If you have visited Bavaria or you wish to visit Bavaria, but you haven’t made it to Germany yet – then Leavenworth is for you.
If you love the magic of lit up theme parks and buildings with colorful palettes and gingerbread accents – then Leavenworth is for you.
German food? go to Leavenworth.
Every winter the town of Leavenworth lights up their entire Bavarian village with Christmas lights, nestled within the Cascade Mountains and it is a sight to behold. We were lucky enough to visit in February which is their annual festival of lights.
If you’re local to Seattle it’s an easy two hour drive, through the gorgeous mountains and though they were covered in snow when we saw them, I know they’d make for a stunning drive year round.
Leavenworth is so photogenic, if you made it there to only walk around the town, you wouldn’t be disappointed. But here is our recommendations on what to do when you’re in Leavenworth during the wintertime!
Our top things to do in Leavenworth, Wa!
I have to start out by saying you can not miss out on a trip to the Reindeer Farm! This experience is incredible! The farm is ran by the Andersen family and they have created the best experience for young and old. When you get to the farm you’re introduced to Hans (Christian Andersen!!!!!) and he takes you through a little lesson on Caribou/Reindeer and tells you a couple of really funny reindeer jokes. What were they? I have no Ideer. After the little meetup, ours was fireside because of the cold, they walk you over to the reindeer and you get to go inside their fenced area and feed the reindeer straight out of your hand or out of a bowl. It’s spectacular seeing these animals up close and extremely encouraging to see how well they’re loved.
We absolutely recommend a visit to the Historic Leavenworth Ski Hill. Here you can ski or snowboard. Or you can just spend some time tubing, which is what we did. The suggested age is 8 and older, but like everywhere we went in Leavenworth, the people are so kind and they said that if our children were comfortable going down alone (the only real requirement) that they’d be fine if they were under the recommended age.
Sledding, this is a prime Leavenworth activity and there are several places for you to do so! Sled’s are sold in various shops and restaurants around town, so it’s easy to find one to take on your adventure. Our top three sledding locations are:
1) In the Main area of downtown Leavenworth, not for the size of the hill, but because of the atmosphere of the village and at night for the ambiance of all of the Christmas Lights.
2) At the old Golf course there is a small price to sled here, and you will need to supply your own sled.
3) Enchantment park, this is where the local children seemed to sled the most.
Sleigh Rides! This was on our list to experience and we were so sad that ours got snowed out two days in a row! When we visited Leavenworth we actually got snowed in as both mountain passes were closed down. The Sleigh rides had too much snow to plow and the horses couldn’t make the walk in the extra two feet of snow. So, guess what? We have a reason to go back! They have a few different sleigh ride companies to choose from:
An inside activity that is fun for the kids is the Nutcracker Museum There is probably a gazillion nutcrackers that have been collected and donated here. I had no idea there were so many variants of nutcrackers! They have a video at the beginning of your museum trip that explains the history of the nutcracker and then you’re welcome to walk through rows and rows of cased in nutcrackers. What’s extremely fun for the kids is they pass out a scavenger hunt card for them to browse through and find the specific nutcracker on their list. It’s only a few dollars for the museum and it was sweet meeting the lady who started the museum with her husband after 20 years of collecting their own nutcrackers.
After all of that talk about nuts, we should probably go over the food in Leavenworth. Delicious. Every single meal, it was crazy how good everything was.
We stopped in at Rudloofs upon our arrival into Leavenworth and then we ordered it and took it home to our resort one night to eat in. I suggest getting the cheesy ranch bread along with your meal, I’m still dreaming about it.
Good Mood Food we were told the food was good here by a follower on instagram, so we stopped by for breakfast and their breakfast sandwich croissants and their waffles were so good and fresh!
Schnitzel Boys Sandwiches these sandwiches were so flavorful and unique!
Gingerbread Factory for gingerbread, duh. But really, they were delicious and we also loved their chocolate chip and their oatmeal raisin cookies.
Heidleburger after a long morning of sledding and a baby who fell asleep in the car, we were grateful for something we could grab real quick and eat in the car while she slept. This is probably the best drive-in burger I’ve ever had – seriously. We all loved the burgers and the onion rings and fries (both curly and regular).
Sandy’s Waffle Haus we had a really good breakfast here! This is also where we bought our sled!
Munchen Haus We meant to eat here, and I wish we did! Everyone spoke so highly of it, so when we head back for our sleigh ride we will definitely stop here!
Andreas Keller a really good german meal with a cute ambiance!
King Ludwig’s get their apple strudel!
Dan’s Food Market yes, this is their actual grocery store, but I’ve been to Oregon and Washington enough to know that you do not make a visit to the PNW and not get yourself some Tillamook. We took a bunch of their yogurt and ice cream back to our resort for snacks and dessert. And yes, when we ran out of yogurt on our last morning we ate the ice cream for breakfast.
For your stay we highly recommend the Icicle Village Resort We stayed in a three bedroom condo and we could have moved right in, it felt just like home. There were books and games in the condo, which we thought was a really nice touch! They have an activity/game room for children, a spa and mini golf!
We can’t thank the tourism board of Leavenworth enough for this opportunity to visit their sweet home. It’s become a place that we will talk about for years to come!
*Though our stay was gifted to us, all thoughts are entirely our own.