Have Yourself a German Little Christmas
A festive holiday in Leavenworth, Washington
Photos courtesy Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite towns to visit was Leavenworth, Washington. It’s as close to visiting Germany as one can get without leaving the country. It’s also one of the cutest Christmas towns I’ve ever encountered.
Leavenworth, Washington is located just over two hours east of Seattle. The town of less than 2,000 is nestled in the beautiful Cascade Mountain range. A former logging town, Leavenworth struggled to survive when the railroad left in the 1920s.
In the 1960s, the town partnered with the University of Washington to revitalize the economy. An idea was born to transform the town into a Bavarian Village. The recreation of the town from logging community to German hamlet saved the town, and since then, it has been a tourist destination for German lovers and folks who love Christmas.
Walking the streets of Leavenworth is like being in a Christmas postcard, and if you’re lucky enough to visit during a snowfall, it’s a truly magical place.
Leavenworth isn’t just German on the outside; shops, hotels and restaurants keep with the theme. There’s even a Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum that features over 6,000 nutcrackers, which their website claims is “probably the world’s largest collection of nut-opening devices.”
Start your day in Leavenworth with a cup of coffee and a pastry at Heidi’s Bun & Kaffee Haus, located within a short walk of many fine shops. After coffee, spend time browsing downtown’s darling stores; many are a Christmas-lover's dream. Shops such as Kris Kringl, The Wood Shop & Hat Shop and Die Musik Box are just a few Leavenworth stores selling items perfect for the holidays.
After a bit of shopping, stop at Bavarian Bistro & Bar for a beer and a plate of bratwurst, knackwurst and brockwurst served with sauerkraut, German potato salad and mustards. If you’re craving German food, Leavenworth is the place to sate your appetite.
In the evening, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the town center and take in the thousands of twinkling lights. Follow this with a nice glass of German Riesling at one of a variety of fine dining restaurants in downtown.
Leavenworth’s German theme doesn’t stop with dining and shopping. Visitors can stay at one of several Bavarian style hotels, bed and breakfasts and lodges.
Leavenworth’s holiday festival schedule is jam-packed with festivities. There are multiple events happening throughout the season, including the Christmas Lighting Festival that takes place every weekend December 3 through 18, 2016.
Go to this calendar to discover the marvelous holiday happenings taking place in Leavenworth this December.