If someone showed you a picture of Leavenworth, Washington, you might think it was a picture of a French town. A magical, European-inspired atmosphere is created by shops in the style of the Alps, twinkling lights, and signs advertising sausages, soft pretzels, and big beer steins. This style was first brought to Leavenworth in the 1960s. When the train changed routes in the 1920s, it caused a lot of problems because there were fewer tourists. So, the town changed its focus. Years later, leaders in the area wanted to get more people to come by turning Leavenworth into a full Bavarian experience.
Even though there are only about 2,400 people living in town, millions of tourists visit every year, mostly to enjoy Leavenworth’s mountain beauty. The downtown area is definitely a draw for tourists, but what really draws both locals and tourists to this Bavarian-themed destination in the Cascade Mountains are the beautiful scenery and endless opportunities for recreation, says Shila Reeves, who lives in Leavenworth and works as the box office manager at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. Hiking, biking, and rafting on the Wenatchee River are all great things to do in the summer. In the winter, it’s all about snow sports and the holidays, but we’ll talk more about those later.
Robin John, manager of the Posthotel Leavenworth, says, “Leavenworth is a great place for families and couples alike to get away.” “Year-round attractions, festivals, and special events [can be] enjoyed by guests of all ages,” whether they want to celebrate Oktoberfest in the fall, see the Christmas lights in December, or just take a stroll through the town’s pretty streets in the summer.