Leavenworth is an exceptionally family friendly town. We had no problems keeping our toddlers busy, happy and full. If your family is headed to the PNW or to Washington State, be sure to add a stop in Leavenworth. Whether you bring your baby, toddler, or teenager you will not be disappointed. There are toddler friendly hikes, ample playground space, a pedestrian friendly downtown area, bike rentals and even an indoor Activity Center for kids (in case of snow or rain!).
Washington State has so many hidden gems; from gorgeous alpine lakes to giant mountains to quaint farm side towns. We drove from Idaho to Leavenworth in September 2018. It was a moderate 3.5 hour drive and the changing landscape was incredible. As we entered the town of Leavenworth, I knew I had made the perfect choice for a 2 night stop over. The town itself is based off Bavarian culture. Everything from the welcome sign to the store fronts; the entire town looks and feels like Germany.
Here is all we experienced while visiting this amazing Bavarian town!
Day 1: Airbnb Check-in, Downtown Walk, Rhein Haus, Carriage Ride, Riverside Park
We arrived in Leavenworth to some GORGEOUS weather. We easily checked in to our Airbnb, unloaded and headed straight for downtown. We drove and parking is extremely limited downtown, so it took a bit to find a spot. We were starving so we headed straight to Rhein Haus for their famous Giant Pretzel. And it is GIANT. And Delicious. I highly recommend ordering that immediately. We chose to sit outside on their deck. We chose the seats that overlook downtown and the mountains. The wait staff was very attentive; they even brought the kids super cute kid cups with lids. I ordered a Rhein Brat which was so good. The kids shared my fries and helped me eat the brat and pretzel.
From Rhein Haus we walked down to Front Street where Charletta asked to go on one of the carriage rides. I normally would never agree, but this town is so Bavarian and I got sucked into it all. I asked her to choose between the carriage or ice cream and she chose the carriage. I forked over the $30 and off we went! The ride is only about 10 minutes. It takes you down Front Street, over to Commercial Street then back. Both kids absolutely loved it and I am really happy we did it. If you can get past the price, I would say definitely do it just for the gorgeous photos.
After we left our carriage ride, we walked along all the shops. We went in several before we decided to walk down toward Riverside Park. The park is actually pretty big. There are nicely taken care of trails, lots of people walking them and clean restrooms. Our intention was to walk over to Blackbird Island, but we ended up going down to the Wenatchee Riverfront. This stone covered lake bed is gorgeous. Pristine clear water with mountains in the background. We stayed for at least an hour letting the kids throw rocks in the water.
Once the sun started setting, we strolled back to the car and headed back to the Airbnb!
Day 2: Hike Colchuck Lake, Roodluf’s Pizza Und Brats
After about a month of looking at photos of Colchuck Lake, we woke up our second day and decided we were going to put the kids on our backs and hike to the lake. Online it says the hike is around 7.7 miles and about 2K ft elevation change. The trail head starts at about 3K elevation. We started the hike around 10:30 AM. The hike took us about 2.5 hours from trail head to the actual lake and it was HARD. Our GPS said it was actually 4.5 miles from trail head to the lake….meaning the entire hike was AT LEAST 9 miles. This does not include the hiking we had to do around the lake to see it from different sides. The lake itself is absolutely stunning. Clear bright blue water with jagged mountains set behind it. The water was freezing cold and the temperature outside was about 45*F. We met some other hikers, had some lunch, took some photos and rested before starting the trek out. It took us about 1.5 hours to get back to our car. We arrived back at our car around 5:20 PM…just before it started getting dark.
I would like to note that I DO NOT recommend this hike to families with small children. Unless you are extremely accustomed to mountain hikes while carrying a kid, wait until your child can hike up and out by themselves. I would rate it as a moderately difficult hike if you are not carrying a child in an out.
Once we got out we headed straight for pizza. We went to Roodluf’s Pizza und Brats where we ordered a large cheese pizza and a brat. Best meal ever after that hike! The food was delicious and it was ready quickly.
Day 3: Louie’s Cafe, Downtown Walk
We woke up on our last morning in Leavenworth and headed back downtown. We knew we wanted to get some breakfast and explore the shops some more before heading back to Idaho. We found Louie’s Cafe. The food was great, the coffee was great and the atmosphere was great. They are a family friendly establishment with kids cups, a kids menu and were willing to stow our strollers for us. The kids got some breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs. I got the breakfast wrap with fruit. The locals say it’s the best breakfast place in Leavenworth and I don’t think I could disagree! It was a good experience and delicious!
After getting super full, we hit the streets of Downtown Leavenworth. We went into several shops — one that sticks out is Kris Kringl. This store is incredible if you like Christmas Shops. The kids went crazy seeing all the decorations. There are so many different style shops along Front Street I feel like you could spend an entire day exploring them all.
After we finished shopping, we headed to the Wilkommen Leavenworth sign for some obligatory tourist photos. Then we stopped for about 20 minutes to let the kids play around Front Street Park before loading up and heading out.
While we only had a few days in Leavenworth, I could have spent at least a week there. The atmosphere is amazing. Since we ran out of time, I wanted to share some notable mentions we didn’t have time to experience:
Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
Hike Penstock Trail (Easy 2 mile Hike)
Leavenworth Fish Hatchery
Upper Valley Museum at Leavenworth
Leavenworth Summer Theater
The Gingerbread Factory
Visit during one of the MANY festivals Leavenworth hosts including Kinderfest
Icicle Junction Activity Center at Icicle Village
**If you can visit any time of year, I would go in December when the town is decorated for Christmas. This is what the town is most famous for, so book your accommodations EARLY!
No matter your age or interests, Leavenworth is going to have something for you. From beer brewing to skiing to unique shopping experiences this little Bavarian town has it all. Next time you’re planning a family vacation, consider adding Leavenworth to the list!
Have you ever visited Leavenworth? We would LOVE to hear about in the comments!
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