Nestled in the Cascades, 100 miles deep into the Old Cascade Highway, is the town of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is well known for its wintertime, Norman Rockwell-esque scenery that attracts tourists from around the state to see such Christmas-themed sights as tree lighting ceremonies, reindeer farms and Santa Claus visits. In fact, Leavenworth was voted the Ultimate Christmas Town in 2009 by HGTV for its scenery and family-friendly entertainment.
Christmas aside, there’s still much to see and do during the off-season months.
Downtown Leavenworth is where the tourists spend the most of their time in town. Walking the streets, you’ll see beer haus, sausage haus, wine haus, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Haus… You get the idea. The overarching German theme is present. in everything from the architecture, to the types of restaurants they have, to the man playing accordion while singing in German in the park. If this is your first time visiting, it’s wise to seek out the places that has the biggest crowds, to try to get an idea of what everyone came to town to see.
The beer gardens in town are very popular, for the crowd old enough to enjoy them. Leavenworth has a variety of restaurants but the ones bringing in the most customers appeared to be the ones selling German fares like sausages, schnitzel and the beers, of course. Many of the restaurants offered an “authentic Bavarian experience,” which is probably a combination of the food, the murals of people dressed in lederhosen in fields among the mountains and the accordion music, which every restaurant seemed to have in common. At the Munchen Haus, a beer garden with outdoor seating, you can get a pint of beer for $5 and sausages range between $5 and $7. Most restaurants have similar prices.
Just outside of the busy downtown is a waterfront park with hiking trails leading to an island in the middle of the Wenatchee river, which flows through the town. A one-mile loop around the island reveals views like this, with the mountains seemingly painted across the sky in the background. Wandering this park offers a nice way to take a break from the hustle of downtown.
There are still many other things to see and do in Leavenworth.
The Leavenworth farmers market runs every Thursday evening from June to October. Vendors include local farms selling flowers and produce, crafters selling homemade crafts like birdhouses and restaurants offering foods like tacos, pies and ice cream.
The reindeer farm is open on weekends during the summer months. Tickets are $10 per person and include reindeer food.
The Wenatchee River runs along the Old Cascade Highway for about 50 miles and provides prime whitewater rafting areas. Osprey Rafting’s Main Event trip is their most popular package: at around $78, they will take you on a 15-mile trip from Leavenworth, which takes about four hours.
Although not as popular as it is during November and December, Leavenworth still has a lot to offer during the off-season.