A few hours northeast of Seattle lays the curious Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington. This town imitates the architecture, beauty and culture of a small German mountain town from the costumed servers to the great beer. It makes a great opportunity to get out of Seattle and see something completely different. To get there it is a scenic three-hour drive over the mountains from Seattle, or a train ride, if you prefer.

The first question that might come to mind when hearing about a Bavarian village in the Cascade Mountains of Washington is what it might be doing there. No, there is not a small pocket of German immigrants hidden in the high peaks. Rather, Leavenworth was just another town that was down and out as the timber and mill industries moved on to a newer, cheaper location. In order to pump new money into the town’s economy and give it a sustainable industry, it revamped itself from mill town to Bavarian village tourist town. It has been highly successful in doing this and has managed to make Leavenworth a great place to visit.

The main activity for tourists in Leavenworth is strolling the main drag, admiring the Bavarian buildings and their mountainous backdrop. On the main street one can encounter any number of restaurants serving up great German-style beer, both locally brewed and imported. Accompany this with a delicious bratwurst for the full experience and you’ll probably get served by a staff member in a dirndl or lederhosen!

When in Leavenworth there is no shortage of shops filled with souvenirs and knick-knacks, but tourists also have the option to enjoy the beautiful natural settings of Leavenworth with opportunities to go river rafting in the summer or skiing in the winter.

The best time of year to visit is during any of the many festivals, the most famous of which is Oktoberfest, the festival of beer. Said to be one of the largest outside of Germany, this is a fantastic celebration. The more family friendly Apple Festival is also a big draw for the town of Leavenworth.