What to Do in Galena Illinois

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Located in Northwest, IL, Galena is a popular tourist destination known for its history, its charming Main Street with its historical architecture and several golf and ski resorts.  It was a large lead mining area in the 1800’s which saw a large drop in population after the demand for lead sharply declined.  It was the home of General and President Ulysses S. Grant and also for eight other Civil War Generals.  Make sure to see and explore:

Ulysses S. Grant Home:  At 500 Bouthillier St., this house from 1860, overlooking downtown Galena, was purchased by a group of Republican men and presented to Grant and his wife Julia, in 1865, as a gift.  In 1868, he was elected President and was re-elected in 1872.  They used this Galena address as their voting residence until 1881, when they moved to New York. 90 of the furnishings were owned by the Grants.  It is open for tours so check the website for time as they change by season.  Next to the home are several historic homes to view or visit.

Downtown Galena has some great stores, bakeries, coffee shops, bars, speciality food stores, restaurants and galleries.  Make sure to visit:

Stam Chocolaterie:  At 205 S. Main St., this is a beautiful chocolate shop offering imported European chocolates, lattes and coffee and homemade gelato.

Klein’s Market Bakery:  Great homemade breads, pies etc.  I love the pumpkin bread.  118 S. Main.

Mean Bean Coffee:  A local coffee roaster offering good drinks and the ability to create your own custom blend.  240 N. Main.

Galena Garlic Company has rubs, seasonings, olive oil soaps, olive oils, sea salts and balsamics.  311 S. Main.

Chicago Skyline Art, at 245 S. Main, has great quality paintings and prints.

American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor:  A great old-fashioned spot for ice cream at 102 N. Main St.

Twenty Dirty Hands:  On the third weekend of October, there is a self-guided pottery and ceramics tour in and around Galena.  Here you can visit and tour some of the area’s best pottery and sculpture studios.  I visited Pinder Pottery at 236 N. Main, a nice store  in downtown Galena and also a great exhibit at the Fortuna Studio not far from the Galena Cellars Winery at 7213  W. Buckhill Rd. I bought a great piece for my tea bowl collection.  There were also two locations in Elizabeth IL.

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