You might imagine you have been transported to the German alps while in Leavenworth, a town in Central Washington famed for its eye-catching Bavarian aesthetic and culture. Don your lederhosen and order a pint of weissbeir (wheat beer) in a local tavern surrounded by the mountains of the Cascade Range. The beautiful scenery and adventure sports in the forests and rivers further add to the appeal of this charming town.
Pioneers on the hunt for gold first settled in this area toward the end of the 19th century. Leavenworth’s boom era arrived with the railways, which brought work and commerce to the town. After an economic downturn, however, Leavenworth remodeled itself as a Bavarian village in the 1960s to appeal to tourists. Marvel at the success of that transformation as you explore a town that looks distinctly German.
Learn about the history behind this unique blend of America and Germany in the Upper Valley Museum. The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum is a popular, niche attraction with a gigantic display of nutcrackers of every shape and size.
Mingle with locals over steins of beer in October during the annual, raucous Oktoberfest. This classic German tradition has been transplanted wholeheartedly to Leavenworth. Enjoy live music, European arts and crafts and family activities as well as copious amounts of beer. Other Bavarian traditions in the town include the raising of the maypole during Maifest and a music festival dedicated to accordions.
Relax by the river in Enchantment Park and Waterfront Park. Float down the river in rubber tubes or go on a whitewater rafting excursion down nearby rapids. Inquire at the tourist information center about going on bike, horse and boat rides into the surrounding wilderness.
Visit Leavenworth throughout the year to see the mountains of Washington in different colors. Ski down the white slopes in winter and enjoy the German-style après-ski scene. Come in summer to go mountain biking down the same mountainside routes.