Galena, IL is a charming little town on the banks of the Mississippi River, and bears many of the architectural hallmarks you see on towns further south. Red brick with cream trim abounds, there porches galore and even the most modest of homes has a few columns thrown on for good measure. Large, gorgeous Victorian, Gothic Revival, and Italianate style homes cover the steep bluffs over the town, many of which are now B&Bs. The main street is a busy, narrow road with blocks of stone shops, many with their original tin ceilings, plate glass windows and wooden floors. Like many towns that boast historic architecture, most of it was “saved” by simply being abandoned and left for decades.

Galena hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including open days to tour B&Bs, bus and riverboat tours, numerous festivals and anything and everything Ulysses S. Grant your heart could desire. Add in dozens of shops (also shoppes) and restaurants and you can easily amuse yourself for a day or a weekend.

Not interested in spending cash? Spend the day wandering up and down the streets admiring the architecture on both sides of the dividing Galena River. Regardless of what your day plans are, unless you come in the off, off season, parking is at a premium. Save yourself the hassle and park a few blocks from the downtown, then walk. It’s not a large town and you’ll be far less frustrated coming in and going out.

Galena, IL