5 Best Performing Arts Venues in North Central Washington, Washington

VIllage of Lights: Christmastown and Winter Karneval

Fodor's choice

Bavarian-themed Leavenworth amps up the holiday vibes with half a million sparkling Christmas lights throughout downtown that stay on from Thanksgiving through February. From Thanksgiving weekend to Christmas, the Christmastown festivities include caroling, live music, and food vendors outside at Front Street Park, with kids' activities, alphorn concerts, and other live performances inside at the Festhalle. Of course Santa is there too. In January, there's winter fun at the Winter Karneval every weekend, with ice carving, performances by fire dancers and alphorn players, ice skating for kids, and a celebration of the German tradition of Fasching with masks, beads, and a pub crawl.

Lake Chelan Winterfest

Held during two weekends in mid-January, this festival in downtown Chelan and nearby Manson celebrates winter with an ice slide, Ice Bar, live music, wine and winter ale tastings, ice carving, wine walk, polar bear dip, children's activities, ice sculpture, and fireworks over the water.


The monthlong celebration over three weekends in May in the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth features traditional German dancing, including an old-world maypole dance, a Festzug ("Grand March") where townspeople dress in Bavarian attire, and alphorn concerts. It all kicks off Mother's Day weekend. Professional chainsaw carvers creating German-inspired carvings to sell are another highlight, along with live music.

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Show off your "chicken dance" and other oompah moves at one of the most exuberant American celebrations of this German beer festival, complete with German food, German music, German dancing, and, of course, beer. Lodgings fill up fast during this celebration held over three weekends in late September and October. Since 2022, Leavenworth has had two separately-run Oktoberfests. This one is presented by Projekt Bayern, which produced Leavenworth's original Oktoberfest. The expanded festival moved to Wenatchee temporarily but runs shuttles between the two towns. The City of Leavenworth's Oktoberfest is more low-key, taking place downtown in a few beer gardens, and highlighting local beers along with German ones ( www.leavenworth.org for details).

Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival

The Blues Ranch, 1 mile west of Winthrop on the Methow River, hosts this nonprofit, volunteer-run July music festival—an outdoor Methow Valley tradition.