Galena Things to Do
Stop in at the Galena Welcome Center upon arriving in town to learn about all the things to do and to pick up some maps for all your Galena adventures.
Take a Tour
There are two trolley services in Galena, both convenient and a wonderful way to capture an overview of this historic town. Don’t miss out on the trolleys as they get a different view the sites.
Take your time walking along Main Street for examples of about a dozen architectural styles. Some structures to look for include the following:
- Dowling House – Construction began in 1826, and the building was established as a trading post and residence. It is the oldest house in town and also the oldest stone structure in Illinois.
- Old Market House – A public building once the center of the community’s life during Galena’s “Golden Era.” Today it displays a Grant exhibition and houses the information center.
- Belvedere Mansion – Built in 1857, this “Italianate/Steamboat Gothic Mansion” has 22 rooms. Restored and furnished with antiques, it also highlights the famed “Gone with the Wind” green velvet drapes from the set of the movie (purchased for the home).
- Washburne House – Built in 1843, this is a Greek Revival home. Major additions were made in 1859 and 1860.
- Galena Post Office and Customs House – Built between 1857 and 1859 from limestone, it is a Renaissance Revival building. It’s the second-oldest continuously operating post office in the U.S.
Eighty-five percent of Galena’s architectural treasures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ulysses S. Grant Home
Before reaching fame as a Civil War hero, U.S. Grant was a store clerk in Galena. After the war, he launched his campaign for the presidency from Galena. Docents lead tours of the house’s lower level, and guests are free to visit the upstairs at their own pace. The house is decorated with original possessions of the Grant family and mementos of their travels, with numerous artifacts from Japan and the Middle East on display. There’s a small museum behind the house.
Grant Park lies along the river and is a typical shady park except for the President Grant theme. The park is well-groomed and orderly, welcoming to pets and has enough lawn furniture to accommodate a battalion. The statues, obelisks, and decorative cannons make the park well worth the walk, making it a joyful place on a warm day.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Galena.
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