavenworth, Washington

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth is a great destination year-round. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind to enhance your visit. 

  • Plan according to the seasons. Leavenworth transforms with each season, offering distinct experiences. In winter, enjoy the enchanting Christmas Lighting Festival, while spring and summer bring outdoor concerts, hiking, and river activities. Fall showcases beautiful autumn foliage. Plan your visit based on the activities and scenery you prefer.
  • Participate in the local festivals. Leavenworth hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. The Christmas Lighting Festival is particularly popular, featuring a magical display of lights, holiday performances, and a festive atmosphere. Check the events calendar for other festivals, such as Oktoberfest, Maifest, and the Autumn Leaf Festival.
  • Go for the outdoor activities. Surrounding Leavenworth, you’ll find a plethora of outdoor activities. Explore nearby hiking trails, go river rafting on the Wenatchee River, or try rock climbing. In winter, the area becomes a winter wonderland with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in the nearby mountains.
  • Take advantage of nearby attractions. Leavenworth is surrounded by natural beauty and interesting attractions. Explore nearby Lake Wenatchee State Park for water activities and scenic views. Visit the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery or venture to the nearby Bavarian-themed town of Cashmere. These nearby destinations add variety to your Leavenworth experience.

Where to eat in Leavenworth

There are seemingly endless restaurant options in Leavenworth, and it can be tricky sorting out the fantastic from the mediocre. 

This is our list of favorites after months and months of “research” (haha). 

Coffee in Leavenworth

Lil Reds Coffee to go Leavenworth
  • Argonaut Coffee & Biscuits: Excellent breakfast sandwiches and coffee make this place a good morning stop!
  • Little Red’s Espresso Stand: This cute little espresso stand is a local favorite. It has changed locations more times than we can count, but currently they have a couple, one of which is right downtown! If you order a coffee drink, be sure to read the hand-written message on your cup. And don’t sleep on the big AF cookies. Our favorite is the Salted Butterscotch – it’s to die for, and we get one every time we’re in Leavenworth!
  • J5: With truly excellent coffee, this shop has two locations in town, and is a good pick if you’re looking to grab and go.

Casual Restaurants in Leavenworth

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Yodelin Bowl
  • München Haus: For an inexpensive bite and a fun beer garden atmosphere, you can’t beat München Haus. The sausages and pretzels are pretty darn good and the selection of mustards is unbeatable. They have, like, 20 to choose from. And don’t miss the apple cider sauerkraut! 
  • Yodelin Broth Co.: Choose from options like halibut bone coconut curry broth and wild salmon miso bone broth and soak up gorgeous valley views. This is food you can feel good about eating, and the outdoor seating area is stunning.
  • Blewett Brewing Company: Not only is Blewett one of the best breweries in town, but they have excellent wood-fired Neapolitan pies that will fill that pizza-shaped hole in your belly.
  • Icicle Brewing Company: This can’t miss local brewery has great beers, fun vibes and good bar foods.

Nicer restaurants in Leavenworth

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Restaurants Mana
  • Larch: With handcrafted pasta, rustic Italian fare and cocktails, this new-ish restaurant is one of the best in Leavenworth.
  • Mana: This beautifully intimate restaurant is set in a house and all guests are served at the same time from a set menu consisting of several courses. This dining experience is Thursdays – Sundays at 6:30 p.m. and lasts about 2.5 hours. You must make reservations and dinner costs $108 per person with the option to add wine or non-alcoholic pairings. 
  • Watershed: This chef-owned restaurant with a farm-to-table dinner menu that changes with the seasons.
  • South: Upscale Mexican fare with a decent selection of margaritas, and a buzzy atmosphere.

Where to Stay: Leavenworth Hotels

Where to stay in Leavenworth, WA Bavarian Lodge

There is no shortage of great hotels in Leavenworth for all budgets. 

Great Location on a budget: Bavarian Lodge

Directly across from Front Street Park, you can literally see the Christmas Lighting Ceremony from your room. The Lodge has pretty standard basic hotel rooms, but it is a good value and receives consistently great reviews. 

Beautiful setting: Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort

Located a bit out of town, this resort is nestled in a picturesque valley and has amenities like a hot tub, onsite restaurants and snowshoeing trails.

Cozy B&B: Fox Den Bed & Breakfast

This charming B&B looks like something out of a German fairytale and is a great choice if you’re looking for a more personalized accommodation than a traditional hotel. 

Rave-worthy Inn: Granite Hills Inn

Located up Icicle Road, just a short drive to town, guests absolutely rave about this cozy yet modern B&B.

Apartment living downtown: Alpen Dorf Pension

If you are a fan of Airbnb-style accommodations, this apartment will be a good choice. Choose from a studio as well as a 2-bedroom apartment, both of which have kitchens and easy check-in.

Perfect for a Bachelorette Party: Enzian Inn

Looking for a nice Leavenworth hotel to celebrate your best girlfriend walking down the aisle? Enzian Inn is a 5-minute walk to the main street and features a pool. Plus, they have big rooms and a good breakfast so you can bounce back from the night before and start your wine tasting off right. 

Best Splurge Stay: Posthotel

This new(ish) hotel is perched on the banks of the Wenatchee River and is undoubtedly the most beautiful hotel in town. Featuring a stunning indoor/outdoor pool and a world-class spa, this 5 star hotel is worthy of the splurge. Note: Children are not allowed.

Relaxing getaway: Icicle Village Resort

Guests can unwind in the outdoor heated pool, indulge in spa services, and savor delicious dining options, all within a short stroll from Leavenworth’s vibrant downtown attractions.

Camping near Leavenworth

Camping near Leavenworth Eightmile Campground

The closest campground to town is this KOA, but if you’re looking for a cheaper (and much more beautiful campground), head down Icicle Road.

There are a few different campgrounds here, but our favorite is Eightmile Campground, which is a National Forest campground.

What to pack for visiting Leavenworth, WA

Best time to visit Leavenworth, WA Spring

What you pack for your trip to Leavenworth will largely depend on what season you are visiting in and what activities you want to do while you’re there. Below are a few key items we’d recommend packing for each season.


  • Packable down jacket
  • Layers of clothing for warmer days and cooler evenings
  • Hiking boots if you plan to hit the nearby trails
  • Sun protection


  • Hiking day pack
  • Hiking boots or shoes (we like to wear our Chacos on summertime hikes)
  • Warm weather clothes with a few light layers for evenings
  • Swimwear
  • Sun protection
  • Bug repellant
  • Hat for sun protection


  • Light jacket
  • Lots of layers
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Sun protection


  • Winter jacket
  • Scarf/hat/gloves
  • Snow pants
  • Snow boots
  • Ski/snowboard equipment
  • Sun protection

Leavenworth, Washington FAQs

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Downtown

Still have questions? We’ve got you covered!

What’s with the Bavarian theme?

Leavenworth hasn’t always been full of bratwurst and steins. 

This town in central Washington was once a thriving logging village, but when the railroad re-routed their track, the town quickly started to die. 

To revive the community and bring tourism to the area, leaders of the town realized the unique mountain setting was very similar to Bavarian Germany, and thus change started to happen.

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA

The architecture, building signs and street names began to change to mimic German style. Even the Starbucks and McDonald’s in town have Bavarian-inspired architecture!

Beyond the architecture, Leavenworth hosts a PNW take on traditionally Bavarian celebrations, like Maifest and Oktoberfest, as well as a spin on the German Christmas Market tradition. 

After traveling around (the real!) Bavaria, I can confidently say that Leavenworth’s architecture is pretty darn authentic. So if you want the feeling of a European vacation without the long flight, Leavenworth is a great choice!

Is Leavenworth worth visiting?

In short, yes. (At least we think so!)

If you visit during one of the most popular weekends of the year and don’t leave the downtown limits, you might feel like it’s a tourist trap. 

But after reading this article you should know that while most people think of Leavenworth as a tourist destination, it is much more than that. 

In the midst of the Cascades, Leavenworth has access to incredible hiking, climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. We’ve traveled all over the Pacific Northwest and can say that the scenery around Leavenworth is undoubtedly some of the most beautiful.

In addition to the stunning nature that surrounds town, Leavenworth is home to a vibrant and active community of outdoor enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and artists. 

How can I avoid the tourist crowds in Leavenworth?

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Downtown winter

If you want to avoid the crowds, we’d suggest avoiding Leavenworth during a major festival, like Christmas or Oktoberfest. We’d also suggest coming on a weekday if possible, as it is a popular weekend destination for Seattleites. 

To avoid crowds, we’d recommend some of the following activities:

  • Trivia Night at The Loft
  • Explore Cashmere, Leavenworth’s less popular neighbor
  • Do one of the adventure activities (like snowmobiling or zip-lining) at Mountain Springs Lodge
  • Explore the stops along Icicle Road

These activities can all be found on the list above with more detailed information about how to experience them yourself. 

Is Leavenworth Christmas all year?

While the Bavarian theme is part of the town, year-round, the Christmas time festivities are a seasonal occurrence.

The lights illuminate town each night from just after Thanksgiving through the month of February.

Check out our Leavenworth Christmas Guide for more info on the timing and schedule of the festivities and what other things to do during Christmas in Leavenworth.

How many people live in Leavenworth?

With just shy of 2,400 permanent residents, Leavenworth is a very small town. 

But with lots of seasonal workers and year-round tourists, the town is always buzzing (especially during busy times like Oktoberfest and Christmas!).

Round up of the best things to do in Leavenworth, Washington

Here’s a recap of all the best things to do in Leavenworth so you can see everything in one place.

  1. Leavenworth Christmas
  2. Ski at Stevens Pass
  3. Float on the Wenatchee River
  4. Colchuck Lake
  5. Hike the Enchantments
  6. German food
  7. Local breweries
  8. Scenic Hot Springs
  9. Whistlepunk ice cream
  10. Blackbird Island
  11. Leavenworth Community Farmers Market
  12. Icicle Ridge Hike
  13. Mountain biking
  14. Lake Valhalla
  15. White water rafting
  16. X-country skiing or snowshoeing
  17. Lake Wenatchee
  18. Front Street & downtown shopping
  19. Breakfast at Argonaut
  20. Icicle Road
  21. Wine tasting
  22. Hidden speakeasy
  23. Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
  24. Eat a giant pretzel
  25. Live music
  26. Sledding
  27. Trivia night
  28. Cashmere
  29. Ohme Gardens
  30. Ziplining
  31. Snowmobiling
  32. Secret swimming hole
  33. Tumwater Canyon
  34. Sleigh ride
  35. Leavenworth Fish Hatchery
  36. Nutcracker Museum
  37. Leavenworth Oktoberfest
  38. Alphorn performance
  39. Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort
  40. e-Bike tour
  41. Spa treatment
  42. Leavenworth Summer Theater
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Are you planning a trip to Washington?

We’ve had the privilege of calling Washington state “home” for a while and we have tons of resources to help you plan your trip. Start with our Washington homepage and be sure to check out the articles below. Leave us a comment if you have any more questions!

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Things to Doin Leavenworth, WA
Things to Doin Leavenworth, WA

We want to hear from you!

Have you visited Leavenworth, Washington before? What is your favorite shop and restaurant? Which of these things to do in Leavenworth looks like the most fun? Let us know in the comments below!

Things to do in Leavenworth, WA Christmas lighting ceremony kiss
We hope you fall in love with Leavenworth like we have!

Comments (20) on “42 Magical Things to Do in Leavenworth, Washington

  1. safecastle says:

    Leavenworth, Washington is a beautiful Bavarian-themed town situated in the Cascade Mountains that has something for everyone. From hikes and restaurants to experiences for all ages, this guide offers the best of what Leavenworth has to offer. Plan the perfect trip and make lasting memories with your loved ones!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hi! Someone I know who lived in Snohomish suggested this town and once I looked it up I knew I had to plan my route around it. I’ll be in a van so I’m wondering if you have any suggested places to camp near here, free or otherwise! Reading your post made me realize I may really want to spend a full day here. Thank you!

  3. traveltrachs@gmail.com says:

    Incredible post!! I’ve got a travelblog documenting our travels. We are about to head to Leavenworth for the first time and I am very impressed by your post! Thanks for the info. Did you guys ever go to J5 coffee?? They seem to have great reviews online.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Mike! J5 is a great for making coffee, they really know their stuff. But as for atmosphere, I really wouldn’t want to spend time there. Kind of an in and out place. But no doubt, their coffee is damn good!

  4. henrytrs@gmail.com says:

    The Bavarian village is year-round fun for everyone. It’s best to make an itinerary prior to your trip to maximize your time and ensure that you’re able to visit the best. Do lots of research so you can familiarize yourself with the place.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Gretchen. Leavenworth may seem a bit kitschy but the kindness of the people in the town are what leaves a lasting impression. And I may be biased, but the skiing is excellent!

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      The Bavarian theme really turned the town around back in the day, now Leavenworth is the spot to be for the holidays.

  5. michelehpeterson@gmail.com says:

    Wow, I can see why you loved Leavenworth! From pretzels to Mexican food to skiing, there is tons to do. And it’s so pretty too

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