10 Things to do in Galena, Illinois

Galena is a charming small town that is about a three hour drive from Chicago. When we lived in Chicago, we used to take weekend trips to Galena. It’s a great way to get outside of the Chicagoland area and explore more of Illinois. The town might make you feel like you’re stepping back to a simpler time. Enjoy the shops, restaurants, great hotels, golfing and more. This is one part of the state where there are actually hills that offer beautiful views of the area.

Ulysses S. Grant Home

Here are 10 things to do in Galena:

  • Ulysses S. Grant Home: Galena’s “claim to fame” might be the home of Ulysses S. Grant, who was the 18th President of the United States. You can tour the home and see the original furnishings. There is also the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum where you can see more artifacts.
  • Horseback riding: This is a great place for horseback riding with miles of trails to explore.
  • Apple River Fort State Historic Site: Visit the site of a battle from the Black Hawk War. There are exhibits, videos, and very knowledgeable staff here to tell the stories about the battle. There is also a reconstruction of the fort you can walk through.
  • The Old Blacksmith Shop: See how a blacksmith shop from 1897 operates with real working forges. Open seasonally.
  • Eagle Ridge Resort: This 6,800 acre resort and spa is located a few miles from the main part of Galena. This is where we stayed when we visited. The resort offers traditional accommodations as well as home and villa rentals.
  • Hot air ballooning: If you’re looking for some adventure during your stay, try taking a sunset hot air balloon ride.
  • Catch a show: There is plenty of live entertainment from magic shows to variety shows.
  • Linmar Gardens: Take a tour through 3 acre gardens that overlook the town of Galena. Open seasonally.
  • DeSoto House Hotel: This Victorian style hotel opened in 1855 during the railroad heyday in Galena. The hotel has had a rocky history, but now offers deluxe accommodations and service just like it did when it first opened. Stay here or at least stop by for a drink.
  • Golf: Galena has become a popular Midwest golf destination with 10 courses with stunning views and vistas.

Galena is a great spot for a weekend getaway, especially if you live in the Midwest! There is skiing in the winter, but we definitely suggest going in the summer when the weather is nice and most attractions are open.

Have you been to Galena? What are your favorite things to do? Where else do you suggest going for a weekend getaway in the Midwest?Β 

The Traveling Gals




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