Leavenworth draws visitors for many reasons, some come for festivals, outdoor adventures, or wine tasting, and most enjoy the Bavarian ambiance and picturesque scenery. But some of the best kept secrets are nestled in the shops and eateries that line the downtown streets. Shops range from specialty foods and handmade goods, to boutique clothing and quirky souvenirs, but they are much more than your stereotypical gift store, there are real gems to be found. Spending an afternoon exploring the many shops in Leavenworth is a delight, but everyone knows you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach. The Bavarian town’s old-world charm is complimented by a Pacific Northwest influence and it shows in the local cuisine, which ranges from traditional brats, pretzels, and kraut, to more modern takes on farm-to-table and fusion cuisine. Nothing beats dining in Leavenworth.
Whether you’re planning for a night, a weekend, or a week, you’ll want to experience at least one of Leavenworth’s restaurants, we recommend them all!
DINERS, DRIVE-INS, AND KNEIPES (DIVES)
Experience what the locals already know is the best breakfast in town when you dine at Louie’s Cafe. Or experience a taste of Leavenworth history at the Heidleburger Drive-In, serving burgers and shakes since 1970. Valley Cafe is another great option, a colorful eatery offering gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
THE BEST GERMAN FOOD THIS SIDE OF DEUTSCHLAND
It’s pretty much mandatory to have an authentic German meal while in Leavenworth. With several options on the list, you’ll find Andreas Keller Restaurant and Rhein Haus. Munchen Haus also serves German fare —don’t miss the Bavarian Pretzel, served warm with a side of cheese sauce. Ludwig’s is home to an authentic biergarten, and Baren Haus, serves up bratwurst and schnitzel.
While the Bavarian influence is undeniable, Leavenworth’s chefs and restaurateurs also celebrate the many culinary delights grown in and around the town. Some of the Northwest’s top restaurants call Leavenworth home, and are making their mark with locally sourced dining experiences. Check out Mana, only open on the weekends, it serves a five-course prix-fixe menu that lasts approximately two hours and is an experience in and of itself. The Watershed Cafe is a farm-to-table delight, and Larch in downtown Leavenworth is a can’t miss, with dishes like hibiscus and pink peppercorn crusted steelhead risotto, or charred orange beurre blanc, and a papaya salad.
It’s Christmas all-year long at The Gingerbread Factory. Not to be outdone, the Danish Bakery serves three types of strudel (cherry, apple, and raspberry cream cheese) as well as other pastries and sweets for the perfect Bavarian treat. Don’t skip the ice cream at Whistlepunk Ice Cream Co., makes all of its small-batch premium ice creams from scratch.
EINKAUFEN (GET YOUR SHOP ON!)
After your meal and a stroll along the waterfront trail, it’s time to hit the streets of Leavenworth where you won’t just shop, you’ll discover. Find treasures expected in the Bavarian Village from nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, and beer steins, to music boxes and holiday decorations. Explore artisan aromatherapy with handcrafted soaps and candles, and tantalize the taste buds with specialty chocolates, cheeses, meats, and sweets. Shop racks of boutique clothing and jewelry, and get outfitted in the latest outdoor gear for your adventures in the Cascades. Here are a few stops to get you started.
PICKLED, PEPPERED, AND PRESERVED
Enjoy the best of artisan food offerings at one of Leavenworth’s specialty shops. Cheese lovers unite at The Cheesemonger, offering up a wide variety of specialty cheeses from all over the world. Treat yourself at Fudge Hut with a variety of traditional and out of the box flavors. The Little Kitchen Shop supplies home chefs with kitchen staples, linens, and cookbooks, and at The Oil and Vinegar Cellar you’ll find high-quality oils and vinegars to wow your next dinner guests.
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
The Community Cupboard storefront doubles as a thrift store and food bank, where you can donate non-perishable food items then head to the racks for vintage treasures. Shop products crafted by artisans from around the world at Jubilee Global Gifts, the non-profit organization has beautiful clothing, jewelry, candles, home goods, and more.
BAVARIAN BROWSING AND HOLIDAY CHEER
It’s the most wonderful time of year at Kris Kringl in Leavenworth, where you’ll find personalized ornaments and holiday cheer, any day of the year. At the Nutcracker Lady you’ll find, well… nutcrackers, along with German ornaments and figurines. And throughout town, you’ll also find plenty of alpine inspired souvenirs at one of the many gift shops.
FOR THE KIDDOS
The Taffy Shop has satisfied sweet tooths in Leavenworth since 1987, while the handcrafted wooden puzzles and toys at The Wood Shop make the perfect souvenir. Don’t miss A Book For All Seasons, a small independent bookstore and one of Leavenworth’s best-kept secrets.
We know you’ll find something to satisfy your palate and fill your shopping bag in Leavenworth, but more importantly we hope the Bavarian charm and warm hospitality from Leavenworth’s restaurants and merchants are an experience of their own merit.