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A wide range of summer and winter activities, plus a lovely relaxing ambience in a beautiful natural setting make Leavenworth a great place to visit year round.

No matter what you like to do while on vacation, you'll find things to enjoy during your Leavenworth stay.

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What 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 Leavenworth.

Part 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 series.

Also 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 shoeing.  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 data on 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 marmot 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 choice too.

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 ilk.

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 prime location.

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 galleries.

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.  Details here.

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 here.

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 here.

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 October.  Details here.

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 here.

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 here.

Special Festivals

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 here and here.

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 nearby.

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 at Eagle Creek Ranch and other locations around Leavenworth.

Fishing and hunting opportunities abound in the region.

Wine Touring

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 Leavenworth.

Helpful information on wineries can be found here and here (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.

Musical Events

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 here.

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.  Details here.

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, Stevens Pass, which is about 35 miles west, and Mission 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 here, 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 Leavenworth Also see our article on Wine Trails and Tasting in the Leavenworth area.

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Originally published 15 Jun 2007, last update 30 May 2021

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

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