Leavenworth is a beautiful city in Chelan County, Washington, that’s entirely modeled on a Bavarian village. While most cities hibernate during the winter months, Leavenworth comes alive. That’s why, if you’re looking for something fun to do before the festive season kicks off, it’s worth piling your family into your RV and heading to the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival.
This annual festival takes place in the cold, snowy main streets of Leavenworth. Half a million lights illuminate the township and night skies, while the snowy mountain village ushers you in with promises of festive fun, Christmas entertainment, an official lighting ceremony, and bus tours.
While watching the lights turn on for the first time is reason enough to visit the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival, so too are the many stores and businesses that ensure every weekend trip to Leavenworth is a memorable one.
You can enjoy musical performances in the Front Street Gazebo, handbell choirs, bands, strolling carolers, and even sledding in the Front Street Park if snow permits. Hot spiced wine and cocoa, visits from Santa, and cookie adventures for the kids are even more reasons to pay a visit.
For the adrenaline junkies in the family, the Leavenworth Christmas Festival is not going to be an event they will want to miss. Throughout weekends in December, they will able to partake in snowmobiling, tubing, sleigh rides, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more. Almost anything and everything relating to Christmas and winter is available in Leavenworth during December.
The village of lights, as it’s warmly known, is ready and waiting for your family to visit. Dust the snow off your RV, and start planning for a fun and festive vacation today.
While anyone can visit Leavenworth at any time of the year, tickets are also available for organized tours to the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival. These tickets not only include bus transport to and from Leavenworth, but snacks, boxed lunches or breakfasts, and coloring books with crayons for the kids. If you would like to minimize driving your RV in the snow, then it’s worth looking at your tour ticket options months before the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival begins.
It doesn’t matter whether you are driving from Washington, Portland, Seattle, or somewhere else, you are going to need your wits about you on the road. Heavy snowfall can create some challenging driving conditions, and full concentration is necessary at all times.
Monitor traffic information online via WSDOT to remain up to date with adverse weather conditions. This app can also alert you to congestion, accidents, and road closures. Take breaks when you need to, and apply snow chains as directed by local updates at the time.
Remember, the mountainous terrain near Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Mount Howard, and Dirtyface Peak means that road conditions can be far more challenging than in congested cities such as Seattle.
Christmas attractions are situated throughout Leavenworth during the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival, which means there is no set parking area for your RV. If you are self-driving to the event, allow extra time to find on or off-street parking. There is also a paid city lot that may accommodate your RV for a short period.
Not everyone feels all that comfortable about driving a large RV in the snow. As long as you book tour tickets months in advance, you can jump aboard the prearranged tour buses that take you to and from Leavenworth in a single day if you choose to camp outside of the small town.
Alternatively, there are park and ride services in Leavenworth, and options to park your RV at your accommodation and arrange a taxi or rideshare service to get to your chosen destination.
Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival is a city-wide event, which means there are no dedicated onsite camping areas for RV-goers. Even though you can’t camp in the center of town, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options at your disposal. Shop around, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what campgrounds you will find nearby in the mountain community.
If you visit the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival for a full weekend, rather than jumping aboard a one-day tour bus, then you’ll most likely be trying to find somewhere to stay with an RV.
The Leavenworth Pine Village KOA Holiday is an option in town, but there are also other RV parks and primitive RV camping opportunities in the small city. If you miss out on somewhere to stay in Leavenworth, then begin looking in the neighboring city of Wenatchee, which is bound to have some of the best places for RV camping in the region about 25 miles to the east.
Getting around the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival can depend on what you want to see and do on your visit to the city. If you just want to see the lights illuminate the street, then traveling on foot is fine. However, if you're going to explore the entire city, then driving your RV, walking, or cycling may be a far more convenient option.
Winter anywhere in the country does not promote confidence to wear light layers, but even less so when you visit Leavenworth. This mountainous city has cold and snowy winters, which means you will need to pack and bring all your best snow clothing. Mittens, hats, scarves, snow boots, and jackets are all not things you will want to leave behind. Bring plastic bags for wet clothing and plenty of spare changes to ensure you’re toasty and warm at all times.
If you are going to be wandering the streets of Leavenworth during the Christmas Lighting Festival, then pack a bag with all those necessary items to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. You’ll, of course, need cash and payment cards for a spot of Christmas shopping, but an extra pair of socks and a camera or mobile phone can also be quite convenient as you navigate the city streets. You can leave everything else, such as your camping and cooking equipment, in your secure RV until you return.
With temperatures that can reach as low as zero degrees-Fahrenheit, and sometimes lower, it’s paramount to put your health and safety to the fore. Carry a warm drink with you at all times, any prescription medication you might need, and drinking water to remain hydrated. Even though you’ll be unlikely to see any sunshine, sunscreen on your nose and lip balm on your lips can prevent windburn and alleviate skin discomfort.
From fajitas and stews to chili, burritos, and shepherd’s pie, you are going to want to prepare some of the heartiest winter meals on your RV travels around Leavenworth and surrounding cities. You can stock up on supplies along U.S. Highway 2 in Leavenworth, including gas for your onboard appliances. At some RV campgrounds, you can also make use of communal kitchens if you need a little bit more space to work your culinary magic.
If you can barely feel your hands, let alone prepare a family meal, then why not allow a welcoming Leavenworth business owner to take care of it for you? While you explore the city, you can retreat into the warming environment of any of the food businesses that grace the city.
Follow the wafting aroma of baked bread to the local bakery, or enjoy a strong espresso or two at the local café. There are also fast food outlets and privately-owned businesses that are more than able to fill your stomach and warm your soul.
While permanent business owners will be more than willing to offer goods and services during the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival, there will also be plenty of temporary ones selling Christmas goods as well. Tents will be lining the main streets during the festival, so make sure you bring plenty of cash to purchase a trinket or two to take home with you.
While everyone is in the festive, jolly spirit, it’s helpful to know where and how you can access police assistance if you need it. If you have any queries, complaints, or concerns during your visit to Leavenworth, then you will find the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department near the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth, near U.S. Highway 2.
It’s not bathing suit weather in Leavenworth during winter in December, that’s for sure. While temperatures during the day can be reasonably comfortable at around 33 degrees-Fahrenheit, they can drop below freezing at night.
Make sure you bring more than enough food and water onboard your RV in case of travel delays, and never travel without your snow chains. If you don’t feel confident to carry on in adverse weather, then pull over. Local traffic and weather apps can provide the necessary information you need to make safe traveling decisions.
Cold, wintry weather can take its toll on anyone. If you find yourself in need of medical assistance at any time, you will find a very accommodating medical center near Waterfront Park by Wenatchee River. If it’s an emergency, dial 911. You can also top up your first aid kit for your return journey at the local pharmacy on U.S Highway 2 in Leavenworth.