Welcome to Leavenworth, WA! At just around 2,000 people, the town may be tiny, but it’s certainly got a big reputation. As a small turn-of-the-century timber town, it soon gained acclaim as the headquarters for the Great North Railroad. Sadly, after the railroad relocated just a little over a decade later, Leavenworth’s economy plummeted. It took nearly 40 years for the community rally together to find ways to revitalize the struggling town. The Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone (AKA “LIFE”) Committee was formed to explore creative ways to get the place back on its feet. Then comes Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, two Seattle businessmen, with one heck of an idea…a theme town.


Price and Rodgers took some members of the committee down to Solvang, California, a Danish-themed town that was a hotspot for tourists. The committee was sold. Leavenworth was going to become a “theme town.” The first building that went up in the traditional Bavarian design was the Chikamin Hotel, which was renamed “Edelweiss” (the Bavarian state flower).

Today, Leavenworth is an incredibly popular tourist destination. Home to a Nutcracker Museum (which houses over 5,000 nutcrackers!), a massive annual Oktoberfest, and it’s been declared “the Ultimate Holiday Town” in America.

Today when you visit you’ll see that it quite literally is a Bavarian village trapped in time in the American Pacific Northwest.



  1. My last time through there I saw a sign in front of a “German” restaurant that said “Special Today – Sushi”. Hmmm, German sushi huh?

  2. As a graduate of Wurzburg American HS in the 60’s we had a reunion in Levenworth about 7 yrs ago. Wonderful time, food, Beer and scenery . We also have a “German” ex- timber town in north Georgia. By the name of Helen. I did a HS class reuion there 9 yrs ago. Thees are two really fun towns.

  3. I have been here a few times and automatically fell in love with it. It was right before Oktoberfest, so everyone and every place was gearing up for the event. There is a Nutcracker Museum (I collect Nutcrackers, so that seemed like a no brainer!!) Then we went and had brats and drinks, with homemade sauerkraut…..to die for!!! So many quaint shops and the costuming……..I wanted to join right in!!!! Definitely a place to put on your travel list for sure!!! I took some pictures just right outside of Leavenworth, which is also beautiful, and put them on my website!! Favorite places to go for pictures too!!! Can’t wait to go back next year!!!!

  4. Good for a weekender. Lots of local wine tasting rooms, a vodka distillery and a brewery, as well as many tourist shops, icecream and candy stores. Hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and rafting near by! Few minutes out of town are some wineries and antique shops. Cute little town, worth a stop.


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