Visit The Belvedere Mansion
Visiting the Belvedere Mansion is one of the things to do in galena, IL. Belvedere Mansion is a 22-room that was erected in 1857 in the Italianate architectural style. Visitors can find original furnishings and exquisite antiques, as well as lovely decor inside the mansion. You may find the woodwork of exceptional quality throughout the home. In addition, outside the mansion, there are well-kept and beautiful manicured gardens. Attend a guided tour to learn more about the houses history as well as its artifacts and interiors.
Ulysses S Grant Home Galena Illinois
The Ulysses S. Grant Home is the former home of Civil War General and 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Designed by William Dennison and built in 1860, the house was donated to General Grant as a token of appreciation for his outstanding service during the war, and it has been maintained as a memorial ever since.
Located on Bouthillier Street, the U.S. Grant Home is furnished with mid-1860s furniture and décor that once belonged to the Grant family. Interpreters dressed in period costumes lead group tours that detail Grant’s activities during the Civil War through to his presidency. Designated as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Places, the Ulysses S. Grant Home is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
500 Bouthillier St, Galena, IL 61036, 815-777-3310
Galena/jo Daviess County Museum
Set right in the center of town is the excellent Galena/Jo Daviess County Museum, home to lots of interesting and interactive exhibits. Its artifacts, artworks, and archaeological findings offer up a fascinating look at the history and heritage of Galena and its scenic surroundings.
Located in a delightful Italianate mansion built in 1858, its numerous galleries and rooms look at everything from Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War to Galenas port and mining past. Other parts of the museum look at the nature and geology of the region, as well as the Native Americans who first inhabited the area.
First opened in 1938, this marvelous museum is a must for anyone interested in history due to its extensive collection of everything to do with Galena.
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Explore The Great Outdoors
Boasting incredible terrain for outdoor adventure, Galena Country offers many options for a variety of skill-level and ages. Children, toddler age and up may enjoy speeding down the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort and finishing off with a game of mini-golf onsite or at the Lil’ General. For those more ‘serious’ golfers, make plans to hit a-round on one of eleven gorgeous golf courses.
Taking a canoe or kayak down the Galena River is a wonderful way to explore Galena. Kayaks, canoes and other outdoor equipment is available for rent at Nuts Outdoors. Galena Country is home to gorgeous parks and trails, a fun option for smaller children is Horseshoe Mound, featuring hidden treasures along the trails.
Pack a picnic with a gourmet grilled cheese from Galena River Wine & Cheese, treats from Kandy Kitchen, and chips and salsa from Galena Canning Company. Outdoor adventure in Galena Country is year-round. With Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort and the Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, there’s enough to keep everyone occupied for hours!
Stop At The Dowling House
John Dowling erected Galenas oldest house in 1826, and it is a remarkable example of early nineteenth-century construction. The mansion was made of limestone and supplied with modest dwelling accommodations for the many fur traders that frequented the neighborhood. It is possible to take guided tours of the mansion to learn more about its history and architecture. Take a trip back in time to learn about the problems faced by fur traders.
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Things To Do In Galena Il: Pt Murphy Magic Theater
Located in the heart of historic downtown Galena, P.T. Murphy Magic Theater is a private 24-seat theater that presents a variety of intimate magic shows.
P.T. Murphy’s is run by Master Magician P.T. Murphy himself, who is known for his sophisticated sleight of hand and mischievous sense of humor, which add to the mystery and appeal of the show. The magic show is suitable for all ages from 13 upwards and runs for approximately an hour with no intermission. More weekend getaways from Chicago
204 Hill Street, Galena IL 61036, 779-214-0035
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Take A Breath Of Quietude And Serenity At Grant Park
Grant Park, directly over the Galena River from the historic district, is a great place to relax. It has beautifully groomed grounds with majestic monuments strewn about, providing excellent views of Galena, IL. The lovely park, which is named for Ulysses S. Grant, features a magnificent monument of him and several fascinating cannons used during his Civil War operations. Various plaques and displays line the parks pleasant paths and attractive flowerbeds, teaching you all about the parks rich history and many monuments. On top of that, theres a charming pavilion and fountain, as well as a basketball court and playground. A footbridge connects it to the historic center, making it an ideal picnic area.
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Eat Friday Fish Fry Like A Local
A usual serving of Fish Fry includes pieces of fried fish served with some type of salad such as coleslaw or potato salad, best enjoyed with a chilled glass of beer. Friday Fish Fry is a traditional local dish enjoyed by the locals and tourists.
Some of the best places to eat this conventional meal are- Galena Green Street Tavern, East Dubuque Taste Country Roadhouse, Stockton JJ & Freddies, and Hanover Charlie’s Place.
Things To Do With Kids In Galena Illinois
My family lives about 30 minutes from Galena, Illinois and we love taking day trips to Galena! We go to Galena multiple times a season. There are so many fun activities for kids in Galena, Illinois. Including many outdoor activities. Here is a list of 11 places we LOVE to take our kids to in Galena, Illinois!
Galena, Illinois, is located in the Northwest corner of Illinois, just right before you get to the Mississippi River, about a three-hour drive from Chicagoland. Its a historical town and once had a bigger population than Chicago. It is the home of President Ulysses Grant.
Galena, Illinois, is mostly a tourist town. It has a quaint downtown, tons of cabins, hotels, restaurants, and golf courses. It also has many outdoor activities and festivals throughout the year.
All three of my kids have been obsessed with Danial Tigers neighborhood at one time or another. They loved being able to go on a trolly ride! One fall day, before the pandemic, the kids had a day off school, so we took them to Galena for a trolly tour. This was a historical tour, and it was fascinating. My kids really enjoyed this!
Chew Chew Cookies is an adorable cookie shop with a huge working train for the kids to see! If youre taking your kids downtown to the shops, this is a must-stop! The cookies are delicious, and your kids will want to spend time looking at the trains.
Winston Tunnel Trail
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A Different Kind Of Bubbly
If you prefer a non-alcoholic tasting, belly up to the bar at Root Beer Revelry. Who knew there were so many varieties of root beer!
From the tap or in the bottle, hundreds of varieties of root beer are available to enjoy in the shop or to take with you. Sounds like the perfect gift for the kids you left at home!
For an extra touch of romance, indulge in a root beer floatwith 2 straws!
Galena also boasts numerous storefronts with both sweet and savory foods to satisfy any cravings.
Sample the tasty dips, sauces, and jellies at the Galena Canning Company. Try several varieties of chocolates in the specialty sweet shops. Chocolate covered bacon was a hit with my husband! Dont forget to sample the numerous flavors of popcorn at Great American Popcorn.
With all this snacking you may not even need lunch, and thats ok. You are on vacation, so no need to stick to a strict eating schedule or count calories!
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’ 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.
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Find Peace At Galena Grant Park
This brings me to number 2 Grant Park is impressive! I love that it sits across the river from Main Street and allows you to see a lot of Galenas charm from a park bench.
I have this weird obsession with trees, and Grant Park is filled with beautiful mature trees that provide plenty of shade for hot summer days or plenty of colors on crisp fall days. UPDATE: We went back to Galena in the fall, and the colors were magical! Its hard to time it right, but I stalked everyone on Instagram to get an idea of when it was peaking.Advertisements
We were only in Galena for two days during our summer trip, but J and I would buy coffee and walk over to the park to sit on a bench and take in the view each morning.
Those were some of the most peaceful mornings Ive had all year. I felt like I could sit there for hours.
I dont usually care for hanging out in parks, but this one was perfect, and I wanted to put it in my pocket and bring it back home.
Take A Stroll Around Linmar Gardens
If you want to take a look at what private gardens are made of- there is no place better than to go visit the Linmar Gardens. This private garden will be the prettiest you have ever seen in your life comprising almost 4 acres of land.
This is not exactly in Galena, but if you visit the hills that overlook the city, you shall be able to find Linmar Gardens. For this very reason, the garden has some blissful views of the entire city from above.
This garden is wholesomely designed with sculptures There is a huge waterfall located right in the middle of the garden. It just looks like something straight out of a picture.
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Vinny Vanucchis Little Italy
Reminiscent of the charm-filled local trattorias of Italy, Vinny Vanucchis Little Italy brings authentic Italian cuisine to Galena. The interior of this welcoming restaurant is literally bursting at the seams with character red-check tablecloths, Italian posters and more. The family-friendly restaurant has several dining areas including the Bistro, Wine-Vault Room and an outdoor Cappucino Garden area. You will find all your favorite Italian dishes on the menu including several pasta choices, Italian Meatballs, Fried Ravioli, Spicy Italian Sausage and much more. Everything is freshly made-from-scratch and all entrees include side-salad and garlic bread. There are also sandwiches and burgers and a kids menu.
Vinny Vanucchis Little Italy, 201 S. Main Street, Galena, IL 61036, 815-777-8100
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Where To Stay In Galena
With the pandemic happening, I was looking for a place that was transparent about their cleaning and safety protocols and where I could minimize the exposure to other people.
Greenbriar Country Inn and Suites ticked all those boxes, plus they had great reviews and were affordable. They even go the extra step of leaving rooms unoccupied for 48-hours between guests.
Greenbriar is a bed & breakfast, but they only serve breakfast on weekends . I didnt mind this since I like trying places around town for breakfast.
I believe they have standard rooms and suites in 2 different buildings. Some of the rooms have private entrances, and that way, you can completely avoid running into anyone else indoors. Those private entrance rooms are #6, #7, #9, #10, and #11.
You can book your stay with Greenbriar by contacting them directly on their website. You can also reserve specific rooms through Airbnb.
We stayed in room #9 linked here, but with a quick search, you can find all the rooms theyre hosting. Our room was spotless, came with free parking and a fireplace! They show up as superhost on Airbnb, which is always a good thing.
UPDATE: During our second trip to Galena in the fall, we stayed at this fantastic bed & breakfast called Aldrich Guest House. We only had one night there, but the hosts were the friendliest. The house was beautiful and full of history, and it included breakfast and a delicious happy hour .
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Experience Galenas Historic District
This is always my favorite thing to do anywhere I visit, so of course, Im listing it first. Grab your camera and head onto Main Street to capture the town from all angles. Since Galena is hilly, youll be climbing a few steps during your trip. But this always makes for great photos since youll be able to see the town from different altitudes.
Theres plenty to see on Main Street , but if you want to venture out, start climbing the steps to see other parts of town. You can visit the home of Ulysses S. Grant, walk over to the Belvedere Mansion, or check out my new favorite park in the world- Grant Park.
West Street Sculpture Park
The park provides you an outdoor space for recreational activities especially when youre with kids. There are dozens of steel sculptures designed by John Martinson that are spread over two acres of parkland.
It is an all year park that can be enjoyed in any season and anytime. So if you have your taste in visiting artworks, then these unique sculptures including 40-foot towers and a giant tinker toy will be great to see.
There are wooden paths and maps are available that make the exploring easy for videos, so this way you enjoy a self-guided tour with the pieces of art and sculptures.
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Things To Do In Galena Illinois: Blaum Bros Distilling Co
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. is a family-owned and operated craft distillery in the heart of Galena that produces a range of premium spirits, including whiskey, vodka, and gin. Founded in 2013 by two brothers whose love for whiskey led them to set up a distillery, Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. produces an array of high-quality spirits, including bourbon, gin, vodka, and the unique Blaum Bros. Galena Reserve.
The distillery offers daily tours, which include a comprehensive look at the art of distilling and visits to the distillation area, the barrel room, and the comfortable tasting room and cocktail bar where visitors can sample the distillerys tipple. A small gift shop offers a variety of memorabilia and products from the distillery to take home.
9380 W US Highway 20 | Galena, IL 61036, 815-777-1000
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Old Market House Galena Illinois
Built in 1845 in the Greek Revival style, the Old Market House was constructed by the city to serve as a town hall and enclosed farmers market, forming a community hub during Galenas Golden Era. The Old Market House served as a meeting place for the community to discuss important city issues, and it was also home to a variety of vendors selling their wares.
Shoppers would gather here to shop, meet, and catch up on news. The Old Market House was restored to its former glory in 1955 and currently operates as the Galena Welcome Center, managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as an Illinois State Historic Site.
123 N. Commerce Street, Galena IL 61036, 815-777-3310
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