If you live in the Pacific Northwest, or even if you don’t, you probably have heard of Leavenworth Washington. This little Bavarian town in the mountains is the number one destination for Christmas around here.
It is expensive, hard to get to at times, and very crowded but it is worth it, to me at least.
If you have ever been to Leavenworth at any point in the year then you know that it is a very beautiful place even without the snow and Christmas lights. However, if you can make it there at Christmas time I think you would fall in love with it even more. Every building, tree and light pole are decorated and every weekend in December you can see a Christmas Lighting Festival take place with half a million lights.
Prices at any hotel in Leavenworth at Christmas time, especially the Lighting Festival weekends can be very high. Even basic rooms can go for $300 a night.
As I said in the beginning, Leavenworth is very crowded and you need to book a room at least a year in advance if you plan on staying there for a weekend winter getaway. However, if you get a chance to stay I would recommend these two places.
The Leavenworth Village Inn is located one block off of Front street where all the shops and restaurants are located. It is tucked away on the quieter side of the town where you could get away with a little less foot traffic during your stay.
The Bavarian Lodge is located across U.S. Highway 2 and looks down over the center of Front street and Front street park where the main lighting ceremony takes place. It is almost in the center of the action and the most active hotel in Leavenworth. If you want to be able to see Front street in full from your hotel room this is definitely the one to go with.
In truth I have only eaten one place in Leavenworth. Even though there are many places we could go we always go back to Bavarian Bistro and Bar. This restaurant is in the upstairs portion of one of the buildings on Front street. They have a great balance of German and American food that gives us the options from bratwursts to cheeseburgers. Their VERY large pretzel is amazing and Sean loved the mustard that comes with it.
The Christmas Lighting Festival, or Festivals since there is one every weekend in December leading up to Christmas, is the reason it cost so much to stay in Leavenworth during those times.
Every weekend leading up to Christmas there is live music in the park, carolers strolling along the sidewalks, freshly roasted chestnuts, sledding in the park, a traditional Gluhwein Tent (selling hot spiced wine and cocoa), Santa and Mrs. Clause, and on Sunday their is a children’s Cookie crawl map. The actual lighting ceremonies are held on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 4:45 p.m.
You won’t regret visiting Leavenworth Washington! Even if its in the summer.