Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth, WA

Christmas Lighting Festival
In Leavenworth

The Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth brings families from Washington State and all over the Pacific Northwest to Leavenworth every year. Leavenworth's Bavarian theme and mountain setting make it the perfect place to capture the magic of the Christmas season. Located east of the Stevens Pass Summit on Highway 2, Leavenworth is at only about 1200' elevation. So, while the snow often flies in December, it's usually fairly moderate in temperature. There may be a fresh fall of snow in the village, but only enough to make things pretty, and not usually enough to keep tens of thousands of people from making a visit to Leavenworth part of their holiday traditions. Wear boots and have hats and gloves handy. Dressing in several light layers will provide the most flexibility as you stroll the village and go into and out of shops along Front Street.

The Christmas Lighting Festival takes place on the first three weekends of December. The village begins to fill on Friday evenings, but the lights on trees and buildings (placed by city staff and volunteers over the preceding weeks) remain darkened. On Saturday the air is filled with the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. Shops, restaurant and inns throughout Leavenworth are completely decked out for the holidays. You'll find fresh roasted chestnuts and other delicious sweets and treats. Christmas characters like St. Nicklaus, and Santa and Mrs. Claus stroll, greeting visitors to Leavenworth. Live music floats over the village from the Gazebo in the middle of town. On Saturday and Sunday evenings on each weekend the Lighting Ceremony begins at 4:30. As dusk falls over the village the buildings, gazebo, and trees come alive with countless sparkling lights in a rainbow of colors, as visitors and townspeople gather to sing Silent Night. It's a magical place to be.

Many area hotels offer Christmas Lighting Festival and Winter Packages and specials. Visit our Stay page for links to every type of lodging. Many hotels are booked up long in advance for Friday and Saturday nights in December. But some will have last minute cancellations. We've had very good luck booking rooms for Sunday and Monday nights. This is our favorite itiinerary. We arrive in Leavenworth on Sunday in the early afternoon. This gives us time to check in and get something to eat in the village before the ceremony at dusk. Then we may see a play or enjoy a quiet dinner as the town empties of visitors. On Monday the shops are open and the town is quieter. We get a lot of Christmas shopping done on Monday and on Tuesday morning before leaving for home. It's a great time to be in our favorite town.

Be sure you make time to visit Kris Kringl Christmas Store. The lavish displays of all things Christmas will put even the Scroogiest of folk in a Yuletide kind of mood. And if you've always wanted a Christmas themed topper like reindeer antlers or a Mrs. Claus cap and wig, visit The Hat Shop. They carry novelty hats as well as fashion hats from many designers.

If you'll be in Leavenworth for the whole weekend during Christmas Lighting you may want more to do in and around the village. Leavenworth Summer Theater stages a Christmas production each weekend of the festival. The show is staged at the Leavenworth Festhalle, an easy walk from the Lighting Ceremony. Past productions included Amahl and the Night Visitors, A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life.

Christmas Lighting Festival
In Leavenworth
(continued)

For a fun family activity or a romantic afternoon excursion, schedule a horse-drawn sleigh ride with one of several vendors. Warm up after a ride in the brisk mountain with hot cocoa or spiced cider when you ride with Icicle Outfitters in the Stewart Mountains. "Sleigh Bells Ring..." with Eagle Creek Ranch which has large group sleds drawn by draft horses. You can also book rides with these or other providers through Icicle Village Resort, which has several Winter Getaway packages available. Packages include things like skiing at Stevens Pass Winter Resort, guided snowshoe hikes, snowmobile tours, nordic skiing lessons, ski jumping or dog sledding. Back on Front Street in the village, look for the Leavenworth Carriage Company, providing rides through the village.

If you'd like to travel to the Christmas Lighting Festival just for the day and want a unique experience, check out the Alki Tours Leavenworth Snow Train. Each Saturday during the festival, the only daylight train leaves West Seattle for the the ride to Leavenworth. The ride up includes a continental breakfast and live entertainment, including strolling musicians and magicians. You'll arrive in Leavenworth at about 12:30, leaving plenty of time to explore the village, get some lunch and do some Christmas shopping before the Lighting Ceremony at dusk. After witnessing the village come alive with the magical Christmas lights. After the ceremony return to the train and enjoy a catered dinner and more live entertainment. Get all your questions answered at the Alki Snow Train website.

For advice on other ways to get to Leavenworth see our Getting Here page. We've included driving directions and a link to Amtrak, which provides daily service to Icicle Station in Leavenworth. We highly recommend following the link on that page to Washington Department of Transportation's Winter Driving FAQ's before setting out for Leavenworth. It's a very good idea to become acquainted with all of the services WSDOT provides any time of the year, but especially important if you're traveling in Washington State at times you may encounter winter-like driving conditions. Also on the Getting Here page you'll find weather information and links to live webcams throughout the Leavenworth area.

Christmas Lighting Schedule 2014

Friday, December 5

4:00-5:00  Walla Walla Valley Academo Praise Ringers
4:30  Arrival of Saint Nikolas
5:00-6:30  Cascade High School Jazz Band
6:30-7:30  Walla Walla Valley Academo Praise Ringers
7:30-9:00  The Alkis
 

Saturday, December 6

11:00-1:00  Musikkaplle Leavenworth
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
1:00-1:30  The Eclictiks
1:30-2:30  Dance Arts Theatre
2:30-3:30  The General's 7 Dixie Band
3:30-5:00  Everett High School Synergy Choir
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity
 

Sunday, December 7

11:00-1:00  Davis Brass Trio
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
1:00-2:00  The Eclectiks
2:00-2:30  Dylan Jakobsen
3:30-5:00  Cascade High School Choir
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity
 

Friday, December 12

3:30-5:00  Icicle River Middle School Choir
4:30  Arrival of Saint Nikolas
5:00-5:30  Chief Kanim Middle School Choir
5:30-6:00  Twin Falls Middle School Choir
6:00-7:30  Wenatchee High School Choir
7:30-9:00  Ben & Joe
 

Saturday, December 13

11:00-Noon  Mr. & Mrs. Something (blues-rock)
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
12:00-1:00  Cavalero Mid-High Choirs
1:00-2:00  Cavalero Mid-High Bands
2:00-2:30  Philadelphia Girls' Choir
2:30-3:30  Rachel Wong
3:30-5:00  Spirit of Spokane Chorus
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity
 

Sunday, December 14

11:00-Noon  TBA
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
12:00-1:00  Rachel Wong
1:30-2:30  Mr & Mrs Something
2:30-3:30  Rachel Wong
3:30-5:00  Philadelpha Youth Choir
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity
 

Friday, December 19

4:00-5:00  Greg Parke - one-man band
4:30  Arrival of St. Nikolas
5:00-6:30  Bradford Loomis
6:30-8:00  Beth Whitney
8:00-9:00  Greg Parke - one-man band
 

Saturday, December 20

11:00-Noon  Greg Parke - one-man band
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
12:00-1:00  Bethel High School Choir
1:00-2:00  Mr. & Mrs. Something
2:00-3:30  The Banner Days
3:30  Ancora Women's Choir
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity
 

Sunday, December 21

11:00-Noon  Greg Parke - one-man band
Noon  Arrival of Santa!
March to Gazebo from Festhalle
12:00-2:00  Davis Brass Trio
2:00-3:30  Beth Whitney
3:30-5:00  Everett Chorale
4:30  Christmas Lighting Ceremony
5:15  Living Nativity

 

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Accidental Bavarian meets tourism needs for the Leavenworth, Washington area, including Chelan County communities along US Highway 2: Peshastin, Cashmere, Lake Wenatchee and Stevens Pass.

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