Things to Do in Galena, Illinois

Explore Galena: A Guide to the Best Things to Do in this Charming Town

Galena, Illinois, is a quaint town with a rich history. This former mining town is now a popular destination for tourists. It has plenty of great restaurants, shops, and activities to offer visitors.

The historic downtown district has boutique shops, fine restaurants, and art galleries. Visitors can also experience the unique Galena culture by participating in events like the annual county fair.

If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of the great outdoors in Illinois, you may be interested in visiting Galena. This small town is located in northwest Illinois and has several interesting sights and attractions.

Things to Do in Galena, Illinois

These include the Great American Popcorn Company, Casper Bluff, Thunder Bay Falls, the Ulysses S. Grant Home, and the Dowling House.

Ulysses S. Grant Home

The Ulysses S. Grant Home is a historic site built 1859 – 1860. It is located in Galena, Illinois.

The home is a two-story Italianate structure of brick. It features a low-pitched roof and white wood trim. There is a columned piazza and a balcony over the main entrance. In addition, the home has a parlor, dining room, and kitchen.

Best places to visit in Galena - Ulysses S. Grant Home
Best places to visit in Galena – Ulysses S. Grant Home

The Grant Home is open year-round. Tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 am to 4:45 pm. They offer an overview of the house and its history. Each tour lasts 30 minutes.

Several special events take place at the Grant Home. These include the Fall Tour of Homes, held in September, and Lamplight Tours, which take place in June.

Dowling House

The Dowling House in Galena, Illinois, is a great place to learn more about the history of this town. This is the oldest home in Galena and was built in 1826. It was once used as a trading post. Today, it is a historic house museum.

After being abandoned for several decades, William McCauley eventually purchased the house. He restored the building and opened it to the public in 1970. While the house has been renovated, it still contains many original items. Visitors can see artifacts that date back 150 to 200 years.

Best tourist attractions in Galena - Dowling House
Best tourist attractions in Galena – Dowling House

There is a tour that takes visitors around the house. The guide is well-informed about the place and its history. Tours are available from May through November. The guide will also tell visitors about real ghost stories.

As you visit this historic landmark, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of this 19th-century architecture.

Whether you are interested in learning more about the town’s history, the artifacts, or the architecture, the Dowling House in Galena is a must-visit. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

Thunder Bay Falls

Thunder Bay Falls is a beautiful natural site. It’s part of a nearby reservoir and has several viewing points. However, the best way to see the falls is to hike down to the bottom. This is especially true in the winter.

Another fun thing to do in Galena is to take a ride on the town’s cable car. This will allow you to see all the attractions in the city and learn a bit about its history.

Places to go in Galena - Thunder Bay Falls
Places to go in Galena – Thunder Bay Falls.

You may be surprised to hear that Galena has its waterfall. Thunder Bay Falls is a spillway from Lake Galena. It is a small but awe-inspiring waterfall that is easy to reach.

There are other waterfalls in the area, but this is the one to visit if you see a beautiful natural feature. A short trail from the parking lot leads to a viewing point.

Hoof It Goat Treks

Hoof It Goat Treks is a unique experience in Galena, Illinois. This family-owned property is located on a farm, which makes it ideal for families and children of all ages.

What to do in Galena, Illinois

This tour allows visitors to interact with goats on a mile-long hike. The goats are hand-fed treats during the walk. They are then released when they reach the top of a hill. These goats are friendly, adorable, and love to be walked with.

There are three different tours to choose from. One is a short walk through the forest, perfect for families. Another option is a walk through the prairie, which is ideal for adventure lovers. Finally, the Prairie Goat Trail is a longer hike through the native prairie and forests.

Great American Popcorn Company

The Great American Popcorn Company of Galena, Illinois, has been in business since 1994. During this time, founders Dave and Cathie Lewis have created more than 350 unique flavors of handcrafted confections.

As the couple grew older, they decided to pass the torch to their children. They still make their wares in the family business pictured below.

Places to visit in Galena - Great Amerian Popcorn Co.
Places to visit in Galena – Great Amerian Popcorn Co.

Not only is the Popcorn Factory the source of several unique flavors, but they also have a knack for coming up with the best in class specialties. In addition to popcorn, they have a full-service ice cream parlor and soda pop selections.

A surprisingly impressive roster of confections, including the old-fashioned “caramel corn” and a slew of chocolates, fudge, and a few non-caramel items in the mix.

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