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.

Naughty gifts for the naughty list.

Shopping for someone who’s been put on the naughty list? Check out this list of Galena favorites that are sure to carry what you’re looking for.


Head to Noty Kity and shop sexy lip balms, body lotion, lingerie, massage oils, accessories and more! If you want it, Noty Kity can get it! The staff is focused on providing the best and largest variety of products and the highest level of customer service and satisfactions.


Nothing says naughty like a “whiskey made me do it” t-shirt from Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Visit the Blaum Bros gift shop and pick up a comfy tee and some tasty spirits for that special devil in your life. While there, check out the guided tour. This is not a standard 5-minute talk but, rather, a full sensory experience. Touch, taste and feel the ingredients that make Blaum Bros. spirits unique!


Chocolat‘s candies taste so good it’s bad. With more than 200 flavors of Swiss, German, French Belgian and Venezuelan chocolates their selection is so decadent they consider it “The eighth deadly sin.” As if that wasn’t enough, Chocolat’ also carries a fine selection of imported wines. Chocolat’ and wine? Yes, please!


Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer? Pick up a few gift certificates from Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape. Throw in a bottle of Kouzabel wine as a delicious bonus. Enjoy a savory martini while you shop and don’t miss the outstanding appetizer selection and sinful desserts.

Jump-start your summer with this 4-day itinerary

Jump-start your summer with a weekend full of adventure during Memorial Day weekend. For many of us, Memorial Day means school is out and summer vacation officially begins. Grab your travel buddies and plan a vacation to Galena to celebrate the season. Here’s a 4-day itinerary missing only one thing… you!


Spend Friday immersed in history and wowed with impressive architecture. Explore the historic Elihu B. Washburne House where President Ulysses S. Grant spent his election night. After a walk through Washburne’s home, a tour of Grant’s home is in order. See his original furnishings and tour his property and other historic buildings. Have your camera ready to snap a picture of the amazing Bernadine’s Stillman Inn located steps away from the Grant home. Now a bed and breakfast, the Inn has exquisitely preserved the French Italianate details, which date back to 1858. Next up is The Belvedere Mansion & Gardens. Inside, visitors will find Victorian furnishings, Liberace’s estate items and the famous green drapes, as well as artwork, from “Gone with the Wind.”


Saturday is for tasting and touring. The Galena Area is home to multiple wineries, including Massbach Ridge Winery & Tasting Room, Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery and Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, all of which offer tours and tastings. Wine isn’t your thing? How about a cold craft beer or fine spirits? Blaum Bros. Distillery offers daily tours, tastings, a gift shop and even a specialty cocktail bar. The Galena Brewing Co. is a microbrewery, featuring brewery tours, tastings, brewpub menu, gift shop and live entertainment.


Celebrate Sunday Funday outdoors in one of Galena’s beautiful parks. The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation maintains breathtaking nature preserves. Plan a picnic lunch on a preserve and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Spend the afternoon hiking, biking or even kayaking your way through the scenic landscape of Northern Illinois. Fever River Outfitters can hook you up with bike and kayak rentals. Chestnut Mountain Resort offers mountain bike rentals and Segway tours through the woods overlooking the Mighty Mississippi River.


Between the historic homes, tasty tours and picturesque parks, the weekend has proven to be one for the books. Don’t let your last day in the Galena Area fizzle out. It’s time to shop ‘til you drop and eat your heart out! Galena’s 1800s Main Street was voted as the nation’s Best Shopping on Main Street experience by ShopOnMain. More than 101 mom ‘n’ pop shops tempt visitors with boutique shopping, incredible antiques and gourmet foods. End your Memorial Day shopping spree with a sit-down meal at one of Galena’s fine restaurants. Enjoy a glass of wine and unwind as you recap your weekend with friends over a delicious dinner, a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Looking for more travel ideas? We’d love to help you plan your trip. Give us a call or e-mail us! 815.776.9200 – galena@visitgalena.org






Romantic Getaway in Galena

galena illinois dining

This holiday season get away for some rest and relaxation in Galena, Illinois. Treat you and your loved one to some much needed time together and sneak away from the stresses of work and holiday madness.
A getaway for two is one of the most romantic ideas you can have this time of year. Snow-dusted scenery, candlelit dinners, crisp wintry strolls and cuddles in front of a crackling fireplace will transport you far away from everyday life.
Begin planning your getaway by choosing from Galena’s impressive collection of places to stay.

During the day, explore Galena, shop Main Street or, for the more adventurous, test your skills on our downhill ski slopes. Relax and rejuvenate with a spa treatment at one of Galena’s full-service spas. After a decadent day together, request a quiet, romantic table at one of nearly 30 family-owned and operated restaurants, cafes and coffeehouses. Enjoy special winter dishes, warm cocktails and an impressive collection of wines and spirits from around the world. Whether you are a new couple or have been together for many years, celebrate your relationship with a romantic getaway to Galena, Illinois.

Win a Galena winter getaway for 2!

galena getaway contest 1

Think Galena is great? Tell everyone why they should Get To Galena and you could win a winter getaway for 2!

This giveaway includes:

To participate

  1. Follow us on Instagram @VisitGalenaOrg.
  2. Upload an Instagram photo that shows why you should Get To Galena. Enter as often as you like. Each photo equals 1 entry.
  3. Tag it @VisitGalenaOrg #GetToGalena #MLGreatestTown.

Winner announced- Congratulations Beth Kelley – @bmllmn99 !

Participants who post their photograph(s) in accordance with these Terms and Conditions will be eligible to win one (1) grand prize consisting of accommodation for 2 at Aldrich Guest House between Nov. 15, 2015-March 15, 2016 (based on availability), dinner for 2 at Perry Street Brasserie and 2 ski lift tickets good for 1 day at Chestnut Mountain Resort.
Eligibilty: Participant must follow @VisitGalenaOrg on Instagram and photo entry must include both hashtags (#). A random winner will be chosen and notified by noon on Mon., Dec. 28. Entrants must post a picture in the theme of “Why should you Get To Galena” and upload it to Instagram between Nov. 15-Dec. 15. Caption and tag accordingly- #GetToGalena”, #MLGreatestTown” and @VisitGalenaOrg. Participants are not allowed to upload the same picture. Incomplete or duplicate entries or entries received outside of the promotion period, might be discarded without notice. Entries might not be acknowledged.  Winner must, within 7 days of the announcement, contact VisitGalena by e-mail at admin@visitgalena.org to identify him/herself and provide his/her e-mail and mailing address. Participants entering this giveaway grant VisitGalena the exclusive right to use uploaded entry for future promotional and marketing purposes in any manner whatsoever.

Tis the season! 4 pre-holiday happenings you don’t want to miss

With Thanksgiving only a few days away and Christmas around the corner, we thought we’d share a list of delightful holiday inspired activities happening in Galena. Don’t forget our winter package deals! Plan your pre-holiday adventure for only $199 for two!

old fashioned christmas
Old Fashioned Christmas in Galena

Enjoy a fun-filled weekend and start your holiday season celebration off with the big man himself…Santa Claus!
Enjoy gift bags, hot cocoa, popcorn balls and the sweet sound of Christmas music being sung by carolers.
Start of Santa’s Arrival: 5:30 p.m., lighting of Tree: 6 p.m.

mistletoe stroll
Mistletoe Stroll Holiday House Tour

Bed and breakfast innkeepers of Galena invite the public to tour historic inns lavishly decorated for Christmas. Purchase tickets at any of the participating Best of Galena Inns. Maps will be provided. Tickets – $10

winter market
Galena’s Winter Market

Local vendors take over the Galena Center for the Arts this winter. Find winter vegetables, herbs, crafts and more just in time for Christmas! Shop handmade and local this holiday season!

night of the luminaria
Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows

Don’t miss one of the most beautiful and romantic visions of the year. Stroll down Main Street and watch more than a dozen windows come alive with holiday inspired animation. This year a real wedding will take place in one of the Living Windows! All of Galena will be glowing on this magical night, when you see over 5,000 candle-lit luminaries on streets, steps and sidewalks.

Visit our Things to Do page for a detailed list of wintertime festivities.


5 Ways to Experience Galena’s Fall Colors

It’s the most wonderful time of the season, the trees are changing colors and the town is bustling with Fall festivities. We’ve crafted a list of places to take in the colorful scenery on your next visit. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more Galena experiences.

grant park
Stroll through Grant Park. Home to the Galena Country Fair, this park offers walking paths under a canopies of trees and views of historic homes from across the Galena River.

tri-state trolley
Book a ride with Tri-State Trolley. With a tour through the historic area you’ll experience brilliant fall colors paired with winding roads and old brick homes.

grants home
Visit President Grant’s home. After your tour through this historic home stop and enjoy the beautiful landscape and Galena scenery. With views fit for a president, you won’t be disappointed.

river trail
Rent a bike from Fever River Outfitters and ride the the river trail to Buehler Preserve. If biking isn’t your thing you can always hike or rent a kayak or canoe and float down the Galena River!

chestnut mtn
Take in breath-taking views of the might Mississippi River from Chestnut Mountain Resort. Ride the alpine slide, soaring eagle or ski lift for amazing views high above the river. You can also take a hike through wooded trails, but definitely bring your camera because the colors here are WOW!

Photo credits: (1. hbachman23, 3. eclectic.erection, 4. andrealeeinthecity)

5 Spooky Must-Dos in Galena this October

We’ve compiled a list of eerily fun experiences to test your courage this October. Make plans now to see just how brave you are.

all ghost tour

All About a Ghost Tour

On this walking tour through downtown you’ll hear stories of Galena Ghosts past. Learn about mysterious events and the frightening experiences that have taken place in unique locations of the city. The tour takes place every Fri., Sat. and Sun. night in October from  8- 9:30 p.m.

amelia tour

Amelia’s Tours

Allow Amelia to introduce you to the paranormal ‘hot spots’ and tell you the local lore and legends behind these tales. Climb aboard a shuttle bus tour and hear documented history and ghost stories intertwined. Visit a 1800s cemetery, walk through a haunted building and try to communicate with spirits from Galena’s past. Amelia’s Shuttle Bus Ghost Tour departs at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily.


Fear Forest

Brave souls beware; for the creatures of the night lie in wait, and they are just dying to meet you! Fear Forest isn’t like any other haunted house because it takes place in a real forest, with all the creepy, natural ambiance to go with it. There aren’t any walls to protect you from the horrors that lurk in the trees and no roof to keep out the howling October winds. Fear Forest is open every Fri. and Sat. in October from 7-11 p.m.


Galena Halloween Parade

The Annual Halloween Parade held in downtown Galena last year had over 14,000 people attend. Unlike any other parade you’ve been to, we light the streets with fire. Come see amazing floats and be prepared to see plenty of ghosts, goblins and ghouls. The Halloween Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on October 31.

desoto ghost

Galena Ghost Tales Come Alive

Dine with guests from the past and present. After the Halloween parade come for dinner and a “live” performance. No hocus pocus this year. Just the real documented facts. Time: 7:30 p.m. This event has limited seating so purchase tickets early.


Galena Fall Favorites

No matter when you visit you’ll find plenty to do but as Summer fades and the cool air begins to roll in Galena embraces Fall and celebrates with festivals, food and fire! Be sure to check out our Things To Do tab for a full list of seasonal events, attractions and more! Here are just a few of our upcoming Fall Favorites…


historic homes

This year will mark the 48th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes. Join the Galena Historical Society and explore some of the city’s oldest buildings including the Jail Hill Inn (pictured above.) It was originally a jail, built in 1878!


art festival

Celebrate grape harvesting season with art, music and wine! There will be a grape stomping competition, pumpkin decorating, horses, live music, food, spa treatments and more. It’s quite a combination, and promises to be a fun fall adventure.


dittmar farms open

Dittmar Farms has been operating its family owned farm since 1854! Don’t miss the 2015 season opening, celebrate with hayrides, u-pick pumpkin patch, apple orchard and corn maze.


galena oktoberfest

One of Galena’s most popular events! An annual German celebration featuring live music, kids games, wiener dog races and lots of food and beverage. Enjoy a bean bag tournament, raffle drawings with great prizes, polka dancing and lessons, beer stein endurance contest, and the ceremonial tapping of the keg.



With more than 150 vendors offering original, handmade arts, crafts and fine arts you’re sure to take home something that you love. If shopping has you overwhelmed then sit back and enjoy seasonal fair food and live entertainment. Bring the whole family, kids can play at the children’s game center.


20 dirty hands

Galena has an amazing pottery community and every Fall 10 local potters open their personal studios to showcase their work and creative spaces. Follow a self-guided tour along the Galena countryside and explore special exhibits and awesome pottery.



Finish out October with a bang! The Galena Halloween Parade wows thousands of visitor each year with amazing floats and festivities. Unlike any other parade you’ve seen, Galena lights up Main Street with large bursts of fire! You don’t want to miss this event!


(photo credits: 1. Jail Hill Inn, 2. mcannon75, 3. Dittmar Farms)