My job with LivingSocial Adventures takes me to Leavenworth more often than I’d like to admit, but luckily the quaint Bavarian village in the middle of the Cascade mountains has plenty to offer to keep me entertained. Leavenworth is only a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle and offers scenic views along the way. Here’s my guide to what you can do in Leavenworth in an hour, in a day, or in a weekend!
Leavenworth in an Hour
The entire main corridor of Leavenworth is only about 4 blocks long so if for some reason you only have an hour in Leavenworth, you could easily spend that hour just walking around and marveling at how adorable the little village is. In order to have a well-rounded hour, you might consider getting a German pretzel or a bratwurst at Munchen Haus and then call it a day. This would be an hour well-spent.
If you are a lover of Christmas, as so many of us are, then you could also make a bee-line to Kris Kringl, the shop that is entirely devoted to Christmas, 364 days out of the year. Here, you’ll find every kind of ornament you could possibly imagine. You’ll find every single item of decor that your heart could desire. Here, you will find an entire section devoted to really creepy and very expensive ELVES. You have to see it to believe it.
Leavenworth in a Day
If you’re in Leavenworth for an entire day, you have many many more options. You could, of course, do all the things above that you could do in an hour. But why not add a little food tour and taste some wine along the way?
Sample Sausages at Cured
Start at the west end of the main corridor and visit Cured by Visconti, a salumi and cured meat shop that’s owned by the same folks who own the Italian restaurant above. They have a wide selection of sausage and cured meat samples along the bar, as well as samples of pickled veggies and cheeses. Now, please remember my general rule about sampling: purchasing something after helping yourself is right and polite.
Visit the Oil & Vinegar Cellar
Cross the street and continue your sample tour at the Oil & Vinegar Cellar, where you can try nearly 20 different flavored olive oils and a half dozen different balsamic vinegar, plus an assortment of flavored salts.
Eat a Bratwurst at the Leavenworth Sausage Garten (by Cured)
Once you’re ready to move beyond small bites, commit to ordering a bratwurst or kielbasa at the Leavenworth Sausage Garten, owned by the same folks as Cured and Visconti’s. Order yourself a pint of beer and a pretzel to go along with it and warm up (if it’s a cold day) under their heat lamps!
I particularly like the Sausage Garten because not as many people appear to know about it. While the line across the street at Munchen Haus often extends into the street, you can almost always find a spot just across the way.
I’m not entirely sure what the attraction of The Hat Shop is, but people just love it! Nine times out of 10 when you tell someone you’re going to Leavenworth they will insist that you go there. What I’m pretty sure they DON’T know is that there is a Hat Shop in Seattle too – right in the Pike Place Market.
Visit the Nutcracker Museum
It exists, so why not go check it out? It’s home to over 5,000 different Nutcrackers!
There are FIFTEEN different tasting rooms and wineries in downtown Leavenworth, so you could basically throw a stone and find one. May I suggest that you visit the Swakane Wine Room to try their super yummy Glühwein? Or you could also head just four miles out of town and visit the beautiful Silvara Vineyards.
Gelato and Ice Cream
Leavenworth in a Weekend
Why not stay for an entire weekend? It’s the perfect distance so that you feel like you’re out of the city, and since it’s literally designed to look like a mock Bavarian town, you might as well pretend you’re out of the country while you’re at it. So do all of the above, and then some:
Stay at the Icicle Village and Enjoy their Continental breakfast!
Holy mother of (free) continental breakfasts! This place serves up waffles, eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage, cereal, oatmeal, muffins, bagels, English muffins, fresh fruit, coffee, juices, hot chocolate and more from 7am til 10am each morning. It’s rumored that most hotels offer a stellar spread such as this one, but I’ll have to investigate next time.
We rented a two-bedroom condo-type place with two bathrooms (one featuring a giant jacuzzi tub), a full kitchen, dining room and living room area. It was delightful! And totally family-friendly.
Beers at Icicle Brewery
The Icicle Brewing Company makes some pretty good beer and is the place to go for a growler of beer to take home with you. It has an awesome outdoor front patio with a great firepit and a surprisingly small seating area indoors, because the majority of the space is the actual brewery.
Sing Karaoke at Ducks & Drakes
We asked one of our servers where SHE would go if she was going out for the night, and she sent us to Ducks & Drakes which is tucked away in the downstairs of a building that isn’t on the main drag. It’s basically a dive bar with a game room and definitely where the locals hang out… the locals AND some of the best karaoke singers and performances I’ve ever seen. If you’re in town on a Friday or Saturday night, definitely check it out.
Cap off the night at The Loft (the only bar open ’til 2am)
Leavenworth shuts down early, so as soon as you get the boot from Icicle or Ducks & Drakes, scoot over to The Loft to snag a table and continue your night!
Leavenworth for Oktoberfest or Christmas
Leavenworth is particularly delightful during Oktoberfest or in December when they host a Christmas Lighting Ceremony. Consider planning your visit to enjoy the spectacle of the season OR for an excuse to drink a bunch of beer with people in lederhosen.
Naturally, there are far more things that you could do while in Leavenworth – you could go sledding in the winter, floating down the river in the summer, even whitewater rafting! I look forward to hearing about about your Bavarian adventures!