This Illinois Hotspot is Known as “The Town That Time Forgot”

Galena is Illinois’ welcoming hillside historic getaway. It’s quaint charm and old timey atmosphere makes it a unique place to stop and explore.

Where to Stay

Galena is littered with cozy old bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels. If you want to be located in the heart of Galena then Ulysses Suites is for you. It’s a modern and spacious rental property with a door leading right onto main street! The location and style of the suites can’t be beat. It’s contemporary style-wise while successfully incorporating the historic vibe of the city around it. This is where my Mom and I stayed during our girls trip and we were blown away by the experience.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, try checking out the Inn at Irish Hollow. Here you can choose from a cozy room at the main inn or a warm cottage stay. This is ideal for people looking for a secluded outdoor getaway rather than the bustle of main street.

Where to Eat

Since our getaway was a week long, my Mom and I had time to try out nearly all the food spots on the main drag. Here are my personal top pics:

Fritz and Frites was our favorite spot in Galena for food! They’re only open for dinner, but this cozy bistro is absolutely a must stop. I particularly enjoyed their chicken dish. When I go back to Galena this will be the first place I make reservations.

Vinny Vanucchi’s is the most popular Italian restaurant in town. If you’re in the mood for a hearty meal of pasta and garlic bread, this is the place to be.

Otto’s Place is the perfect eatery for breakfast and lunch. It’s airy and homey atmosphere is welcoming to every guest. They serve the best quality comfort food in the area.

Goldmoor Inn is an off the beaten path hotel and restaurant. This is the ideal upscale dinner spot. My Mom and I both ended up getting the beef wellington because that’s what they’re known for, and it exceeded expectations. It was a lovely and delicious way to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.

An honorable mention goes to Fried Green Tomatoes for it’s A+ desserts.

What to Do

Check Out the Bakeries and Sweet Shops

There are a number of bakeries and chocolate shops that are sprinkled between the main street wineries and unique stores. Our favorite spot was Bread and Vine, but that was likely due to convenience since it was located right underneath our rental.

Shop the Main Street

Whether you’re looking for boutique clothes, home décor, or Mom and Pop artisan shops, there is something for every visitor. I purchased a wide variety of gifts like colorful stationary, spooky stickers, unique tops, and homemade headbands.

Make Your Own Candle at Scent Workshop

Have you ever wanted to create your own candle or perfume spray? At Scent Workshop staff will guide you through the process of creating your own custom scent. You’ll learn the ins and outs of picking and mixing the perfect combination for you.

This was my all time favorite activity throughout our trip. Be sure to allow a couple of days for the candle to be prepped and ready for you to take home.

Drink Wine

Drinking wine is an easy feat in a place like Galena. There’s a wide variety of wine tours, but if you are more particular about the wine you like, it’s easy to hop from one wine studio to another. My Mom’s favorite stop was Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena. Not only do they have a fine selection of wine, they’re also a solid spot for a mean martini! Jamie, the owner, and her dog are the most hospitable on Main Street.

Visit the Home of Ulysses S Grant

This historic museum was home to former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant and his family. This attraction, while not much different from other historical houses of the time, is a great stop for history buffs. The town has a number of historic elements scattered throughout its neighborhoods. While the home is the most iconic stop in the area, there are others to learn about on the trolley tour of Galena.

Overall Thoughts + Observations

Galena’s main target demographic seems to be both weekend vacationers and short girls trip goers. While we visited in summer, Galena is popular in winter for it’s ski resorts. In terms of trip length, Galena can be well explored in a long weekend.

One thing I noticed around main street was the amount of visible inclusion throughout downtown. From shop signs to pride flags it seemed like an incredibly safe environment for anyone LGBTQ+.

I enjoyed my time in Galena and am excited to go back sometime soon!

One thought on “This Illinois Hotspot is Known as “The Town That Time Forgot”

  1. Great blog!!

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