fun things to do in Galena

#GalenaCountry by the numbers

Discover more to love about Galena Country

It doesn’t take a mathlete to know that there are numerous reasons to fall in love with Galena Country. Here are just a few fun numbers to note and explore on your next visit to this historical mecca of the midwest.

One-of-a-kind restaurants
Come hungry. With more than 57 unique dining opportunities, you’ll want to create a ‘restaurant bucket-list’ for future visits! Partake in an intimate dining experience at the ‘chef’s table’ or take in the views while perched along the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River. Either way, this vacation dinner date is one you’ll never forget.


More golf courses than stop lights
Unlike most of Illinois, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills and stunning waterways, making it an ideal location for not one – but nine gorgeous golf courses. Hit them all and fine-tune your techniques with 189 birdie opportunities throughout Galena Country.

Lucious Wineries 
Appreciate the craft of wine-making with a taste and tour of Galena Country’s award-winning wineries. Whether you visit one or all four, you’re sure to discover flavors and pairings that will be the talk of your next dinner party!


Shopper’s Paradise
Whether shopping for yourself or gifting, one thing is for sure – the unique shopping experience that Galena Country has to offer is like no other! Have a blast treasure hunting in more than 135 independently owned boutiques!

The most popular vacation destination in Illinois
In early 2019, Cosmopolitan named Galena, IL the most popular vacation destination in the state! “A small town with a lot of heart, Galena is known for its charming 19th-century buildings and proximity to skiing, hiking, zip lining and anything else you want to do to get out of the city for a change.”


Calling all Anglers
Throw in a line to catch a variety of six different species of fish! Boasting two lakes and three rivers, there’s no shortage of fishing opportunities here.

It’s gorgeous here
For real. All. Year. Round. With an average temperature of 83 degrees in the summer and 36 inches of snowfall in the winter, not only is the area immersed in beauty but also abundant in outdoor adventure! Ski, paddle, hike, bike or zip-line your way through Galena Country!


11 Amazing Locations
#GalenaCountry is home to 11 distinct cities, towns and villages, offering infinite opportunities for memory making! Take the scenic route and venture off to explore Galena, East Dubuque, Elizabeth, Stockton, Warren, Apple River, Scales Mound, Nora, Menominee, Hanover, and Woodbine.

The first step in planning your vacation is booking your stay and browsing through the official 2019 Visitor’s Guide.  

Mother’s Day Getaway

Just one day to thank Mom for her superpowers? No way! Mom has sacrificed her waistline, she’s spent countless hours cheering you on at sports practice, she even dried your tears, time and time again, after crash-landings that she warned you about – not to mention mom’s taxi service.

So, how should you thank her? Get her to Galena Country of course, and make a weekend of it! It’s the gift of an experience and we’ve got you covered, from tasty brunches to outdoor activities!

But first, brunch
Galena Country offers fantastic brunch spots that will “wow” mom! Take in remarkable views of the Mississippi River while enjoying brunch at Chestnut Mountain Resort or brunch at Timmerman’s Supper Club. How about a traditional brunch at The Desoto House Hotel, steeped in history since it is Illinois’ oldest operating hotel. Now, if you decide to have brunch at Eagle Ridge and Spa,… yup you guessed it, you could treat mom to a spa treatment afterwards.

The gift of “me” time
Speaking of spa treatments… what better gift to give mom than a bit of pampering? Galena Country is a great place to unwind and is home to highly-skilled, full-service spas. Whether it’s a quick Mani, a full body massage or a complete make-over, she is in for a treat!

Mom’s shopping paradise
What mom doesn’t like shopping?! Galena’s 19th Century downtown boasts a Helluva Half Mile of more than 120 independently owned stores featuring clothing, jewelry, specialty items, collectibles and more. There is no shortage of restaurants to keep you going along the way. Don’t forget the many charming shops scattered throughout the rest of Galena Country. Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co. is a treasure trove for antique enthusiasts, Anchors & Arrows, features home decor, functions as a hair salon and houses re-purposed / 0up-cycled antiques, and Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home, an intimate florist, features many one-of-a-kind designs and unique pieces that will pique mom’s interest.

Does mom like to stay active?
No problem! Spring is the perfect time to take a brisk walk on Galena Country’s many miles of hiking trails and capture the natural beauty of its parks and trails. See a whole new side to Galena from a kayak or canoe on the Galena River with Fever River Outfitters. They also hire out e-bicycles which you could use to explore the town of Galena. How about an adrenaline rush? Soar high above the mountain’s peak at Chestnut Mountain Resort and get an eagle’s perspective of the Majestic Upper Mississippi River Valley on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line. Cuddle goats while you strike a yoga pose at Original Goat Yoga, Galena. Need more? Ride 6 zip lines on a 2.5 hour guided canopy tour at Long Hollow Canopy Tours offering spectacular views!

The History-Buff mom
If mom loves history, she may just move to Galena Country after this visit! For a quick overview of the rich history in the area, take a historical trolley tour of Galena with Galena Trolley Tours or Tri-State Trolley. These tours will include a visit to the famous Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site and a demo at the The Old Blacksmith Shop. You will find another little gem just outside the town of Elizabeth – Apple River Fort State Historic Site. The fort comes to life on the weekends through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and conversations with interpreters garbed in 1830s style dress. Click here for even more Historic Sites and museums.

Give mom something to wine about
She sure has listened to a lot of whining, hasn’t she? It’s her turn… Galena Country is home to four wineries, presenting some of the finest, local award-winning wines in Illinois. Stop in for a tasting, take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy a tour to learn about the wine-making process. Two of the wineries, Massbach Ridge and Galena Cellars have their own tasting rooms situated on Main Street if mom prefers not to wonder too far.

Special bonding time with mom
A very thoughtful way to end your stay in Galena Country would be to grab a bottle of local wine, stop in at Galena River Wine & Cheese for some gourmet cheeses, sausages, pates, etc. and head out to Horseshoe Mound Preserve for a sunset picnic. This 40-acre preserve is one of the most scenic properties in all of northern Illinois, with views across three states.

Mom will never forget this Mother’s Day getaway… you may even find her talking about it every year with a wink and a nudge, hinting for a return visit. Book your accommodation now before it’s too late!

Make your next vacation a ‘race-cation’

Plan a getaway that combines health, wellness, and adventure! Galena Country boasts miles of winding roads and trails with exceptional views, historic significance and a variety of skill levels.

A destination race is a perfect way to combine a vacation and a good workout and here’s why:

  • As you race through the area, you’ll get a quick preview of what there is to see and do.
  • Mingling with the locals will give you inside information and tips to perfect your stay!
  • You’ll get an early start to the day before sightseeing with the family begins.
  • Guilt-free reason to indulge in delicious local food, wine, and craft beer and spirits.
  • Proudly return home with some race swag!
  • The registration fee usually goes to a good cause and gives back to the community.

What are you waiting for? Pack your running shoes, pump up your tires, book your accommodation and build your next vacation around these upcoming races in Galena Country!

On your mark, get set, go…

Ride the Ups and Downs, Elizabeth | May 4

This bicycle ride is a one-day tour of beautiful Galena Country, featuring hilly terrain, spectacular ridge top panoramas, and long valley views. Choose one of three clearly marked routes on rolling, low traffic, paved roads throughout a rural setting: 32 miles (50 km), 52 miles (84 km) and 63 miles (100 km).

Galena River Trail Run, Galena | May 18

Come for the run and stay for the fun! This race takes place on the popular Galena River Trail. The forested trail winds south to Galena Junction and the backwaters of the Mississippi River, making for a scenic out-and-back racing course. 10K, runners only and 5K runners and walkers.

Galena Sky Trail Race, Galena | May 18

Think of yourself as a Nordic Warrior conquering challenging, yet runnable trails! The course is set on the trails of Chestnut Mountain Resort – which happens to be a ski resort in the winter! You’ll be treated to majestic views of the mighty Mississippi River and a delicious finisher meal prepared by Chestnut Mountain Resort while watching the grand sunset on the Mississippi horizon. Choose to take on either a 4-hour race or an 8-hour race.

Massbach Ridge Wine Run 5K, Elizabeth | June 22

Like running? Love wine? How about running to the wine? Take on this exciting 5K scenic course and then enjoy a full pour of delicious Massbach wine at the finish line! Spectators are encouraged to attend the 0K which gains you access to the race and includes a full pour and a souvenir wine glass… and you don’t even have to run!

Heroes for History Stair Challenge 5K Race, Galena | Sept. 7

This event commemorates the 18-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks while also honoring the brave, selfless first responders who serve and protect their community day after day. The 5K competitive run/fun walk features Galena’s iconic Green Street staircase as the defining and most challenging portion. Options include 5K 7-lap stair challenge or 1-lap fun run/walk. Dress as your favorite hero.

Midwest Health & Fitness Fun Run Walk, Galena | Oct. 5

An event for the whole family! Pets and strollers are welcome on this 5K fun run or walk along the scenic Galena River Trail.

Galena River Fall Half Marathon & 8K, Galena | Oct. 26

This is a fast, flat half marathon along the scenic Galena River Trail. A 5K race option is also available for those looking or a shorter race.

Seeing as you are the active type… check out these outdoor activities and fitness facilities available in Galena Country to keep you moving.

What’s New in Galena Country?

What’s fresh and new in Galena Country?
A quaint, yet bustling community loaded with entrepreneurs — one can only expect remarkable and innovative shops and attractions. Start planning and add these exciting stops to the ‘vacation bucket list’:

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater – Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere. Enjoy a 3-course dinner downtown Galena on the Historic Main Street, while professional entertainers swoon you with comedic and musical performances.

Anchors & Arrows – This family owned, small-town treasure features home decor and functions as a hair salon. Find re-purposed, up-cycled, antiques and primitives, gifts and more!

Ashton Hill Farm – Coming soon! This beautiful indoor/outdoor wedding venue opens in spring 2020, located next to Galena Gateway Park. With sweeping views of the Galena countryside, the custom-built barn has been carefully designed to capture the essential elements of successful entertaining.

Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home – An intimate florist and home décor shop combining the beauty of nature and home décor. Talented florists work with brides near and far to create custom wedding features.

Chris McBrien – Galena’s Psychic, Medium & Shaman – Chris is a fully trained shaman, psychic and medium who offers individual and group readings privately as well as small or large group special events.

Fox River Spoon Company – Paul Pendola is a Galena-based green woodworking artist specializing in hand-carved wooden spoons, spatulas, and other hand-crafted kitchen accompaniments.

Jane Marie Boutique – Situated downtown Elizabeth, this boutique features the latest fashion trends for women in clothing, shoes, and accessories at affordable prices for all ages.

Joint Photography Adventures – From beginner to expert, everyone has something to learn. Joint Photography Adventures provides instruction to ensure that clients leave with incredible images and new skills

The Kindred Spirit Integrative Health and Well Spa – Enjoy organic body treatments, detoxifying foot soaks, facials, massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, and wellness classes.

La Luna – Locally crafted jewelry, essential oils, handmade soaps, organic lotions, beautiful crystals, tiny air plants, and succulents are just a few of the one-of-a-kind things you’ll discover.

Millennium Bar & Marina – Tucked away in a slough in East Dubuque, Millennium Bar & Marina brings its style of home cooking to the  Mississippi River. Not only will you find great food but they offer specialty drinks, entertainment, and Kayak rentals!

Original Goat Yoga, Galena – Goat Yoga is about disconnecting from day-to-day stress and focusing on happiness. It’s part yoga, part animal-assisted therapy featuring goats that may jump on your back or snuggle up, while you perfect your pose.

Pinder Massage Therapy – Joe Pinder is a licensed massage therapist offering professional therapeutic massage, sports massage, relaxation, deep tissue release massage therapy, and stress relief.

Pudgy’s – This family-run hot dog stand, serves authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs, homemade Chicago Style Italian Beef, ‘nearly world famous’ Pudgy Fries, various homemade salads and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Serendipity – Serendipity of Galena carries everything from puzzles, lazy onesie pajama sets, games, fun greeting cards, and an expanded knife and dagger section. They even have a rubber duck tree!

Silver Spoon Restaurant – Located on the beautiful Mississippi River backwaters, this restaurant serves elevated comfort food in an upscale, yet casual, modern atmosphere.

Terrapin Orchards – Terrapin Orchards showcases six different varieties of apples and four acres of pick-your-own strawberries. Fun for the whole family!

The Red Goat Store – Here, you will find a little bit of everything! From Lucky Charms marshmallows to naughty paper pads to the best Bloody mary mix one will ever taste!

Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary – This 409-acre Bird Sanctuary is Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation‘s newest preserve. Explore more than six miles of trails and search for more than 100 unique bird species that call it home.

Let the planning begin with the 2019 Traveler’s Guide! Book lodging direct by clicking here, and contact galena@visitgalena.org to fine-tune your #GalenaCountry travels.

 

The Insider’s Guide to Wine Lovers’ Weekend

Wine Lovers’ Weekend (March 22-23) is fast approaching! Besides the Grand Tasting event, celebrations will be taking place all over #GalenaCountry. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the what is happening… book soon to be included in the fun!

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room 

WINE PAIRING LUNCHEON
Sat., March 23 noon-2 p.m.
$49.95 (plus tax) per person, advanced reservations required.
This annual event features a wine and food pairing luncheon you won’t want to miss. Hosted by the Lawlor-White family, this luncheon event showcases Galena Cellars wine, great food and plenty of cheer. The event will be held at the downtown location’s second-floor venue – The Nouveau Room. Reservations are required and space is limited. Tickets are available online.

Massbach Ridge Winery & Tasting Room

NEW WINE RELEASES
Ridge Red is making a comeback! This is a medium-bodied red, blend of Frontenac and Foch grapes with a touch of spice flavors and smoke which makes it perfect for the grill and smoker this spring! It’s very versatile at the dinner table.
Cool Breeze, a white sangria-style wine will also be released and is one of Massbach Ridge’s best sellers through the summer months!

Taste either, or both of these great releases at the Massbach Ridge Winery Tasting Room located downtown Galena or at the Massbach Ridge Winery where tours of the facility will be available from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

 

Fried Green Tomatoes

WINE LOVERS’ WEEKEND MENU
Fri., March 22 & Sat., March 23
Reservations required

Wine Features:
The Hess Collection Lion Tamer: Malbec-Zinfandel-Petit Sirah-Cabernet Sauvignon – Big, bold and juicy with layers of blackberries, chocolate & plums with a plush smooth finish. Napa 2016 $15/glass and $58/bottle.
Kenwood Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon – 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot – Intense aromas of dark fruit, blackberry, and cassis with silky tannins. Sonoma 2013 $16/glass $62/bottle
Stags’ Leap Winery Chardonnay – Pear, white grapefruit & honeysuckle with toasted almonds notes aged 25% in new French oak barrels. Napa 2017 $13/glass $48/bottle
Try a flight of these great selections… 3-3oz pours $17

Dinner Features:
Salmon Wellington: Atlantic Salmon filet wrapped with spinach, shallots and roasted tomatoes in a flakey puff pastry with a Chardonnay pesto sauce over asparagus $28
Filet Mignon with Lobster Mac: Char grilled USDA Choice Filet Mignon with Lobster Mac-n-Cheese 4oz-$27 6oz-$36
A Sweet Finish: Chocolate-raspberry tart finished with a Cabernet syrup $8

 

Fritz and Frites Bistro

WINE PAIRING DINNER
Fri., March 22 & Sat., March 23
Reservations highly recommended.

Venison with Blueberry-Merlot Sauce
Slow braised venison Osso-Bucco and grilled venison sausage pair together over a bed of buttery mashed potatoes, with a sweet-tart blueberry-merlot sauce. $29
Suggested wine pairing: Little James Basket Press, Rhone

Duck A L’orange
A zesty twist on a French classic…
Crisp skin, succulent meat of duck confit – the lightly smoked flavors of duck sausage and garlic mashed potatoes drizzled with a honey citrus glaze. $29
Suggested wine pairing: Bassermann-Jordan, Riesling-Trocken

Galena Brewing Company

BEER PAIRING DINNER
Fri., March 22 at 5:30 p.m.
$60 p.p. excl. tax and gratuity – reservations required, limited seating.

Enjoy a four-course meal in the brewery’s cellar. Each course will be paired with one of the deliciously crafted brews. Talk beer, talk history or anything else that comes to the table. This dinner provides a private atmosphere to engage with other guests and brewery staff. Includes a souvenir glass to keep.

Menu:

  • Seared duck breast, honey goat cheese, charred split pea
  • Bone marrow, caper brown butter, roasted garlic crostini, dandelion greens
  • Braised lamb shank, stout demi-glace, potato latke, peppered brussel sprouts
  • Dark chocolate creme brulee, chocolate curls, chantilly cream

 

Goldmoor Inn

WINE PAIRING DINNER
Thur., March 21-25 at 5 p.m.
$60 excl.tax & gratuity – reservations required.

Appetizer – Baked Goat Cheese Tartine
Herbed goat cheese, boule bread tartine, caramelized shallots,
pickled watermelon radish paired with Emmelo Sauvignon Blanc.

Salad – Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad
Seared ahi tuna, marinated cherry tomato, and cannellini confit, wild baby arugula. Paired with Angeline Rose.

Entree – Braised Lamb Shank Osso Buco
Charred cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted baby carrots. Paired with Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dessert – Dark Chocolate Truffle Trio
Raspberry, blueberry, and black currant-filled dark chocolate truffles. Paired with Martin Ray Pinot Noir.

Countryside Tours

WINE TASTING TOUR
Sat., March 23: Departing from Galena – reservations required.
$67.50 per person and you will receive 5-9+ tastings at each of the locations.
Hop onto a 4-hour wine tasting tour where you will visit 3 wineries in Galena Country.

Galena Wine Tours

WINE TASTING TOUR
Fri., March 23: Departing from Galena – reservations required.
$70 per person – A minimum number of any four people are needed for the tour to run.

Discover the breathtaking beauty of rolling hills, scenic valleys, and limestone bluffs on the Blackhawk Wine Tour. Visit three excellent wineries for facility tours, tastings, on-site shopping, pizza at Rocky Waters Winery, cheese at Massbach Ridge Winery, bottled water on board the bus, and a relaxing carefree day. Learn the history behind the Upper Mississippi Wine Region and Galena as your professional driver takes you into the past. Tour includes transportation from your lodging in Galena, IL or Eagle Ridge Resort / Galena Territory, tasting fees, facility tours, lunch, and bottled water on board the bus. Wineries on this tour are Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Rocky Waters Winery, and Massbach Ridge Winery. This tour runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pick up times may vary depending on where you are staying.

 

Wine Lovers’ Weekend Annual Grand Tasting

SOLD OUT – Book early for 2020 www.wineloversweekend.com
Fri., March 22 5:30 – 8:30 p.m and Sat., March 23 at the Historic Turner Hall – 115 S. Bench Street, Galena
The largest indoor wine tasting event in the state of Illinois! Featuring more than 40 distributors from across the United States and more than 300 varieties of wine and spirits, the Grand Tasting is a wine lover’s dream. Designated drivers get a discounted ticket and a complimentary shuttle service is available from downtown Galena! Tickets include wine and spirit sampling from sponsors, a keepsake wine glass, live music, entry into a grand prize drawing for a “Getaway to Galena” basket, complimentary cheese, bread, and fruit

While you’re here…

For a complete list of wineries, vineyards, distilleries, and breweries in Galena Country, visit the Wineries page and the Breweries & Distilleries page on VisitGalena.org. Also, check out the new Galena Country Travel Guide for ideas on other activities and attractions to see.

Before you return home, stop by Jamie’s Wine Studio, an intimate wine and martini bar, and fine wine shop, and Galena River Wine and Cheese featuring an extensive selection of gourmet wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, pates, and specialty foods. Tip: Indulge their gourmet delicious grilled cheese!

 

10 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter.

Whether you look at winter as a time for outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from a Winter Carnival to wine tastings, here are the 10 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

1. Skiing & Snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. With 19 runs ranging from beginner to expert, you can move on to the next challenge or stay in your comfort zone. For snowboarders, the Farside, Chestnut Mountain’s own 7-acre terrain park named the top Midwest Snowboard Park by Transworld for 3 consecutive years, has its own triple-chair and surface lift with more than 25 rails and jumps. In fact, it’s the largest terrain park in all the Midwest. Group ski lessons for children are broken into two age groups, 4 to 6 or 7 to 12, with all-day or half-day options and snowboarding available for ages 7 and older. A toddler daycare program is also available. And when hunger hits, no need to leave the area. Mountain Top Cafe is located just off the bunny slope and has everything from pizza to cheese fries and a salad in between.

 

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has a 1.5-mile skating pond for that authentic outdoor ice skating experience. Or maybe a winter wonder sightseeing expedition is more your style? You can explore the snow-covered countryside when you cross-country ski or snowshoe over the Center’s 7 miles of groomed trails.And for the kids, there’s nothing more fun than sledding over their golf course at the famous 18th hole. All equipment is available for rent from Fever River Outfitters.

3. Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, pony rides, wine tasting, ice-turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

 

3. Nature Reserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. The real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. Hiking trails provide information kiosks, helping visitors find their way to the mounds and vistas along the way. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis 4:30-8:30 p.m. It’s free and complete with bonfire. No reservations needed unless renting equipment. For other parks and trails, check out this link.

 

 

Eighteen acres just north of Galena is Buehler Preserve, another JDCF property and a popular place for visitors and their pets for hiking and camping. Comprised of hilly woodlands and flat planes with the Galena River cursing through, you can picnic, fish or enjoy a day of quiet bird watching. For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. At just 3.5 miles the trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs.

 

6. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street, otherwise known as the Helluva Half-Mile. With more than 125 independently owned stores, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice’s for some sweet treats, Beautifully Berkeley for a new home-ware item or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

 

7. Cozy Dining 

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table, like One Eleven Main, fine dining, like Goldmoor Inn, or just a really good sandwich, Galena Country offers amazing dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with ambience at Stella’s Cafe & Catering, great ethnic options, such as Campeche Restaurant, or romantic dinners for two at Fried Green Tomatoes or Log Cabin Steakhouse, two iconic Galena restaurants. From fine dining to intimate cafes and coffeehouses, personal service, fine food and good wine, including locally-produced wines, reign in Galena Country.

 

8. Wine, Beer and Spirits 

Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their main street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” For beer lovers, Galena Brewing Co. offers a full microbrewery experience from tours to tastings to dining and live entertainment and Pecatonica Beer Tap House is hoppin’ (pun intended) with seasonal brews and great company. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for daily tours and tastings of the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

 

9. Cozy B&B’s

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into an historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as The Felt Manor Guest House, are situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. And all of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

 

10. Nightlife and Festivals

When night time comes and you want to know where to go… enjoy live music venues, such as The CornerstoneMiss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. For family fun, make it a night out at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre, an intimate 24-seat theatre where the magician dazzles his audience with optical illusion tricks and a mischievous sense of humor. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Other annual events to look forward to are the Mardi Gras Weekend, St. Patty’s Day Weekend (town comes alive with a 5K run, parade and pub crawls) and Wine Lovers Weekend, the largest indoor wine tasting event where you can sample from more than 300 vendors. Check out even more events here.

Bonus tip: 

For the history buffs out there, some historic attractions are indeed open in the winter! Keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home, learn all about the history of Galena Country at these museums, and make sure that you stop by the Old Market House in Galena where you will find the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world! It also happens to be the Galena Country Welcome Center where you can gather some more information on what to do in the area.

What is ‘Galena Country’?

Explore the 11 unique locations that make up #GalenaCountry with this adventure-filled, 4-day itinerary!

Photo credit: @ndesse

Day 1

Plan to have lunch in Stockton. With fun features for the whole family, this is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs. Fill up on a juicy burger at JJ & Freddies, shop at Savvy Scavengers and bag-your-own candy at Sweet Alice’s. Stroll the town to find memory-making opportunities with the artistic murals and the Kidstown wooden playground!

Learn something new at the Stockton Heritage Museum, featuring N-scale model trains and Kraft Foods’ history (Fun fact: Kraft started in Stockton, Illinois). Take in magnificent views heading to Apple River for an outdoor adventure! Fuel up at Thriving Thistle Market and stock up on organic goodies and fresh-made smoothies for a picnic lunch. One is sure to find plenty of delectable items to enjoy now and later! Journey along to Apple River Canyon State Park with a picnic lunch and camera! Unplug and enjoy each other!

After exploring, cruise Stagecoach Trail and head towards Scales Mound. Stop into Pat’s Country House Grocery for last-minute essentials, snacks, and yummy treats! Follow the route to Galena and check into lodging to rest up or drop off suitcases and explore Main Street for live music performed by local musicians in one of the many entertaining pubs.

Day 2

Elizabeth: Arrive early, come hungry and ready to shop! Be sure to stop by the Scenic Overlook on the way! Start the morning off with a breakfast sandwich and coffee from E-town, followed up with treasure hunting at Common Cents Resale, Elizabeth Grand Antique Co., Three Sisters Sweet Shop and Jane Marie Boutique. Be sure and make time to check out the Apple River Fort State Historic Site and Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum to experience a bit of history.

Take a break and indulge in a tasty lunch at Cajun Jack’s before heading to Hanover for a beautiful hike at Wapello Land & Water Reserve. For the drive back to Galena, consider following Blackjack Road for a scenic pit-stop at Chestnut Mountain Resort, an all-seasons resort, with zip-lining, alpine slide, mini-golf, segway tours, boat rides, and winter sports!

East Dubuque is calling! Delight in dinner at Timmerman’s Supper Club, nestled among the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the food and views offer a memorable experience for the family or romantic dinner for two. Head back to Galena for an epic magic show with P.T. Murphy!

Day 3

Breakfast in Galena: Some local favorites include Otto’s Place, Dillon’s, Paradise Grill and Victory Cafe. Hit up the HelluvaHalfMile for an incredible shopping experience with more than 125 independently owned stores. Get your history fix with a tour of Grant’s Home, the Elihu B. Washburne House, and The Old Blacksmith Shop. Sight-see the streets of Galena via trolley to further discover the beautiful homes and views that are often raved about.

Enjoy lunch at Green Street Tavern in the Historical DeSoto House Hotel before continuing to Warren for a beer tasting at Pecatonica Beer Company and Tap House. To further extend the scenic adventure, swing back onto Stagecoach Trail and make way towards Nora. A small community with a hoppin’ bar! Kick back and enjoy a refreshing beverage and appetizer before journeying on to the next stop!

Venture back onto the beautiful Stagecoach Trail, pass through Galena and connect onto Hwy 20 towards Menominee, another ‘small town with a hoppin’ bar.’ JM’s Tap makes the must-visit list, offering local craft brews and incredibly delicious pizza.

Day 4

Enjoy locally roasted coffee and a delicious breakfast sandwich at Big Bill’s in downtown Galena before a little shopping and wine/spirits tasting. Begin the leisurely trip home with lunch at Small Town Saloon in Elizabeth. (Vegan’s…get excited for the Impossible Burger!) Might as well stock up on apple cider donuts at Dittmar Farms Orchard station while in town.

Last stop to complete the tour of Galena Country – Woodbine. Search for specialty gifts at Nature’s Treasure’s and check out the unique Woodbine Glass Museum & Gift Shop. Stop for a round of golf at Woodbine Bend, at the very least, indulge in the fish fry! (Did you know that Galena Country is home to 10 golf courses?)

There it is, 11 wonderful Galena Country locations included in one itinerary. Switch it up and try new things each visit, with so much to do, it’s always an adventure! Start planning a trip today by contacting the Welcome Center at galena@visitgalena.org.

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: @mitchandrachelvisuals

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

It’s that time of year again… everyone is focusing on their New Year’s Resolutions. We’re guessing that one of them involves exercise. Here’s a list of fitness facilities to help you stick to your goal while visiting 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.

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!

2019 is heating up!

The air is cold but Galena Country is heating up with these exciting events coming up! Explore writing skills, savor good food and local beer, sip on whiskey, plan your wedding, enjoy winter activities and be a spectator at fun winter sport events!

The Galena LitFest  

Jan. 5-19
This festival, for readers and writers, is back for the fifth year. Brush up on your skills at various free writers’ workshops, have brunch with “Elizabeth Barrett Browning” and dine with award-winning indie author, Heather Bentley as well as New York Times bestselling author and humorist, Micheal Perry.

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Jan.18
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Whiskey Weekend

Jan. 26
Cheers to liquid sunshine! Sip on more than 175 whiskeys in the historic Turner Hall, a treasured gathering place by the citizens of Galena for more than 125 years, just steps away from the Helluva Half Mile. Ticket’s include heavy hors d’oeuvres and a Glencairn keepsake glass.

 

Illinois Special Olympics – Winter Games 

Feb. 5-7
Cheer on more than 400 athletes as they go for the gold in Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Athletes from around the state will compete in this 3-day event, which kicks off with an opening ceremony and parade in downtown Galena. Don’t miss the fireworks display after the parade.

 

Winter Carnival Weekend

Feb. 15-17
Have “snow” much fun with the whole family while making cherishable memories. Warm up in front of a cozy bonfire while watching a Hot Air Balloon Glow, play snow games, watch ice carving, sled on a 75-foot vertical drop, enjoy cross-country skiing or ice-skate on a 1.5-acre pond.

 

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Feb.15
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Bridal Fair

Feb. 16
Did you say “yes”? Visit the regions top wedding specialists at this bridal fair, taking place in the historic Turner Hall. Make your wedding dreams come true by taking care of all arrangements in one location and register for dozens of prizes.

Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll

Feb. 16
Galena is hosting their first Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll! Enjoy special treats as you stroll your way along Galena’s magical Main Street. The entire weekend has a Java, Chocolate & Champagne theme to it with specials and events sprinkled everywhere you go.

 

Annual Big Nut Open

Mar. 16-17
Get to Galena for some powder competition at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Ski and Snowboard athletes compete for honor and a cash prize in the Rail Jam, Slopestyle, and Big Air competitions. Chestnut Mountain perches high on a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River near the historic river port of Galena.

 

More events…

There’s always something going on in Galena Country! Stay up to date with what’s happening by following the events calendar on VisitGalena.org. Plan your visit around popular happenings such as The Great Galena Balloon RaceGalena Country Fair, Galena Halloween Parade and the Night of Luminaria and Living Windows. Be sure to book accommodation early!