Enjoy Illinois

Enjoy a picnic in Galena Country

As the weather invites us outside with its blue skies and fresh breeze coupled with blossoming blooms and cheerful bird chirps, it’s hard to resist the urge to picnic! With social distancing in place, it’s an ideal way to dine safely with your family.

Credit: @lindseytaylorphotography

Sit in the sun or the shade of a mossy tree, take your shoes off and lie back in the cool grass, all while enjoying delicious treats and the company of loved ones while chasing a flying napkin or two. Speaking of chasing things… your fur baby would love a new frisbee from New Earth Animals to enjoy at the picnic!

What’s in the basket?

Part of the adventure is the unveiling of what has been packed in the basket! Let’s take a peek at the deliciousness that awaits:

A selection of gourmet cheeses, sausages, and pâtés from Galena River Wine and Cheese, freshly baked bread and pastries from Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly and delicious sandwich meat from Pat’s Country House Grocery. Digging a little deeper, we have tasty dips and spreadables from Galena Canning Co. and the Grateful Gourmet Co., as well as yummy gourmet popcorn from the Great American Popcorn Co. Oh, what’s this we have here… some chocolate covered strawberries from Galena’s Kandy Kitchen for dessert. Yum!

What’s in the cooler bag?

No picnic is complete without a refreshing beverage! Pack a bottle of wine from one of Galena Country’s award-winning wineries or a growler of flavorful locally brewed beer! Looking for something a little different? Substitute the wine and beer with a cocktail kit from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or from Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape for the perfect sundowner! Cheers!

Great spots to lay down your picnic blanket

Casper Bluff

Not only does this preserve boast some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs but the site also contains Native American mounds which were created centuries prior by local natives of the land. The most fascinating mound being the Thunderbird Effigy Mound, the only one known of its kind in Illinois.

Gramercy Park

Located on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi River, this 10-acre city park is an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark. It is home to 26 ceremonial and burial mounds from the Hopewell Native American Culture.

Grant Park

Pack a bottle of bubbles for the kids from Gabby’s Gifts or Poopsie’s online stores and enjoy a picnic in this historic and scenic park! Take in the stunning views of the city of Galena, watch the trains go by and check out the historic cannons and monuments. It’s selfie time with U.S Grant!

Horseshoe Mound

This 40-acre preserve offers one of the most scenic outlooks in Galena Country! The breathtaking views stretch across three states. Take a closer look through the viewing scopes! After your picnic, enjoy the hiking trails that extend throughout the preserve.

Wapello Land and Water Reserve

Based on its significance as a meshing point of two Native American cultures, this 79-acre site south of Hanover, was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places. It now boasts one of the premier prairie restorations in the Midwest.

It’s true. You can’t change time. But if you spend it right, it can change you. Make the most of your time with a perfect picnic, making memories…where one good story always leads to another!

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!

Mother’s Day in Galena Country

Whichever way you look at it… Mom is a superhero! She sacrificed her waistline, she spent countless hours cheering you on at sports practice, she even dried your tears after crash-landings that she warned you about time and time again! Not to mention mom’s taxi service. We all know what we must do… show her that we appreciate her this Mother’s Day, but how when time in quarantine, means that love must keep its distance? We have some suggestions for you…

Send Locally Grown Blooms

Choose from mixed bouquets, mason jar arrangements and potted plants at ‘Petals on the Porch’ self-serve flower stand at Clara Joyce Flowers. If you can’t make it out to this specialty cut flower farm in Stockton, hop onto their website, choose from five different floral designs and have it shipped directly to mom’s doorstep! Murphy’s Gardens offers flowering shrubs, hanging baskets culinary herbs and a selection of trees for mom’s garden too!

Build a Pamper Hamper

A hamper of beauty products would allow any self-isolating mom to indulge in well-deserved self-care. Throw in some muscle soak bath salts and delicately scented candles from Galena Candle and Bath Company’s online store. What about clarity calming face oil and organic lip balm from Galena Apothecary? If mom loves the spa and nothing else will fill its shoes… purchase a gift voucher from Galena Country’s highly-skilled, full-service spas for a future visit!

Deliver a Delicious Meal

You may not be able to take your mom to your traditional Mother’s Day brunch, but you can take brunch to mom! Order carryout brunch from Desoto House Hotel Courtyard Restaurant or from Victory Cafe for her to enjoy in the comfort of her own home and don’t forget to order your own! When you get home, jump onto a video chat and enjoy the brunch together while you catch up! Check out Galena’s Dining from a Distance page for lunch and dinner options too!

Pack a Picnic for Mom & Dad

Grab a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries, pick up some gourmet cheeses, sausages and pates from Galena River Wine & Cheese and deliver them to Mom and Dad. Suggest that they enjoy a sunset picnic atop Horseshoe Mound Preserve overlooking stunning views of Galena Country or even in their own yard.

From Galena Country with Love

If the plan was to visit Galena Country with mom this Mother’s Day, spend a little time browsing the online stores and send Galena Country to her instead. From locally roasted coffee, award-winning wines, or popcorn to a new outfit, handbag or accessories… she is sure to love any of it! Not sure of what she would like? A gift certificate from her favorite store or restaurant will keep her looking forward to her next visit when the time is right!

While it may not be the Mother’s Day you’d imagined, these gifts are bound to bring a smile to the face of the special women in your life. That alone makes it completely worth it!

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!

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.

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.

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. 

Top places to pop the question in Galena Country

© Orangeanchor Photography

From breathtaking views and romantic eateries to hot air balloon rides and magical winter celebrations, Galena Country has everything you need to pop the question in the setting of your dreams. Consider one of these dreamy locations for an unforgettable marriage proposal.

Say ‘Yes’ to Fresh

The lush landscape of Galena Country provides a beautiful backdrop for any proposal. A romantic sunset picnic with a bottle of wine at Horseshoe Mound Preserve is sure to get rave reviews. If you’re staying in The Galena Territory, the Thunder Bay Falls are a lovely option. Or in Apple River, atop the bluffs or along the river at Apple River Canyon State Park are locations that include a romantic scenic drive! Galena’s Grant Park offers many proposal-worthy locations and landmarks, not to mention the breathtaking town perched along the hillside! Take a stroll along Main Street or overlooking the city, atop the Green Street Stairs during golden hour!

A Rehearsed Dinner

Rich in historically amazing eateries, you’ll want to indulge in the fine dining of Fried Green Tomatoes, Log Cabin Steakhouse, Fritz and Frites Bistro, or One Eleven Main. For dinner with a view, check out Woodlands at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa or Timmerman’s Supper Club, The Goldmoor Inn, or Chestnut Mountain Resort – all showcasing priceless views of the Mississippi River.

Enchanting Accommodations

A romantic getaway is a perfect time to further your love story! Galena Country’s award-winning, luxury lodging properties offer an intimate and romantic setting for just the two of you. Consider indulging in Jail Hill Inn, Aldrich Guest House, Lamberson Guest House, Inn at Irish Hollow or Hawk Valley Retreat as your home-away-from-home. Whether you choose to lodge immersed in mother nature, amidst history, or in the heart of downtown Galena, this vacation is one you’ll never forget!

‘Head over Heels’ Experiences and Events

Book a private flight and propose on a hot-air balloon, among the vines of a local vineyard, or at one of many epic events. Consider happenings with a more romantic flare such as the Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows, Holiday Fire in the Sky, Corkless in Galena, Great Galena Balloon Race, or Galena Cellars Fall Harvest Festival.

Whatever the location, make it meaningful, personal, and don’t forget to #GalenaCountry! Begin planning the next chapter by booking your stay and checking out the digital visitor’s guide.