8.8 out of 10

Leavenworth

47.5929429904773 -120.660798087248
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Public Transport
  • Childcare
  • Medical Facilities
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Jun 24, 2016

"Outdoor destination and Washington's "Bavarian Alps""

Leavenworth is a mountain town ruled by two things: the tourists and the seasons.

Just on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, on highway 2, a few decades ago it was transformed into a German/Swiss-style mountain town, complete with sausage restaurants, an accordion festival, latticed siding, and Octoberfest.

The Tourists:
Tourism is what makes this town run. People come from all over the country to enjoy the outdoor activities in a more comfortable setting than a tent (thought theres plenty of camping too). The busy seasons are around the holidays, during their multiple festivals, and all summer. Spring and fall are a bit quieter.

The Winter:
Winter in Leavenworth can be a magical place. Christmas lights cover the buildings, and the snow collects on rooftops and trees. There are Christmas festivals and plenty of activities like sledding and music shows.

But one of the main reasons people come here is not just to enjoy the townits to ski or snowboard. Leavenworth has 3 ski resorts within an hours drive (in good conditions) Stevens Pass, Leavenworth Ski Hill, and Mission Ridge. Employees from those resorts often live in Leavenworth, as well as all the local hospitality staff that serve the tourists.

The not so magical part? Getting here in the winter. Highway 2 is a two lane, winding mountain pass that causes more than a few serious accidents each year. Of course, the best time to visit Leavenworth and the ski resorts is also the worst time for the roads. Make sure you are carrying chains, check that they fit ahead of time, and know how to use them. Ideally, have snow tires as well.

The Summer:
During the hotter months, Leavenworth is a destination for hiking, backpacking, rafting, climbing, and basically any other sports you can do in the mountains or on a river. Icicle Creek Road leads to the most popular area, and all the campgrounds are usually full by Friday morning. The backpacking is so popular that for the highly popular area called The Enchantments, you have to enter a very competitive lottery system in order to secure a permit to stay overnight during the summer. Day hikers do not need a permit.

Surprisingly, Leavenworth is also a destination town for bachelor/ette parties. Perhaps its because the downtown is so small you can easily do a pub crawl, and there is usually more than one live music show on the busy weekends.

There is also a weekend craft fair in the summers, which is well known for having stunning, affordable photography for sale, among other art trades.

As a Washington native, its not somewhere I visit regularly, but I usually find myself there a couple of times a year or so, especially in the summer. The last two summers though, weve had the worst wildfire seasons in state history, and one fire got dangerously close to town. You can see the singed trees on one side of the highway now on your way there. Lets hope it doesnt happen again!
Pros
  • Great outdoor recreation
  • Close to ski resorts
  • Fun events
Cons
  • Dangerous winter driving conditions
  • Limited amenities for locals
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More