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One thing that Europe does well (apart from cheese) is Christmas markets. The Gothenburg Christmas market, for example, has everything you need to get you in the Christmassy mood. Mulled wine? Check! Millions of twinkling lights? Check! Santa? Check! Luckily, if you live in Washington State or the Pacific Northwest, you can experience a great Christmas market without having to get on a plane. The town of Leavenworth, WA’s Christmas lights is the perfect place to visit this December. If you want to visit Leavenworth at Christmas, here’s everything you need to know.
Leavenworth at Christmas
Leavenworth is a special place all year round, but Leavenworth, Washington at Christmas is something extra special!
A visit to Leavenworth, Washington State’s Barvarian village, will make you feel like you’ve arrived in Germany. This charming Bavarian-style village, just a few hour’s drive away from Seattle, is complete with sauerkraut, beer & bratwurst! The buildings look Alpine with wooden balconies and cute window shutters. People dress in dirndl and lederhosen and you might even hear the Sound of Music coming from the hills (well, maybe not that last part…).
Where is Leavenworth? How to get to Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth is in Washington State, USA. It’s in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range between Seattle and Spokane. You can fly, drive or take the bus or train to get there.
Driving to Leavenworth
The easiest way to get to Leavenworth from the west coast is by taking US Highway 2. This route takes you through the Cascades and is extremely scenic. In the winter the roads are kept clear of snow, but it’s a good idea to check the road reports before making the journey.
From Seattle, it’s about a 2 hour 15 minutes drive. From Bellingham, WA it’s between 3-3.5 hours and from Vancouver, BC it’s between 4-4.5 hours depending on how long you take to cross the border.
Train to Leavenworth, WA
Alternatively, you can get an Amtrak train to Leavenworth. You’ll want the trail between Seattle and Chicago and get off at the Leavenworth stop.
- Amtrak Train No. 7: Departs 6:08 AM – Westbound (from Chicago) to Seattle and all intermediate stations
- Amtrak Train No. 8: Departs 4:40 PM – Eastbound (from Seattle) to Chicago and all intermediate stations
Leavenworth Christmas Train
In winter, Amtrak puts on a special Leavenworth Christmas train. The train operates every Saturday in December and goes from Seattle to Leavenworth to see the annual tree lighting festival. The snow train tour includes a continental breakfast, onboard entertainment with musicians, magicians and Santa and arrives in Leavenworth just after 12pm. On the return train journey, you’ll be served dinner with more carriage entertainment.
Flights to Leavenworth, WA
The closest airport to Leavenworth is the Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee. This airport is 30 miles from Leavenworth and there are 6 direct flights a day from Seattle flying with Horizon Air. Alternatively, you can fly to Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle and then transfer to Pangborn airport, take the train, or rent a car and drive.
Where to stay in Leavenworth, WA
If you’re planning to spend longer than a day in Leavenworth, then take a look at these hotels in Leavenworth, WA. There are loads of great hotels in Leavenworth, many with the traditional Bavarian decor that you’re probably hoping for. I’ve picked out some of the best hotels in Leavenworth to make it a little bit easier in narrowing down your options.
- Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort: This resort-style hotel has a restaurant, bar and a garden with incredible mountain views.
- Icicle Village Resort: Icicle village has an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub available as well as restaurants and a bar.
- Bavarian Lodge: This attractive Bavarian building is just a few minute’s walk from some of the top Leavenworth attractions.
- Enzian Inn: The gorgeous Enzian Inn has incredible mountain views, luxurious rooms and an outdoor pool.
- PostHotel Leavenworth *Adults Only: This adults-only hotel gets exceptional reviews and it’s easy to see why. With huge, luxurious rooms, a beautiful pool and surroundings you’ll never want to leave!
- Granite Hills Inn: Another top-rated Leavenworth hotel, the Granite Hills Inn includes a delicious breakfast too.
Leavenworth, Washington at Christmas
Here are some of the things you can enjoy during your trip to Leavenworth at Christmas or, as some call it, “Christmas town Washington State”. It’s easy to see why the words Leavenworth Christmas town go together so often when you check out the events happening in Leavenworth at Christmas.
Leavenworth Christmas lights, carolling and festive events
The town of Leavenworth at Christmas is like an enchanted village. The Leavenworth Christmas lighting festival makes the town come alive with lights strung up all over the place; over 500,000 lights in fact! They’re much more impressive than the Seattle Christmas lights. Plus, there are several other festive activities which run throughout the Christmas period including; carolers, the scent of chestnuts roasting, live entertainment and music, Gluhwein tents and a yearly children’s Cookie Crawl.
The Leavenworth Christmas market
The Christkindlmarkt is the Leavenworth Christmas market which is always a big hit with visitors. The Bavarian-style market has unique Christmas themed goods including arts and crafts, lanterns and some entertainment. If you’re feeling hungry there’s plenty of hearty German food on offer too. A gift from the Christmas market in Leavenworth is sure to please even the most difficult to buy for people in your life!
The Nutcracker Museum
What better time to visit the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum than at Christmas? The museum has over 6,000 incredible nutcrackers, some dating back nearly 500 years!
Sledding and tubing
Great fun for all the family, the Leavenworth ski hill offers sledging and tubing rides. The Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park has a 100ft tubing hill that will provide hours of fun and laughs. There’s no need to walk to the top either since there’s a rope tow that will do the hard work for you. After you’re done tubing, warm up at the Ski Hill Lodge with a hot drink by the fire.
Before heading out to the Christmas market in the evening, spend the day skiing. Leavenworth’s position in the Cascades means you’re not far away from a number of popular ski resorts. There’s the Leavenworth Ski Hill mentioned above, Mission Ridge and Stevens Pass Mountain Resort all within easy distance of the town.
Family sleigh rides
If you’re visiting Leavenworth with kids, then plan a sleigh ride! Wrap up warm in a blanket and get ready for a picturesque trip through the forests of Leavenworth on a Leavenworth sleigh ride.
Gingerbread is the taste of Christmas and you can buy some of the best to take home to family and friends when you visit the gingerbread factory. They not only make great cookies, but you can also buy gingerbread houses which are always fun to put together and decorate!