Galena is a quaint little town in northwest Illinois that is full of charm and rich in history. Just minutes away from Dubuque, IA, along the Mississippi River, Galena is known for its well-preserved 19th-century buildings. In fact, the town was once home to former president Ulysses S. Grant and the Italianate style home that was gifted to him by the citizens during his time as a Civil War General still stands. From shopping to sightseeing, to lessons in history and more, I’m going to share some things to do in Galena over a weekend, when you might stop through during your Great River Road Trip.
Things to do in Galena
1. Take a Galena Trolley tour
Located smack dab in the middle of town, Galena Trolley Depot should be the #1 stop on your list because the tour will take you through the entire town, pointing out landmarks and areas of interest along the way. Your tour guide will not only teach you everything that you need to know about this charming little town, but will also help you map out your entire weekend through suggestions and also in you seeing the area. The tour runs all year long and kids ride free!
You’ll learn all about Galena’s wonderful history, see many of the towns gorgeous historic buildings and perhaps you might even feel as if you stepped back in time, if only for a moment.
2. Walk through the downtown shops.
Galena is well known for its shops and after your trolley tour, you might as well walk through the town and check some out. You’ll find everything like ice cream and candy shops, clothing and accessories, home and garden, antiques and collectibles and so much more. Galena is also home to numerous art galleries and studios too.
3. Grab a glass of wine or sangria at Jamie’s Wine Studio.
Speaking of studios, you must stop in Jamie’s Wine Studio while you’re walking the shops downtown. This specialty wine store and intimate wine bar offers much for the wine lover. You’ll also enjoy Jamie’s upbeat personality and you have got to try her Sangria – delicious!
4. Eat at Durty Gurts.
By now you might be a bit hungry so stop into Durty Gurt’s for a burger and the best onion rings you’ll ever get your hands on. The service is great food is even better and I’ll bet you won’t be able to read everything on the walls before you leave! This restaurant provides such a fun experience and delicious food, that it deserved another visit on my second trip to Galena!
5. Tour the facilities at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.
Scoring the #1 spot on TripAdvisor.com for attractions and activities in Galena, a tour of the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. needs to be on your list. You’ll get up close and personal during this 45 minute guided tour allowing a behind the scenes look at the distilling process and facilities.
Amelia’s Tours offers a number of different ways to get spooked. We did the Shuttle Bus Tour which ended with the Ryan Mansion home tour. Since this was my very first ghost tour, I’ll admit to being a bit spooked while we learned all about Galena’s ghostly past.
7. Relax at the Goldmoor Inn.
I can’t boast about the Goldmoor Inn enough and I assure you that you will enjoy every moment of your stay at this gorgeous property. From spacious suites to amazing breakfasts and everything in between, the hospitality at Goldmoor inn is amazing! Check out my post on romantic inn and suites to learn all about Goldmoor Inn.
8. Unwind at Eagle Ridge Resort
Nestled amidst the enchanting Galena Territory, Eagle Ridge Resort beckons travelers seeking a harmonious blend of nature, luxury, and adventure. This hidden gem offers an idyllic escape, where rolling hills, serene lakes, and lush woodlands set the stage for a truly immersive experience. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a golf enthusiast, or simply yearning for a tranquil retreat, Eagle Ridge Resort promises a getaway like no other. With world-class amenities and warm hospitality, it’s the perfect base for exploring all that Galena has to offer. Check out my review of the property here.
9. Pamper yourself at Stonedrift Spa
Indulge in the ultimate relaxation at Stonedrift Spa, where skilled therapists and serene surroundings come together to offer a rejuvenating escape. From soothing massages to revitalizing facials, every treatment is tailored to melt away tension, leaving you refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to embrace the tranquility of Eagle Ridge Resort. Treat yourself to a moment of pure bliss, and let Stonedrift Spa be the highlight of your Galena retreat.
I sure hope that you have enjoyed these things to do in Galena. I just adore this little town and plan to go back with my sister in law and some friends in November so check back after that for an updated list with more fun things to do!