A magical mountain town that’s worth a visit; Leavenworth is a year-round favorite for weekend getaways, outdoor adventures, and heavy drinking. If you’re really ambitious, you’ll combine all three. Here’s a look at Leavenworth on a normal weekend and a sneak peak at Oktoberfest (running all weekends in October, so there’s still time to for a last minute trip today or tomorrow!)
Leavenworth is located in Chelan County near the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. If you’re coming from Seattle, I recommend taking the scenic Route 2. It’s just as quick as 90, but the views are spectacular. The city itself started on Native American tribal lands which was later settled by pioneers, but when tourism slowed in the 60s the town reinvented itself in a big way to “create the illusion of Bavaria in the middle of Washington State.”
Success! The town in now bustling in the summer when people come from all over the state to wine taste and window shop or go on one of the many outdoor adventures (white water rafting, canoeing, ziplining). The town keeps the momentum going through the winter, or so I’m told, as a ski town for Mission Ridge and Stevens Pass.
Recommended Places to Eat, Drink, and Shop
The Cheesemonger’s Shop: I don’t even eat dairy, but this shop sells it all. They have a variety of fine cheeses and meats for you to sample. Do a little tasting a take home some nice cuts for a fancy snack or cocktail party.
Leavenworth Sausage Garten: I can vouch for their Chicken Apple brat and their inclusive beer list. I will also say this spot is one of the finer spots for people watching, with half the crowd of nearby beer garden Munchen Haus.
Boudreaux Tasting Room: There’s a dozen or more wineries scattered throughout this small town, and while I haven’t visited them all, I did enjoy Boudreaux. It’s slightly hidden in tandem with a cute shop, and the Cab Sauv Reserve is worth the extra money for a little sip of heaven.
Leavenworth Boutique: This shop is one of my favorites for window shopping. It’s certainly not the “most Bavarian” of all the shops, but you’ll be sure to find some awesome birthday gifts. Some other favorite shops are hidden in the corner near Muchen Haus. Don’t miss that little corner!
As for Leavenworth Oktoberfest, it’s quite the event. If you can book your lodging well ahead of time (most people book a year out) or snag an awesome local place on Airbnb, then it’s worth the trip out. There’s live music, a few different tents, a huge indoor hall, and the whole town comes alive. Don’t forget to bring your lederhosen, since it was surprisingly hard to find traditional garb in town. As promised, here’s the sneak peak into Leavenworth Oktoberfest:
Whether it’s Oktoberfest or a quiet weekend away, Leavenworth is a fun getaway spot. I wouldn’t recommend staying too long unless you’re doing some outdoor exploring, since the town all starts to look the same after a while. If you’re going to pick a time to come and party though, Oktoberfest is it.