While hard to imagine, Leavenworth wasn’t always a thriving Bavarian themed tourist town. Our history reads like so many small western towns. Native Americans first hunted and fished our rivers and valleys. Eventually, pioneers settled seeking gold, furs and lush farmland. Near the end of the 19th century, the arrival of the rail line brought The Great Northern Railway Company’s tracks through Leavenworth and with them, opportunities for work, commerce and a bustling economy. A booming sawmill and logging industry kept Leavenworth a hub of commerce for decades… until the Great Northern Railway Company re-routed the railroad out of Leavenworth. Sadly, the logging industry fell apart and our small town faded like so many struggling rural towns in America.
In the 1960s, a determined community rallied to save this town. Inspired by our stunning Alpine scenery, community leaders embarked on a new vision for Leavenworth: A Bavarian themed tourist destination. Completely renovating the downtown area, community leaders created a series of festivals, drawing revelers into town. From there, the Autumn Leaf Festival, Maifest, and the immensely popular Christmas Lighting Festivals were born and continue to this day. Today, over 1 million visitors walk our streets, making Leavenworth the #2 destination town in Washington State.
Owning a home, condo or cabin near our treasured village tops the wish list for many investors. For starters, the scenery is simply stunning. Proximity to town affords easy access to groceries, retail shopping a host of delicious restaurants. Budding local breweries and winning wineries from all over Washington State dot our in-town streets. Indulgent spas, outdoor theatre and a blossoming framers’ market – it’s all right here. Yet, “townies” can be out of town and into the great outdoors in a heartbeat. Hiking, biking, world class rock and ice climbing, cross country skiing, river rafting, paddle boarding, tubing, golfing… all these pursuits are literally minutes from town.
Permitted Uses: Buyers contemplating a property within our city limits need to know a few things: To shield locals from the hustle and bustle of a busy tourist town, the City of Leavenworth does not permit overnight/vacation rentals within the city limits and the outlying Urban Growth Area. Translated, unless a home, cabin or condo is outside these areas and/or offers commercial zoning, owners can rent their Leavenworth property by the month, but not by the night. IF you purchase a home as your fulltime residence and would like to offset the holding costs renting a portion of your home in a “Air B&B or VRBO” format, you can, but you must obtain a conditional use permit first.