Downtown Galena

Father’s Day in Galena Country

Let’s talk about Dad! 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. It’s time for new traditions… break free from the expected and surprise Dad with the gift of Galena Country!

Credit: @trolleydepotcoffee

Galena Country not only offers one-of-a-kind gifts to purchase for Dad but also experiences that you can enjoy together and create special memories. From kayaking and golfing to the plethora of gift shops along Galena’s Main Street, you’ll be able to give Dad nothing less than the best to thank him for all he has done.

Float among the clouds

Is a hot air balloon ride on his bucket listGalena On The Fly will take care of that! Liftoff in one of the largest hot air balloons in the country. Drift above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country while taking in views of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin from your 3,000-foot high perch.

Pedal it out   

Little too high for Dad? Okay… what about renting a couple of bikes from Fever River Outfitters or Nuts Outdoors and cycle along the beautiful Galena River Trail just steps away from downtown Galena? It features towering bluffs and beautiful views of the river. If you complete the 8.8-mile stretch, you will reach stunning views of the Mississippi River at the foot of Chestnut Mountain Resort.

Reel in memories 

Nothing beats a good bonding session while fishing! Fine-tune your fishing skills with a guided fly fishing experience with Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters or spend the day picnicking and fishing at Apple River Canyon State Park. If Dad just wants to float down the river and have you listen to “when I was your age” stories… grab some kayak’s from Fever River Outfitters or Nuts Outdoors and get a-floatin’ down the serene Galena River.

Shop for Fan Gear

What’s his favorite team? Whether it’s the lovable losers, winners, or that team only Dad cheers for… the gear to get can be found on Galena’s Main Street. Check out Country Crafts & Sports for sports memorabilia, and Fan Zone for licensed jerseys, shirts, and limited edition team hats. Another great option is For Bare Feet, which offers the largest selection of licensed sports socks made in the USA. Yes, we know… we told you to steer away from the usual socks and ties, but trust us, he will totally rock these team socks! While you’re at it, keep Dad up-to-date on the freshest apparel trends with multiple clothing stores and boutiques found on Galena’s Main Street, such as The Cotton ClubGalena Teesand The Neighborhood Co.

Cigars and Coffee

Cigars have been linked to celebrations, forming bonds, or just kicking back and relaxing for over a thousand years. It sounds like a good way to celebrate Dad’s special day. Find premium hand made cigars at Nine Generals Cigar Company as well as a selection of men’s grooming accouterments and barware! If Dad is a coffee lover, he’s in for a treat! Spoil him with a gift box from Trolley Depot Coffee & Tea Co. or signature blend locally roasted coffee from Galena RoastersBill Bill’s Coffee, or Mean Bean Roasters.

Golf Par Excellence

Challenge Dad to a round of golf at one of Galena Country’s scenic Golf Courses or enjoy the Drive 20 Golf Trail! Can you believe there are ten courses to choose from in Galena Country? Remember to let him win and then celebrate his winnings with a glass of wine from one of the area’s four award-winning wineries when you get home!

Reconnect with nature 

There’s no better way to relax Dad than to get him outdoors and surrounded him with nature! Take him birding at the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Stockton, featuring more than 100 bird species and 6.6 miles of mowed trails on 409 acres. Notable Illinois species of conservation concern include the Henslow’s sparrow, bobolink, red-headed woodpecker, and northern harrier. Explore the many other parks and trails throughout Galena Country too.

Brews and Burgers

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a burger served with hand-cut fries from Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt before heading to Galena Brewing Co. for a growler filled with Dad’s favorite brew to enjoy at home. In the mood for pizza instead? Stop at Wally’s Pizza in Warren which is conveniently located next door to Pecatonica Beer Company Tap House. If he’s more of a spirits kinda guy, treat him to some fine whiskey from Blaum Bros. Distilling Company. Click here for more dining options.

We know the importance of taking the time for the things that matter most, whatever you choose to do for Dad in Galena Country, you will make it a memorable Father’s Day!

Strike a pose in Stockton, Galena Country

Considered the eastern gateway to Galena Country, Stockton is a community rich in historic treasures and is the birthplace of the first Kraft Cheese plant in 1914! It is also home to gorgeous larger-than-life murals painted throughout the downtown area.

Discover these colorful and story-telling murals while exploring the historic Stockton. Strike a pose!

© Greater Galena Marketing, Inc.

At the corner of E. Front & N. Main St. This was the first mural to embrace historic downtown Stockton in 2016.

116 N. Main St. next to Ace Hardware. Next up is an ode to our native settlers, with this colorful mural of an American Indian by artist Chris Shannon.

At the corner of N. Main St. & West Front Ave. This one might not have as much detail, but there is something beautiful in the simplicity of its large singular rose.

At the corner of N. Main St. & E. Front Ave. This stunning floral design has the perfect home on the side of a florist & home décor store.

At the corner of Main and E.Queen Avenue. The newest mural can be found opposite the historic Great Western Hotel, named after the Chicago Great Western Railroad that had a depot nearby.

Just like the area represents, Galena Country is full of great stories and colorful characters! Discover more by browsing the latest digital Visitors Guide.

Walking Tour of Downtown Galena

With over 87% of its buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Galena’s prominent past remains a permanent fixture. The architectural achievements of the men who discovered wealth in the region’s rich lead deposits and profitable river commerce are best viewed while walking on foot.

Credit: @jcbgrss

This self-guided walking tour of downtown Galena identifies the community’s diverse 19th century architectural styles and recounts the lives of the captivating individuals who first settled the steeply elevated terrain.

The tour length is one hour. For your enjoyment, we recommend a comfortable pair of walking shoes and bottled water. Bring a camera or a pair of binoculars to capture the tour’s breathtaking views. Please note that most of the locations on the tour are private and we ask that you remain respectful while enjoying the tour. Finally, walk at your own pace and have fun exploring Galena’s magnificent architectural treasures!

1. Galena River Levee & Floodgates:

Built by the Army Corps of Engineers 1948-51, this large earthen levee with flood gates protects the downtown business district from periodic flooding, the worst of which was in 1937. This flood left up to five feet of water along Main Street. Visitors often ask how often the floodgates are used. Normally they might be closed only once every few years, usually when the ice leaves the river in the spring.

2. Corwith Building – 319 S. Main St.

Constructed in 1853 with a major facelift in 1873 and home of Nathan Corwith’s Bank of Galena. The Corwiths were prominent businessmen from New York. Nathan Corwith left Galena in 1874 and moved to Chicago. He died in 1888, worth over $6 million.

3. Davis Block – 304-310 S. Main St.

These were the first, all brick blocks in Galena, consisting of five stores, constructed in 1846. Locally produced Galena brick is noted for its orange color and inner softness. For this reason, city ordinance requires they be cleaned chemically to prevent damage to the hard outer surface. Within this block, one of Galena’s nine Civil War Generals, John C. Smith, had his jewelry store at 306 S. Main, and the town’s most infamous lawyer, M.Y. Johnson had his law office on the second floor of 304 S. Main. He was arrested in 1862 for southern sympathies but later released for lack of evidence.

Galena fires:

Every early city suffered from a devastating fire. Galena was no exception. Major fires in the 1840s led to ordinances which encouraged downtown commercial structures to be built of brick or stone. Still, the worst fire of all occurred in 1856, taking out several critical blocks. A building boom ensued, all in brick.

4. Old High School Steps

Located across from the DeSoto House Hotel, the stairway has been there since the 1850s. Wooden steps were replaced by concrete in 1919 and again in 1996. In addition to hilltop residents, the steps served hundreds of school children who used them morning, noon, and afternoon. They were walking to the large building on the hill with a square clock tower. This is the Old High School which was built in 1905 and converted in the 1980s to condominiums.

5. Desoto House Hotel – 230 S. Main St.

It opened in 1855. DeSoto is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. It was named for the discoverer of the Mississippi – Hernando DeSoto. Investors included Jesse Grant, father of Ulysses. Both Lincoln and Douglas spoke from the balcony, although on separate occasions. Grant’s presidential campaign headquarters were here in 1868. The original structure had five floors and 225 rooms, but lack of business, foundation settling, and fire insurance problems led to the top two floors being removed in 1880. Completely renovated in 1985-86.

6. DeSoto House Hotel Parking Garage:

The original facades of Main Street buildings were kept for historic appearance. The hotel project could not have proceeded without this solution to off-street parking. The garage site was originally a livery stable for the famous Frink and Walker Stage Line out of Chicago during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Side Trip: U.S. Post Office (Green & Commerce Streets):

This is the second oldest continuously owned and operated Post Office in America. The second floor served as the Customhouse, and the first floor served as Post Office. The Renaissance Revival style utilized by architect Ammi B. Young was the first standardized style to be used by the government throughout the nation. Superintendent of Construction was engineer Ely Parker; a Seneca Indian raised on a reservation in New York. When the foundation was laid, he had it stacked with bars (pigs) of lead equal to the weight of the completed structure to settle the foundation. Later the lead was sold and shipped downriver. The structure was then completed with Nauvoo limestone from the same quarries that supplied stone for the Mormon Temple. Today the building is as solid as when it was built.


Note: Ely S. Parker was one of the most famous Native Americans in U.S. history. He studied to become a lawyer only to be told by New York State that Indians could not become lawyers. He then became an engineer, was hired by the federal government and sent to Galena to build the customhouse/post office. While here, he met Grant. Volunteering for the Union with the outbreak of the Civil War, he was turned down because of his race, only to be accepted a year later. Grant made him his personal military secretary; he was breveted a brigadier general at the end of the war and later became President Grant’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs, only to resign when he created a storm of controversy by sending emergency food rations to starving Plains Indians prior to congressional authorization.

7. Schmohl Building (St. Louis Building) – 201 S. Main St.

John and Lena Schmohl emigrated from Germany in the 1850s and opened a millinery store at this site. In 1886, Lena, having lost her husband, built this building and installed Galena’s first hydraulic elevator. Her apartment was in back along Bench Street. She was a respected business leader long before most women had the opportunity. The second Schmohl Building 213-217 (the white building) was built in 1884.

8. Coatsworth Building – 126 S. Main St.

Built by Joseph Coatsworth and Daniel Barrows in 1856-57. Utilized premium Milwaukee Cream City bricks, cast iron pillars, lintels, and sills. J.R. Grant promptly leased the 120 S. Main section for his leather goods store. It was here that Ulysses came to work in 1860. Major restoration occurred in the late 1970s – the building now houses apartments for seniors.

9. Newhall Drug Store – 101-103 S. Main St.

Built-in 1843 by Galena’s foremost physician/pharmacist Horatio Newhall, a Yale graduate, who also published the “Miners Journal,” Galena’s first newspaper in 1828. But his most notable work was in treating Cholera victims during the dreaded 1832 and 1848 outbreaks. His observations on the disease and its spread are considered some of the best of the period. Note the small attic windows in the frieze, typical of the 1840s Greek Revival structures.

10. Hempstead Store – 100 N. Main St.

Built-in the Greek Revival style in 1846. Charles Hempstead was the first mayor of Galena, elected in 1841. Prior to this, the town was governed by a board of trustees and president. “City” status was given by the act of the legislature; Jo Daviess County’s other “city” is East Dubuque; all other towns in the county are villages. The second floor also housed the law office of John A. Rawlins, another of Galena’s nine Civil War generals who became Grant’s Chief of Staff.

11. Brush Building – 120 N. Main St.

Circa 1837, this was the first large store to be constructed in the downtown of brick. Note federal style stepped gables (double-chimney) and prominent roof dormers.

12. Perry Street

Also known as the “cobblestone” street, although the stone was laid down as a deterrent to erosion, not as a paving stone. Maintaining control of horses and wagons on steep hills was a constant danger in early Galena (some say it still is…)

13. The Old Stockade – 208 Perry St.

Trader Amos Farrar’s house became part of Galena’s stockade during the 1832 Black Hawk War. A refuge for women and children, the upright timbers placed along the sill shows French “post and sill” influence. Restored to the 1890s appearance.

Note: To locate the Old Stockade, take the first staircase at the corner of Perry and Main Streets. Proceed up the stairs halfway to the Old Stockade’s entrance, a limestone walkway on the left.

Side Trip: Old Market House – 123 N. Commerce St.

This State Historic Site, built in the Greek Revival style in 1845, once sheltered both vendors and shoppers. It continues to entice visitors with its historic U.S Grant exhibits and events. It also serves as the official Welcome Center for Galena Country Tourism.

14. Meusel Cigar Factory – 208-210 N. Main St.

This 1888 Italianate commercial building housed one of Galena’s many 19th-century cigar manufactories. It was home to the Standard Cigar Factory. Tobacco was also a cash crop for some county farmers, particularly in the Stockton area, up until the 1890s.

15. John Dowling Building – 213 N. Main St.

Constructed in 1837 of native limestone. The southern half was purchased by the County and used as the courthouse from 1838 until the present courthouse was completed in 1844. The original building had a gable roof. Interestingly, the street level here was originally much lower; the main entrance in 1838 entered what is now the basement!

16. Flat Iron or Diagonal Building – 222 N. Main St.

The original building housed Bradley/Taylor House hotels and was three stories. Destroyed by fire in 1876. New Italianate structure was only two floors and has housed everything from the People’s Bank (original safe still there) to a Justice of the Peace.

17. John Dowling House – 216 Diagonal St.

The Dowling House is located just left of Main Street on Diagonal Street. This vernacular structure is one of Galena’s oldest, constructed circa 1826-27. Dowling was a trader who quickly became the largest iron dealer on the Upper Mississippi. Here you could buy stoves, hinges, nails, picks, and shovels.

Note: Turn right on Franklin Street and proceed one block to Commerce Street to view the Old Blacksmith Shop.

18. Old Blacksmith Shop – (Corner of Commerce and Franklin St.)

At one time, Galena had more than two dozen operating blacksmith shops. Today the little red wood-frame structure is the only one that remains. Built-in 1897, most of the original tools including two forges and equipment are on display.

Throughout our history, Galena Country has proudly never been like anywhere else. We may be old but we’re never the same old thing!

Cooped Up Couples in Galena Country

While in quarantine, date night may not look like sharing a bottle of wine at a romantic restaurant, singing together at a concert or snuggling up in a movie theater, but with a little creativity, you can still have fun together at home while supporting local businesses in #GalenaCountry!

Set the Mood

No matter what you’ll be doing… no date would be complete without that romantic ambiance we all love. Set the mood for your special night by ordering a few floral candles from Galena Candle & Bath Co.

Kiss the Cook

Find a fun recipe that neither of you has tried before and visit the following local online shopping stores for the ingredients or even utensils that you may need: Grateful Gourmet, Galena Canning Company, Galena Garlic Company, Pasta Perfetta, Galena and Spice & Tea Merchants. Divvy up the kitchen duties and enjoy some undivided couple time. Feel like a grill instead? Grab a Date Night Grill Box from Log Cabin Steakhouse.  If not a lot of cooking gets done (no judgment here)… there is always a curbside pickup or delivery service!

Wine Tasting for Two

Fergedaboudit, Galena Cellars, Massbach Ridge and Rocky Waters wineries are waiting for your curbside pickup orders! Spend the evening tasting award-winning local wines while deciding which of the two is the better sommelier. Pair these delicious vino’s with gourmet cheese and sausage from Galena River Wine & Cheese. By the end of the night, you will have your list of favorites for future date nights.

Sip & Paint

Speaking of sipping… why not get a little crafty at the same time? All you need is some poster board or canvas, paint, markers, perhaps some glitter and your creativity! If wine is not your thing, grab a growler of your favorite brew from the Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House or Galena Brewing Company, pick up a Cocktail Kit from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or a Quarantine Extravaganza Party Pack from Grape Escape Cocktail Bar. Be sure to frame your masterpiece for future reminiscing!

Refresh Your Love Nest

Spring is the perfect time to change things up a bit! Rearrange the furniture, paint over that decades-old color in your bathroom and throw out that chipped vase. Out with the old, in with the new… choose a new rug or lamp from Vignettes Home, a gorgeous sunset picture from River Bend Gallery or a beautiful functional piece from Eshelman Pottery.

Play in the Dirt

Okay, this is more for a date ‘day’… but it can lead to a date night! Spring weather means you can spend time together tidying up the hedges, mulching or even planting additional plants from Murphy’s Garden’s curbside pickup! Spruce up the garden for the bird friends with a new feeder from The Feathered Nest. Reward yourselves with a sunset beverage on the porch!

Snuggle Up

Did you know that some of the scenes filmed for the award-winning movies, The Field of Dreams was filmed in Galena? Grab some popcorn from Great American Popcorn Company, snuggle up with your sweetheart and see who can spot Galena first!

7 Hidden History Lessons of Galena Country

Galena Country is known for it’s well-preserved, 19th-century architecture and Ulysses S. Grant history, but there’s even more to discover in this historically amazing destination! From the origins of Kraft Cheese to one of the earliest African-American churches in Illinois, Galena Country is loaded with stories of yesteryear, making it a cultural cornerstone where past meets present. 

The Blackhawk War of 1832
In 1832, a faulty treaty caused a 15-week war between American settlers and Native Americans led by the Sauk warrior Black Hawk. Today, remains of the conflict are ingrained in the rich history of Galena Country. Explore the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, to learn more about the intense battle that took place there, interact with re-enactors, and discover how the town of Elizabeth was given it’s name. Stop at E-town Coffee Co. or Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe to fuel up for the next venture!

Cannons in Grant Park
Stroll the park and study the extraordinary cannons and monuments that overlook the Galena River in Grant Park. Take a look at the “Blakely of Grant Park,” which fired some of the first shots in the Battle of Fort Sumter and the “Napoleon,” commonly used in the Civil War. Perfect for a picnic and a book, Grant Park offers some of the best views in Galena Country! Interested in seeing cannon in action? Visit during Grant’s Homefront Civil War Re-enactment or Galena’s 4th of the July celebrations, you’ll know it when you hear it!

Galena’s Nine Generals
Did you know? Galena is the only location in the United States that was home to not one, but nine Civil War generals? That’s right, including Grant himself! All nine generals left an important impact on the town that can still be discovered in buildings, street names, and local history. Consider booking a stay at the Augustus Chetlain Home and Log Cabin Guest Houses, and visit the First United Methodist Church built by General John Corson Smith. You can even sit in the pew that the Grant Family sat in. When exploring downtown, take note of the unique architecture currently occupied by the United States Post Office. Once a Customs House, this unique building was designed and built by Native American General, Ely S. Parker. A great photo-op, this piece of history is the second-oldest continuously operating postal facility in the United States!

Lead Mining and the Driftless Area
The unique geography and lead mining history of Galena Country has had an impact on almost everything in the area from the distinct red “Galena brick” buildings to the size of the Galena River. At one time, this bustling lead mining city was larger than Chicago. Check out a real lead mine, learn about how glaciers shaped the region during the Ice Age, and discover how Galena Country came to be at the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum!

Travel Tip: Explore Galena via Trolley Tour! Sit back, relax, and listen as a tour guide shares historical facts and information about Galena and its incredible architecture.

The Origins of Kraft Cheese
A brand and flavor many of us have savored, Kraft cheese originated right here in Galena Country, in Stockton! Take a step back in time and learn about Kraft and much more at the Stockton Heritage Museum. After snapping a selfie with one of the original wagons used to transport the cheese, stroll the streets and discover even more places to strike-a-pose in Stockton!

Red Stripe Beer
It’s Jamaican, right? Guess again! Red Stripe Beer was crafted in the original Galena Brewing Company in the 1830’s. When the brewery closed in 1938, the recipe was sold to two British investors who moved the company to Jamaica and made the drink world-famous during World War II. Today, the Galena Brewing Company is located on Galena’s Historic Main Street and features craft micro-brews, seasonal flavors, and six styles on tap. Tours, tastings, and a giant pretzel are a must-do!

The Secret of the Sunken Garden
This hidden gem, nestled among the cascading greenery of Linmar Gardens, features the remains of an African-American Baptist Church. Today the walls of the basement and a “Baptismal Font” fountain serve as a reminder of the building’s history as one of the oldest African-American churches in Illinois. Surrounded by colorful flowers and foliage, the garden is a beautiful place to spend a relaxing afternoon reconnecting with nature. 

Immerse yourself in history and book a stay at one of Galena Country’s many award-winning accommodations. Let the planning begin with a browse through the official visitor’s guide!

Bring your Bachelorette Party to Galena Country

Galena Country is already recognized as a destination wedding hot-spot, given the beautiful rolling hills, picturesque churches, rich history and Galena’s Main Street frozen in the 1800s! Maids of honor are drawn to the area for these reasons and more… reasons that make Galena Country one of the best destinations for bachelorette party adventures.

Credit: @emmymeyers1

When I sip, you sip, we sip
With more than 13 pubs and bars on Galena’s Main Street alone, there are plenty of places to celebrate the bride-to-be with a toast. Each pub offers a unique atmosphere! From quiz-bowl trivia, martinis and live music at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, to brewery tours and live music at the Galena Brewing Company and karaoke at Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, the Galena pub scene is one big party. 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. How about celebrating at a unique and historic 1850’s general store/railway station that has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue? This awesome find is called Council Hill Station in Scales Mound. Cajun Jack’s Bar & Grill in Elizabeth is another unique venue for live music, outdoor seating and fun themed decor for those selfies!


Let’s do brunch
Galena Country’s dining scene is superb and bachelorettes looking for the ultimate brunch experience will find it here, mimosas and all. The Courtyard Restaurant, Goldmoor Inn, Fritz and Frites, Victory Cafe, Paradise Bar & Grill, and Otto’s Place 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.

So many shopportunities
Who doesn’t love a good boutique? Galena’s Main Street houses more than 125 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, The Grateful Gourmet or Galena River Wine & Cheese. Design a custom necklace at Rustic River or create your own personalized wooden sign at Creative Expressions Galena. Take a short drive to Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co. where more than 200 vendors offer antiques, vintage goods, home decor and more. While in Elizabeth, check out Jane Marie Boutique for a cute outfit, or Eshelman Pottery for a one-of-a-kind piece of functional pottery.

Get artsy
Be inspired by the beauty of Galena County and create some artwork of your own! Learn how to spin pottery at Artists’ Annex, paint beautiful landscapes with artist Sandra Principe or take a tour of the Pinder Pottery Studio. Follow the happening Galena Country events calendar to join creative workshops taught by talented local artists at Artists and Artisans in Elizabeth. Most art shops, studios, and galleries are open year-round, take a piece of Galena Country home with you!

Unique Galena Country
Explore the city of Galena’s rich history with a trolley tour through the historic district. Embrace Mother Nature with the breathtaking views on top of Horseshoe Mound. Walk the same halls that Ulysses S. Grant roamed with a tour through the Grant Home. Be fearless on a zip line journey through the scenic Tapley Woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. Take your party to new heights and float above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country in a hot air with Galena on the Fly! What about a magic show? Visit the P.T Murphy Magic Theatre to witness P.T.’s s personable style, mischievous sense of humor, and sophisticated sleight of hand.

Explore Wine, Beer, and Spirits
Fall in love at first sip at one of four wineries, namely Galena Cellars Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery, and Rocky Waters Vineyard. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewing process at the Galena Brewing Co. with a beer in hand or learn all about the distilling process at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. ending off with a tasting. You could also hop on a Wine Tasting or Hop tour with Countryside Tours let them do the driving for you! The possibilities are endless and with so much to see and do, bachelorette partygoers never run out of options.

This is not goodbye…
Once the party ends, start a new tradition by planning your return girl’s trip to Galena Country! Browse the digital travel guide for more ideas on what to see and do and don’t forget to book your accommodation early!

Desserts to savor in Galena Country

From gourmet icebox cake to homemade vanilla bean creme brûlée, be sure to save room for these mouthwatering desserts while tasting your way through Galena Country. 

Durty Gurt’s – Milkshakes and Malts

Unique flavors, fun names, and premium quality ingredients make handmade milkshakes and malts from Durty Gurt’s an excellent choice for a cool treat. Indulge in an “Elvis” peanut butter and banana shake or the “Chandler Bing” featuring chocolate, cherry, and vanilla. You can also choose from 13 specialty boozy shakes, or create your very own flavor combination to tantalize your taste buds. 

Foodie Tip: Pair a milkshake or malt with a “Shut the Front Door” burger for the ultimate in American comfort food experience. Served on a glazed donut and topped with bacon and melted cheese, this burger is the perfect compliment to a frosty treat. 

Embe Eatery & Lounge – Bread Pudding

Sweet, rich, warm, and topped with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream, bread pudding from Embe Eatery & Lounge is like heaven in your mouth. House-made rum sauce and soft pillows of french bread melt in your mouth while almonds and raisins add texture and extra sweetness. This decadent dessert is the perfect finale for an incredible meal. Try the gluten-free and made-from-scratch cream of mushroom soup with the pulled pork sandwich, and stay for a drink and live music! 


Fried Green Tomatoes – Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

Savor each bite of dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes, but save room for the divine flavor explosion some call creme brûlée. The signature robust vanilla flavor of the custard derives from premium Madagascar vanilla beans. After the custard is carefully made from scratch, it receives a caramelized sugar shell that melts in your mouth and provides a satisfying break as your spoon dives into the creamy deliciousness. Velvety, decadent, and rich, this dessert is best enjoyed after a gourmet meal and a glass of wine. Bon appétit!

Log Cabin Steakhouse – Grasshopper

Who doesn’t love an ice cream dessert topped with fire? That’s right – fire. Not to be confused with the signature Greek starter, Flaming Saganaki (OPAAAA!), the minty hand-blended ice cream after dinner ‘drink’ is the perfect finish to a satisfying Log Cabin Steakhouse meal. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the moment, then dig in!

Foodie Tip: Have your meal prepared Greek-style, and don’t forget to take home a bottle of Rigopoulos Grove Olive Oil!


Otto’s Place – Icebox Cake

Sweet, light, and wonderfully balanced icebox cake makes for a mouthwatering dessert from Otto’s Place. Be sure to ask about the daily flavor options–all are delicious and made from scratch! Layers upon layers of moist chocolate cake with fluffy chocolate frosting is a perfect choice for any cocoa lover. The carrot and lemon cakes are also show-stoppers when it comes to curing a sweet-tooth. Be on the look-out for special pop-up-dinner events and take advantage of the hearty, yet unique breakfast options! 

Whether here for the day or an extended weekend, go ahead and treat yo’self while you taste and tour your way through Galena Country! You never know what favorite memories await! Let the foodie adventure begin with a browse through the visitors guide, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Plan a Midweek Getaway to Galena Country!

Take a break from the daily stress of balancing work life, home life, and personal “you time” to regain sanity. It’s a no-brainer, trade that morning alarm clock for a midweek refresher to Galena Country! Book the perfect getaway with this three-day itinerary. 

Day 1

Make a pit-stop in Stockton for an early lunch at Stella’s Cafe’ & Catering. Take time to strike a pose in front of the murals; a stop into Sweet Alice’s is the perfect cure for a sweet tooth!  Make your way to Elizabeth for some retail therapy at Jane Marie Boutique, Village Treasures, and Common Cents Resale. Arrive in Galena just in time to check into accommodations, followed up with a savory dinner at the General’s Restaurant. Discover a different side of Galena’s history on a tour with the Haunted Galena Tour Company, or quench your thirst on Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl. Polish off the night with drinks and live music at The Cornerstone Bar.

Day 2

Begin with a hearty breakfast at Otto’s Place–be sure to ask about the quiche of the day and try a piece of warm, homemade coffee cake. Stroll across the Galena River for a fresh cup of locally-roasted brew from The Mean Bean or Big Bill’s Sandwich and Coffee Bar. Discover more than of 125 independently owned boutique shops, galleries, attractions and eateries nestled into Galena’s Historic Main Street. Whether you fancy yourself a foodie, fashionista, or history buff – Main Street is a treasure-hunting paradise!

Next up, lunch at The Market House Restaurant, followed up with wine tasting at the Massbach Ridge Tasting Room. Learn about gourmet wine pairings made from locally-grown grapes, then stop over to the Dowling House or the Old Blacksmith Shop for a little history before dinner. Enjoy a scenic drive along historic HWY 20 to East Dubuque for a delicious meal at Timmerman’s Supper Club, perched along the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River. Be sure to finish off dinner with a hand-blended grasshopper! If it’s a Thursday, take advantage of the live music and vintage rides at Cruisin’ Thursdays.

Day 3

After hitting the snooze-button, fuel up with breakfast at Victory Cafe in Galena, a leisurely morning walk along the levee and up to the Ulysses S. Grant Home for a tour. Take the scenic route home, this time via Stagecoach Trail, grab a delicious smoothie at Thriving Thistle in Apple River and a bite to eat at Chubz Pub & Grub or Wally’s Pizzeria in Warren. With Galena Country only being a few hours’ drive for many – it’s the perfect getaway at any time! Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitors guide. 
 

Accessible Galena Country

Galena Country offers award-winning accommodations, incredible shopping, dining and attractions for memories-in-the-making! With so many great options, below is a compiled a list of businesses that promote accessibility.*

Accommodations
Whether you stay in the heart of downtown Galena or the rolling hills of the driftless area, Galena Country’s lodging options provide exquisite comfort and relaxation. 


Eats & Treats
From farm-to-table freshness to authentic Italian cuisine and locally made wines to craft brews, Galena Country boasts mouthwatering offerings everyone will savor!

Travel Tip: Galena’s Historic Main Street is best explored with a travel companion. Many of the shops have a step up into their entryway that can be maneuvered with the help of a friend.


Treasure Hunting
Whether shopping for yourself or for others, with more than 125 independently owned businesses in the heart of downtown Galena, you’re sure to discover unique, can’t-live-without treasures!

More to Explore
Be immersed in history with a visit to the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, see three different states at Horseshoe Mound Preserve, cool off at the Alice T. Virtue Memorial Pool/Galena Water Park, or enjoy a leisurely visit to Grant Park! Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitors guide.

Travel Tip: Wheelchairs are available to rent at Hartig Drug Store, located two miles from Galena’s downtown.

*Note, it’s recommended to check accessibility with locations prior to visiting. Galena Country Tourism holds no liability, businesses are responsible for accessibility and maintaining current building codes.

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.