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Tie the knot in #GalenaCountry

Say ‘yes’ to Galena Country.  Nestled among the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois, Galena Country offers a picturesque background paired with 19th-century charm and everything necessary for a dream wedding! Check out these top reasons to say ‘I do’ in Galena Country.

Photo credit: Unposed Photography

Nonstop Beauty

From historical architecture to stunning waterways and breathtaking views, this place is a photographer’s dream! Whether one’s style is simple or regal, they’re sure to have gorgeous portraiture when photographed in Galena Country.

Adored Destination

Rich with history, shopping, lodging and entertainment, guests will more than enjoy a destination wedding in Galena Country! Wedding nuptials offer a special reason for a ‘getaway’ and for many, Galena Country is only a road-trip away!

Enchanting Venues

Choosing a venue that suits style and accommodations is an essential part of planning. Romantic, vintage, rustic, modern, bohemian or traditional, it’s all in Galena Country. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations, whatever the setting, we’ve got it covered.

Local Talent

Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but Galena Country is loaded with talent. From musicians and catering to dresses and designers, all vendors can be hired locally! No one knows the ins and outs of Galena Country, like someone straight from the community. Utilize local resources, schedule tastings and gather information with event coordinators and vendors. They are a wealth of knowledge!

Extraordinary Parties

The perfect location for bachelor/bachelorette parties! Plenty of opportunities for tastings and toasting, delicious food, indulging spas, and epic adventures…this is a no-brainer! Not only are there endless memories in the making, let’s not forget about amazing lodging. Choose from resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, small inns, and b&bs! Stay nestled amongst nature, or lodge right downtown where the action is!

Romantic Tradition

A lovely idea to commemorate where it all began. Start a tradition and head to Galena Country for wedding anniversaries, explore different locations or re-visit your favorites. Though it looks like ‘Galena is frozen in time,’ new lodging, restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities await!

Congratulations on your engagement!

Get to Galena Country, let the celebration begin! Plan a scouting trip with help from the Welcome Center staff at galena@visitgalena.org.

Fitness in Galena Country

With a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start and usually, that comes in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. Most of the time physical exercise makes the top of the list! We have a list of fitness facilities to help you stick to your goal while exploring Galena Country!

Core Fitness Galena
This community-based workout facility is centered on functional based fitness, guided by personal coaches. Multiple fitness class options are available including strength training, team or individual sport-specific training and yoga.

Fitness Center at Midwest Medical Center
Featuring scenic views of Galena’s rolling hills, this fitness center includes a fully appointed exercise studio, indoor cycling, sports training, group fitness classes and yoga & Pilates classes.

Galena Arts & Recreation Center
The Galena ARC offers sports and fitness programs including adult exercise classes, spin classes, yoga, and dance exercise classes.

Galena Fitness
This gym has 24-hour access and includes the usual exercise equipment, free weights as well as treadmills, stationary bikes, and TV displays. The Kindred Spirit Integrated Health and Well Spa is also on site.

The Galena Territory Owners’ Club
If you are staying at a rental home or at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, situated in The Galena Territory, you will have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center with a spectacular view of the valley. There are also three swimming pools to choose from, indoor and outdoor.

Bonus tips 

  • If you prefer the crisp winter air, you will find awesome parks and trails in Galena Country. Some even provide exercise equipment along the way! While you’re out and about, look for wintering Eagles… always a sight to behold.
  • Skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort will also give you a good workout if you prefer to play in the snow!
  • Baaaa-Maste! Original Goat Yoga, Galena is perfect for animal-loving groups or individuals looking for an unforgettable activity. For more traditional yoga enthusiasts, check out Awake 4 Yoga for pop up, private, and group yoga.
  • There’s no shortage of stairs along Galena’s Main Street! Take a stroll down half a mile of Galena’s 19th-century downtown featuring more than 125 independently owned storefronts and keep an eye out for steps in between that leading you the hill. Check out the Green Street Steps for the greatest stair challenge!
  • Treat yourself (guilt-free) to a deliciously healthy organic juice or protein shake at Galena Juicery & Meal Prep or a healthy meal at Thriving Thistle Bistro.


Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you deserve to take some time out to unwind! Here are 6 ways for you to do just that. Browse the Official Visitors Guide for ideas on what else you can do and see during your stay!

2020 is heating up in Galena Country!

The air is crisp, but Galena Country is heating up with these exciting events! From fine-tuning writing skills to discovering savory eats and locally crafted beer to sipping on wine and whiskey and being immersed in thrilling outdoor winter activities, there’s much to discover this winter in #GalenaCountry!

Winter Carnival Weekend

 

And more…

Stay up to date by following the events calendar on VisitGalena.org. Plan your stay around epic events and happenings such as The Great Galena Balloon RaceGalena Country Fair, Oktoberfest Weekend, Galena Halloween Parade and the Night of Luminaria and Living Windows. Be sure to book accommodations early and browse the official visitors guide for ideas on other ‘must-do’ experiences.

Cozy Drink Spots in Galena Country

‘Tis the season to wrap your hands around a warm cup of comfort! We’ve rounded up some toasty ‘hot spots’ where you can relax and thaw out this winter in Galena Country!

Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop & Coffee Bar, Galena
Savor a steaming cappuccino, sip on a Chai Tea Latte or indulge in a Hot Chocolate topped with cream at this full-service coffee bar. They expertly roast their coffee in small batches – try their brew of the month and take some home with you! Make a meal of it and indulge in gourmet breakfast and lunch deliciousness!

Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., Galena
Visit this local craft distillery for a tour behind the scenes and then treat yourself to a Hot Toddy made with Bourbon, honey, fresh lemon juice, and hot water before heading back out into the cold!

Elle & Becks., Galena
This unique spot features a Coffee & Gelato bar within the confines of a lifestyle boutique that offers the latest in fashion, accessories, and homeware. You can even take their delicious coffee home with you!

E-Town Coffee Co., Elizabeth
This cozy spot offers freshly ground coffee, espresso, and other warm drinks. Enjoy a tasty sandwich and browse local art on display and choose a bottle of wine from the wide selection of wines.

Frank O’ Dowds Irish Pub, Galena
How about an Irish Coffee in an authentic Irish pub? This pub was designed and handcrafted in Ireland itself. Together with your coffee, the live entertainment and good Irish cheer is bound to warm you up in no time!

Galena Cellars and Massbach Ridge Wine Tasting Rooms, Galena
Warm-up while sipping on a glass of mulled wine (Gluhwein) at one of these local tasting rooms situated on Galena’s Historic Main Street. Browse many award-winning wines to enjoy at home.

Kaladi’s Coffee Bar, Galena
Make yourself comfortable in this family-owned coffee shop. Enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up or delicious hot chocolate as well as a selection of delicious baked goods! Please note this is a cash-only establishment.

Mean Bean Roasters, Galena
Think custom gourmet coffee! Here you have 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. Enjoy a warm cup of freshly brewed java, made locally by fellow coffee lovers.

Stella’s Café & Catering, Stockton
After “striking a pose” in front of Stockton’s famous downtown murals, warm up with Stella’s famous Caramel Macchiato! Housed in the W.E. White Building, listed on the National Historic Registry, Stella’s is known for its beautiful original tin ceiling and artful ambiance. Step across the street to Sweet Alice’s for some take-home treats and blooming teas!

Thriving Thistle Market, Apple River
Situated on the famous Stagecoach Trail in Apple River, lies this little gem! Not only is it a gas station, but here you will find wholesome nourishment too! Grab a Bullet-Proof coffee (coffee with butter and coconut oil blend) a delicious bite to eat, and fuel-up for your travels!

Now that we’ve got you all nice and toasty… you are ready to explore more of GalenaCountry! These dining options will take care of your hunger when the time comes and they will have cozy drinks to keep you going too!

5 winter activities in Galena Country that don’t require snow

No snow? No problem!

Snow can be so much fun, but Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate! No worries, here are a few snow-free activities for you to enjoy in Galena Country.

Winter Hiking

Bundle up and take a hike! The driftless area offers unique hiking opportunities on nature preserves, providing picture-perfect views and Native American burial grounds to explore. Barren trees give a clear view to all that nature has to offer and the deep silence warms your soul. Gear up with boots, binoculars and your camera. It’s time to reconnect with nature!

A touch of Magic

Book a magic show with Galena’s Master Magician, P.T. Murphy. With his sleight-of-hand and mischievous sense of humor, P.T. will mystify you with a jaw-dropping experience! Located in the heart of downtown Galena, this intimate magic show is a precursor to a delicious meal at one of Galena’s superb restaurants.

Tastings and Toastings

Warm-up with a locally made and award-winning beverage! Massbach Ridge Winery and Galena Cellars both have tasting rooms located on Galena’s Main Street, open year-round. Take in the beautiful winter scenery and drive out to Rocky Waters Vineyard where you can appreciate both amazing views and great wine!

How about taking a comprehensive tour of Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., located minutes from downtown Galena. Enjoy a cocktail and re-stock your liquor cabinet, all in one location! Craft beer lovers, you’ll be happy to know that Galena Country is home to two craft breweries, Galena Brewing Co. and Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House. Tour the Galena Brewing Co. to learn about the beer-making process from start to finish.

Dinner and a Show

Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater.  New performances and a seasonal menu offer something new for each visit!

Learn and Create

Let the beauty of Galena Country inspire you! Cozy up indoors and learn how to style your own jewelry, design a hand-crafted card, spin some pottery, paint beautiful landscapes and more! Learn more about creative classes here. A one-of-a-kind experience you’ll be sure to share!

Snow or no snow… #GalenaCountry offers plenty to see and do and memories are waiting to be made! Check out the visitors guide for more ideas and find awesome events on the calendar.

Galena Country Shopping Guide – Naughty List

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

Head to Noty Kity and shop sexy lip balms, body lotions, lingerie, massage oils, accessories and more! Whatever your desires…, 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 satisfaction.

Nothing says family gathering like a bottle of liquor from Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Visit the gift shop, pick up a comfy tee and some tasty spirits for that special scoundrel 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!

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.

Does your special someone prefer money over gifts? Give them some cash to double at Nancy’s Slots, Silver Spoon Restaurant, Cajun Jack’s, Dillon’s HM Pizza & Tavern, or The Paradise Bar and Grill for the gaming machines! Who doesn’t like walking away with more cash?

Poopsie’s has everything that is ‘beyond the ordinary’… sure to suit those who make it to the naughty list. Find just the right gift to match their personality. Unique games, funny books, contemporary crafts, home accessories, one-of-a-kind art and so much more can be found in this fun store!

Does the naughty list qualifier have a potty mouth? Galena Canning Company has just the gift for them… Chef Ivo’s locally made hot sauces! Sample the old-fashioned jams, jellies, salsa, BBQ sauces and more while you’re there!

For the cannabis lovers on your list, you may consider a gift certificate to the Aldrich Guest House, Galena’s first and only cannabis-friendly lodging. In addition to impeccable service and accommodations, the property offers a separate ‘Potting Shed,’ where guests can comfortably smoke outdoors and chill indoors, complete with snacks! Enjoy this new feature in early 2020.

Let’s hope that next year, ‘they’ll be good… for goodness sake!’ For more shopping and ideas, check out the digital visitor’s guide.

Dining out during the Holidays in Galena Country

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and in Galena Country, the season is celebrated with Luminaria and Living Windows, Fireworks, Christmas walks, and gift shopping on beautifully decorated Main Street in Galena. Traveling during the holidays has its perks, you can skip hours of labor in the kitchen and someone else can do the dishes. Here is a quick guide of restaurants that are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day:

Christmas Eve 

Almost Paradise Bar & Grill: 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Chestnut Mountain Resort: Breakfast 8-11 a.m. Summit Bar 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Culver’s: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Green Street Tavern at DeSoto House Hotel: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Dillon’s Pizza & Tavern: 6 a.m-1 a.m.
Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Market House Restaurant: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
McDonald’s: 5:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Paisano’s at Eagle Ridge: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. (Pizza Only)
Subway: 7 a.m.-6p.m.
The Grape Escape: 2 p.m-1 a.m
Victory Café: 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Woodlands at Eagle Ridge Resort: Breakfast 7-11 a.m. Lounge 11 a.m.-10 p.m (full menu) & 5-9 p.m. for Dinner.

Christmas Day

Almost Paradise Bar & Grill: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Chestnut Mountain Resort: Breakfast 8-11 a.m. Summit Bar 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Little Tokyo: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
The Grape Escape: 2 p.m-1 a.m
Woodlands at Eagle Ridge Resort: Breakfast 7-11 a.m. Lounge 11 a.m.-10 p.m (full menu) & 5-9 p.m. for Dinner.

Dig in, and enjoy the holidays in Galena Country! Check out the events calendar and browse the visitors guide for ideas on what to do and see!

8 Luxury Stays in Galena Country

Whether it’s a luxurious spa, high-end furniture, or a private campfire… we all love a little opulence every now and then. We have compiled a list of 8 accommodation properties in Galena Country that offer luxury in their own unique ways.

Credit: Jail Hill Inn

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Eagle Ridge is set on 6,800 acres of pristine woodlands and open countryside in The Galena Territory. It boasts 4 award-winning championship golf courses, a luxurious spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center with pool, sauna and steam room. That’s not all, you will find miles of biking, hiking and horseback trails as well as tennis, hot air balloon rides, boating and fishing on the picturesque 225-acre Lake Galena and four distinctive restaurants to choose from.

Elle & Becks Loft Suite

This enormous 2,500+ sq. ft, four-bedroom loft suite overlooks downtown Galena just steps away from main street shopping and dining. The living room, featuring a wet bar, is ideal for hosting party events. An on-site massage therapist is available by appointment and Elle & Becks Lifestyle Boutique is right downstairs for the latest in fashion, homeware, gelato, and coffee!

Galena Chalet

Designed with European influence of the charming Chalets of the Swiss Alps and wall to wall elegance, this five-bedroom chalet offers 360 degrees breathtaking views of nature and wildlife. Enjoy the 2000 sq. ft wrap-around deck that overlooks Lake Galena or cozy up on the couch beside the stone wood-burning fireplace.

Goldmoor Inn

High above the banks of the Mississippi River, Goldmoor Inn boasts stunning views of the Mississippi. Whirlpool suites, spa treatments, private fireplaces, and private in-room gourmet dining experiences make this the perfect romantic getaway. To top it off, it features a fine dining restaurant offering warm and attentive service.

Inn at Irish Hollow

Nestled in the countryside surrounded by nature, this Inn offers luxury cottages, elegant amenities and spectacular meals on a 500-acre working farm. Organic beds, massage therapy treatments, and four-course picnics are just some of the delights on offer. Enjoy Wine & Cheese in your suite, a private campfire or table for two.

Jail Hill Inn

Voted #1 B&B/Inn in the USA and #2 in the World by TripAdvisor in 2019, this 135-year-old, 4-story brick building served as the county jail for nearly 100 years and has been lovingly transformed into a premier inn. The unique luxurious three-room suites offer the finest of amenities and guests can enjoy an in-room massage on request. Arrive to chilled champagne, a nightly wine and cheese reception, and a daily three-course gourmet breakfast.

Vignettes Modern Luxury

Professionally decorated by Vignettes of Galena, this two-bedroom vacation rental overlooks Galena’s  Main Street. Each well-appointed, superbly decorated bedroom has a flat-screen tv, plush mattress, high-quality sheets, and private access bathrooms. The apartment features a large living area, beautiful kitchen with granite countertops and all new appliances. Conveniently situated just steps from shops, restaurants, and nightlife on Main Street.

The Owl House

This circa 1880 house has been renovated with a meticulous approach to every detail of the home and has been furnished with luxury high-end furniture. It features a fully equipped kitchen and the house is wired for Sonos so guests can enjoy music through the audio system or listen to the nostalgic vinyl collection on the record player.

For more accommodation options and for ideas on things to do and see during your stay, browse the Galena Country Visitors Guide.

The magic and wonder of Galena’s Living Windows

The merriment of the holidays is just around the corner! While there are many events to experience in Galena Country, there’s nothing more magical than the Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows. A family-friendly, yet romantic evening in the heart of Galena’s historic district. Showcasing a captivating glow of the candle-lit town and the magic of the holidays, with a touch of shopping – this enchanting weekend has something for everyone! Be sure to check out these businesses who’s windows come to life with wintery-holiday revelry.

 

Book your stay today! Click here to vote on your favorite storefront and be sure to #GalenaCountry!

Stargazing in Galena Country

Escape to the countryside to experience the night sky as you’ve never seen it before — it’s nature’s free light show! Explore all of the awesome stargazing opportunities in Galena Country from watching meteors on the Mound to sleeping under the stars. 

Picture Perfect Parks

A stroll under the night sky is one of the best shows that nature has to offer. Plan a romantic walk through Grant Park or watch the sunset while perched along the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi at Gramercy Park. One thing about Galena Country, is that you’re never too far from one of twenty parks and trails that offer an incredible opportunity for a snuggle and a sunset. 

Nighttime Events and Programs

Interested in learning more about astronomy or having a unique and fun experience under the stars? The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation hosts annual events for all ages of night sky enthusiasts. While Galena Country hosts many not-to-miss events, these are recommended for those who may want to experience the warm glow of a sunset, followed by a gorgeous night sky: Meteors on the Mound, Bonfire on the Bluff, Great Galena Balloon Race, Galena’s Halloween Parade & Festival, Holiday Fire in the Sky, and Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows.

Celestial Camping Experiences

Sleeping beneath the night sky offers a memory-making experience for the whole family! There’s nothing like the crisp evening air filled with laughter paired with marshmallows around a cozy campfire. Pitch a tent at one of Galena Country’s campgrounds for a starry getaway just minutes from downtown! Travel tip: pack a star chart to assist in finding constellations, star, and moon phases. 

Rural Lodging

Want to sleep under the stars in the comfort of the indoors? Galena Country is loaded with lodging options that showcase amazing astronomical views. Consider booking a stay at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Chestnut Mountain Resort, Inn at Irish Hollow, Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, or a vacation rental amidst a wooded wonderland. 

Scenic Drive Ideas

Take a romantic scenic drive to one of four vineyards, soak up the views at the scenic overlook, or take a leisurely walk along Galena’s Historic Main Street after a savory meal. One thing is for sure, no matter the time of day – there’s no shortage of beautiful views in #GalenaCountry!

Book your stay and let the exploring begin with a browse through the digital visitor’s guide.