On the Galena River in northwest Illinois, this town’s century-old buildings now house shops, galleries, wineries and restaurants. Beyond Main Street, find water sports, golf and other active outings.
Galena, Illinois
Credit: Troy Walsh/Visit Galena


Amelia's Galena Ghost Tours

Entertainment includes ghost tours, haunted pub crawls, vineyard visits and dinner theater. ameliastours.com

Blaum Brothers Distilling Company

Tour the distillery and taste products like the devilishly good Hellfyre, a vodka with hot peppers. blaumbros.com

Dowling House 

The 1826 limestone structure, Galena's oldest residence, is furnished with authentic artifacts. belvederemansionandgardens.com

Casper Bluffs 

Self-guided tours of the 85 acres reveal burial mounds, a 1,000-year-old Thunderbird effigy mound and migrating birds. jdcf.org

Kayaking the Galena River
Galena River
| Credit: John Noltner

Galena and U.S. Grant Museum 

Peer into an 1830s lead-mine shaft and measure yourself against a life-size photo of President Lincoln. galenahistorymuseum.org

Galena Cellars Winery and Vineyard 

A restored 1840s granary downtown has a wine-tasting room and wine patio; head 7 miles east of Galena to the vineyard for tours and tastings. galenacellars.com

Galena's Kandy Kitchen

Saltwater taffy fills wood barrels, and handmade chocolates dot this family- owned shop known for Pecan Georgies-homemade caramel with pecan halves dipped in chocolate. galenaskandykitchen.com

The Great American Popcorn Company

The selection of unique flavors includes Freakin' Hot, Louisiana BBQ, Kitchen Sink and Cinnamon Toast. Sweets for sale include jellybeans, chocolates and fudge. greatpopcorn.com

Great Galena Balloon Race

Watch pros race hot-air balloons at dawn and in the evening, listen to live music, and check out tethered balloons at Eagle Ridge Resort the third weekend of June. greatgalenaballoonrace.com

Long Hollow Canopy Tours 

Six ziplines and a 140-foot sky bridge provide adventure through the forest about 10 miles southeast of Galena. longhollowcanopytours.com

Long Hollow Canopy Tours
Long Hollow Canopy Tours

Massbach Ridge Winery and Tasting Room 

The downtown location pours a variety of estate-made wines; drive to the vineyard 25 miles southeast of Galena for vineyard and winery tours. Massbach Ridge Winery on Facebook

Mississippi Palisades State Park 

About 30 miles southeast of Galena, the 2,500-acre park caters to picnickers, campers and hikers. Fifteen miles of trails lead to overlooks of the Mississippi, rock formations and wooded ravines. dnr.illinois.gov

Mississippi Palisades State Park
Mississippi Palisades State Park
| Credit: Clint Farlinger

Nuts Outdoors

Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to float down the Galena River, or get electric bikes to explore the area. Guided fishing trips available too. nutsoutdoors.com

Old Blacksmith Shop 

Take a tour and shop for Galena-forged items at the 1897 space with working forges and smiths. galenahistory.org

P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre 

The venue's small size makes the audience part of the act. ptmurphy.com


More than 100 boutiques line historical Main Street and side streets.

Main Street, Galena, IL
Downtown Galena
| Credit: David Nevala

Ulysses S. Grant Home 

A tour of the 19th-century Italianate house gives insight into post-Civil War life in Galena and Grant's life. granthome.com

Eat + Drink

Durty Gurt's Burger Joynt

The friendly staff sling some serious burgers; be prepared for the irreverent vibe (sassy signs, toilet seating in the foyer). durtygurtsburgerjoynt.com

Embe Eatery and Lounge 

The candy bar martinis taste like dessert, but that didn't stop us from ordering hot bread pudding too. embegalena.com

Fried Green Tomatoes 

Dine on creative Italian dishes, like wild mushroom and kale ravioli. And don't overlook the namesake appetizer. friedgreen.com

Fritz and Frites 

The split-nationality menu consists of French and German favorites: Fritz fans can load up on schnitzel and spaetzle; for Frites, there's escargot and baked Brie. fritzandfrites.com

Fritz and Frites
Fritz and Frites
| Credit: David Nevala

Little Tokyo 

Come for big plates of Japanese cuisine, including sushi, tempura and their signature steak teriyaki. littletokyogalena.com

Otto's Place Cafe and Lounge 

Breakfast all day means indulging in treats like banana bread French toast. ottosplace.com

Vinny Vanucchi's Little Italy 

House specialties like Nana Lu's meat lasagna were inspired by co-owner Deb Coulter's grandmother, who always seemed to have a pot of sauce on the stove. vinnysgalena.com


Chestnut Mountain Resort 

This spot 9 miles south of Galena offers Mississippi River views and family-friendly activities. Zip down a 2,050-foot-long alpine slide, glide on the Soaring Eagle zipline, tour via Segway or take a cruise along the Mississippi. chestnutmtn.com

The Cottage on Lake Galena

Fireplaces in the living area and bedrooms make for a cozy stay in this log cottage. The porch and outdoor hot tub take advantage of views. scenichideaways.com

Cloran Mansion Bed-and-Breakfast 

Modern comforts come wrapped in historic charm at the 1880 Italianate Victorian. The popular Tower Suite features a two-person whirlpool tub under a cupola. cloranmansion.com

DeSoto House Hotel 

The Main Street lodging, in a brick building that dates to 1855, offers 55 spacious rooms with Victorian décor. desotohouse.com

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa 

Outdoor enthusiasts will find golf, horseback riding, bicycling, kayaking, foot golf and hot-air balloon rides on the 6,800-acre property. Lodging includes 80 rooms in the inn, as well as 200-plus villas and homes. eagleridge.com

Goldmoor Inn 

Indulge like royalty during a stay in suites, cabins and cottages. Some rooms overlook the Mississippi, and the two-story turret suite sets the mood for romance. The inn also serves some of the finest meals in the area. goldmoor.com

The Inn at Irish Hollow 

On a 500-acre property with miles of trails, the inn has five opulent cottages plus two suites in a historic building that was once a general store. irishhollow.com

The Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel 

The spacious rooms, some with patios and whirlpool tubs, don't feel particularly Irish. But the inviting Frank O'Dowd's Irish Pub and Grill was designed and made in Ireland. theirishcottageboutiquehotel.com

Jail Hill Inn 

The six lavish suites inside this masterfully restored brick building (once the county jail) include Kohler rain showers, gas fireplaces and plush Turkish cotton bathrobes. jailhillgalena.com

For more information  visitgalena.org