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A snowy holiday paradise. (Image: Courtesy of Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce)

A Winter Wonderland in Leavenworth

When winter arrives in Washington, the charming Bavarian village of Leavenworth turns into Holiday Town, USA. With over half a million lights strung throughout the town and tons of holiday cheer, Leavenworth sparkles during the first three weekends of December, during the Christmas Lighting Festival.

Over 25,000 visitors arrive in Leavenworth each festival weekend to experience the ringing voices of carolers, the smells of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the sheer childlike joy of sledding down snowy embankments.

Every Friday, the village is lit up while live music plays in the Front Street Gazebo from 4-9 p.m. Saint Nikolas makes his appearance promptly at 4:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the live music--from brass bands and harp concerts to choir performances and hand bell ringers--begins at 11 a.m. and lasts all day.

In between the arts and culture, plays, concerts and musicals, stroll through the unique shops and get some shopping done or settle into a cozy restaurant where you can sit back and sip on the traditional Gluhwein. Make sure you're back at the Gazebo at noon to see Santa, Mrs. Claus and other Christmas characters arrive in a horse drawn carriage--the kids will delight in this holiday tradition before the lighting ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m.

The winter fun doesn't stop there--Leavenworth also offers up tasting rooms for local and regional wines, dog sleds and a living nativity.

If being active in the great outdoors is more your speed, make sure to head over the pass for the Ski and Stay packages. Brought to you by Leavenworth and the mountain resort of Stevens Pass, the weekday, weekends and holiday discounts begin in December and run through the end of the 2016 ski season.

Whether you pick a weekday, weekend or holiday, the Ski and Stay deal gets you 50% off Stevens Pass lift tickets and a VIP card to save on food, shopping, activities and services. Just 45 minutes from Leavenworth, Stevens Pass has 10 lifts, 1125 acres of skiable terrain and 37 primary runs--the perfect place for spending the day skiing or snowboarding before heading back to the town filled with lights for some apr├Ęs ski time in front of a crackling fire or soaking in a luxurious hot tub.

Whether you bring the whole family to experience the magic of the lights and some tubing and sledding fun, decide to make it a ski weekend with friends or plan to have a romantic getaway tasting wine and listening to live music, Leavenworth is the best holiday destination there is.

For more information on Leavenworth visit To learn more about the deals that are a part of the Ski and Stay packages, visit