Explore History

Image: U.S. Grant Home State Historic Site

Galena Country is a charming destination known for its historic character, scenic landscapes and iconic events. Contrary to the belief that travel has to be expensive, Galena Country offers a variety of free experiences that allow visitors to have a blast without breaking the bank.

Window shop til' you drop

Galena's historic Main Street is a journey back in time with its well-preserved 19th-century architecture. Take a leisurely stroll along the cinematic streets, admire the beautifully restored buildings, and window shop at countless independently owned boutique stores. Many of these scenic storefronts have historical plaques, providing insight into the town's rich history.

For even more shopping – see Elizabeth's Grand Antique Co., hidden gems like Nature’s Treasures in Woodbine, and other unique boutiques scattered throughout the county.  

Reconnect with nature

Galena's historic Grant Park, named after President Ulysses S. Grant, offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of Main Street. It's an ideal spot for a leisurely afternoon, whether you're looking to relax with a book or enjoy a family picnic. Looking for the perfect picnic spot offering panoramic views? Head to the hills and check out Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

For fitness lovers, the Galena River Trail provides the ideal scenic route for walking, jogging, or cycling. The trail winds along the Galena River, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you want to hike and bike or just observe the beauty of nature, Galena Country has countless beautiful locations where you can enjoy the outdoors for free! Check out: Apple River Canyon State ParkCasper Bluff Land & Water ReserveGalena Gateway ParkWapello Land & Water Reserve and the Witkowsky State Wildlife Area.

Discover Local Works of Art

Being surrounded by beauty, it's only natural that Galena Country would be home to an abundance of talented artists. Take in the creativity of local artists by visiting art galleries, sculpture parks, pottery studios, and more! Don't miss: West Street Sculpture ParkOutside the Lines Art GalleryRiver Bend GalleryGalena Center for the Arts and the Stockton Murals.

Immerse yourself in history

History is rich and revered in Galena, where 85% of buildings are in a National Register Historic District. Galena Country is steeped in history, and you can delve into its past with a self-guided walking tour of historic sites. Visit landmarks like the Dowling House, the Old Blacksmith Shop, and the DeSoto House Hotel. At the DeSoto House, a self-guided historical walking tour is available to guests and the public, including a 'Quiet Room' to sit and enjoy the historical video.

While there is a suggested donation fee for guided tours, exploring the grounds around the Ulysses S. Grant Home is free of charge. Wander the well-manicured gardens and learn about the life of the Civil War general and former president.

Just outside of Galena, the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, located in Elizabeth, Illinois, is another must-see historic site. The fort offers interpretive programs and free exhibits that provide insight into the historic significance, daily life at the fort, and the events leading up to and during the Black Hawk War in 1832. Also, make sure to check out the Stockton Heritage Museum, which showcases the rich cultural heritage of Stockton, IL.

Incredible annual events

Galena Country features epic events all year long! Before planning your trip, check out the calendar of events to plan for a unique and authentic local experience! Full of infinite opportunities, from live music shows to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities.

There are a lot of places out there, but there's nowhere like us! So, pack your walking shoes, bring a camera and get ready to discover the charm of Galena Country without breaking the bank. Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitor's guide.