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It’s no doubt that Galena is a top destination for many looking to escape the hustle and bustle of surrounding cities. People from Chicago, Milwaukee, Iowa City and many others make the trip to visit this well-preserved historic small town. The curvy Main St. is almost picture perfect, with buildings dating back to the 1800’s with storefronts packed with specialty shops and restaurants. So, while you plan your weekend here are some ideas before you go.

Walk Main St. Galena

Immerse yourself in one of the most iconic Main Streets that oozes Americana. You can find everything from top restaurants, antique shops, an old-time ice cream shop and boutiques featuring locally handmade products.

Go Antique Shopping

There is a great variety of antique shops in Galena, many with unique artifacts that might not be found elsewhere. Some of them even have two locations on Main St. with even cooler items to collect.

Check out the Side Streets

If you’re staying more than a day, I highly recommend that you take a ride on the country roads of Galena and drive the many hills and curvy streets. Best part about taking this trip? Plenty of views, unique farm houses, and a break from the usual flat straight roads that you’re used to.

Visit President Ulysses S. Grant Home

Galena was the home of the Civil War hero General Ulysses S. Grant. (You might recognize his face once I show you a one hundred dollar bill). You can tour the house at Bouthillier Street, which still contains most of its original furniture and most of its original look from past restoration efforts.  

Have a Drink at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.

This small distillery just on the outskirts of Galena is making some great tasting spirits for all of us. From Vodka, Moonshine, Bourbon to Gin and some of its creation like Hellfyre—a mix of jalapeños, black peppercorn and habaneros with vodka—that will for sure give a kick on that bloody mary or drink it straight with some Mexican food… Definitely, visit the bar on location and taste some of the crafty cocktails. If time is not an issue, check out the distillery tour.  

Dinner at Goldmoor Inn

The castle-like Inn is open to the public for dinner where local seasonal produce and homemade dishes are as great as the amazing views of the Mississippi river sunset and Galenas rolling hills. The husband and wife owners are there to welcome you from Thursday to Monday during dinner time. And, if you’re really looking for a unique visit, book a stay at the enchanted Inn or one of their unique cabins.

Go Skiing or Enjoy the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It seems that Galena has something for everyone for all year long fun. At Chestnut Mountain Resort during the summer enjoy their alpine slide or their eagle zip line. Then in the winter, get ready to hit the slopes and ski or snowboard down the trails.

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Henrique Kerch

I’m a Caracas native, living in Chicago. I have a passion for travel, culture, food, adventure and discovering new places off the beaten path. I still remember the first trip I took internationally as a child and the excitement that it was to know that everyone will speak another language. Traveling was cool—waking up early to make the trip to the airport, packing too much and then realizing it’s much better to pack light.

Now a travel writer, I get to see new places continually, check out new restaurants, and talk about my experiences. Just as I’m about to be done with a trip, I see myself at the airport daydreaming while staring at the departure board thinking about my next destination.