1. Leavenworth wasn’t always Bavarian. Originally called Icicle Flats, Leavenworth was first settled in about 1885 as a trading post. When the railroad came through in 1893, it became a thriving northwest frontier town … until the railway pulled out in the ’20s and with it, much of the lumber industry, sending the town into an economic downturn. In the ’60s, the idea to revive Leavenworth as a tourist theme town took hold, and the pristine alpine setting suggested the perfect motif: a Bavarian village. Town leaders and business owners came together to transform the appearance of Leavenworth into the Bavarian village you see today.
2. Leavenworth welcomes almost 2 million tourists each year. (Compare that to the city’s year-round population of just 2,260 people!) Perfectly situated in the North Cascades, there is plenty to do and see all year long, with 300 days of sunshine and recreational activities for every season:
Spring, Summer & Fall: Birding, Hiking, Rafting & Kayaking, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, Climbing, Cycling & Mountain Biking, Fishing, Golfing, Horseback Riding, River Tubing, Ziplines.
Winter: Dog Sledding, Ice Skating, Nordic Skiing, Skiing & Snowboarding, Sledding & Tubing, Sleigh Rides, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing.
3. Leavenworth is now the 2nd most popular tourist destination (after Seattle) in Washington state. The Christmas Lighting Festival attracts 100,000+ people in December alone. Many visitors make it an annual holiday tradition to see the village lit up with more than one million twinkling lights.
4. Leavenworth has the only ski jump on the West Coast. The Leavenworth Ski Hill held its first ski jumping tournament in 1929 and hosted the American championships in 1941, 1959, 1967, 1974 and 1978. Leavenworth’s own Ron Steele was the best placed American jumper in the 1972 Olympics. You can still try ski jumping here every winter!
5. Leavenworth is home to the Nutcracker Museum, which houses an incredible collection of more than 7,000 nutcrackers from around the world, dating from prehistoric to modern. Stop in, and you will be amazed at how many ways a nut can be cracked!
The charm of Leavenworth is irresistible! The delightful village holds new surprises every time you visit, from quaint shops, to creative restaurants, to wineries, pubs and cider houses—and of course, all things Bavarian, from brats to brews to lederhosen.
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