Average summer high 83
It's not just that our state's Little Bavaria is, on average, 10 to 20 degrees warmer than Seattle in spring and summer, although that’s plenty of reason to visit. And it’s not that the two-hour trip over Stevens Pass is oh so scenic: Highway 2 could hardly be more dramatic, cutting a ragged course through the North Cascades, twisting and turning alongside the roaring Wenatchee River. It’s that shirtsleeve weather is even more blissful when enjoyed in the shadow of Alps-like peaks with a frosty mug of local brew in your hand. Sure, the lederhosen and polka music pouring out of shops in town might have you rolling your eyes, but there’s no sign of that on the roomy patio at Icicle Brewing Company (935 Front St.; 509.548.2739; iciclebrewing.com). Order a Dirtyface Amber and a soft pretzel, baked at the Bavarian Bakery just down the street.
Leavenworth’s reputation as a theme town belies its deep outdoorsy roots: Fishing, kayaking, hiking and river rafting are just minutes away, and the area hosted ski jump competitions from the 1950s through the 1970s at the old ski jump about two miles outside of town. At this time of year the Leavenworth ski hill (skileavenworth.com) is a great place to hike; even the kids can manage the 1.5-mile loop.
Afterward, there’s nothing finer than Bratwurst or Bockwurst and beer on the sun-drenched patio of the Leavenworth Sausage Garten (636 Front St.; 509. 888.4959; leavenworthsausagegarten.com). Then, pick up several hard salamis next door at Cured by Visconti (509.888.0424; curedbyvisconti.com); they’re some of the best in the state. Summers are filled with live music, art festivals, a kid-friendly Fourth of July, and—you saw this one coming, right?—the Leavenworth International Accordion Festival (June 20–21). Book a room at the ever-popular Sleeping Lady resort, just outside of town (800.574.2123; sleepinglady.com). Allison Austin Scheff
Photo: Sleeping Lady Resort on Icicle Creek