Best Known For:
The unique experience of more than 101 mom 'n pop shops, antique stores, art galleries, and restaurants on a Main Street frozen in the 1800s. Plus, it's the home of Ulysses S. Grant and nearly 30 bed & breakfasts. It's also considered a dreamy vacation destination.
Year Established: 1836
What are the most surprising facts about Galena?
1. Galena was once larger than Chicago because of the lead mining industry & steamboats that could come off the Mississippi on the Galena River into downtown.
2. 75% of Galena’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. Galena is home to the oldest operating post office in the same location in the U.S.
4. Galena's Desoto House Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois.
5. It is also home of the oldest Chamber of Commerce in Illinois (1838).
Famous Galena Residents:
Galena is the hometown of President Ulysses S. Grant, and you can tour his home.
What is the biggest annual event in Galena?
The Galena Country Fair and Galena Halloween Parade (the largest Halloween parade in the Midwest), both held in October.
What should visitors discover/learn about your community?
Everyone should get to see and feel a unique destination, such as this one. It shows that fantasy lands do exist as thriving communities and the experiences our visitors have never leave them.
What initiatives is Galena currently working on?
Galena has a number of projects in the works including exercise stations along the river trail, a nice ramp and dock for putting kayaks, canoes and paddleboards into the Galena River right in downtown, continued conversion of Turner Hall into a gorgeous event venue out of the 1800s and a modern interactive history museum for showcasing Grant, Galena and area information and artifacts.
How many family-friendly activities are consistently offered in your community?
Galena has dozens of family-friendly activities - from the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, horseback riding, a water park, and hot air ballooning to Segway tours, an alpine slide, Grant Park and a plethora of other outdoor adventure activities.
Where would you take someone on a first date in your town?
Strolling along Galena’s 1800s Main Street, Galena Cellars Vineyard, and Fried Green Tomatoes restaurant.
Is there an element of your community that would earn a nomination for Ripley's Believe it or Not?
Galena is a tiny community of 3,500 residents but is the second most visited city in Illinois (Chicago is No. 1) and one of the most visited cities in the Midwest.
Which superhero or superpower would most help you in downtown development efforts?
Green Lantern’s power ring so we could have any equipment needed for street and building repairs and ongoing beautification and improvements.