The image most northwesterners conjure up when they think of Leavenworth is the snow capped mountains surrounding a small, Bavarian themed village, looking like a snowglobe interior come to life. But what those people may not know is that Leavenworth becomes a scorching hot destination for the summer, and is perfect for singles, couples, and families of all sizes. Take a look at some of our favorite things to see and do in this beautiful town when the cold and snow are still months away.
The KOA Leavenworth site is just a few minutes drive out of the center of town and conveniently located right behind Safeway. That means you are just a stone’s throw away from gas and groceries at any time, despite feeling like you’re in the middle of the woods. A complimentary shuttle goes to and from downtown Leavenworth every two hours, so you also don’t have to worry about driving and parking.
The campground has over a dozen cabins available, all outfitted with a full kitchen, bathroom, cable TV, air conditioning, heating, and multiple sleeping arrangements. You could fit six people in the beds provided, and more on the floor if you bring sleeping bags or futons. Read more here..
Front Street is one of the premier places for restaurants in Leavenworth, and Mozart’s Steakhouse takes full advantage of its prime location. Sitting on an upper level, guests can dine in the comfort of the cozy rustic interior or bask in the sunny outdoors on a deck overlooking Front Street Park.
The food’s pretty great, as well! A full bar and menu of specialty cocktails will get you in the Oktoberfest mood in no time. The steak is cooked just to your liking, and paired with moist mashed potato for the perfect combo. If you like chicken, a variety stuffed with spinach and tomatoes makes for a healthier alternative. Dessert can’t be missed, and as usual we recommend our favorite, the chocolate cake.
Ever since Washington State experienced its explosion in wineries over a decade ago, the industry has grown to a billion dollar industry for the area. Even families began their own winemaking businesses, and the Wagoners were no exception. Established in 2002, Icicle Ridge combines the flair of homegrown sensibilities with big taste and uniquely Washingtonian flavors.
The original site in Peshastin features an ornate log cabin, but they additionally have two locations in downtown Leavenworth. Descend down a staircase into a literal wine cellar and you’re greeted by a distinct decor, some of which you almost want to take home with you along with the wine!
Their wide selection may seem overwhelming, but the guide on hand can walk you through everything on the menu. The diverse types of red, white, and dessert wines give you a lot of choice, and cater to your tastes. We had our hearts set on a red, but the second we tried the Blackberry type, our decision was made.
Beer, mead, and cider are must haves for those hot summer days your pals, and Bushel & Bee Taproom welcomes you into their hive. Typical pints are available, but we always love sampling the crop of the menu with a flight. Ciders are our favorite, and we couldn’t get enough of the lavender blend.
Stepping inside you’d think you’re in the basement of your beer enthusiast friend, with old style lighting and wooden beam walls adorning the side. The inside is rather dark, but provides a nice place to escape the sun if you need a break from it. A patio allows for outdoor enjoyment of the beverages, with humidified air streamed in above to keep patrons cool on those hot days.
Hang out with some friends and try some ciders and beers from all around the area. This is a place to go with a group, so make sure you have a large party along to take advantage of one of the dozens of board games or coloring books sitting around.
Tucked away inside the Obertal Mall, Argonaut Kitchen awaits any willing to take a chance and try a sandwich from a non chain store. Formerly the Schnitzel Boys sandwich shop, this stop was the sleeper hit of our Leavenworth stay. Most might not think much of the menu, thinking a sandwich store wouldn’t have much to offer. Anybody who underestimates this venue is going to be sorely mistaken!
The sandwiches range from vegan friendly like avocado with boiled egg to pescatary delights like the big tuna. We always love some fried chicken, so we went with the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, available in mild and spicy form! Additionally the pork sandwich is delicious, and with any choice of salad it makes for a very satisfying meal.
Sides include fries with a house made aioli sauce that can’t be missed, and coleslaw if the salads are too much food for you. Beverages range from typical sodas like Coke and Sprite, to unconventional like Mexican guava soda, and beer or cider options are available too.
On a hot day in the summer, nothing is better than heading with family or friends to the water to cool off. Swimming can be monotonous after a while though, so it’s always handy to have some water-going tools at the ready to spice up your next trip to the beach.
Last year we worked with Osprey Rafting and experienced a wonderful rafting trip that ended with a barbecue. But not everybody can handle the rapids and quick moving water of the Wenatchee River, so they also offer several day rentals for their equipment.
Kayaks, surfboards, and inflatable rafts are all available from Osprey. However, this year we wanted something different, so we picked out their paddle boards. Stand, kneel, sit, or lie down, their applications are numerous and accommodate people of all sizes.
The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and offered generous help in strapping the boards to the top of our small car. And when our lake fun was done, we could just deflate them and roll them up into bundles small enough to stuff into our backseat.
So the next time you’re planning a weekend getaway this summer, be sure to include Leavenworth in the conversation. It’s a fun place to visit in the winter and summer alike. Plus, with the summer temperatures and lack of skier traffic, driving through Snoqualmie Pass is a breeze.
**Huge thanks to Visit Leavenworth for assisting us with our trip!