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Summer and early fall in Galena

summer in galena

Galena Country is a bucket list destination! Summer and early fall are jam-packed with things to do and places to see. You could spend a week exploring the ins and outs of this remarkable area and still not cover it all. We’ve done you a favor and created a fun itinerary to get you started.

First, we suggest starting with the Helluva Half Mile. It’s considered one of the Midwest’s best attractions. Divide your time amongst more than 101 eclectic boutiques. Carry a map of our antiques and bric-a-brac shops and search for unique treasures to take home.

Stop for a snack at one of Galena’s gourmet food stores and sample goodies while you shop or hit up the local cafés for a quick pick-me-up. Shop for one-of-a-kind artwork and pottery and even catch local artists creating a masterpiece.

Whether it’s finding the perfect gift for that special someone or simply treating yourself to a fabulous keepsake, Galena’s Helluva Half Mile is unlike any other Main St. experience you’ve ever had!

Next, we’re talking history. If you love history, you are in for a treat in Galena Country. Walk down any street and you’ll literally feel the history surround you. We’re talking beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings, balconies that Ulysses S. Grant and Abe Lincoln spoke from and elaborate homes built by wealthy steamboat captains.

Start with a trolley tour. Climb aboard a classic red and green trolley for an informational journey to historic Galena sights, including Grant’s Home, the Galena History Museum and Galena’s frozen-in-the-1800s Helluva Half Mile. A trolley tour is the one activity you won’t want to miss while on your Galena vacation.

Next, a tour of the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site is in order. Walk the same halls as President Grant and his family did back in 1865. See their furnishings and learn more about their life in Galena including, where Grant was when he learned he had been elected President. You’ll also enjoy exploring the grounds which house a row of tiny Miner’s Cottages, a 1800s general store and a statue honoring First Lady Julia Grant.




Another must-see history experience is the Apple River Fort State Historic Site in Elizabeth, Illinois. This Black Hawk War landmark includes both an interpretive center and a reconstruction of the long-vanished fort. The fort comes to life through living history activities and special events that present settlers’ stories of the attacking of the Sac and Meskwaki Indians in 1832.




Next, tantalize your taste buds with a wine, beer or spirits tasting. Celebrate grape harvesting season with art, music and wine at one of four wineries. Have fun tasting and learning all about their process with a behind-the-scenes view into how they make their product. Each winery comes to life with live music, fun festivals and delicious tastings all summer and fall.

Visitors can also taste their way through a couple popular beer-pubs. First, check out the Galena Brewing Co. This brewery offers informative tours and tastings. You can even order a delicious beer-flight to sample and take home a growler of your favorite flavor.



Next, experience a handcrafted pint at the Pecatonica Beer Tap House in Warren, Illinois. This happening brewery specializes in handcrafted beers brewed in small batches. Their well-balanced and full-bodied beers will impress any craft beer enthusiast. In addition to tasty drinks, both brewpubs serve up a tempting menu of sandwiches, appetizers, soups and weekly specials.

After a day of tastings, it’s time to reconnect with nature. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to do in Galena Country. Stop by Casper Bluff and Gramercy Park to explore picturesque hiking trails and Native American archaeology.



Casper Bluff commands some of the best views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs. Home to a portion of the Aiken Mound group, 51 burial mounds, including the only known exciting Thunderbird effigy mound in Illinois, occupy portions of this 85-acre site.


More Native American burial mounds can be found at Gramercy Park. This 10-acre city park is located on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi River. As an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark, this site is home to 26 ceremonial and burial mounds from the Hopewell Native American Culture.

Now let’s talk about adventure! Spend the day driving around Galena Country with Galena Jeep Rentals. Enjoy the afternoon soaking up the sun as you cruise with the top down out on the back roads. Pit stop at Council Hill Station for a cold drink and live music. This fun little station is known for their barn dances and laid back atmosphere. On any given day, you’ll find motorcycles and classic cars parked out front and a fridge inside stocked with cold beer.

Next, hop back in the Jeep and make the drive down to Stockton, Illinois to check out the Stockton Heritage Museum. Did you know Kraft cheese started in Stockton back in 1914? Tour the museum and learn about the history of the Kraft factory and the stories that came along with operating what was once the largest Swiss cheese plant in the world. It is fascinating!




Then, drive over and explore the outdoors at Chestnut Mountain Resort with all their adventure opportunities. You can also bring your mountain bike and ride the trails surrounding the resort. Thrill seekers can soar high above the mountain’s peak and get an eagle’s perspective of the majestic Mississippi River Valley on Chestnut’s Soaring Eagle Zip Line. Watch the sun set over the river from inside the Sunset Grille restaurant.




If you’re more interested in experiencing the river first hand you’ll want to consider exploring the Galena River by canoe, kayak or paddle board! Float through serene landscapes all the way to the Mississippi backwaters. Visit Fever River Outfitters and choose your mode of transportation. Lessons are available and you can decide how long you’ll be renting the equipment. Best part? You can put in right downtown.

Another outdoor adventure option is visiting a couple local farmlands. Hit the hayrack ride at Ehrler Ranch. Learn the ins and outs of a working ranch with an informative tour, horse rides and farmland hangouts. Come October, you’ll be able to take a haunted hayrack ride up to one of Galena’s oldest cemeteries located on the Ehrler grounds.

Even more farm fun can be found at Dittmar Farms in Elizabeth, Illinois. This family owned and operated farm has been around since 1854! Specializing in sweet corn in the summer and pumpkins in the fall, nearly 1,500 visitors traverse the beautiful grounds, laugh, pick pumpkins and snap photos each year. This year you’ll be able to take home delicious apples from their newly planted apple orchard.

After a day of adventuring, you’ll need to refuel with a delicious dinner. Galena Country is a mecca for foodies with multiple options that satisfy any and every palette. Try One Eleven Main and enjoy a meal sourced from local ingredients. Hit up the oldest operating restaurant in Galena Country, the Log Cabin Steakhouse and enjoy a Greek infused meal. Devour a burger from Small Town Saloon, voted Best Burger in Galena Country. Have a romantic night out with fine dining at Goldmoor Inn & Dining. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River at Timmermans Supper Club… the possibilities are endless!

Last, there are plenty of summer and fall festivals to keep you busy. Downtown East Dubuque is bumping with classic cars and bustling bars every week during Cruisin’ Thursdays.

The Midwest Garlic Fest takes over Elizabeth, Illinois, Aug. 12-13. Get there for a celebration of all things garlic, amazing food, fun vendors and live music. That same weekend a collage of the regions best artists set up shop on the lawn of the Old Market House during the Market Square Arts Festival.

Don’t miss the 50th Annual Tour of Historic Homes this Sept. 23-24 A dozen homeowners will offer their historic homes up for touring. See quality American workmanship and even quirky ingenuity with an inside look at Galena’s 19th Century architecture and interiors.

The month of September also brings Mallardfest in Hanover, Ill., an old-fashioned community wide celebration Sept. 15-16, and the popular Galena Oktoberfest Sept. 30. Both events are worth checking out!

Last, you know it’s fall when the Galena Country Fair begins. More than 150 vendors fill Grant Park with crafts, treats and live music the second weekend in October. While you’re in town, visit Elizabeth’s Autumn Craft Fair. Similar vibes but different vendors selling the best crafts in the region.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of things to do and places to see Galena Country. For more ideas and travel information, visit our Welcome Center at 123 N. Commerce St. Send us an email at galena@visitgalena.org or give us a call at 815.776.9200.

6 Gifts (and more) for dad in Galena

Let’s talk about Dad, the guy who does so much and is always there to embarrass us. We love him more than he knows and, every year on Father’s Day, we shower him with gifts and adoration. Traditionally, it’s socks, ties and tools that make Dad smile on Father’s Day. Well, break free from the boring. It’s time for new traditions. Give him a gift to make the most of his time away from work and Galena Country in Illinois is the perfect way to do it.

Galena Country not only has the perfect gifts but also experiences that you can enjoy together. From kayaking and golfing to the plethora of gift shops along Galena’s Helluva Half Mile, you’ll be able to give Dad nothing less than the best and to thank him for all he has done.




1. A Refreshed Wardrobe

The best way to hide the Dad bod is to clothe it with modern-day fashion. Keep Dad up-to-date on the freshest apparel trends with multiple clothing stores and boutiques found on Galena’s Helluva Half Mile, such as The Cotton Club, Galena Tees and Max Mitchell.
Galena Brewing Co.


2. Brews and Burgers

#GetToGalena and enjoy a meal with Dad, one he’ll always remember. We recommend starting at Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt before heading to Galena Brewing Co. Durty Gurt’s has bombdiggity burgers served with hand-cut, seasoned or sweet potato fries. Savor a meal with Dad in a fun atmosphere and come hungry! After dinner, head to Galena Brewing Co. Treat dad to a delicious beer flight before committing to a specific pint. Before you leave, purchase a growler of Dad’s favorite Galena brew to take home and enjoy.

If he’s a real burger aficionado, try the recent Best Burger contest winner in Galena Country. It’s Small Town Saloon in Elizabeth!

Fan Zone Galena

3. Fan Gear

What’s Dad’s favorite team? Whether it’s the lovable losers winners or that team only Dad cheers for, the gear to get can be found downtown on Galena’s Helluva Half Mile. Check out Fan Zone for licensed jerseys, shirts and limited edition team hats. Another great option is For Bare Feet. They offer the largest selection of licensed sports socks made in the USA. We know. Socks tend to be a boring traditional gift. But trust us. Dad will totally rock team socks!

Celebrity Hats Galena

4. Balding Solutions

Hats! Whether he embraces his receding hairline or not, a hat is a perfect gift for a balding or non-balding dad. It is a multi-purpose gift for protecting against the sun while serving as the perfect accessory for the finishing touch to an outfit.

Galena's Kandy Kitchen

5. Sweet Tooth

Give Dad a gift he can sink his teeth into… candy! We’re talking homemade fudge, hand-dipped caramel apples, salt water taffy and the world’s best malted milk balls. Galena’s Kandy Kitchen has been cooking up sweets since 1974. In addition to producing small batches of fine handmade confections, they allow customers to scoop at their own leisure from jars of colorful hard candy and name brand treats.

And if he has an affinity for chocolate-covered strawberries, try Sweet Alice’s in downtown Stockton. All corners of Galena Country are sugar sweet!

Galena Jeep Rentals

6. A New Jeep

Kidding. Dads are great but let me be a bit more reasonable. Galena Jeep Rentals in Elizabeth, the heart of Galena Country, offers the perfect opportunity for him to experience the outdoors while riding in style. Who knows? A little taste of a 4-door Jeep Wrangler tour might result in an impulse, new family purchase.

(And more…)

We’ve now come to the part where new traditions are born. Whether you want to hit the water with a kayaking trip or enjoy the rays with a round of golf, Galena, Illinois, is the place to bring your #1 man.

Spend the day kayaking the Galena River. Bring your own or rent from Fever River Outfitters and launch downtown, just steps away from the Helluva Half Mile. Build up a sweat with a paddle down to the Mississippi River or take it easy and float along the coast of Galena’s shaded River Trail. A day on the water is best spent with good company and Dad will enjoy the quality one-on-one time.

If golfing is more Dad’s style, he’ll be happy to know Galena Country has some of the best courses in the Midwest. A round or two on these award-winning courses and Dad will think he’s ready to go pro. Take time to explore 18 holes or multiple courses. Family time is of the essence and Dad will appreciate every minute of it. For a full list of golfing facilities, e-mail our Welcome Center at galena@visitgalena.org.

Whatever you choose to give or do for Dad on Father’s Day, make sure he has the day he deserves and, above all else, let him know you love him.

Bring your Bachelorette party to Galena Country


We’ve noticed more brides-to-be are visiting Galena for their bachelorette parties and we couldn’t be happier. Galena is already recognized as a destination wedding hot-spot. The beautiful rolling hills of Galena Country, its picturesque churches and a Main Street frozen in the 1800s are just a few things that catch their attention. That said, it might be surprising to learn that maids of honor are drawn to the area for different reasons. Those reasons make Galena one of the best cities to plan bachelorette party adventures.


Happy hour – With 13 pubs on Main Street there are plenty of places to celebrate the bride-to-be with a drink. Each pub offers a variety of beverages in a unique atmosphere with a little something for everyone. From quiz-bowl trivia and live music to martinis and karaoke, the Galena pub scene is one big party happening on the Helluva Half Mile every night. Don’t worry about driving. All pubs are located within walking distance to one another and, when the night is over, call one of Galena’s cab services to transport the party back to your lodging.


Fritz and Frites

Brunch – Galena’s dining scene is superb and bachelorettes looking for the ultimate brunch experience will find it here, mimosas and all. The Courtyard RestaurantFritz and Frites, Victory Café, Golden Hen Café, Almost Paradise Bar & Grill and Otto’s Place Café all offer a delicious brunch menu. Don’t forget to order a glass of Rosé and toast the bride-to-be. If the group is coming off a late night and brunch isn’t in the cards, there are plenty of dining options to explore for a late lunch or dinner.


Fun shopping – Who doesn’t love a good boutique? Galena’s Helluva Half Mile has more than 130 independent businesses, making it a shopper’s paradise. Check out the scents and pleasures of Noty Kity. Savor the flavors of Galena with a taste through the Galena Canning Company. Design a custom necklace at Rustic River Finds. Bachelorettes love the variety of shops, gourmet food stores and design studios that line our marvelous Main Street.


Unique attractions – Galena is a booming tourist destination with attractions galore. Spend the day exploring the city’s rich history with a trolley tour through the historic district. Embrace Mother Nature with the breathtaking view on top Horseshoe Mound. Walk the same halls that President Ulysses S. Grant roamed with a tour through his home. Be fearless with a zip line journey through the scenic Tapley Woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. The possibilities are endless and with so much to see and do, bachelorette party goers love having options.



Even more spirits – Enjoy more than a drink at one of four wineries, the Galena Brewing Co. and Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Each business offers a tour of and a behind-the-scenes view into how they make their product. Have fun tasting and learning all about their process. If your group is too large to fit in one vehicle, consider booking a tour with Countryside Tours . Ride comfortably and enjoy a drink while they do the driving.


Safety –
This is a top priority for many when choosing a travel destination. Bachelorettes can rest assured knowing Galena is one of the friendliest and safest cities around. Party goers can plan on having big fun while enjoying the benefits of small town safety including low crime and welcoming locals.

She’s super, she’s a mom, she’s SuperMom!

We asked VisitGalena fans to nominate their favorite mom for a weekend trip to Galena. Husbands, daughters and friends have entered their favorite mom in hopes of winning her a trip she’ll never forget. We’ve sifted through many entries that explained why their mom deserves to win and what they would do during a visit to the Helluva Half Mile. The time has come to announce our winner of the Get To Galena SuperMom giveaway. Congratulations Diane Sugars, nominated by her daughter, Abby. Abby’s heartfelt entry and her mom’s love for Galena grabbed our attention. Diane is an avid fan of our little town and she has a big heart for those in her life, postponing her first trip to Galena in order to take care of her family and work duties. Diane is a one-of-a-kind mom and definitely deserving of the SuperMom title. Read Abby’s entry below…
Galena Main Street

Diane Sugars is my Super Mom. She can do many things at one time. Her life has not been her own for many years. My brother was born first, then I arrived 5 years later. From that time until now, she has committed her life to her family, friends and job.

My mom and dad were married on September 19, 1992. She began her own family at this point. My mom made sure my dad’s life was full of all good things. She could make yummy meals from nothing and decorate their home with simple things that looked like a magazine. Six years later my brother came, and their world changed. Taking care of her firstborn became her mission. She catered to his every need. When he started preschool, my mom started her school duties. In a short month, later I popped into the family.

She became the original soccer mom. She kept house, fed us, did all the things my dad needed, plus entertained us. Once we were both in school, she became the super school mom. Every year for both of us, she has been a room mother, field trip chaperone, and homework queen. While becoming the school mom, she worked at the optical center at Shopko. Then in August of 2014, she started working at the Montrose Health Center. She was now on another journey gaining another family. At the center, mom was filled with love and compassion for the residents. Her love of family spilled over into her job. Now she was not only super school mom, but caring for those who needed an advocate to watch over them.

Mom became known to the residents as the cook that cares. She asks them their favorite food or is there something special they would like to eat. So now, mom is not only cooking the family favorites but the Center’s residents favorites also. While doing all of this she is still a super mom and wife. After working in the health center for a couple of years, she was promoted to the Dietary Supervisor at the Montrose Health Center. This required more of her time but she continues to be the best mom and wife ever.


Helluva Half Mile


This brings us to her love of Galena. Mom had always wanted to go to Galena, but something always got in the way. Then in 2014, my dad took her to Galena on their anniversary. Mom got to do everything she had dreamed about doing. She instantly fell in love with Galena. When she came home, she couldn’t stop talking about Galena. My mom loves history so much and Galena is a treasure trove of great historic value. After being home for a couple of days, immediately she began reading all she could Galena and its history. My mom started making a list of all the things she wanted to see that she hadn’t already seen.


DeSoto House Hotel


Since my mom and I are very close she wanted to share Galena with me, so we started planning a trip together. When June came around we were off on our Galena adventure. We stayed on the most haunted floor of the Desoto House. Legend has it that The Lady in Black still roams around the hallways. Mom and I stayed up all night but sadly we didn’t see any ghosts. The next morning my mom and I had a fabulous breakfast at the Courtyard Restaurant in the hotel. It was such a treat for her to have breakfast made for her, that rarely happens. After that, we started our exploration of Galena. My mom was so excited to share her favorite prior experiences of Galena with me.




Our first stop was U. S. Grant’s house, she told me all about it ahead of time and I was so excited. Once we walked in I saw everything that my mom had told me about come to life. She loves Grant’s history and his house. Because my mom loves to dream, we decided to drive around and look at all the houses that were for sale. We decided we would rather come to visit than live there because with every new visit to Galena there was always had a surprise inside.


Victory Café


Next, it was time for lunch. My mom is a foodie and Galena is a Mecca for her. So many restaurants, so little time. Our trip to Galena was such a fabulous and exciting weekend for a mom and her daughter. After getting home, my mom announced, “When will we go again?”


Jail Hill Inn


My mom and dad went back for some together time during another anniversary. My dad surprised her by staying at the Jail Hill Inn. My brother and I both thought it was appropriate for our parents to stay in jail for a few days! My mom was so excited she got to revisit some special places and embark on some new experiences. When they got home my mom announced, “we are all going to Galena in February as a family!!!” After the family trip to Galena, we were all hooked on my mom’s favorite getaway place, Galena.


Galena's Main Street


I am writing this to tell you about how the greatest mom ever, deserves this trip to Galena. She spends countless hours in the facility helping the senior citizens feel like they are family. Any special requests are always honored. She always goes the extra mile and gives up herself every day to her job, all the time remembering she has a family of her own. Whether it’s my brother in boy scouts or one of my many projects she is always there to help us. She asks very little of anyone but is appreciative of anything that is done for her. Winning this trip to Galena will show my mom how much I love and care about her. I truly appreciate you taking the time you spent reading this. – Abby Sugars

Bring your mom to Galena, Illinois this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Does your supermom deserve to win a SuperMom Getaway? That is the question we’ve throw out there and the responses have been pouring in. Husbands, daughters and friends have entered their favorite mom in hopes of winning her a SuperMom Getaway to Galena, Illinois (winner will be announced April 21). We’ve sifted through many entries that explain why their mom deserves to win and what they would do during a visit to the Helluva Half Mile. Below are a few excerpts from entries that are too good not to share. Check back for part 2 of this blog post to read more entries.

Galena's Helluva Half Mile

My wife is a SuperMom who does it all and then some. She holds an advanced position in the insurance industry that involves travel across areas of the Midwest several days each month. This prevents her from always being close to her two young sources of joy, aged 6 and 11. Despite the fact that these trips involve early morning wake-ups, driving herself to the airport, flying and then meeting with multiple clients over several days, she always manages to come home with enough energy to receive an overabundance of hugs and kisses from the kids and a puppy 🙂

She deserves a relaxing visit to Galena where, in the past, we have celebrated our anniversary, done some wine-tasting and enjoyed the Alpine sledding at Chestnut Mountain Lodge. Her ideal trip would involve relaxing in a cozy setting, perhaps in front of a fire with a good book and definitely with a long, soothing bubble bath.

She would definitely enjoy sampling the many great wines that Galena Cellars has to offer and would be very satisfied with consuming the various cheeses available at Galena River Wine & Cheese. An Italian meal consisting of gnocchi at One Eleven Main would definitely be a highlight of the visit as well. Getting some exercise by walking throughout the town and visiting the many unique shops that Galena has to offer as well as traveling throughout the neighborhoods would certainly be appreciated as well.

In order to achieve a proper work-life balance, a trip to nearby Galena would certainly fit the bill. Thank you for your consideration and for showcasing all that Galena has to offer. – Toby from Naperville, Illinois


Why mom deserves to win a trip to Galena, IL

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Does your supermom deserve to win a SuperMom Getaway? That is the question we’ve throw out there and the responses have been pouring in. Husbands, daughters and friends have entered their favorite mom in hopes of winning her a SuperMom Getaway to Galena, Illinois (Winner announced April 21). We’ve sifted through many entries that explain why their mom deserves to win and what they would do during a visit to the Helluva Half Mile. Below are a few excerpts from entries that are too good not to share.

Galena's Helluva Half Mile Main Street

Hello! My name is Kelley and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to tell you about my fantastic mom, Kathleen, the very embodiment of a SuperMom.

Even as a single parent, Mom put herself through school and worked as a medical transcriptionist for a women’s OB-GYN. My mom is hilarious and has an amazing sense of humor. Sometimes when we are together, we can spend more time laughing than we do talking! She is also incredibly selfless – she is always there for her family and friends when they need her.

One of my favorite things to do with my mom is to shop (I think she would begrudgingly agree!) We love to go to art shows, tiny Main St. shops, and even the mall together. We have discussed visiting Galena for a girls’ weekend over the years, but have always been prohibited from work, finances, or other commitments. I have spent hours “stalking” the Visit Galena website, salivating over the beautiful boutiques and charming stores. Mom visited Galena with my aunt several years back and can’t wait to return.

Surprising her with this wonderful gift – we would finally have our girls’ weekend shopping ‘til we drop in charming, beautiful Galena! Although we would be excited to do everything there during our Helluva Half Mile experience, I would be especially thrilled to check out the boutique stores and art galleries for apparel and home items

If the weather is kind, we both love to hike and would enjoy checking out the number of beautiful parks and preserves in the area – assuming our feet are up to it after all the shopping!

One of my favorite things about Galena, though, is this – that you bring in visitors not by piles of advertising and spamming my inbox, but by hosting giveaways like the SuperMom Getaway and Wedding in a Window to give the lucky recipients a dream come true.

I also feel that my mother, who has spent much of her life doing things for others without expecting anything in return, absolutely deserves a chance to be pampered and indulge for a change and I am so excited to be the person to give that opportunity to her. Thank you very much for this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my mom and for considering my submission to your giveaway. – Kelley from Sun Prairie, WI


How to have a green vacation in Galena

Jail Hill Inn

Book your stay at one of Galena’s green lodging properties.
Eight lodging properties in Galena have taken measures to ensure that they are operating in the green. To be recognized as a green leader, each property must fulfill the required green lodging criteria, as determined by the Galena Area Green Designation Committee. The Committee is one of several entities that aims to develop green initiatives throughout Galena, Illinois, and Jo Daviess County.

Galena’s designated green lodging properties:
Aldrich Guest House
Alice’s Snyder House Bed & Breakfast
Augustus Chetlain Home & Log Cabin Guest House
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House
Country Inn & Suites
Farmers Guest House
Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages
Jail Hill Inn
Ramada Galena

Galena River view of downtown

Park your car and pedal around town.
Bike from shop-to-shop on the Helluva Half Mile, pedal across the pedestrian bridge to Ulysses Grant’s home, reconnect with nature on a ride along the Galena River Trail, journey to an award-winning vineyard or cruise through a historic cemetery. Fever River Outfitters makes it easy to explore Galena by bicycle with regular and electric bike rentals- perfect for conquering hills and long distances.

Blaum Bros. Distilling Co

Enjoy a meal and spirits made from local ingredients.
Located on the Helluva Half Mile, One Eleven Main is dedicated to supporting local farmers, artisans and food purveyors. Their mouthwatering menu includes locally-sourced ingredients and specialty items recommended by their food partners. After a delicious meal, get to Blaum Bros. Distillery for some tasty drinks. The two fun-loving brothers at Blaum Bros. source nearly all their grain from Illinois and their tasty spirits are made on-site. What little grain they use beyond Illinois happens to be sourced from the neighboring farms in Wisconsin.

my green galena

Bag up your retail finds in an eco-friendly bag.
Ditch the plastic shopping bags and purchase a My Green Galena reusable bag at the Galena Welcome Center or City Hall. These bad boys are quite large and are perfect for carrying all those Helluva Half Mile gifts and goodies. Plastic bag pollution is environmentally damaging and completely avoidable. Shopping with a reusable bag is the way to go. The best part? My Green Galena bags are recyclable!

Galena solar treatment plant

Extra, extra… Galena is committed to sustainability.
In 2014, the City of Galena was recognized as a leader in sustainability when it received the Governor’s Sustainability Award from the Office of the Governor and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center of the University of Illinois. The award recognized the city for its demonstrated commitment to the economy, society and environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. In other words, it’s greena in Galena!

Keep the coffee coming.

A list of coffee shops located on the Helluva Half Mile.


photo credit: Big Bill’s Sandwich & Coffee Shop

Spring has arrived but just when it looks like warmer weather is here to stay, Mother Nature delivers another drizzling cold front. That’s okay. Our little town is the perfect place to cozy up and April showers bring May flowers. While we wait for warmer Spring weather to arrive, you can find us hanging in a comfy Galena cafe enjoying a hot cup of java. Want to join us? Check out this list of welcoming coffee shops located on the Helluva Half Mile.



photo credit: Kaladis .925

Mean Bean Rosters
Think custom gourmet coffee minus the stuffy coffee house. Mean Bean Roasters believes everyone should enjoy outstanding gourmet coffees and offers all customers the option to custom design a personal coffee blend and label. Choose up to five different mouthwatering flavors to create your own individual and unique blend. Not sure what you like? No problem! Mean Bean’s friendly staff is there to help. If you aren’t up for creating a blend, enjoy one of their pre-made selections. Enjoy a warm cup of freshly brewed java, made locally by fellow coffee lovers.



Kaladis .925

Kaladis .925
Get to Kaladis for an afternoon pick-me-up after a day of sightseeing in Galena. Make yourself comfortable. This family-owned coffee shop has great ambiance and free Wi-Fi. The coffee selection is excellent and they have a wonderful food menu offering a selection of delicious baked goods and sandwiches! It’s what taste buds dream about.



photo credit: Devour Café

Devour Café
If you’re looking for a quality cup of caffeine then this is your place. At Devour, each drink is meticulously prepared with care by an incredibly friendly staff. The atmosphere is welcoming and has some of the best natural light, perfect for those of you who like to snap photos of your coffee before you drink. This café has become a must-visit for returning visitors.



Stam Chocolaterie
Don’t let the name fool you. The owners of Stam Chocolaterie in Galena offer a tasty selection of coffee drinks. Whether it is a traditional black coffee or a large almond milk caramel latte with extra foam, the baristas serve it how you like it! Once you have a drink order figured out, browse their selection of decadent chocolates. As if it couldn’t get any better, they also serve gelato!



photo credit: Big Bill’s Sandwich & Coffee Shop

Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop & Coffee Bar
Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop & Coffee Bar is the place to go for great food, comfortable vibes, excellent service and a cup of Metropolis Coffee. Bill’s has a full-service coffee bar and tasty food menu, including sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries. Enjoy live music on the weekends and one of the best views of the Helluva Half Mile.

5 winter activities that don’t require snow

No snow? No problem! So what is there to do if skiing and ice skating aren’t in the cards? Sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t act according to the plan but no worries, we’ve compiled a list of winter activities to take your mind off those no-snow winter blues.

casper bluf

Winter Hikes – If you are itching to get outdoors how about a winter hike? Galena has plenty of nature preserves that are well worth visiting. The winter months are a great time to explore trails and admire wildlife, you may even see a bald eagle or two. A winter walk in the woods will reconnect you with nature.

PT Murphy

Magic Show – Take time to book a reservation with Galena’s master magician PT Murphy. With his slight of hand and mischievous sense of humor PT will will mystify you to believe! Located in the heart of downtown Galena, this intimate magic show will have you forgetting about the snow in no time.

blaum bros

Wine & Spirit Tastings – Blizzard or mild temps,  wine and spirits are always a good idea. Massbach Ridge Winery and Galena Cellars both have tasting rooms located on Main Street and with no icy roads to worry about you might want to plan a drive out to Galena Cellars country vineyard for a full tour. Don’t forget about Blaum Bros. Distillery located off Hwy 20, take a tour of their distillation area and barrel room or stop in for a bottle or a cocktail!


Geocaching – Have you tried it? Geocaching is a fun outdoors activity that the whole family will enjoy, even in the winter. Grab your coat and GPS and start exploring the many geocaches hidden amongst Galena’s historic downtown. It’s a great way to view the city from a different angle, as you search for hidden treasures in surprising places.


President Ulysses S. Grant’s home is open year-round. It was opened to the public in 1904 and a majority of the furnishings are original. Tour this home Wed.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Reserve your 2016 New Year’s Eve dinner spot

2016 is almost over! Celebrate the new year with a delicious dinner and Champagne at one of Galena’s finest restaurants. Book your reservations today. These hotspots are selling out fast!

Goldmoor Inn – How about a specially prepared chef’s choice meal at one of Galena’s luxury lodging properties? Book your New Year’s Eve dinner reservations at the Goldmoor Inn and enjoy a prix fixe meal, live music, party favors and Champagne toast.


Fritz and Frites – Enjoy a romantic dinner for 2 with German and French cuisine and an award-winning wine selection. This bistro is the perfect setting to welcome in the new year with the one you love.


Perry Street Brasserie – Dine at one of the top 100 restaurants in the U.S., Perry Street Brasserie. This is the place to go for a unique dinner featuring organic, in-season products and exquisite flavors.


Woodstone Restaurant – The Woodstone Restaurant offers seasonal cuisine using local ingredients and has an extensive wine and craft ale list. Book your intimate New Year’s Eve dinner for 2 before reservations are full!


Fried Green Tomatoes – Ring in the new year with outstanding service in an inviting atmosphere. This iconic restaurant is the place for steak, fresh scallops and homemade lasagna.

One Eleven Main – Enjoy a made-from-scratch meal sourced with local ingredients. One Eleven Main is dedicated to supporting local farmers, artisans and food purveyors and you can taste the passion in their food. Celebrate the new year with a delicious dinner in this delightful restaurant located in the heart of downtown Galena.

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