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Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Galena

Chicago to Galena
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By Meredith Lyons

If you're looking to get away from Chicago's urban life, there is no better place than Galena. A charming picturesque town known for its antiques, history and windy roads that are enjoyed by motorcyclists and bikers alike, this place moves at a slower pace. Expect no shortage of things to do, see and enjoy on a weekend getaway to Galena.

Getting There

Getting to Galena from the Chicago area takes a little more than three hours by car and is a straight shot up US - 20 West. To avoid tolls going out, take the U.S. Grant Memorial Highway the entire way, although this route will cost you an extra 30 minutes.


Farmer's Guest House
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Farmers' Guest House
334 Spring St.
Galena, IL 61036
(815) 777-3456

Click here for pricing and availability

Schedule a take-it-easy weekend, for which meals are provided and your hosts are knowledgeable about the Galena area. At Farmers' Guest House, homemade breakfast is served every morning with complimentary soda and water in the fridge as well as a bottomless cookie jar. The hosts will be happy to point out local attractions and dinner options. At 5:30 p.m. each evening, enjoy wine and cheese for an easy chance to relax and mingle. Packages and specials are available, and the inn is a five-minute walk from most downtown shops.

Related: Best Campgrounds In The Chicago Area

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What To Do

Galena Kandy Kitchen
100 N Main St.
Galena, IL 61036
(815) 777-0241

There's nothing quite so charming as an old-fashioned candy store, and Galena has one of the best. The Galena Kandy Kitchen boasts it's own hand-dipped chocolates and hand-made confections. Candy isn't the only treat: The kitchen stocks old fashioned candies in bulk in barrels around the store. The family run business was established in 1974 and has continued making candies the old-fashioned way ever since.

Ulysses S. Grant Home
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Ulysses S. Grant Home
500 Bouthillier St.
Galena, IL 61036
(815) 777-3310

Price: $4 suggested donation for adults/$2 for children.

A trip to U.S. Grant's historical home is a must if you're spending a weekend in Galena. The home was built in 1860 and presented to Grant after his Civil War victory in 1865. The house has been kept in its original historical state by the State of Illinois, and most of the furniture within is the original furniture used by Grant and his family. Civil War reenactments have been known to take place on the grounds of the house occasionally.

Galena Bike Trail
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Galena River Trail
Park Avenue and Bouthillier Street
Galena, IL 61036
(815) 777-1050

Price: free

For the more active vacationers, Galena's trails are beautiful, especially in the fall. The Galena River Trail may be biked, hiked or jogged. Following an abandoned railway bed, it stays close to the Galena and Mississippi rivers and continues to the Galena Recreation Park. The trail is between three and four miles long. Parking is available at the trail head. For maps and other info, click here.

La Belle Epoque
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La Belle Epoque
306 S. Main St.
Galena, IL 60136
(815) 777-2367

Passing through Galena without stopping into one of its many antique shops would be a shame. Belle Epoque is right on the main street and offers a mixture of furniture, artwork and jewelry. If you're on the hunt for something, chances are this shop has it. You may have to do some digging, but that can be part of the fun of an antiquing adventure at one of the best shops in town.

Market House Restaurant
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Market House Restaurant
204 Perry St
Galena, IL 61036
(815) 777-0690

You can't go wrong stopping inside the Market House Restaurant. Its menu is extensive, with something for everyone and as a bonus, house-made corned beef makes for an excellent reuben sandwich. There are vegetarian options and even gluten free dessert options as well. Enjoy a solid selection of specialty drinks as well as the usual wine and beer offerings. The Market House Restaurant is slightly off the beaten path, you may walk right by if you're not looking, but just head halfway up the cobble-stoned Perry Street (off of Main Street) and you're in for a welcoming taste of home.

Related: Escape To The Tropics Of Chicago

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at

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