Hotel Europa in Leavenworth Washington photo

Leavenworth, Washington

Hotel Europa in Leavenworth Washington photo

Travel to Germany Without a Passport

Welcome to Leavenworth, Washington aka the Germany of the United States! The whole town was built with the feel of a German Bavarian village and was incorporated as a town in 1906. Due to its popularity during all four seasons of the year, Leavenworth is known for its tourism and hosts a number of festivals each year. Here you will find Alpine-inspired storefronts, lights that twinkle, and beer steins that was brought to Leavenworth in the 1960s. 


Before the Bavarian theme was introduced, the land and mountains was home to Native Americans. It was there the Chinook, Wenatchi, and Yakama tribes fished for salmon, and hunted deer and elk. However, by 1890, new settlers in search of animal furs, gold, and timber settled in the area which was then called, Icicle Flats. From there, the rail line was built in the area keeping it booming and bustling. You wouldn’t find anything German Bavarian around this time as the area was popular for businesses such as sawmilling and logging. 

Unfortunately, though, that only lasted so long due to the railroad being re-routed out of the town. Leavenworth was practically a ghost town and struggled to survive for decades after that until town leaders later had a great idea. Fast forward to the 1960s, when they decided to change the way Leavenworth looked and felt. Given the already gorgeous alpine hills, the city took on a German Bavarian theme such like the same scenery in Germany. This wasn’t just a simple change of paint on buildings, the entire downtown area was completely renovated, and thus began the series of festivals from there including the Maifest, Autumn Leaf Festival, and the most popular Christmas Lighting Festivals. 

Travelers from all over continue to visit each year and attend these festivals, and Leavenworth continues to be a hot spot to visit in the Pacific Northwest. 

Things to do in Leavenworth

-Leavenworth is a year-round city that has activities during all seasons. Summer: Find your fun on the water and on land with tubing, kayaking, rafting, and canoeing; as well as, walking trails, horseback riding, biking, and hiking. There are so many things to choose from, you can pick an activity for each day! We enjoyed going kayaking and tubing when we went, but we plan to make another trip during winter to try out what the town has to do during that time!

-Hit the other spectrum of the seasons with fun in the snow! Here you will find skiing from beginner courses at Ski Hill run, to cross country skiing right in Leavenworth. Don’t ski? No problem, check out the horse drawn sleigh rides as well as snowmobiling. There is literally something to do for everyone of all ages.

-The most popular event, and one of our favorites, is when Leavenworth dons their Christmas Lights on every building in site starting from the week after Thanksgiving, to the middle of February. There is a reason why it earned the name of “Christmas town of America”. 

-Are you a wine fanatic? Here you can also find 32 wineries in and around the town of Leavenworth including tasting rooms downtown, along with four Cider Rooms. Because of the climates, with cooler springs and warmer summers, they are the perfect conditions for a wine growing area. 

-Last but not least, Leavenworth is known for its agricultural tourism which is surrounded by many ag businesses. Fruits come in plentifully due to Leavenworth’s climate including: Pears, cherries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, and more!

Definitely one for the bucket list! Be sure to add it to yours! 


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