Man oh man I have been dying to write this post for the past few weeks and now I finally have the time to get started on recapping Ian and I’s most recent trip to Leavenworth, Washington! For those of you who have not already heard about Leavenworth, you are in for a treat!
(NOTE: If reading a long recap post is not your thing, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see my favorite spots from Leavenworth for recommendations on where to stay, eat, & drink)
After spending a weekend in Seattle with one of my best friends and her family last year, I learned about Leavenworth’s Bavarian influence and Christmas charm. Being only approximately 2 hours from Seattle, we planned on visiting Leavenworth with my friend’s family but ended up deciding against it due to Ian and I needing to drive an additional 5 or so hours to get back to Portland from Leavenworth. Since then, I have been dying to go and visit Leavenworth but just have not had the time or, to be honest, the motivation to make the 5 hour trek up there.
For my birthday this year, Ian thought it would be awesome to book a trip to Leavenworth and I am so glad he did! Shortly after booking our trip we found out that we would be moving to Chicago, so I was more than excited to finally have the chance to explore Leavenworth before leaving the PNW (Pacific Northwest – for those of you folks not from around here 😉 ).
One of the awesome perks I have at my company is getting PTO (paid time off) for my birthday, so I saved my day off for Friday so that Ian and I spend a three-day weekend in Leavenworth. To give us enough time to explore on Friday, we hopped on the road around 9 am or so and of course grabbed our favorite road-trip fuel – coffee from Dutch Bros. Oh how I will miss Dutch Bros when we move!
And of course we made sure to bring Winston along with us!
After 5 hours or so of driving… and a pit stop at Target because I am smart and forgot to bring deodorant and dog-poop bags, we made it into Leavenworth! Ian and I were absolutely blown away by how beautiful the town was nestled in between mountains AND how every building was built with their Bavarian theme in mind. I mean, even their McDonalds looked like it belonged in Bavaria!
Before jumping straight into exploring, Ian and I headed over to our hotel to check in and get situated. We chose to stay at the Bavarian Ritz for a few reasons being that they were: one of the most reasonably priced hotels, walking distance from everything we wanted to see AND dog-friendly! It was everything we were looking for!
Although our room was pretty old and not the most luxurious, it was extremely comfortable 🙂
I think Winston even enjoyed our room!
After checking into our hotel and getting situated, we headed out to explore town and grab dinner. After reading raving reviews about the München-Haus, we decided to begin our night there.
Once at München-Haus we ordered our bratwursts and headed on in to find a table and grab a beer.
Unlike many restaurants, München-Haus only offers outdoor seating. Seeing that this fun spot to grab a brat & beer is nestled in a mountain town with heavy tourism traffic around the holidays, it offers a few fire pit tables for guests to nestle up to while enjoying the company of those around them. Being the cold blooded person I am, I quickly snagged a spot at one of the tables with a fire pit. The couple sitting at the end of the table did not seem too pleased to share a table with us… but they are beer haus styled tables meant to foster community! SO I did not care 🙂
And while there food selection is not very abundant in options, Ian and I enjoyed the simplicity of their food. We both ordered a brat AND a pretzel to share with, get this, BEECHER’S cheese. For those of you who have never been to Seattle and have tried Beecher’s cheese.. just know that it is amazing. If you are dying to try this cheese for yourself and do not have the time to make a quick trip over to Seattle for Beechr’s cheese, you can order it online here and try it for yourselves. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.
München-Haus also has a local beer selection featuring beer from Icicle Brewing AND more mustard than you can even imagine. They must have had 20 different types of mustards there. It was great. Can you tell how excited I was to be there by the photos above?? 😂
I mean just look at how much mustard they have there!! ^
After enjoying our beer and brats, we decided to walk around town and look inside all of the adorable shops.
Aaand oh my gosh when I said they were adorable, I meant it! I loved how cozy their shopping experience was! Thankfully, Oregon’s lack of sales tax deterred me from spending lots of money here due to not wanting to pay Washington’s sales tax 😂
After walking down the strip of downtown Leavenworth, we stumbled upon Icicle Brewing and just could not resist stopping in 😉
Inside, there was live music playing, people sipping on their beers and enjoying each others company, people reading books, friends playing board games provided by Icicle Brewing, and so much more. There was so much energy there and I absolutely adored being there!
It was honestly a blast hanging out there. Ian and I tried their beer, played games, looked at their books, and enjoyed one anothers company. It was a really nice night 🙂
After hanging out at Icicle Brewing, we began our journey back to our hotel. I couldn’t help but gawk at how beautiful Leavenworth was at night. I can only imagine how much prettier this town looks during Christmas time at night because they were just beginning to put up the Christmas lights while we were in town.. so what you see in my photos is no where near how gorgeous it gets during the holidays. If Ian and I were not moving in two weeks.. I would probably drive back here to get myself in the Christmas spirit!
On our journey back to the hotel we stumbled upon another gem in Leavenworth and just had to venture in.
Inside it was cozy and like many of the restaurants in Leavenworth, full of life. Ian and I chose to sit at their bar and watch a little football while taking everything around us in. We even tried Rhein Haus’s poutine and it did not disappoint.
Ian was also very into their Bavarian beer portions 😂
After hanging out at Rhein Haus for a bit, we finally headed back to the hotel and crashed. It was such a fun day but I was absolutely pooped by the end of the day!
Unfortunately, Winston was not as comfortable in the hotel room as he is when at home… so he made sure to wake me up every two hours by jumping on top of me. After waking up every two hours and then trying to fall back asleep, I finally gave up and decided to head out for a morning walk with Winston. I love catching the sunrise and being out when everyone else is asleep, so I was actually not too upset that I was up so early while on vacation.
And wow was it gorgeous outside that morning. The sun was hitting the mountains and the air was nice and crisp. It was such a perfect fall morning 🙂
I still can’t get over how beautiful it was there. Looking at all of these photos again is making me want to go back again!
Seeing that I was one of the few people up and outside that morning, I was able to get photos of Leavenworth & Winston without crowds of people in the background. It was awesome. Winston and I strolled around town in peace while joggers ran by and waved at us to say good morning. It was such a nice morning. I need to get up early more often!
After our walk, we headed back to the hotel room. I was beginning to get hungry and wanted coffee, so I woke Ian up. We then headed down the street to an adorable coffee stand I walked by with Winston earlier that morning. I was so tempted to grab a coffee to take on my walk with Winston, but I knew that Ian would not want to miss out on that.
Turns out, it was good that I waited for Ian to wake up before grabbing coffee. This cute little coffee stand, called Argonaut Espresso Bar, ended up being one of our favorite places in Leavenworth!
While this stand is quite small and lacked indoor seating, it was actually an extremely cozy place to hangout. Seeing that it gets cold during the fall and winter months in Leavenworth, they left out blankets for guest to keep warm while enjoying their coffee with a view.
If I could have, I think I would have hung out there all day. It was so nice drinking coffee and eating breakfast outside with the mountains and beautiful fall trees in the background.
I also could not get over their adorable coffee cup stamp. I loved that the design was somewhat simple but yet detailed. I also loved their slogan at the bottom of the design which read, “small but mighty”. I think I have always felt “small but mighty” which brought this stamp even closer to my heart. They truly are a small business, but man were they mighty in their menu selection and customer experience. Everyone eating there appeared to be having a great time 🙂
I also loved being able to enjoy not only Ian’s company while eating breakfast, but also Winston’s 🙂 I love dog-friendly establishments.
Not to mention, their breakfast sandwiches are ridiculous. Wow. I would love to have another one right about now 😂
After enjoying coffee and breakfast at Argonaut Espresso Bar, we spent our morning walking around town and checking out more of Leavenworth’s boutiques. We eventually stumbled upon Leavenworth’s Danish Bakery and could not resist going inside.
From outside the bakery we could smell their cinnamon bread and just knew that we needed to try one of their bakery treats. It smelled absolutely amazing inside. I may have drooled.
However, rather than wanting to try their cinnamon bread.. I wanted a bite of their strawberry danish.
Looking back, I am glad that I tried their strawberry danish but I kind of regret not trying their cinnamon bread or bringing a loaf home. There was just too much for us to try in Leavenworth!
Seeing that we had just enjoyed breakfast, Ian and I decided to split a danish just so that we could try it out. Holy moly it was good but I am glad we chose to split it because it was very rich and filling.
After enjoying our danish, we were back outside exploring!
And guys. There is a Christmas shop in Leavenworth… and it was incredible. I know that it is not Thanksgiving yet.. but I could not resist going inside. I can only imagine how fun this shop is during the Holidays! It was only October when we went inside and it was absolutely packed inside. In fact, I think I almost ran over a kid while looking around. Oops.
I am not going to lie guys, I think I was more excited inside Kris Kringle than the children were inside. Poor Ian had to deal with me zipping around the shop oohing and aahing at everything. It was awesome. I would love to come back here during the Holidays ❤
Eventually, we worked up an appetite again, so we decided to try out another beer haus. I don’t even want to know how bad all of this food was for us this weekend.. but hey, we were on vacation.. right?
And let’s not keep tabs of how much beer we drank over the span of 2 days.
And again, after eating we did some more walking around and exploring!
I just could not get over how beautiful it was outside 🙂
During our stay in Leavenworth, we both were shocked by how many dogs were in town. We had wanted to bring Winston with us for our trip but had no idea how many other dog owners had the same idea as us. To be honest, I was a little worried about Winston being able to join us in our activities around town but was taken for a surprise when discovering how dog-friendly Leavenworth was. Most restaurants there had dog-friendly seating areas and a handful of stores even allowed dogs inside with the exception of keeping your dog on a leash or in your arms. Ian and I did not want to risk Winston accidentally knocking over merchandise in stores, so we opted out of bringing him in. However, while looking around the boutiques I was surprised to see a few dogs wandering around with their owners. It was crazy!
If you have a dog and are thinking about venturing out to Leavenworth, I would highly recommend bringing them along if you enjoy their company and don’t want to leave them at home or a kennel!
Winston absolutely adored all of the attention he got while walking around town 🙂
And then guess what we did next?
We ate more food and drank more beer. Again, let’s not think about how unhealthy that weekend was 😂 We had a blast and that is all that mattered!
We also really enjoyed hanging out at Rhein Haus, so we couldn’t help wandering back there.
The back deck on our hotel also had a gorgeous view.. so we just had to take photos there 🙂
We then headed back to Rhein Haus to watch the Oregon Ducks play. They have board games on the second floor, which is where we chose to sit, so we played a few rounds of Sorry! Ian had never played Sorry! before, so we had a blast playing the game together. I love when restaurants offer board games to play 🙂
We then finished off our night by visiting the Gingerbread Factory where we split one of their German Chocolate Heaven cookies and let me tell you, if Heaven had a taste, this cookie would be it. WOW.
They also had gingerbread dog treats, so I just had to get Winston one to try 🙂
Sunday morning we kicked off our last day in Leavenworth by enjoying complementary hotel coffee on the deck and then by grabbing breakfast again at Argonaut Espresso Bar. I just could not get over how impressed I was by their coffee and atmosphere. Nothing beats a crisp morning with a warm cup o’ Joe & beautiful mountain scenery.
We were not the only ones with that idea though. Argonaut Espresso Bar was buzzing with people enjoying coffee. In fact, by the time Ian and I had arrived, they were out of their breakfast sandwiches! The early bird really does get the worm. Too bad we weren’t the early birds Sunday morning!
That was fine with me though. I honestly just wanted some espresso in my system before hitting the road. Ian was feeling a matcha latte so he ordered one instead of a regular old latte. After trying a sip of his latte.. I kind of wish I ordered the same!
Winston loved hanging out with us and looking for people to pet him. He’s such an attention hog. I am sure he would do anything to have a stranger pet him.
And again.. I could not stop admiring their coffee cup stamps. GAH I love it so much!!
Shortly after enjoying our last time at Argonaut we headed on back to Portland!
So there you have it! A cozy birthday weekend spent in Leavenworth. For those of you who are dying to check Leavenworth out for yourself, here is a quick list of recommendations for when you are in town:
Leavenworth Travel Recommendations:
Hotel – The Bavarian Ritz Hotel
If you are looking for a budget hotel with a killer view and location I would recommend staying here! It is not the most luxurious hotel but man was it convenient. Everything is within walking distance AND they are dog-friendly!
I also heard that the Icicle Village Resort was a nice spot as well, so this might be a better option if you are looking for a place with more amenities.
Restaurants – Rhein Haus
Rhein Haus was by far Ian and I’s favorite restaurant to frequent while in Leavenworth. The atmosphere was cozy and cabin-like. The food was warm and comforting. They also had TVs inside for watching sporting events and board games to play. We also loved their outdoor patio seating which was dog-friendly AND had the coolest fire-top tables to keep us warm while eating outside. If you decide to give this place a try, I would recommend trying their poutine which was recommended to us by their staff.
München-Haus was also a favorite of ours. The have a large selection of mustards to try AND serve Beecher’s cheese with their soft pretzels. Food recommendation: pretzel w/ Beecher’s cheese.
Brewery – Icicle Brewing
Icicle Brewing also has dog-friendly seating AND has often has live music. Ian and I had a blast enjoying one of their beers while listening to a local group of musicians perform. They also have board games and books their to enjoy and are family-friendly until 10 PM every night. Be sure to check their website for upcoming events and new beer creations.
Coffee – Argonaut Espresso Bar
Hands down, this was my favorite spot in Leavenworth. Their coffee is delectable and their breakfast sandwiches are from out of this world. If you are into drinking a great cup of coffee while gazing out to the beautiful mountainside, this place is for you!
This one is honestly a toss up. The Gingerbread Factory was absolutely adorable inside and had so many drool-worthy treats to choose from but the Danish Bakery made mean danishes AND had insanely popular cinnamon bread to purchase. I can’t decide which one was better than the other, so I would recommend splitting a treat or two at both. If you are looking for a more “Instagram-worthy” place to take a photo, definitely head to the Gingerbread Factory. It has a fairytale-esque feel to it and lots of cute booths and tables to enjoy a treat at.
As for your best friend with four-legs, be sure to pick up a dog treat from the Gingerbread Factory. Their dog treats smell like real gingerbread and from how much Winston seemed to enjoy his treat, I think they are pretty darn tasty.
- For cheaper hotel rates go during their off season during the spring & summer.
- Most restaurants here are dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your dog along if you don’t want to put your dog in a kennel or ask someone to watch them.
- Be prepared to see lots of sausage and pretzels on restaurant menus. This can make eating out with dietary restrictions a little trickier.
- If you are not into crowds but must go during peak season, head outside anywhere from 7 – 9 am for clear sidewalks and lots of parking.
- Bring warm clothing, especially if you are visiting during fall or winter months. If you happen to forget a jacket or hat, there will be plenty of them sold in their shops but they are not going to be sold at budget prices.
- The Waterfront Park is a gorgeous place to walk around and during the fall is full of beautiful autumn leaves. I would highly recommend taking a stroll here first thing in the morning.
Leavenworth was such a beautiful city to visit. I hope that you all enjoyed reading this post and consider making a trip out there one day for yourselves. If Ian and I were still going to be in the PNW this holiday season we probably would have made a trip back.
While Ian and I covered a lot while in Leavenworth, there is still so much more to do! They have reindeer farms, a nutcracker museum, festivals, spas, wineries, skiing and so much more.
A few questions for you:
~ Have you ever been to Leavenworth, Washington?
~ What would you want to see or do most in Leavenworth?
~ Travelling with your dog – yay or nay?
~ Is there somewhere you have visited in the past and would love to re-visit?