Downtown Galena

Why You Need to Explore the Galena Historic District

One of the most beloved places in town, the Galena Historic District showcases the Late Victorian architecture of the 19th century and offers a glimpse into our past. As you wander through our picturesque streets, you’ll experience the charm of our scenic town. In fact, over seventy-five percent of our town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places! Here are the best ways to spend your time in the district.

For the most extensive list of restaurants, shops, and attractions in the Galena Historic District, access our free Vacation Guide. You’ll discover our top recommendations on things to do in Galena. From museums and parks to local upcoming events and live music venues, you’ll find it all in this guide!

What You’ll Find in the Galena Historic District

Although still full of modern luxuries and plenty of ways to indulge, our town never received the “modernization” like other cities, including Chicago, New York, and Boston. As you stroll down Main Street, you’ll feel taken back to a simpler time. Browse delightful shops, stroll through peaceful parks, savor exceptional cuisine, and relax at one of the best B&Bs in Galena!

The Helluva Half Mile

Just around the corner from the Farmers Guest House, you’ll find the Helluva Half Mile. This scenic strip in the heart of the Galena Historic District features more than 125 unique boutiques, delightful restaurants, and eclectic shops. Many of these shops and restaurants showcase the town’s historic Late Victorian architecture and 19th-century charm. You’ll have a magnificent time exploring!

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, here are a few places we recommend:

You can find additional restaurants in our Vacation Guide by clicking the link or photo above!

Galena Pottery

As part of the “lead rush” during the 1800s, Galena became a landmark town for many miners migrating to start a better life for their family. In fact, in the 1840s, the name “galena” originated from the ore itself. This precious metal had many uses including acting as a glaze in pottery. As a result, Galena pottery can be found all over town! Explore the shops, learn about the art of pottery making, and maybe find a treasure or two to bring back home with you. 

Grant Park

Our charming town was also a post-war retreat for General Ulysses S. Grant. To honor him, the historic Grant Park was built in his name. The vibrant foliage and blooming flowers in Grant Park provide an outdoor oasis right in the heart of the Historic District. In addition to three grassy acres, Grant Park features Civil War cannons, a statue of General Grant, lovely fountains, and more.


For even more information about Galena history, we encourage you to visit one of our marvelous museums! One of the most popular museums in the Historic District is the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum. This historic home built in 1858 features more than six thousand square feet of exhibit space. Paying special tribute to Ulysses S. Grant, the museum is a haven for U.S. history enthusiasts!

Annual Events

Each year, the Galena Historic District is the scenic backdrop for an array of seasonal celebrations. Perhaps one of the most popular is the Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes in late September. This informative tour takes you through the many historic homes in Galena, IL, including the U.S. Grant home. On your guided experience, you’ll be enlightened on what makes our town so special while learning more about our past.

Another fabulous festival is the Annual Nouveau Weekend in mid-November. This delightful extravaganza marks the first wine harvest of the season at Galena Cellars. This inviting winery celebrates the tradition of Le Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a technique used to bottle the first wines of the harvest, just weeks after the fermentation process. During the weekend, local dining establishments and businesses feature live music, wine tastings, dinner specials, and fun gatherings. You don’t want to miss this fabulous annual event!

Where to Stay

farmers guest house outside view

After exploring the Galena Historic District, head back to our charming bed and breakfast to unwind. The Farmers Guest House has been a symbol of hospitality in the Galena Historic District since 1867 when it was first built as the “Farmers Home Hotel.”  To continue the tradition, we extend a warm welcome to all visitors looking for a place to stay!

Join us for WineTime at 5:00 p.m. before retreating to your cozy guest room for a relaxing evening. Each of our hideaways features plenty of natural light, beautifully restored antiques, and private bathrooms. Wake each morning to a delicious, homemade breakfast that’s sure to start your day the right way! Whether you are celebrating an anniversary, an important milestone, or just wish to extend the weekend, enhance your trip with one of our many specials!

If you’re ready to plan the ultimate Galena getaway, check the availability of all our accommodations and book your stay today. We can’t wait to host you soon!