The beautiful Bavarian town of Leavenworth, Washington, where the Cascade Range provides the perfect backdrop for a white Christmas, has become my family’s favorite gathering spot for celebrating the holidays. Outdoor adventures and unique dining and shopping experiences provide special holiday memories for everyone in the family. Here are a few of our favorite things to do when we spend Christmas in Leavenworth.
Travel over the river and through the woods with Red Tail Canyon Farms in their two horse open sleigh. Snuggle underneath the wool blankets and relax as their beautiful equine team pulls the buckboard sleigh through a forest filled with wildlife. The driver points out areas of interest and entertains with tales of local lore throughout the 40-minute ride. After, hot cocoa awaits you inside a teepee at the end of the journey.
Christmas and Bavarian themed shops populate Leavenworth’s downtown district. Kris Kringle’s ornament shop has two stories filled with every style of ornament and a large selection of village sets, including Dickens-style, cityscapes and fantasy themed collections.
Rich woods and pitch-perfect chimes capture the spirit of the season inside beautifully crafted music boxes, snow globes, and clocks at the Music Box Shop. From the simple to the elaborate, the shop is filled with nearly 4,000 unique musical items and you’re sure to find one that plays your favorite Christmas carol.
With its quirky and fun clothing collection, Paprika’s status as the “Sophisticated Hippie” is a well-deserved moniker. You’ll find turquoise adorned bracelets and matching cowboy boots, hand-stitched scarves, and the voluminous skirts and sweaters that add a touch of fun to your winter wardrobe.
For an authentic German culinary experience, reserve a table at Andreas Keller German Restaurant. Tucked away in the basement of one of the Bavarian style buildings, it has a cozy Alpine chalet atmospere and serves traditional German food, like schnitzel, spatzle, and every kind of wurst, or sausage. Top it off with one of the Pacific Northwest’s best craft beers and a piece of Black Forest cake.
During our first trip to Leavenworth, everyone told us to make sure The Soup Cellar was at the top of our list of restaurants to try, and it didn’t disappoint. While the atmosphere didn’t seem as authentic as Andreas Keller’s, every soup we ordered was full of flavor and served with a delicious side of bread.
Muchen Haus is a laid-back outdoor sausage grill and beer garden that’s perfect for a break in the action. Order a brat at the front counter then find a seat around a fire-pit table and enjoy the many pets that join their people in the open-air restaurant.
Kids of all ages are welcome on the sledding slope next to the big Christmas tree in Front Street Park. Sledding during the daytime hours is fun but at night, when the Christmas lights reflect off the icy snowdrifts, it’s magical.
The Beautiful Outdoors
Whether your idea of outdoor adventure is downhill skiing, snowshoeing, or speeding across the drifts on a snow mobile, you’ll be able to do all of it within minutes of Leavenworth. My family loves hiking and there are many trails just steps from our hotel that we explore day and night. Take your camera because you’ll want to remember this beautiful winter wonderland all year long!