Galena Travel Guide

Located along the river of the same name, Galena is the county seat and largest city of Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Renowned for its history, architecture and golf and ski resorts, Galena is a well-liked tourist destination. Named after the mineral galena, the city was once the residence of Ulysses S Grant as well as several other war generals, politicians and entertainers.

Over one million tourists visit Galena each year, making it a popular tourist destination. The city is also trendy with Chicagoans, many of whom own second homes in the region. Eighty-five percent of the buildings in Galena are quoted in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Old Market House State Historic Site. Further tourist draws are Galena’s Saint Michael’s Church and the downtown Desoto House Hotel.

Main street in downtown Galena features a wide range of restaurants and specialty shops as well as the Galena Cellars winery. There are also various resorts and golf courses placed in and around Galena such as the Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort and the Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, providing a relaxed ambiance for a holiday or just a weekend.


Old Market House: built in 1845 in the Greek Revival style, this Illinois State Historic site houses a museum of regional social history.

Saint Michael’s Church: founded in 1832 on a hill overlooking the city, the church was named after the Archangel Michael.

Desoto House Hotel: opened in 1855, this is the state’s oldest operating hotel.

Galena Historical Society and Museum: this non-profit organization offers self guided museum and guided walking tours of Galena, with costumed actors portraying ancient celebrities.

Grant Home Historic Site: built in 1860, the Grant Home was dedicated to the American Civil War hero and 18th president of the US.

The Old Blacksmith Shop: constructed in 1897, this building houses 100 years worth of equipment.