Historic Tours in GalenaImage: Galena Trolley Tours & Grant Home

Gather your group and get to Galena Country to explore all things historic! From its bustling mining days to its pivotal role in shaping the nation's destiny, Galena Country is the ideal destination for group tours with a passion for history. Check out this three-day historic group tour itinerary:

Day 1

Make a pit stop along Historic Hwy 20 with a visit to Stockon, IL. Fuel up for the day with baked goods and treats from Sweet Alice's and a coffee at Stella's Cafe. Make a point to capture a few memories in front of the Stockton murals while partaking in the Adventures in Stockton self-guided tour. If you’re feeling inspired by the art, stop by Nature’s Treasures in Woodbine, IL, to browse and shop the vast selection of stones and crystals!

As you embark on your scenic drive through Galena Country, swing by Elizabeth, IL and step back in time at the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, a meticulous reconstruction of the original fort that played a crucial role in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Then, delve into the fascinating railroading history at the Chicago Great Western Railway, housed in a restored railway depot.

Arrive in Galena in time for a light lunch at Green Street Tavern, located in the historic DeSoto House Hotel. Guests can immerse themselves in its storied past through a self-guided tour and a captivating informational video that offers a glimpse into the rich history of this iconic landmark. Afterward, pop over to Rootbeer Revelry, attached to the hotel, and quench your thirst with a refreshing drink or flight before exploring Galena's historic Main Street.

Once you've reached your step goal, rest your legs on a scenic ride with Galena Trolley Tours. You'll learn more about Galena's vibrant history and get a personalized view of the gorgeous architecture throughout the town.

After the tour, enjoy some free time to explore Main Street further or return to the DeSoto House to freshen up for dinner at Galena's oldest supper club, the Log Cabin Steakhouse. TRAVEL TIP: Polish off your dinner with a hand-mixed grasshopper!

Day 2

Arise for breakfast at the hotel or offsite at Big Bill's or Charlie’s Place on Main Street or Otto's Place across the river, next door to the Galena Country Visitor Center located within the Old Train Depot.

Step into history with a tour of the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, where visitors are transported back to the 1860s, immersed in the life of the Civil War general and future president. Led by knowledgeable guides, the tour offers a glimpse into Grant's daily life, exploring the carefully preserved rooms where he lived and worked. Follow up with another in-depth tour of the Elihu B. Washburne House, two blocks away. With its rich heritage and fascinating stories, the Washburne House tour offers a unique glimpse into the life of one of Galena's most influential residents, Elihu B. Washburne, a prominent political figure and confidant of Presidents Lincoln and Grant. TRAVEL TIP: Take an extra moment while in the library, as that's where Grant received the telegraph announcing he had been elected as the 18th President of the United States!

Head back across the river to the Old Blacksmith Shop to experience live forging demonstrations. This historic landmark, dating back to the mid-19th century, offers visitors insight into the world of traditional blacksmithing. Watch skilled artisans as they forge metal into works of art, demonstrating age-old techniques passed down through generations.

After a leisurely lunch at one of the many restaurants downtown, meet with the group to indulge in a sensory journey with a wine-tasting experience and tour of Galena Cellars Winery and Vineyard. Guided by knowledgeable local sommeliers, you'll explore a diverse range of varietals, from crisp whites to robust reds, each carefully crafted to perfection. Make your way back to the hotel, freshen up and enter a world of enchantment and entertainment with an unforgettable dining experience at Amelia's Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Afterward, don't miss the chance to immerse yourself in Galena's dynamic nightlife scene and listen to local musicians at charming bars and pubs.

Day 3

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel or journey downtown to Kaladi’s, Galena Roasters, or any of the other wonderful coffee shops! Whether you prefer a classic drip coffee or a handcrafted latte adorned with intricate latte art, the baristas at these local gems are masters of their craft, ensuring each cup is brewed to perfection.

Once the caffeine strikes, visit the Galena and U.S. Grant History Museum and explore interactive displays that chronicle Galena's rise to prominence, from the boom days of lead mining to its heyday as a bustling river port. Delve into the lives of the town's most notable residents, including Ulysses S. Grant, whose legacy remains over Galena's streets (keep an eye out for Grant sitting on a bench on Main Street!). Follow up with a visit to Galena's oldest home, the Dowling House. This historic landmark, built in 1826, offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of Galena's earliest settlers.

After feeding your brain with local history, fill your belly with lunch at Chestnut Mountain Resort's Summit Restaurant, which offers an incredible view of the Mississippi River, before making the journey home. TRAVEL TIP: Relish in a peaceful chair lift ride for an even more incredible view of the mighty Mississippi.

With so much to discover in Galena Country, you'll be back to indulge in even more historic discoveries. Further plan your group tour here and request more info here.