27 Incredible Things To Do in Galena, Illinois in 2022
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Known as “The town that time forgot” Galena has remained true to its mining origins, as one of the most idyllic and stunning towns in Illinois, located in the northwest region.
For its stunning 19th-century architecture, its charming old-time feel, shops, and locally inspired dishes – Galena has a lot to offer visitors.
A swift 20-30 minute drive east of Dubuque, Iowa, and a 2-hour drive from Chicago, Galena’s countryside is known nature-wise for its stunning, rolling green hills dotted with red farmhouses, crops, and wildflower fields.
Perhaps one of the most iconic sites in Galena is the 19th-century architecture that adorns its Main Street, which is the street that welcomes returning visitors and greets new travelers.
Galena attractions include a variety of items and in today’s post, let’s explore some of those attractions and other things to do in Galena, Illinois.
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Galena IL. Things To Do
1. Take a tour of Ulysses S. Grant’s Home
Go back in time, and explore the home of ex-president and Civil War general, Ulysses S. Grant.
Located on Bouthillier Street, step into this 1860s Italianate-styled home, decorated with furniture and the decor of the time.
Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant was a civilian who moved his family to northwestern Illinois.
However, once the war broke out, he joined the U.S. army and quickly climbed the ranks until he ultimately and successfully helped the Union win the Civil War.
Grant’s children donated the house to the city of Galena in 1904, however, with time, the city decided that the cost to upkeep the home was too much, so the city sold it to the state of Illinois in 1931.
The house that visitors see today took research, a team of historians, and lots of patience to restore back to its Grant glory days.
Today, visitors can take a tour of the interior of the home, and the exterior, take a look at the relics inside, dating back to the mid-late 1800s, and learn interesting facts about Ulysses S. Grant, Galena, and even about his return back to Galena post-war.
The tours are free, but tips and donations are always appreciated.
They suggest leaving a $5 tip if you think you had a great tour experience.
Located towards the entrance of Galena, visiting the Ulysses S. Grant Home is one of the highlights and must things to do in Galena.
Address: 500 Bouthillier St Galena, Illinois 61036
2. Dive deeper into Galena’s history at the U.S Grant History Museum
Situated in the heart of the city, the Galena U.S Grant History Museum is a hot spot for history buffs and cultural lovers, where American relics such as authentic Civil War letters between Civil War generals and their families, other artifacts from the war such as helmets, clothing and household items are stored for all to see and step back in time with.
Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces stored in the museum is a painting depicting an important point during the Civil War between the U.S. generals – Robert E. Lee surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant in 1856.
For the science and geological curious, check out the interesting regional geological finds and previous inhabitants of this land, and importantly, an insight into the Native American tribes and local culture that once called this region of western Illinois home.
Step back in time at this unique museum, and plan to get engulfed in the information either on the plaques themselves, or told by a historian sometimes dressed in the attire of the times. Tickets to this museum start at $12 USD.
Address: 211 S Bench St Galena, Illinois 61036
3. Walk through the stunning Belvedere Mansion
Considered to be the most beautiful mansion in Galena for its lavish exterior architecture, its expansive 22-room capacity, and it’s beyond gorgeous and peaceful gardens, the Belvedere Mansion is a mansion that dates back to 1857 and is open for the public to tour.
The mansion offers tours daily, every 15 minutes and lasting about 30 minutes each, a tour of the mansion includes a tour of the grounds, walking through the ornate hallways, admiring the decor and extravagant light fixtures looming over the dining and living spaces, as well as the outdoor garden.
If visiting antique mansions is your thing, then you must also stop by The Dowling House, located 14 minutes away from the Belvedere Mansion, which is said to be the oldest house in Galena dating back to 1826.
Visit the Dowling House for an incredible collection of early 19th-century artifacts, and learn about the importance of this house, and what purpose it has served throughout the years.
Check out the iconic Galena Trolley Tour, and book a spot aboard to get to see these two iconic homes, as well as other interesting buildings, and learn more about the architectural style of the time, which is very much appreciated today for its charm.
Address: 1008 Park Ave, Galena, IL 61036
>> Read More: 7 Interesting Facts About Galena, Illinois You Probably Didn’t Know
4. Take a look at the age-old blacksmith skills at the Old Blacksmith Shop
Renovated to its glory days, the Old Blacksmith Shop is a common yet often missed site to visit for most newcomers planning their list of Galena attractions. Replicating a blacksmith shop from 1897, step inside this unique space to get an eye-full when it comes to tools, techniques, and works created using authentic tools from the 1800s.
Inside the blacksmith shop, visitors are able to view professional blacksmiths use their magic to whip up some really cool and unique gifts that you can only find in this region, and even order customized gifts for friends back home.
With a historian on-site, visitors are able to get an explanation of the role of a blacksmith back in the day, what it took to train someone to use the tools, the technology/tools of the time, and examples of the work produced.
Existing for approximately 100 years, the Old Blacksmith Shop is currently still producing pieces of work, in the space that now also doubles as a museum.
Tickets start at $5 USD for individuals and $15 USD for families
Address: 245 N Commerce St Galena, Illinois 61036
5. Dive into the fascinating world of architecture at the Chicago Athenaeum
The beautiful streets of Galena are not the only architectural wonder in town because the Chicago Athenaeum is the official museum of architecture and design.
Located in the heart of downtown Galena, check out the incredibly descriptive exhibits dedicated to the Chicago landmarks, impressive design, other examples of American architecture, other examples of international architecture (some examples even seen within Galena), and samples of the future of design based on focusing on the impact of the environment.
With the purpose of creating a space to teach and inspire people about design and creative engineering, the Chicago Athenaeum has extended its reach to more than a few places outside Galena, namely having offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Athens, Greece.
Check out the Galena museum location, and be sure to update yourself with their calendar events, where they share various design and architecture exhibits, and special presentations, and the host invited guests from the design world.
A very unique, and interesting space on the inside, a visit to the Chicago Athenaeum is a must-do on your list of things to do in Galena.
There is no price listed on the museum’s website, therefore it may be a free entrance. The museum opens between Friday-Sunday, 12 pm – 4 pm.
Address: 01 South Prospect Street, Galena, Illinois
>> Read More: 12 Amazing Long Weekend Getaways In The Midwest To Experience
6. Visiting the stunning Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site
Home of the prominent Elihu B. Washburne, who was the political advisor of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, as well as other important and notable titles, visit the historic home where many other historically important events took place.
It is said that it is within the walls of the home’s library that Ulysses S. Grant heard the news that he had become the 18th president of the United States.
Take an expansive tour of the house, gaze inside its 18th-century-decorated rooms, and even peek at some original telegram documents signed by Mr. Grant.
Adoring the house’s exterior in Greek Revival style architecture, admire the home’s structure, and learn more about the other purposes that the house took over time.
Illinois is full of homes in the style of this house, and they are easily seen throughout various small towns in Illinois that should make it on your list of places to see in Illinois.
The house tours last around 30 minutes and group rates are available. If you’re traveling independently, tickets can start at around $10 USD.
Address: 908 3rd St Galena, Illinois 61036
>> Read More: 12 Of The Prettiest Small Towns To Visit in Illinois
Experiences and other Galena Attractions
7. Try Galena’s fine wines at Galena Cellars Winery
Wine lovers will not want to miss a tour and tasting of local wines at Galena Cellars Winery.
Multiple award-winning wines, and spanning 3 generations of familial work and dedication to wine production, a tour of the beautiful vineyards followed by a tasting of their best-selling wines is sure to be the treat of anyone’s day.
When planning your list of things to do in Galena, make sure to add a stop to Galena Cellars Winery, as a nice natural escape from the main street, and learn about the wine-making process, unique to the Midwest region.
With frigid winters and humid summers, join the tours offered at Galena Cellars Winery, and learn about the multiple ways in which the family behind the bottle is constantly pushing the envelope while still maintaining the integrity of their grandfather’s original winemaking intent: to bring the best quality wine to the Midwest.
if you want to explore a winery yourself, and indulge in the experience without a packaged tour, check out Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery, a short 15-minute drive taking all of W. Stagecoach Trail east.
Try their Daffodile Wine, which won “Best in Show” or Frontenac Gris which won the double gold medal at the 2021 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition.
Address: 4746 N Ford Rd, Galena, IL.
8. Try the best hops at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.
Get your hands on the best spirits and craft drinks centered in the heart of Galena, known for a history of distilling.
The Blaum Brothers, Mike, and Matt Blaum left their careers in 2013 to embark on the adventure of distilling the perfect craft, and since then, they have been creating some of the most well-known and recognized spirits and craft drinks all around Galena.
Take a tour, meet the guys, and enjoy a tasting of what they’ve created all these years, plus a few unique drinks concocted in their labs (distillery).
Check out the distillery, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process, sure to inspire admiration and appreciation for a quality drink.
Try some of their most popular drinks, such as Blaum Bros. Straight Bourbon, Blaum Bros. Straight Rye, or Blaum Bros. Vodka. Tours are offered every day
Address: 9380 W US Highway 20, Galena, Illinois
9. Glide the skies with Galena On The Fly, Inc.
Glide with the winds on an incredible hot air balloon flight, coasting along through the skies, and exposing a beautiful view of Galena’s incredible landscape. Rolling hills of green patches become visible while you reach a sense of peace and tranquility at 3,000 feet in the sky. Galena’s countryside is a sight to be seen from a birds-eye view.
Taking off from Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, plan a thrilling hot air balloon any day of the week. Offering rides 7 days of the week, choose from a bright sunrise hot air balloon ride, or a golden hour sunset hot air balloon ride.
Rides last 1 hour, and at the end after landing, you are greeted with a champagne celebration.
Make your trip to Galena the best one yet, and add this activity to your growing list of activities to do in Galena.
Address: 444 Eagle Ridge Dr, Galena, IL.
>> Read More: 12 Of The Prettiest Small Towns To Visit in Illinois To Visit
10. Hike with hoofs with Hoof It
Did you know you could hike with goats in Galena? I didn’t until I heard about Hoof it.
Trek the incredible natural sights and paths of a private estate with goats at Hoof It.
The goat-led trail is approximately 1.25 miles long, and extremely do-able no matter your hiking skills.
Walk through native prairies, dense forests, and pretty lakes, and choose from a variety of tours from a one-hour trek with the goats to a trek with the goats and stay for a fun bonfire, or a private petting zoo if you have children.
A truly unique experience to be one with nature and wildlife, Hoof It is the perfect afternoon activity to participate in that is equally leisure, fun, unique and budget-friendly.
Check out bookings on their website, and make sure to book ahead to claim your spot.
Address: 616 S Devils Ladder Rd, Galena, Illinois
11. Have breakfast inside Council Hill Station
Situated on the eastern side of the Galena River is the historic Council Hill Station.
Take a physical step back in time at this old general store that dates back to the 1850s and used to double as a train station.
Take a look at the old pieces of architecture and decor that are remnants of this building’s original use, and explore the nearby old mill and silo.
Today, the Council Hill Station is an establishment that offers country-style breakfast every Saturday at 9 am, holds music events, and even turns into summer barn dancing on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Make friends with locals who are accustomed to visiting this historic sight, engage in rotating activities like games and events, and truly immerse yourself in a cozy and welcoming hometown feeling.
Address: 6521 N Hill Rd Scales Mound, Illinois
12. Catch a magic show at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre
Want to catch a magic show while in Galena? Check out P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre for a mystical show of magic, fun, and pure curiosities.
Situated in central Galena, don’t miss out on what many previous attendees have described as “One Of America’s Best Magic Shows” due to Murphy’s show presence, welcoming demeanor, and magical talents.
The theater itself is a crown jewel in Galena, built in the 1840s, and preserved in its original state.
Make sure to check the calendar for upcoming shows, and purchase tickets ahead of time on their website.
Address: 204 Hill St Galena, Illinois
13. Get the best views of Galena from the top of the Washington Street Steps
Perhaps one of the iconic sites to catch in Galena, right off of Main Street are the steep Washinton Street Steps.
Said to have been the same staircase that Ulysses S. Grant would take to commute between his family’s store and Main Street, the 252 steps will give persistent and determined travelers incredible views of Mainstreet, the River, and beyond.
Located right off of Main Street, on Green Street, climb up the 252 steps all the way to the top, making sure to stop every now and then to look back, and see the view get increasingly bigger and more beautiful.
Before getting to the end of the tall staircase, you will get to cross Bench Street, where the US Grant Museum is located, but you must continue up the steps until you reach South Prospect Street.
Once you get all the way to the top, you’ll see the end of the staircase, and a great view in front of you, where you’ll also get to appreciate the hilly countryside off in the distance.
Address: The intersection of Main Street and Green Street
14. Stargazing in Galena’s Countryside
If you’re spending the night in Galena, one of the must-see activities to do in Galena is stargazing.
Take advantage of Galena’s extensive, and beautiful open skies and hilly prairie lands, to look up at the starlit sky.
Whether you visit one of the many parks located in or near Galena, or you participate in one of the plenty of stargazing events, there are plenty of opportunities to engage in some astronomy fun.
- Meteors on the Mound in August
- Bonfire on the Bluff in February
- Great Galena Balloon Race in June
- Holiday Fire in the Sky in December
Instead of staying in a hotel in Galena, why not consider sleeping under stars at a campground? Check out the campground options in Galena to plan your next sleep under the open skies.
Another incredible option to sleep out in the country with a few more commodities than camping is sleeping in a cabin or lodge. Check out the list of cottage, cabin, or resort lodging options, and pick the best option for your travel style.
A free gift for you…
A drive through Galena’s incredibly beautiful, hilly country roads is always a great plan, and if you’re not sure just which scenic roads to drive past, then check out my FREE GUIDE to the best and most scenic Galena rides to drive through.
Imagine driving down the picture-perfect Midwestern country roads, with rolling, green hills, crops, and beautiful sunflower fields (depending on the season).
Well, now you don’t because my guide will take you through these roads, telling you the names of the streets, as well as a cropped map to show visualize just where these roads are.
Galena Parks and Nature Sights
15. Visit Galena’s famed Grant Park
Sitting on the east side of the River, and boasting incredible views of Main Street Galena is Grant Park. Take a stroll through its walking paths that parallel the river, and get a glimpse of local flowers, and stunning homes near the lake.
View monuments, gazebos, and old canyons on your walk, and learn up on some interesting historical facts about Galena, and its ties with important historical figures.
To get to the park from Main Street is very simple, all you need to do is walk across the bridge that goes over Galena River, which you can find on Water Street.
Address: 625 Park Ave, Galena, IL.
16. Visit the geological site of Horseshoe Mound
Geology and science lovers will love Horseshoe Mound set in the idyllic rolling hills of Joe Daviss County.
With sprawling scenic views of the countryside, and perfectly easy paths to get to the mound itself, bring a picnic, a blanket to lay down on, and reflect on the beauty found in northwest Illinois.
Situated on a mound is the Council Ring – a series of stones and large monolithic figures, placed in a circular pattern, resembling a smaller, and newer Stone Henge. The park is open all year round and is great to visit for the views.
Address: 1679 N Blackjack Rd Galena, Illinois 61036
>> Read More: The Best State and National Parks to Visit in Illinois
17. See some street sculptures at West Street Sculpture Park
Located near the heart of downtown Galena is West Street Sculpture Park – a beautiful green space dedicated to showcasing local sculpture artist John Martinson, and his incredibly detailed metal work on a large scale.
Walk the wooded pathway, stroll through Martinson’s outdoor gallery, and don’t forget to stop by his studio where you can see more of his work, and even purchase a gift or two.
Take a view of the beautiful natural side of Galena as you’re walking through the outdoor gallery, and see how beautiful nature and contemporary art can come together.
Address: 620 S. West Street, Galena, Illinois
18. Gaze the floral beauties at Linmar Gardens
Visit the outstanding beautiful Linmar Gardens, that promise its guests to inspire, relax, and marvel at so much natural beauty, from floral gardens to perfectly manicured grasslands.
Hidden to the common traveler who may stick around Historic Main Street, Linmar Gardens are accessible via Prospect Street, going south, until you reach a secluded road, covered in canopies of trees, lowering until you see the welcoming gardens and incredible estate where the secret famous garden is.
The owners of the estate and the gardens, Bob and Hal, are the ones who give the tours, and warmly welcome and paint the landscape with their detailed descriptions and garden how-tos – truly it is one of the best things to do in Galena for garden lovers, and nature lovers all around.
Tours lasting between 45 minutes to 1 hour of the floral grounds are offered every day from Tuesday-Saturday at 11 am, and reservations are not necessary, just be sure to arrive 10 minutes before the tour starts.
Tickets for entry and tour are $10 for adults and for children under 12 are $4.
Address: 504 S Prospect St, Galena, Illinois
19. Walk the scenic Galena River Trails
Cycle, jog, or leisurely walk the 8-mile wooded path that runs alongside Galena River, and is conveniently located just an 8-minute drive from Main Street Galena.
Offering free parking, a visit to this park offers visitors a little bit of Galena’s charm in every mile.
From beautiful native plant sightings, the Galena River a few feet away, and the beautiful bird-watching opportunities, bridges, forests, bluffs, and a few glimpses of the iconic Mississippi River.
There is truly so much to see, and better yet, so much to disconnect to reconnect with those things that “The Town That Time Forgot” allows us to reconnect with – being present with nature.
Please be sure to check their calendar, as they may be closed on a few occasions throughout the day for maintenance or other activities.
Address: Type in your Google Maps “Depot Park” – that is where the trail begins and where the free parking is.
20. See sights of impressive Native American culture at Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
Catch a glimpse of a few of the Mississippi River bluffs on this 85-acre park, as well as ample opportunities for bird watching, easy paths and trails, and incredible remnants of Native American life and culture.
Mounds, which are elevated sections of land, thought to be burial grounds, are found throughout the Midwest and are connected to Native American life and traditions.
Caspar Bluff Land & Water Reserve is well known to house a few mounds, which can be viewed on your walk.
Some of the mounds can date back anytime between 1000 AD and 1875, therefore it is an interesting piece of Midwestern heritage and tradition that dates back to the original inhabitants of the land.
Free and open all year, except for the dates Nov. 19-21, Dec 2-5.
Address: 870 S Pilot Knob Rd Galena, Illinois
21. Visit the wonderful and beautiful Gateway Park
Stroll through one of the other incredible peaceful and stunning parks in Galena, this one is called Gateway Park.
Providing views for days of endless skies, iconic Midwestern prairies, and especially lovely rolling hills and rivers.
Gateway Park is the perfect stop to make while making your way to Galena, as it’s conveniently located on Highway 20, the road most commonly recommended by Google to take if you’re coming from Eastern Illinois.
Make it a morning sunrise walk, or a lovely evening golden hour stroll, and bask in the view of the beautiful native plants, and the sounds of local songbirds.
Address: 9300 W Powder House Hill Rd Galena, Illinois
22. Catch sight of cascading waterfalls at Thunder Bay Falls
Found only 10 minutes away from downtown Galena is the beautiful Thunder Bay Falls – a natural wonderland that will leave many in awe through its incredible and pristine beauty.
Indulge in some long-loved river activities fishing, all the way to hopping one of the fun cruises that allow a different experience of the Falls, or simply taking in the wonderful sounds of waterfalls that definitely beat any sound machine.
Sprawling over a 220-acre man-made lake called Lake Galena, this is where you will find the beautiful 40-foot waterfall cascading down.
If hiking is more of your thing, then enjoy the trails and walking paths that lead straight to the gentle, yet crashing cascades of water gliding down a rocky surface, where you can enjoy and take in the fresh breeze.
If your trek around Thunder Bay Falls leaves you wanting more nature, check out Apple River Canyon State Park, which is also a traveler and local favorite, and offers everything at Thunder Bay, and even a bit more.
More wildlife, local plants, incredible Galena countryside views, and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Illinois.
Address: 233 Thunder Bay Rd, Galena, Illinois
23. Get in touch with nature at Winston Tunnel State Nature Area
If you’re a lover of history and nature, a visit to Winston Tunnel State Nature Area must be on your list of things to see in Galena!
The Winston Tunnel was where the old railroad went between Minneapolis and Chicago and also traveled to a few other cities in the Midwest during the late 1800s.
Today, visitors can check out the old railroad, see the famous tunnel after which the park was named, and explore the natural sights of this historic place.
Spanning over 230 acres of land, this park has walking trails and paths perfect for anyone of any hiking expertise.
There are however a few places where the trek may get a bit challenging for some, so historically, some people have taken up to 2 hours to complete the full walk.
The park is open all year round, so make sure to plan a stop while you’re visiting Galena.
Address: 2641 W Blackjack Rd Galena, Illinois
Galena Tours Not To Miss
24. Galena Wine Tours, Inc.
Offering tours all year round is Galena Wine Tours Inc. which prides itself in exquisite wine tours that showcase the best winemakers in the northern Mississippi River wine region.
A look at their website will offer different options in terms of tours, experiences, and details showcasing the different types of tours they do.
From bachelorette parties to grandma’s 70th birthday, or simply a curious you who may want to learn (and savor) some of the best wines in the northern Illinois and eastern Iowa region.
Tours mold to you, the wine enthusiast.
Check out the different types of wine tours, from the Galena Wine, Food, and Brew tour, offering some of the most notable wineries in the Galena area, plus food samples like pizza and brew stops.
The Wine Tour features two excellent wineries and a variety of food pairings that complement the experience delicately and deliciously.
Learn about food pairings, meet your new favorite wine, and indulge in this experience with friends or on your own if you’re flying solo.
Iowa Flights and Food Tour is an excellent tour to experience if you want to explore Iowa’s wine and brews scene with stops at some of the most emblematic local wineries and breweries in Dubuque, Iowa, 23 minutes away from Galena.
All tours range between $90-$95 per person and include the tour and what you’ll consume, plus transportation in a climate-controlled bus which will pick you up from your hotel or other lodging accommodation.
Address: 110 Green St, Galena, Ilinois
25. Countryside Tours
Offering practical, simple, yet extremely fun wine tours throughout Galena is the well-known Countryside Tours.
Each tour is set up similarly, offering a 4-hour-long experience, with visits to 3 locations.
They offer a few tours, such as their Wine Tasting Tours, which brings you to 3 wineries in the region and receive 5-9 tastings.
If you’re more of a hops kind of person, check out their Hop Tour, which takes visitors to 3 breweries, some of which are from the 1850s.
This tour does stop at one winery, but the rest are breweries where you receive a tasting at each.
Each tour is $75 per person and does not include gratuity. Something different between this tour and Galena Wine Tours, other than their focus on the majority of wine, is the pickup.
The pickup will be from 110 Green st. Downtown Galena, whereas the Galena Wine Tours picks you up at your hotel.
Address: 110 Green st. Downtown Galena (the old Galena Post Office).
26. Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours, INC.
Looking for a little spook in Galena? Look no further than the famous Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours INC. – the original ghost tour of Galena.
Unveil the hidden truths and occurrences that tainted the idyllic town of Galena in mystery as you walk with a knowledgeable tour guide throughout the town on their air-conditioned tour bus, and learn historical facts, other spooky facts, and questionable sightings and experiences.
Aside from knowledgeable guides who have done their historical homework, they are excellent storytellers and are ready to share with you some of the odd and downright chilling tales of terror from Galena’s own Main Street.
EMF readers and the ghost box are used in every tour, so you’ll even get a chance to hear from the spirits themselves and all that lurks.
Wanting to go deeper into the mystery? Check out Amelia’s Dinner Theater, offering themed parties like a murder mystery, and magical and mystical shows with food specialties to die for.
And if you’re looking for the boos with a little booze, check out the Haunted Pub Crawls to visit some of the haunted breweries and wineries, and hear the employee’s encounters with mysterious spirits, all while sipping on locals wines and beers.
Address: 129 S Main St, Galena, Ilinois
>> Read More: 8 Must-Visit and Unique Haunted Tours in Illinois
***An honorable mention is The Haunted Galena Tour Company, offering its own set of unique, mysterious, and adrenaline-pumping ghost tours.
From their iconic Spirits and Spirits tour that includes a stop at 3 haunted locations, while receiving a drink at each (included in your ticket price).
The Haunted Galena Ghost Walk is perfect for a traditional ghost tour on foot, where you’ll learn from verified tour guides all about the mystery that lurks in the darkness of the old buildings, and lonely hillsides.
Lastly, there is Murder & Mayhem in a Mining Town, a unique show put on by the tour company, that showcases the incredible storytelling skills of the tour guides, as they share with all the eerie details some of Galena’s most popular and even hidden ghost tales, sure to run a chill up your spine.
Located in the haunted hotel itself, The DeSoto Hotel’s theater.
27. Galena Trolley Tours
Enjoy one last stroll through Galena’s Main Street and surrounding streets on the iconic Galena Trolley Tours.
A beautiful, complete tour that shares with new travelers, and curious returning travelers, all there is to learn about the history of one of Illinois’ crown jewel cities, the architecture design, some of its most famous residents, incredible and historic occurrences that took place in Galena, and so much more.
Ride the famous San Fransisco-inspired trolley cars, originally built in 1988, and enjoy the views, narration, facts, and incredible views of Galena.
Offering a simple yet effective one-hour-long, non-stop tour of Galena’s main points of attraction, from Ulysses S. Grant’s home to the Belvedere Mansion.
There is a lot to learn, connect, and understand as you appreciate what Illinois’ “Town That Time Forgot” means.
By far, it’s one of the best (and most budget-friendly) tours to experience, and surely something to add to your list of things to do in Galena.
Address: 314 S Main St, Galena, Illinois
Galena Treats and Eats – What to try in Galena, IL.
Bread and Vine – a wine and bread company, creating incredible delicacies and smells wafting out onto the streets. Try their specialty cocktails like the pomegranate mojito and tamarindo mezcalito, and grab a bite of their homemade quiche, pizzas, and more.
Vinny Vanucchi’s – A family-owned Italian-style trattoria situated in the heart of historic downtown Galena. Offering Italian classics with fresh and local ingredients.
The Galena Bakehouse – Geoff & Alex Arroyo-Karnish are the proud owners of Galena’s favorite bakery which offers everything from freshly baked croissants, muffins, and macarons, to delicious salads and sandwiches to create the perfect picnic.
Great American Popcorn Company – a variety of over 50 different gourmet popcorn flavors, from spicy Italian, to cheddar and bacon, and of course, classic buttered popcorn.
American Old Fashioned Ice Cream – Offering American classics and other fun flavors, step inside this historic ice creaming, with relics from the 30s and beyond. Find classic ice cream flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio.
Galena Garlic Company – a perfect souvenir for yourself or a friend who loves to cook is a premium flavored olive oil, vinegar, or spice mix from the beloved Galena Garlic Company. I always make sure to grab their Italian balsamic vinegar, perfect for salads!
Where to stay in Galena, Illinois: Wondering where you can stay in the historic town of Galena? There are lodging options for every budget and travel style, whether you’re staying with family or friends.
Consider Country Inn & Suites by Radisson for its close proximity to The Dowling House, The Belvedere Mansion, and the edge of the Mississippi River, and are great options for families for their pool and games like air hockey available in the hotel lobby.
Lamberson Guest House is the perfect place to spend the night in Galena, situated right in the heart of historic downtown Galena, and offers free breakfast inside the historically beautiful home.
A stay at the Goldmoore Inn and Resorts includes breakfast in their wonderful restaurant, and travelers can take advantage of the bar and stunning gardens to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Check out Irish Cottage Inn and Suites if you’re looking to stay in an Irish-American-infused hotel, that serves in its in-house restaurant Irish favorite and comfort American food. Treat yourself to an in-house spa for a wellness treatment.
Visit the Chestnut Mountain Resort, and better yet, book a room inside the famed resort with countless activities like zip-lining, and a view of the Mississippi River close by.
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House is a wonderful lodging option that includes breakfast and is located a mere 2.5 miles from Historic Galena.
Book your stay at Galena Inn formerly Victorian Mansion and be a 10-minute walk from all the action in Historic downtown Galena. Enjoy an American-style breakfast, and enjoy the mansion’s interior with a 19th-century decor.
If the distance isn’t a big deal to you, check out Derinda House located approximately 14 miles east of Galena, in Elizabethtown. Having all the accommodations you would need in a house rental, like wifi, air-conditioning, and private parking, Derinda House is rated exceptionally by its guests and is the perfect place for travel groups larger than 5.
Car rentals for your road trip to Galena, Illinois
Check out car rental deals at Alamo that offer everything from last-minute car rental deals to early booking deals, and even car rental upgrades.
Or check out Expedia for a large car rental price comparison search, and to see where else you can find the best deal.
>> Read More: 37 Great Must-Have Car Accessories For Your Next Road Trip [Updated 2022]
27 Incredible Things To Do In Galena – The Wrap-Up
Galena’s charm has become a timeless trademark of the northwestern region of Illinois.
A city that attracts as many as 1 million visitors per year, “The Town That Time Forgot” is definitely not forgotten, as it’s been a town that has been attracting crowds of wandering tourists and Illinois natives for the past 150 years.
I know Galena is one of my favorite destinations that I’ve visited in Illinois, and I’m sure that it will be one of yours if you’ve never been here before!
Have you been to Galena? Let me know if you have, and what you like to do down below. Let’s get this list longer for future visitors of this little Midwest town.
To more travel moments like these,