christmas in leavenworth

Christmas in Leavenworth: The Best Holiday Town in the State of Washington

The town of Leavenworth in Washington state is a Christmas experience like no other. This beautiful Bavarian town features Christmas festivities to get you into that holiday spirit. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday getaway, spending a Christmas in Leavenworth, WA, maybe an excellent choice for you!

You’ll find twinkling Christmas lights, festive attractions, and Christmas themes throughout the entire town. This place is sure to make your Christmas and holidays bright.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started! We’ll start with a glass of mulled wine, a Santa sighting downtown, and thousands of Christmas lights to make your Christmas even brighter. 

Where is Leavenworth? 

This breathtaking town is near the Cascade Mountains and makes a lovely Christmas getaway for Seattle tourists. Leavenworth is just a little over 2 hours from Seattle, so it’s a great day trip from Seattle or a great weekend getaway.

How To Get to Leavenworth WA in The Winter

The most popular options for getting to Leavenworth are by car, bus or train. If you plan on spending a couple of days in the Leavenworth area, I recommend driving your own vehicle. The beauty of having your own set of wheels allows you the freedom to explore all of the fun and snowy activities surrounding Leavenworth.

Map of Leavenworth

What Time of Year is Best for Visiting Leavenworth?

We’ve visited Leavenworth over a dozen times, and each season is unique to our visit and the fun we had. But there’s something magical when you spend Christmas in Leavenworth.

Christmas Events in Leavenworth

There are plenty of Christmas events around Leavenworth to keep you busy during the holiday season. From walking downtown and enjoying the Christmas lights to shopping and exploring some of the winter activities, you’re going to want more than just a day to explore this beautiful Bavarian town.

Winter in Leavenworth:

Winter in Leavenworth has to be one of our favorite times to visit because it’s during this time that this winter wonderland truly comes to life. With its Christmas lighting festival and the Christmas spirit, this village really lights up with the Christmas spirit.

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday getaway, spending a Christmas in Leavenworth is a great choice.

Spring in Leavenworth:

If you’re looking to see wildflowers and the snowmelt? Spring is your time to explore some of Leavenworth’s best hikes before the heat of the summer sets in.

Summer in Leavenworth: 

Summer in Leavenworth is hot and sunny! Yes, it’s a mountain town and floating down the Wenatchee River is a perfect way to cool off.

Fall in Leavenworth:

I love seeing the change of colors as the cooler crisp temps set in leading into fall. If you enjoy visiting areas with fewer tourists, fall may be your perfect time.

Where to Stay in Leavenworth

There are so many great options when it comes to accommodations in Leavenworth. The great thing about spending Christmas in Leavenworth is that some hotels cater to their guests by offering Leavenworth Christmas packages. Be sure to check with the place you’re staying to see if they offer any special Christmas packages.

Leavenworth WA Winter Weather

The town of Leavenworth in Washington is a Christmas experience like no other. This beautiful Bavarian Town features Christmas festivities to get you into that holiday spirit. Here’s why Christmas in Leavenworth will be an experience you’ll remember for years to come! 

Looking For Other Great Things To Do Around Washington?

Christmas Activities in Leavenworth, Washington

Ready, set, go! Let’s dive in and start exploring the best things to do during Christmas in Leavenworth. There’s plenty to do, so if I were you, I’d get some good rest to start your day early.

Leavenworth Carolers, Christmas lights, Santa sightings, and More!

Christmas in Leavenworth is like spending Christmas at Santa’s shop! The Bavarian town is bursting with activities, including neatly hung Christmas lights and carolers to help you get into the Christmas spirit.

You’ll even have a chance to pose for a photo with one of Santa’s helpers or one of the other Christmas characters. Check this out for more information about the daily happenings around Christmas in Leavenworth.

Christmas Lighting in Leavenworth Festival

The grand lighting festival sparks all the holiday festivities and kicks off the Christmas cheer in Leavenworth. In the past, the Festival lighting only happened on the weekends, but new to 2021, the lights display will take place seven days a week. That’s right! No flipping on and off the switch this year. The Christmastown village of lights will shine bright every day of the week.

You can expect to see the lights lit from Thanksgiving weekend through February.

Festhalle Christmas Activities

If you’re looking to escape the winter chill, head over to the Festhalle for some Christmas activities and entertainment. Christmas activities include letters to Santa, meeting Mr. and Mrs. Clause, Gingerbread House Exhibition, Christmas wrapping station, selfie booths, and much more.

The Festhalle is Located at 1001 Front St. and is open 11-6.

Nutcracker Museum

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen the most extensive display of nutcrackers during the Christmas holidays in Leavenworth. So it seems pretty fitting that Leavenworth would have a nutcracker-themed museum. Displaying well over 5,000 nutcrackers from over 40 countries, this is another Christmas activity that makes Christmas in Leavenworth so unique.

Even if you’re not interested in paying to enter the actual museum stopping into the store is a great thing to do because they have some great gifts and really unique nutcrackers to check out.

Click here to learn more about the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

Enjoy Sledding in Front Street Park

Nothing says the holidays like some good ole sledding and what better place to do it than right in town at the Front Street Park. Sledding here is free, and after a couple of runs on the sled, you can head into one of the many restaurants to get a glass of hot spiced wine “Glühwein” or cider to warm up.

Pro Tip: Another hot spot for sledding in town is the Leavenworth Waterfront Park behind the hotels and condos. This is a great spot to go if the Front Street Park area hasn’t accumulated much snow yet.

Christkindlmarkt

The Christkindlemarkt is a Bavarian-style Christmas Market open to the public and held in Front Street Park and the Leavenworth Festhalle. This annual event takes place on Thanksgiving weekend every year. It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration featuring mouthwatering Bavarian food, handmade crafts & goods, and other presents that are part of a beloved and renowned Northwestern tradition!

Inspired by the iconic Christmas markets in Germany, Leavenworth’s Christkindlmarkt features food stalls and booths from local artisans. Sample Bavarian food and shop hand-crafted Christmas wares while listening to a live Bavarian band.

Shop For Christmas Decor at Kris Kringl

If you love Christmas stores, prepare yourself for Kris Kringle. The two-story, year-round Christmas store features 6,000 square feet of themed trees, toys, and decorations. And, if you love Christmas villages, they have some unique sets, including a Harry Potter-themed village.

For 28 years, this lovely year-round Christmas shop has brought the holiday spirit to Leavenworth. They have a wide range of beautiful Christmas presents available, including one-of-a-kind ornaments, home décor, trees, and more! It’s one of the best stores in Leavenworth for all your Christmas shopping needs.

Tubing and Sledding at the Leavenworth Ski Hill

The whole family will enjoy snow tubing in Leavenworth. It’s a great way to spend time with the kids (of all ages). Take advantage of using the rope tow to get you to to the top of the hill before you hop on your tube or sled for a fun and exciting ride down the mountain.

Tubing and sledding is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in Leavenworth. The best thing is that you don’t have to worry about your kids not liking it because before buying a ticket, the ski hill provides a free one-time ride. Isn’t that fantastic?

Leavenworth Sleigh Rides

Get your jingle on with a sleigh ride through the open fields, meadows, and forests of the Leavenworth area. This is an experience that will create magical memories of winter in Leavenworth.

This Christmas activity is a fun and exciting Christmas experience for the whole family. During your sleigh ride that lasts a little under an hour, you’ll be gliding across the snow in a sled that seats six people. You’ll have the opportunity to stop and warm up with some steaming hot cider at a rustic barn and a toasty fire.

Horse Drawn Carriage Rides

If you feel like you’d rather stay in town and not venture far, but you’re still yearning for a Christmas in Leavenworth experience, not to worry. You’ll have the opportunity to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the main streets of Leavenworth.

We all know that Christmas shopping and the holidays themselves can be exhausting, but spending Christmas in Leavenworth doesn’t have to be. Take advantage of this fun activity that will have you feeling as jolly as Santa himself.

Try Winter Brews a Leavenworth Brewery

There are several spots for traditional Bavarian beers in Leavenworth, but 3 Can’t-miss brewery stops are the Doghaus Brewery, Blewett Brewing, and the Icicle Brewing Company. We love the quaint feeling of the Doghaus Brewery; it’s a small place with friendly staff. The only catch is that you need to check the hours they’re open because when we tried to go there on a Monday, they were closed.

Blewett brewery is always busy and serves up some spectacular food. Just stepping into this brewery makes my mouth water by the smell of their food.

Icicle Brewery is our favorite brewery to visit when we’re in Leavenworth. At the entrance, you’ll find inviting heat lamps to keep you cold during the winter days in Leavenworth. Once you enter the brewery and get past the main area of purchasing your beer, there’s a more laid-back side area and a large open space above. There are several tables and a photographic history of Leavenworth in the loft area above the bar.

We love chilling, playing games, and drinking good beer at Icicle Brewery.

Ski Leavenworth

Before heading out to the Christmas market in the evening, spend the day on the slopes. Whether you’re looking for downhill or cross-country skiing, you’ll find it at one of the local ski areas around Leavenworth. 

Stevens Pass

In the Cascade mountains of Washington, you’ll find Stevens Pass. Steven Pass is for the powder hounds looking for some great downhill skiing.

Mission Ridge

Mission Ridge is another great option for skiing and is located just a short distance from Leavenworth in Wenatchee.

Leavenworth Ski Hill

Located just 2 miles from downtown, this is an excellent place for the whole family to spend the day. Leavenworth ski hill has more than just skiing; you can:

  • Downhill ski or board
  • Nordic Ski
  • Fat Bike
  • Ski Jump

Leavenworth Ski Hill in The Evening

The lodge at the Leavenworth ski hill is open until 10 p.m. and serves as a hotspot for evening gatherings in the winter. There are two rope tows on the mountain, which provide nighttime skiing to people of all ages. After a couple of runs down the hill, retire to the lodge for some hot cocoa, beer, or wine. You can also cozy up by the outdoor firepits to warm up those cold fingers and toes.

Snowshoeing

If you’ve never tried snowshoeing, this is your chance to give it a shot. This wintery Christmas activity is a great way to get out in the Leavenworth snow and breath in the fresh mountain air.

Snowshoeing is an excellent activity for the entire family to enjoy during the snowy cold season. Snowshoeing takes you out into the wilderness, allowing you to breathe fresh air while floating on recently fallen snow for some fun exercise.

A snowshoe tour is a great way to see the mountains of Leavenworth, get some exercise while also learning about local history. The Snowshoe/Wine adventure is a popular snowshoe excursion. This trip allows tourists to play in the mountains and finish the tour with some fantastic local wine.

  • Lake Wenatchee State Park
  • Plain Hardware & Plain Valley Ski Trails
  • Wenatchee River
  • Stevens Pass
  • Leavenworth Ski Hill

For up-to-date information about snowshoeing in Leavenworth, check out this website. If you need rental equipment, click here for the various outdoor shops that offer rentals.

Snowmobiling

If you like adrenaline rushes, snowmobiling during your Christmas vacation in Leavenworth may be the ideal combination of thrills and making holiday memories if you didn’t bring your own snowmobile (highly unlikely), not to worry because there are plenty of snowmobile tour companies to take you out for some fun!

The beautiful Leavenworth Snowmobile Tours takes you on a guided journey through the Cascade Mountains as you glide past snow-covered fields and frosted trees. You’ll have your own guide who will show you an experience unlike any other.

Celebrate Christmas With the Leavenworth Village Voices

The annual Christmas concert by the Leavenworth Village Voices is a beautiful holiday memory for families. Check their website here to find out when they’re performing.

Gingerbread Factory

The Gingerbread Factory in Leavenworth makes delicious cookies, desserts, and all things gingerbread. This is a bustling place during the winter, with a line that extends out the door. The crew at this lovely shop is busy baking Christmas gingerbread cookies and houses for all the lovely tourists in town. This place really knows how to give Prancer a run for his sprinkles.

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

There’s no better place to check off the last items on your Christmas list than in Leavenworth. The shops in this charming village are bustling with great gifts for the whole family. Whether you’re searching for some artesian foods, hand-crafted goods, lovely pieces of art, or items for your kids, you’ll find everything you need in Leavenworth.

If you need some ideas of what to get your loved ones for the holidays, check out this Leavenworth marketplace list for shopping ideas.

Some of our favorite shops to visit in Leavenworth are:

  • Kris Kringle
  • Jubilee Global Gifts 
  • The Cheesemonger

Visit the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

I don’t think a Christmas in Leavenworth would be complete without seeing the Leavenworth Reindeers. Nestled in the Cascade foothills, this family-friendly farm offers guests the opportunity to get some one-on-one time with Reindeers. If you’re lucky enough to visit the farm before Christmas, you might be able to meet Santa Claus! Learn more about the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm here.

Drink Mulled Wine

It’s Christmas time, and what better way to “feel” the holiday spirit than with some delicious, hot spiced wine? Head over to the Christmas Market to try some mulled wined. The Christmas market also offers apple cider spiced with cinnamon sticks and nutmeg for those who are not big drinkers.

If you’re looking to drink Glühwein (Mulled wine/spiced wine) at a winery or tasting room, there are plenty of places to do this too! As you’re strolling the streets, keep your eyes open for tasting rooms with signs out front inviting you in for a hot glass of yumminess. We really enjoyed the cozy downstairs vibe of WooHoo Winery out of for our Glühwein experience.

Find Stocking Stuffers at Alps Candy Store

There is no shortage of yummy treats and sweets in Leavenworth. If you’re looking for a place to grab some last-minute stocking stuffers, you’ll find all sorts of quality items at this candy shop. The Alps Candy Store also has some odd-ball gifts you won’t find anywhere else if you’re on the search for some unique gift ideas.

Stroll Along Waterfront Park

A stroll along the river is an ideal way to spend Christmas in Leavenworth. With spectacular views of the snow-covered river and snow-capped mountains, this is one of Leavenworth’s best-kept secrets. The route passes through picturesque riverbanks and peaceful wooded areas along the Wenatchee River. For information about how to access the the River Walk, click here.

Where to Stay for Leavenworth’s Christmas Market

Are you looking for a Leavenworth Christkindlmarkt hotel? Here are some possibilities:

What to Eat at Leavenworth Christkindlmarkt

One of the best aspects of any Christmas market is the food, and the Leavenworth Christkindlmarkt isn’t an exception! While visiting vendor booths, keep an eye out for German Christmas market classics like…

  • Glühwein – Hot wine mulled in spices
  • Sausages of all kinds
  • Kartoffelpuffer/Reibekuchen – Potato pancakes
  • Roasted Chestnuts
  • Pretzls

FAQ About Leavenworth WA

How long does Leavenworth have Christmas lights up?

Leavenworth, Washington, has Christmas lights up from Thanksgiving through February.

Is there usually snow in Leavenworth in December?

Snow is not always a guarantee in December; there may be some, but your best bet for catching snow in Leavenworth is during January and February.

What is there to do in Leavenworth, Washington, in December?

There is plenty to do in Leavenworth, Washington, during the winter months. From skiing at Stevens or Mission Ridge o snowshoeing at Lake Wenatchee, there are a number of activities that are great for the whole family.

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