Things to Do in Galena, IL – Top Attractions in Galena to Visit on a Weekend Getaway

Looking for things to do in Galena, IL? You’re in luck! This charming small town has plenty of attractions to keep you busy. From historical sites to outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in Galena.

things to do in galena

Things to Do in Galena, IL – Touring Historical Sites

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love downtown Galena. The town is full of historical sites that are perfect for touring. What are the first things to do in Galena, IL?

  • Start your exploration at the Ulysses S. Grant Home, which was the Civil War general’s last home before he became president.
  • Then, head to the Jo Daviess County Historical Society or the Galena & U.S. Grant History Museum to learn more about the town’s history. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for youth.
  • For a more unique experience, take a tour of the Elihu B. Washburne House. This house was once home to a politician who played an important role in Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Entry is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
  • Check out the Old Market House and the Belvedere Mansion. Both of these houses are beautiful examples of 19th-century architecture, the former being Greek Revival and the latter Italianate.

If you want to see some art, Galena Center for the Arts is the place to go. This free-to-enter art center hosts rotating exhibitions, classes, and events throughout the year.

Galena Ghost Tours – Explore the City’s Dark Side

For a spooky experience, take a Galena ghost tour. These tours explore the city’s dark side, with tales of hauntings and paranormal activity. The most popular tour is the Galena Ghost Walk by Haunted Galena Tour Company, which takes you to some of the most haunted locations in town.

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If you’re feeling brave, you could also sign up for the Haunted Bus Tour by Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours. This tour takes you to haunted locations around Galena as you listen to authentic and documented ghost stories told by experienced storytellers.

Catch a Magic Show at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre

P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre is a must-visit for anyone who loves magic shows. This intimate theater seats just 24 people, so you’re guaranteed to get a great view of the show. The theater hosts regular magic shows as well as special events, such as séances and psychic readings. Tickets are $30 per person for a 65-minute show.

Things to Do in Galena, IL – Outdoor Activities

After touring the historical sites, take some time to explore Galena’s outdoor offerings. Nature lovers will enjoy walking the trails of Depot Park and Grant Park, or visiting Linmar Gardens.

For those who enjoy golfing, the town is home to several golf courses, including the Eagle Ridge North Golf Course, the Galena Golf Club, and Lil General Miniature Golf.

Stroll Through the Linmar Gardens

These enchanting gardens are secluded and well-shaded, making them a perfect place to rest and take in the natural beauty. There’s also a replica of a small mine, a sunken garden in the ruins of an old African-American church, and two gazebos to sit in.

Visit the Horseshoe Mound Preserve

This preserve is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching. It’s also a great place to catch a sunset over the Mississippi River.

Hike Along the Galena River Trail

This scenic trail runs along the Galena River for 12 miles, making it perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride. You’ll pass through forests and meadows, and over bridges with views of the river.

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Enjoy the Galena Territory

For a more active experience, go biking or horseback riding through the Galena Territory. This beautiful nature preserve is perfect for a day trip. Admire the Thunder Bay Falls or try fishing in Lake Galena. There are also several golf courses in the area if that’s more your speed.

Admire the Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve

This reserve is home to a variety of plant and bird species, as well as hiking trails, picnic areas, and an observation deck. There’s also a site of Native American archaeology if you’d like to see something different.

Get Active at Chestnut Mountain Resort

If you’re looking for things to do in Galena, IL that are a little more adrenaline-pumping, try your hand at zip-lining at Chestnut Mountain Resort. This ski resort also offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Things to Do in Galena, IL – Shopping & Dining

Galena is also a great place for shopping and dining. The town’s main street, Main Street, is lined with boutique shops and restaurants. Some of the best places to eat in Galena are the Fried Green Tomatoes, Vinny Vanucchi’s, and the Goldmoor Inn.

For shopping, be sure to check out the gift shops At Home in Galena, Gabby’s Gifts, and Beyond the Horizon.

After a long day of exploring, relax with a drink at one of Galena’s wineries, breweries and distilleries. The Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery, the Galena Brewing Company and the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. are all great places to try local wines, beers and spirits.

Where to Stay in Galena, IL

There are several great places to stay in Galena.

  • The Goldmoor Inn is a popular choice for its top-notch service and amenities.
  • DeSoto House Hotel is a historic hotel that has been around since 1855 and offers Victorian-style rooms.
  • The Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is another great option, especially if you’re looking for things to do in Galena, IL that are more relaxing.
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For a more unique experience, try staying at the Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast. This bed and breakfast is located in a historic home that was once owned by Irish immigrants John and Ann Cloran. Between the 1940s and the 1960s, the mansion belonged to the American Legion.

Enjoy Your Trip to Galena Next Season

From historical sites to outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do in Galena, IL. This town is the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Be sure to check out some of these great attractions the next time you’re in town!

Source: IvoShandor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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