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Pepin County

Featured Photo by Visit Galena

5 Experiences To Discover In Charming Galena, IL

Galena, IL

West of Chicago in the most northern corner of Illinois resides the beautiful little town of Galena, a small river town with a lot to do. Near the Mississippi River, the area boasts expansive views of the hilly landscape and scenic rivers and lakes and offers a unique travel experience for many of its visitors. Galena Country, as the area is nicknamed, is filled with outdoor adventures, the best of small town shopping, an abundance of gorgeous wineries, and a lot of charm, especially in their historic downtown main street.

Though small, Galena can provide the perfect backdrop for a wonderful little vacation, road trip, or romantic getaway, and may even leave you wishing to visit again soon. Here are some of the best experiences Galena has to offer to make for a memorable visit to this charming little town.

Charming Galena Experiences

Chestnut Mountain Resort is Galena’s premier year-round resort with lodging and adventures offered every day of the year. The resort is great for any sort of visit from a family summer vacation or romantic winter getaway, to an amazing ski trip or work outing, creating a
relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Chestnut Mountain Resort provides convenient lodging accommodation in Galena with additional activities and amenities to make your stay all the better. With close proximity to other excursions in Galena, the resort is the perfect place to lodge while exploring both the resort and everything else the city has to offer.

If you want to stay at the Chestnut Mountain Resort, their full-service, slope side lodge offers gorgeous vista views and resides just steps away from the Village Ski Center, which is used all season long for various activities. During the winter, you can enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding on Chestnut Mountain, while during the summer the resort offers the Alpine Slide, the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, miniature and disc golf, hiking and biking trails, the Mississippi River Cruise, and Segway tours. Other amenities include on-site dining, a sports bar, an indoor pool, sauna, and whirlpool, plus a playground outside.

Charming Galena Experiences

One thing you’ll find in Galena and the surrounding area is many of the gorgeous wineries around the Upper Mississippi Valley Wine Region, and the best way to see them all is to book a wine tour. With fifteen years of experience, Galena Wine Tours is a great option to book a fun-filled wine tour to give you some of the best winery experiences in the area. Galena Wine Tours offers tours all year long and at your convenience, so you don’t have to worry about dates or times. The company will even pick you up at your Bed and Breakfast, hotel, or any other location near Galena, so you can relax and have the most memorable and enjoyable experience possible.

Touring with Galena Wine Tours is easy and convenient, especially with the variety of tours they offer. You can book one of their five different tours, or plan for a special event including bachelorette and birthday parties. A great tour option is the Blackhawk Wine Tour, which will take you to Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Rocky Waters Winery, and Massbach Ridge Winery, and take you through some of the most beautiful areas in Galena and the surrounding cities. If you would like to also visit breweries or have food and cheese tastings, there are other tour options available with these stops included.

Charming Galena Experiences

One of the most popular destinations in Galena, a town with a long history of distilling, is the Blaum Bros. Distilling Company. Founded in 2013 by two brothers, the Blaum Bros. Distilling Company offers tours, tastings, and a great selection of products to bring home after your visit. The distillery handcrafts whiskey, vodka, gin, and seasonal spirits, giving you plenty of options to choose from, and their lounge also offers specialty cocktails to try.

If you’re looking for a casual place to learn about the process of distilling, try new handcrafted spirits, and enjoy a drink, Blaum Bros. is one place you won’t want to miss on your trip to Galena. Some of their most popular products include their Hellfyre Vodka and their Blaum Bros. Galena Reserve limited edition batches, but whatever you end up choosing will be sure to satisfy.

Charming Galena Experiences

Chances are you’ve probably never taken a ride on a hot air balloon, which is why you should be sure to book a ride with Galena On The Fly. Offering sunset rides on the weekdays and both sunset and sunrise rides on the weekends every day from May to October, Galena On The Fly can give you a memorable and once in a lifetime experience on one of their hot air balloon rides. Riding with Galena On The Fly will give you breathtaking views and a unique story to tell when you get back home.

Once you’ve lifted off in one of the most massive hot air balloons in the country, you’ll drift above the rolling landscapes with views of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The balloon will take you up 3,000 feet into the air for a peaceful and majestic ride and maybe even skim the gondola in Lake Galena. All of these aspects, the friendly staff and crew, and more will make your hot air balloon ride experience special, and your overall trip to Galena a little more memorable.

Charming Galena Experiences

Photo by Visit Galena

Your trip to Galena would not be complete without spending at least half a day, if not longer, exploring the historic downtown Main Street. Stretching for half a mile, the Main Street is a wonderful way to experience all Galena has to offer and to discover the charm of the town. With more than 125 shops and restaurants one after another, you never know what you might stumble upon. Though the businesses are small, they have much variety, quality, and special sales and activities.

If you’re searching for a place to eat or grab a quick snack, there is a long list of places to go including farm-to-table eateries with local flavors and made-from-scratch dishes, cozy bistros, and upscale dining establishments. There are also candy and ice cream shops and wine and beer tasting taprooms if you’re in the mood for a treat. The shopping on Mainstreet should also not be overlooked, as it was voted one of “America’s Best Main Streets,” and has over 100 storefronts featuring clothing, jewelry, collectibles, specialty items, gifts, and more.

I am a student, aspiring writer, and avid reader of books. My favorite things in the world are my German Shepherds and hiking in Colorado.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine