If there is one town that truly speaks to my personality, it’s Galena Illinois! No matter how many times I visit, I’m always ready to go back. The laid back, historic town has just the right balance of relaxation and things to do. Every year I find myself going at least once for a day trip or a long weekend. Every time I go I find something new and fun to try. Awesome restaurants, neat little shops, and lots of outdoor fun for every time of year.
It’s about a two-hour drive to Galena from my house so we normally get on the road around 8 am, getting us to Galena around 10 am. We park along the river and head to one of the trolley stations. Galena has multiple Trolley services. Each one takes you for about an hour-long tour throughout Galena. Of course each time you hear some of the same information, but I promise, every time you will learn something new. I love hearing all about the town from all of the different Trolley tour guides. Each one has different interests and it shows in how they talk about Galena, and what parts of history they focus on. Some know all about President Grant and all things military. Others know much more about the architectural history of Galena and all the homes and businesses. A trolley tour is a must do for us. My daughter has requested a tour each time we go from the age of 3 until currently 8.
There are so many beautiful, historic houses and buildings in Galena. The Fire Station, old High School, and President Grants home are just a few. For every house the you pass, the tour guide will have a story for you.
After a trolley tour we usually head downtown for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Vinny Vanucchi’s Italian Ristorante. Classic Italian cuisine and a cute setting downtown. You can eat outside or inside. Every time we go, we try a new dish and are never disappointed. There are so many great places to eat in Galena. Anything from burgers to fine dining.
After lunch we walk the downtown and hit all the shops! Antiques, gifts, food, and of course chocolate! We try to hit as many places as we can, but there are a few we make sure to always stop at. We always leave with lots of chocolates, some canned goods, pasta shaped like who knows what, and something we just can’t live without.
Galena is surrounded by rolling green hills, with beautiful scenic valleys. Once you’ve explored downtown I highly suggest going for a drive outside town and heading toward one of the ski resorts, even if it isn’t ski season.
Chestnut Mountain Resort is one of our ‘newer’ favorite places to visit. Normally a ski lodge, they also have fun things to do in the summer. On one of our last trips we tried the Apline Slide. I’ll let you google that one. We had so much fun going down the slide that we forgot to take photos! I did manage to take a few on the ski lift going back to the top of the slide! The view from the ski lift was BEAUTIFUL. The Mississippi River below and the bright blue sky was PERFECTION. Even if you want to skip the slide and lift, at least go to the resort. The views are worth it, especially from the resort restaurant.
Galena is hands-down my favorite place to visit for a day trip or a long weekend. It’s just the right amount of relaxation and entertainment. Next trip we’ll be taking baby, instead of baby bump 😉