Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is a small city situated on the southeastern side of the North Cascades Mountains in Chelan County in the US State of Washington. The entire downtown of Leavenworth is modeled on a German Bavarian village. Leavenworth is a year-round tourist destination hosting several festivals, seasonal events, and recreational opportunities for thousands of tourists that visit this small German-inspired mountain town all through the year.

Geography Of Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: Mark A Lee / Shutterstock.com

The city of Leavenworth covers a total area of 3.24 sq. km, of which 0.05 sq. km is occupied by water and 3.19 sq. km is occupied by land. Leavenworth forms a part of the Wenatchee-East Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is located about 188km east of Seattle, at the meeting point of the Icicle Creek and the Wenatchee River, which is surrounded by the towering peaks of the North Cascade Mountains. During summer, the Icicle and Wenatchee rivers offer many recreational activities like canoeing, rafting, tubing, etc. The surrounding Cascade Mountain peaks also offer hiking and climbing opportunities for enthusiastic hikers and mountain climbers. During winter, visitors can enjoy ice climbing, skiing, and sleigh rides. Leavenworth is managed by a Mayor/City-Council form of government.

Climate

Lighting decorations in Leavenworth, Washington
Beautiful Leavenworth with lighting decoration in winter. Editorial credit: Checubus / Shutterstock.com

According to Köppen climate classification, the city of Leavenworth experiences a continental Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and freezing snowy winters. The warm season lasts from June to September, with July being the hottest month having an average high temperature of 27.2°C and a low temperature of 14.4°C. Due to the presence of the North Pacific anticyclone, the weather during the summer months is typically anticyclonic. Rainfall is also quite limited due to the combined effects of the anticyclone as well as the rain shadow effect of the Cascades. The cold season lasts from November to February, with December being the coldest month, having an average low temperature of -3.3°C and a high temperature of 1.1°C. The city receives an average annual precipitation of 25.07 inches and an average snowfall of 90.1 inches.

The Population And Economy Of Leavenworth

Tourists in Leavenworth, Washington
Many people come to visit and watch the Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: Puriwat W / Shutterstock.com

In 2019, the city of Leavenworth had a population of 2,375 people with a median age of 38.6. As of 2019, about 138 people (5.81% of the residents) of Leavenworth were born outside the country. The most common birthplace of the foreign-born residents of Washington is Mexico, followed by India and China. The largest ethnic groups in Leavenworth are the non-Hispanic White representing 85.2% of the city’s population, followed by the Hispanic White at 5.39%, Asians at 4.88%, other races at 1.98%, two and more races at 0.8%. All households in Leavenworth speak English as their primary language, and 98.9% of the city’s residents are US citizens.

As of 2019, the median household income in Leavenworth was $55,275, and the median property value was $355,600. The average car ownership in Leavenworth was two cars per household. The largest industries in Leavenworth include Accommodation and Food Services, Retail Trade, Health Care & Social Assistance.

Tourist Attractions In Leavenworth

Waterfront Park

Fall colors at Waterfront Park, Leavenworth, Washington
Fall colors at Waterfront Park, Leavenworth, Washington. 

Located just downhill from Commercial Street, Waterfront Park is one of the best-kept secrets of Leavenworth. The Waterfront Park Trail winds along the calm Wenatchee River and is shaded by the quiet riverbank forests. On hot summer days, the numerous small beach inlets throughout the park serve as a perfect place for swimming. One can also enjoy the area’s serenity by sitting on the park’s benches. The area also serves as an ideal place for birdwatching during the spring season and spot the salmons making their upstream journey during the fall season.

Front Street Park

A maypole in the town square of Leavenworth, Washington
A maypole rises high in the town square of Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: SNC Art and More / Shutterstock.com

Located at the heart of Leavenworth’s business district, Front Street Park is a beautifully landscaped park that provides a serene place to take a break and enjoy the surrounding scenery. The park features the city’s iconic old-fashioned gazebo and a traditional Maibaum (maypole). The park’s green lawns serve as a perfect place for family picnics, and during the summer and spring seasons, the park comes alive with lush green foliage and colorful flowers. The Front Street Park also serves as a venue for many events, including Art in the Park, Maifest, Leavenworth Wine Walk, Autumn Leaf Festival, Christmas Lighting Festival, and Bavarian Icefest.

Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

The famous Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington
 Sign for the famous Nutcracker Museum in downtown Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.com

The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, established in 1995 by George and Arlene Wagner, is a museum dedicated to nutcrackers. Located above the “Nussknacker Haus” shop and covering an area of 3,000 sq. feet, the museum’s Bavarian-style building houses more than 7,000 nutcrackers dating from prehistoric to modern times. The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum became a part of the National Heritage Foundation in 2001.

Brief History Of Leavenworth

Tourists in Leavenworth, Washington
Tourists have a souvenir photo taken in front of a beer wagon float in Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: Denise Lett / Shutterstock.com

The land of the present-day city of Leavenworth was initially inhabited by the Yakama, Wenatchi, and Chinook tribes. These tribes lived by hunting the deer and elks in the surrounding forests and salmons in the Icicle Creek. In 1890, white settlers started arriving in the area. In due course, the new settlers became interested in mining gold, skinning furs, and chopping down timbers. In 1892, the completion of the construction of the Great Northern Railway brought more settlers into this developing townsite referred to as “Leavenworth.” In 1903, Lafayette Lamb arrived from the city of Clinton to construct Washington’s second-largest sawmill. On September 5, 1906, the city of Leavenworth was officially incorporated. In the early 1900s, this tiny timber community became a regional office of the Great Northern Railway. However, the city’s economy was severely affected in 1925, when the railroad relocated to the city of Wenatchee. In the 1960s, the town’s people decided to give the city a complete makeover from a timber community to a popular tourist destination. Leavenworth gradually transformed into a “theme town” based on a German Alpine theme, with most of the buildings in the town’s center modeled on a German Bavarian village. The town’s mesmerizing theme is aptly supported by the Swiss Alp-like mountains surrounding the city that provide a European feel to the Pacific Northwest.

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