things to do in galena

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!

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.

Luxurious ways to enjoy Galena Country

Luxury Stays

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: set on 6,800 acres of pristine woodlands and gorgeous open countryside.
Elle & Becks: 2,500+ sq. ft, four-bedroom loft suite overlooking beautiful downtown Galena.
Goldmoor Inn & Dining: set high above the banks of the Mississippi River, offering stunning views and gourmet dining experiences.
Inn at Irish Hollow: elegant amenities and spectacular meals on a 500-acre working farm.
Jail Hill Inn: offering the ultimate in relaxation, luxury accommodations, and location and voted #1 B&B/Inn in the USA and #2 in the World by TripAdvisor in 2019.

Suite Victory #1: beautifully renovated apartment in downtown Galena with private parking and includes breakfast at Victory Café. 
The Owl House: featuring luxury high-end furniture and renovated with a meticulous approach to detail.
Vignettes Modern Luxury: overlooking Galena’s Main St., this apartment is professionally decorated by Vignettes of Galena.

Tip: Few things say luxury like a relaxing spa treatment. Book a rejuvenating in-room massage during your stay.

Superb Drinks and Dining

Fried Green Tomatoes: delicious USDA Choice steaks, fresh seafood, and award-winning wine list.
Fritz & Frites Bistro: a charming bistro offering mouthwatering German and French cuisine.
Generals’ Restaurant: unique fine dining experience at the historic DeSoto House Hotel.
Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena: intimate wine, martini bar, and fine wine shop.
Little Tokyo: home to the freshest Japanese style steak, sushi, and tempura.

Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape: delicious specialty drinks, cocktails, and a Bloody Mary buffet.
Log Cabin Steakhouse: Galena’s oldest and longest-running restaurant since 1935, featuring tasty Greek specialty items.
Timmerman’s Supper Club: fine dining with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Mighty Mississippi River.
Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge: award-winning intimate dining overlooking the stunning Lake Galena.

Unique Experiences

Galena on the Fly: take in the beauty of Galena Country from above on a Hot Air Balloon ride. End off with a champagne toast and chocolates!
Long Hollow Canopy Tours: reach speeds of up to 40 mph and heights of 75 feet! Rappel off of a platform and venture across our 140-foot sky bridge to reach our final 1,250-foot zip line.
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.: take a tour of the distilling process, raise a glass and you may be lucky enough to catch a Galena Reserve release… an extremely limited and one-off expression!

Indulgent Shopping

Chocolat’ 229: an exceptional collection of European chocolates.
Cotton Club: fashion boutique complete with clothing, jewelry, shoes, and designer purses.
Elle & Becks: latest in fashion and accessories as well as numerous charming homewares.
Galena River Wine & Cheese: gourmet wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, and specialty foods.
Gustafson & Grey, Ltd: fine jewelry, antiques, and consignments.
Nine Generals Cigar Company: cigars, men’s grooming accouterments, and barware.

Simply Elegant Boutique: distinctive women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, and footwear.
Skidmore Art Gallery: original artwork by professional artist Mark Skidmore.
Union Leather: a fully dedicated leather store carrying a full line of leather products.
Vignettes of Galena: full-service interior design; offering drapery, blinds, home furnishings, carpeting, lighting and more.

Enjoyable Entertainment

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theatre: enjoy fine dining and exceptional entertainment in this unique Supper Club atmosphere.
Haunted Galena Tour Co.: be led through the streets of historic Galena by candlelight and enjoy haunted tales of Galena.
P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre: a fun night of magic entertainment in a private 24-seat theater located in the heart of historic downtown Galena.

Be sure to book accommodation early and browse the official visitors guide for ideas on other ‘must-do’ experiences.

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.

Dining out during the Holidays in Galena Country

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

Christmas Eve 

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

Christmas Day

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

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

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!

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. 

6 ways to Unwind in Galena Country

We all need a little R&R now and again. In fact, most of us probably don’t get enough time to ourselves to re-charge those batteries. Here are a few top ways to refresh with a retreat to Galena Country. 

Spa Day

There’s nothing better than spending the day relaxing, sipping champagne, and being pampered. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at one of these incredible spa and wellness centers:

If you’re interested in something a little more intimate, consider booking a stay at a lodging property that offers on-site massages. Check out: Jail Hill Inn, Goldmoor Inn, Farmer’s Guest House, the Inn at Irish Hollow, Aldrich Guest House, Le Fevre Inn and Resort, and Lamberson Guest House.

Baaaa-Maste

Whether you’re into outdoor yoga, indoor yoga, or even yoga with goats, we’ve got you covered! Check out all of Galena Country’s options for a fun and fit experience. Original Goat Yoga, Galena is perfect for animal-loving groups looking for an unforgettable activity. For more traditional yoga enthusiasts, check out Awake 4 Yoga for pop up, private, and group yoga.

The Great Outdoors

Unplug and reconnect with nature by spending some time outdoors. With incredible terrain, Galena Country offers many opportunities to explore! A serene walk or hike on one of the 20 parks and trails, a leisurely bike ride along the Galena River Trail, or peacefully paddle your way down the Galena River. All are great options to relax and disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

Libations

Taste and tour your way through the county at alluring wineries, a distillery and craft breweries. Consider booking a wine tour or take a scenic drive to explore the lush landscape of the driftless region. If you’re interested in live music at a local establishment, or perhaps a sports bar, check out these ideas for pubs and nightlife.

Golf

Nothing beats a relaxing round on one of Galena Country’s eleven golf courses. The rolling hills of Northwest Illinois provide a memorable and unique golfing experience. Check out Woodbine Bend’s links-style golf course, Lacoma Golf Club in East Dubuque, Galena Golf Club and The General at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.

Cozy up and Relax

While exploring the corners of Galena Country, be sure to pick up some of your favorite beverages to bring back to your room. Sit back, relax with a glass of wine while taking a bath or reading a good book.

Galena Country is rich in offerings for a relaxing time with your friends, family, or by yourself. Start planning your retreat with a stress-free browse through the visitor’s guide and booking your stay.

Winter Holiday Events in Galena Country

There’s something special about the holiday season. Maybe it’s the sense of wonder and amazement looking at the beautiful light displays, or the smell of hot cocoa and a fire burning in the fireplace. Or maybe, it’s the sentiment of gift-giving, family and traditions.

Night of Luminaria & Living Windows

There’s no better way to cultivate those special feelings about the holidays, than a trip to Galena Country. Whether you’re on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or want to start a new tradition with friends, it’s the perfect addition to a wonderful holiday experience. Enjoy these wonderful 2019 events and activities during your ‘Christmas in Galena Country’ stay!

Events

More Ideas

For more events, visit the events calendar and check out the latest visitors’ guide for more ideas on what to do and see!

 

9 ways to experience Galena Country on a budget

In Galena Country, an awesome getaway doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many opportunities to experience local food, nature, history, special events, and even shopping that are perfect for any budget. Get to Galena Country for an affordable and amazing adventure!

Explore the Natural Wonders of the Driftless Area

Whether you want to hike and bike or just observe the beauty of nature, Galena Country has many beautiful locations where you can enjoy the outdoors for free! Check out: Horseshoe Mound Preserve, Apple River Canyon State Park, Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, Galena Gateway Park, Wapello Land & Water Reserve, and Galena River Trail.

Discover Local Works of Art

Being surrounded by beauty, it’s only natural that Galena Country would be home to an abundance of talented artists. Take in the creativity of local artists by visiting art galleries, sculpture parks, pottery studios, and more! Don’t miss: West Street Sculpture Park, Outside the Lines Art Gallery, River Bend Gallery, Skidmore Art Gallery, Chicago Skyline Art, Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery, Galena Center for the Arts, Scenic Art Loop, and the Stockton Murals.

Stargazing

Escape to the countryside to experience the night sky as you’ve never seen it before — it’s nature’s free light show! Travel tips: Book your stay nestled amongst nature, watch for meteors on the mound, camp under the stars, take the scenic route for a late-night drive!

Immerse yourself in history

What does General Ulysses S. Grant have in common with Kraft cheese? Both are parts of Galena Country’s fascinating history that you can learn about at museums and historical state sites! Must dos: Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site, Apple River Fort State Historic Site, Desoto House Hotel self-guided tour, Stockton Heritage Museum, The Old Blacksmith Shop.

Time Travel Tour

Grab some brochures from the Welcome Center, and check out the Historical Room in the Galena Public Library before strolling down Galena’s historic Main Street that is “frozen in time.” Nearly every building you’ll pass has a fascinating background and story to tell! Download: Galena Tours App

Amazing Annual Events

Galena Country features epic events all year long! Before planning your trip, check out the calendar of events to plan for a unique and authentic local experience! Full of infinite opportunities, from cemetery walks to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities. There’s always something to discover in Galena Country! Travel tip: Check out the spring and summer sidewalk sales event!

The Real Deal

Skilled musicians can be found sharing their talents in restaurants, bars, and even out on Galena’s Main Street. Pay a visit to Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company, and Council Hill Station.

Take a Scenic Drive

There’s no shortage of scenic routes in Galena Country! Explore the back roads and experience some of Illinois’ best (and breathtaking) views! Recommended routes: historic Stagecoach Trail, Family road trip, and U.S. Hwy 20.

Window Shop Until You Drop

Galena’s historic Main Street features more than 125 independently owned businesses for your eyes to explore. Window-shopping is best done in the early morning or late evening when the shops are closed. Make a list and come back during business hours to complete the treasure hunt! 

Let the planning begin with a browse through the visitor’s guide and booking your stay.