to See and Do in Leavenworth, WA
Hot summers and snowy winters give you
lots of variety
Whether you're standing
alongside the road and watching one of the town's festive
parades, or white water river rafting
instead, you'll find plenty of things to see and do in
three of a three part series on Leavenworth, and part of a
larger general series on traveling around the Pacific Northwest.
See the links on the right hand side for other parts of this
see our article on
Wine Trails and Tasting in the Leavenworth area.
Go skiing - crosscountry or
downhill - during the winter, or perhaps go snowmobiling or snow
Then come back to Leavenworth in the summer and go hiking or
horse-riding over the same trails.
Perhaps go tubing, kayaking or rafting down
the river. Or perhaps indulge yourself and go wine tasting
at some local wineries.
When you're in the beautiful
Bavarian style alpine village of Leavenworth, you have a wide
range of things to enjoy, year-round.
What to See and Do in Leavenworth
Leavenworth has activities that are well adapted to its changing
climate and conditions. As you can see from the climate
this page, you have a range of weather conditions, varying
from solid regular snow falls in winter to hot dry sunny days in
summer. You'll still be warm if you bring your
jackets for winter with you.
The traditional type vacation activities such as shopping are
moderately well catered for, and most people will choose to
spend half a day or even a full day wandering around town and
enjoying the variety of specialty shops. Then, for the
less active of us, there are some beautiful parks to sit in or
stroll through, and some drives up to very beautiful scenic
lookouts and lovely lakes and rivers.
If you're a person who can't see a mountain without thinking
'mountain bike' or 'climbing' then you'll be pleased too at the
range of activities available. And if a river calls to you
and you want to kayak or raft along the river, that's another
The following list represents selected activities that many people have generally
found to be high quality experiences. Use this as a
suggested starting point for planning your own time.
The main street in Leavenworth (Front St) is adorned with
Bavarian style facades on the buildings, and offers a range of
interesting specialty shops. These shops invariably cater
for tourists rather than for locals, but instead of offering
junky tourist rubbish, they more commonly specialize in
handcrafts, artwork, German type gifts, and other things of that
You should go down the side streets as well as walking the main
street. There are some interesting stores off the main
street, and sometimes have better pricing due to their less than
If you're wanting to buy regular ordinary things (eg food and
other staples) then you'll probably choose to shop at the
Safeway on the eastern side of town, just over the bridge, and
if you want to buy other things, you'll perhaps drive 22 miles
to Wenatchee (it is an easy quick drive, but be careful - the
state patrol aggressively enforces the speed limits on the
highway on this stretch of road), where there is a Walmart, Home
Depot, Office Depot, Costco, various supermarkets, auto
dealerships, and most other types of regular shopping that
you're likely to need.
Museums and similar in and around Leavenworth
Remember that Leavenworth is a small town of barely 2000 people.
As such, it doesn't have much in the way of museums or art
Village Art in the Park is an outdoor exhibition of art
each weekend, where you can walk around, talk to artists, watch
some of them at work, and of course, buy finished works as well.
An unusual museum is the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.
This claims to have the largest collection of nutcrackers in the
entire world (over 5,000, dating back to Roman times). It is
open afternoons daily from May through October, and weekends
only the rest of the year. Details
Not quite a museum, but of possible interest, is a tour of the
Aplet and Cotlet Factory in nearby Cashmere (about 11
miles east). This is open daily April through December,
and weekdays January through March. Details
Continuing east from Leavenworth, and on the western side of the
city of Wenatchee, you'll find Ohme Gardens. They describe
themselves as a nine acre alpine garden, and offer beautiful
flowers in a lovely setting with sweeping views down to the
valley beyond. Open daily from 15 April through 15
A bit further afield is the Museum of the Columbia (river) at
the Rocky Reach Dam Hydro Project, an interesting place
to visit during the summer months. Details
Considerably further (110 miles) is Grand Coulee Dam, the
largest electric power producing facility and largest concrete
structure in the US. There are 35 minute nightly laser
light shows at this dam during the summer, with the lasers using
the dam structure itself as a screen. Details
Don't forget Leavenworth's never-ending mix of special
festivals, catering for all manner of different interests and
activities, ranging from music festivals and wine festivals to
Christmas lighting festivals and, of course, a three weekend
long Oktoberfest. Details
Summer activities in Leavenworth
You've a full range of summer activities to enjoy around the
Leavenworth region, both on land and on the rivers and lakes
There is an extensive network of over 2600 miles of hiking
trails around the Leavenworth region, with trail maps available
from the Leavenworth Ranger Station on Hwy 2 in the town.
If you'd rather bike, you can hire bikes (or bring your own).
White water rafting around the Leavenworth area gives you
various experiences from Class I to Class IV. Less
strenuous water activities include kayaking and tubing.
Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee are each reasonably close by and
they offer a range of water activities too.
Horseback rides of up to six hours and wagon rides are available
Creek Ranch and other locations around Leavenworth.
Fishing and hunting opportunities abound in the region.
There are a dozen or more different wineries in the Leavenworth
region (depending on how far you're willing to drive), most of
which have tasting rooms, either at their winery or in downtown
Helpful information on wineries can be found
(slightly different lists on each site - check both for the most
complete information). Various wine festivals are held in the
Leavenworth area several times a year, too.
There is an annual Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival
that is held in July each year, supplemented by one off
performances at other times of the year. With some wealthy
and generous donors, the Icicle Creek performances can be much
better than you'd expect in such a small town. Details
More middle-brow are the performances by the Leavenworth
Summer Theater. These occur in July and August, and
include The Sound of Music almost every year, as well as
various other shows such as, this year, Camelot.
Performances are held at various locations around Leavenworth,
including a lovely open air theater for The Sound of Music.
Winter activities in Leavenworth
Most winter activities in the Leavenworth have one thing in
common - snow.
There is a small ski-field in Leavenworth itself, operated by
the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club at Ski Hill.
Two major ski-fields are close by,
Pass, which is about 35 miles west, and
Ridge, which is a similar distance south-east.
In addition to downhill skiing, there are also miles and miles
of cross-country ski-trails in the area. Other variants
such as tubing downhill are also available, or you can go
snow-shoeing on one of the trails.
And if you'd prefer something that doesn't rely on gravity or
your own 'power', you could consider a snow-cat tour, a sleigh
ride, or going on a snowmobile for a cross-country tour.
For More Information
In addition to the general reference websites offered
this is a useful list of activities to consider.
Read more in Parts 1 and 2
Be sure to read the
information about An Introduction to
Leavenworth as part one of this series.
Part two offers suggestions about
Where to Stay and Eat in
Also see our article on
Wine Trails and Tasting in
the Leavenworth area.
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15 Jun 2007, last update
12 Oct 2012
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.