DescriptionLeavenworth is at the base of the Cascade Mountains near the western end of the Wenatchee Valley. Established in 1890, it prospered as a logging and fruit packing center. By the early 1960s community leaders decided to promote Leavenworth as a tourist destination by capitalizing on its scenic setting. Gradually the town was remodeled to look like a Bavarian village, right down to the alpine-inspired architecture and flower-filled window boxes and hanging baskets.
Leavenworth Carriage Company offers horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides; phone (509) 421-0679. Art displays are featured in Front Street Park on weekends from May to October; phone (509) 548-5809. A bridge in Waterfront Park leads to nature trails on 15-acre Blackbird Island. A mile northwest of Leavenworth, US 2 parallels the Wenatchee River through the scenic Tumwater Canyon, which blazes with color in the fall.
Area recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, white-water rafting, snowmobiling and skiing. The Wenatchee River between Leavenworth and Monitor is one of Washington's most popular white-water rafting streams, with relatively calm stretches alternating with class III and IV rapids. The rafting season extends from May through September.
Befitting its stature as a year-round tourist destination is the town's packed events calendar. The most popular event is the Christmas Lighting Festival, held on the three weekends (Friday through Sunday) before Christmas. At 4:30 each Friday afternoon Santa arrives at the gazebo on Front Street and distributes goodies to kids. On Saturday and Sunday the festivities begin with appearances by Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus, followed by live music and entertainment that continues all afternoon and into the evening. The lighting ceremony begins both days at 4:30, transforming the buildings and trees along Front Street into a twinkling fantasyland of colored lights.
The holidays aren't the only festive time of year, however. MAIFEST in mid-May salutes Leavenworth's Bavarian heritage with traditional costumes, a dance and a parade. Also in mid-May is the Spring Bird Fest, when birders congregate for bird-watching hikes, guided trips and a songbird concert. In mid-June the International Accordion Celebration presents 4 days of varied music, including jazz, ethnic and classical. On weekends in October the quintessential Bavarian celebration Oktoberfest reigns supreme with art displays, music, food and—last but not least—plenty of drink.
Leavenworth Summer Theater offers performances July through August in three venues including the Leavenworth Ski Hill Amphitheater, 10698 Ski Hill Dr.; Hatchery Park Amphitheater, 7875 E. Leavenworth Rd.; and Leavenworth Festhalle Theater, 1001 Front St. Children under 5 are not permitted; phone (509) 548-2000 for schedule and tickets.
Visitor InfoLeavenworth Chamber of Commerce 940 US 2 LEAVENWORTH, WA 98826. Phone:(509)548-5807
ShoppingSpecialty shops line Front Street in downtown Leavenworth.
Things to SeeLeavenworth National Fish Hatchery
Horseback RidingEagle Creek Ranch
White-water RaftingOrion River Expeditions, Inc.