Though known for its shopping, Galena’s historical sites and scenery charm without costing much on a Midwest weekend getaway.
Grant Park pedestrian bridge Galena
Credit: Ginger Crichton

Grant Park

Enjoy views of the Galena River in a park that includes a gazebo, play area, fountain, historic cannons and monuments—plus a pedestrian bridge across the river to downtown Galena.

Effigy Mounds at Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve

The Mississippi River bluffs around Galena are home to 51 Native American burial mounds and a 112-foot-wide Thunderbird effigy mound believed to be 1,000 years old (it's the only one of its kind in Illinois).

Mississippi Palisades State Park Illinois
Lookout Point View at Mississippi Palisades
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Mississippi Palisades State Park

Follow in the footsteps of Native Americans along the bluffs of this multiuse park at the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers. Wooded bluffs give way to fern-filled ravines on the 15 miles of trails.

Blaum Bros. Distilling Company
Blaum Bros. Distilling Company
| Credit: Courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

Blaum Brothers Distillery

Take a 45-minute distillery tour and learn how Blaum Brothers spirits are made. Tours ($15) end with a guided tasting.

Galena and U.S. Grant Museum

Peer into an 1830s lead-mine shaft and measure yourself against a life-size photo of President Lincoln at the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum ($12 adults; $35 for a family admission).

Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site
Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site
| Credit: Courtesy of Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic State

Although Ulysses S. Grant was born in Ohio, he made Galena his home during the 1860s, prior to his service as a Civil War general and his term as the 18th president. Costumed interpreters lead tours of his handsome brick Italianate house, still furnished with original pieces such as Grant's favorite chair. Tours are $5.

Galena, Illinois
Horseshoe Mound
| Credit: Erin Keeffer

Horseshoe Mound Preserve

The 200-acre property at the eastern gateway to Galena offers hiking trails as well as scenic outlooks with views across three states—and viewing scopes to peer even more closely at the horizon.

West Street Sculpture Park

A path winds through this 2-acre park dotted with a dozen oversize sculptures. Some pieces repurpose everyday items like cheese graters, wrenches and other "junk;" our favorite closely resembles a giant Tinker Toy. If you're lucky, artist John Martinson will be working at his on-site studio. Admission is free. 

Otto's Place Cafe and Lounge

At this Galena landmark, affordable and homey breakfast fare like biscuits and gravy or corned beef hash is served all day. The lunch menu expands to include salads and sandwiches. Dinners on Friday and Saturday nights consist of a short but impressive list of appetizers and entrees.

The Irish Cottage Inn and Suites

The mood may be more Americanized Irish than authentic, but the accommodations at Irish Cottage Inn and Suites are pleasant and budget-friendly. Rooms boast artwork depicting Irish scenes; other amenities include Irish afternoon tea, an included full breakfast buffet, indoor pool and shuttle service to Main Street. Downstairs, Frank O'Dowd's offers pub grub like shepherd's pie, burgers, and fish and chips washed down with the requisite pints of Guinness.