Tucked into the corner of Northwest Illinois, is a special area called Galena Country. Unlike most of Illinois, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills, rich in history and loaded with incredible outdoor adventure, shopping, and dining. Only a few hours’ drive from Chicago, Des Moines, Madison and Kansas City, this traveler’s favorite is the second most-visited leisure destination in the state.
Dripping with history, Galena Country is known for its well-preserved, 19th-century charm, picturesque landscape and welcoming community. Comprised of 11 unique towns and cities, this fascinating destination provides the perfect mix of history, adventure, and fun for everyone.
The Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic site remains untouched by modern nuances. Engage in a genuine historical experience with a visit to Grant’s home, where many of the furnishings remain original. A short walking distance away, tour the beautiful home of Elihu B. Washburne, who was the political advisor (and friend) to Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. While visiting, take note of the library, where Grant received notification that he had won the presidential election!
Make a pit-stop in Elizabeth, Illinois and check out the Apple River Fort State Historic Site. This interpretive visitor center is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. On the weekends, the fort comes to life through ongoing living history activities featuring interpreters garbed in 1830s-style dress.
Stepping onto Galena’s Main Street is like something out of a movie. Looking much like it did when President Grant strolled the streets, the buildings are now home to more than 125 independently owned businesses. It’s no wonder the street has been nicknamed the Helluva Half Mile!
The aroma of freshly popped gourmet popcorn, hand dipped chocolates and chargrilled burgers fill the air as you make your way in and out of exquisite boutique shops. While exploring Galena’s downtown, be sure to indulge in mouthwatering culinary flavors. From fine dining to gourmet grilled cheese – Galena Country checks all the boxes for a foodie paradise.
Taste and tour your way through the county at alluring wineries, a distillery and craft breweries. Perfect for a romantic scenic drive, rural Galena Country boasts some of the area’s best culinary fortunes. Partake in an intimate dining experience at the ‘chef’s table’ or take in the views while perched along the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River. Either way, this dinner date is one you’ll never forget.
With incredible terrain, outdoor adventure has become a forefront for activities in the area. Glide through the air at speeds of up to 40 mph on a zip line, or partake in one of the many race events. Paddle your way down the Galena River or speed down the Alpine Slide overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Home to twenty parks and trails, it’s easy to unplug and reconnect with nature.
Abundant with agriculture, visitors are offered an opportunity to tour and stay on a local farmstead. Featuring farm-to-table meals, helping with the chores, meals under the stars, it’s a true country experience! Pick-your-own apples, berries, and pumpkins – a family favorite. Top it off with scrumptious homemade apple cider donuts – that’s a vacation ‘win’!
Whether relaxation or recreation piques your interest, this community is no stranger to impeccable and award-winning accommodations. From resorts and hotels to B&B’s and vacation rentals, choose to lodge immersed in mother nature, amidst history, or in the heart of downtown Galena.
Full of infinite opportunities, from cemetery walks to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities. There’s always something to discover in Galena Country!