Galena, Illinois

This picturesque river town is the perfect weekend jaunt

Rolling hills surround this preserved 19th-century-era town that is located on the banks of the Galena River just before it flows into the mighty Mississippi. Galena was home to Ulysses S. Grant before the Civil War, and today the welcoming businesses on Main Street evoke his memory. It’s a splendid weekend getaway for couples looking for a romantic escape and for families with children in tow.

Things to do

Shopping Galena’s Main Street is a main point of interest for visitors, with numerous boutiques, art galleries and antique stores to choose from. A lot of that is combined in Carlotta’s Studio, 116 S. Main St. It’s an art studio, a clothing shop, and it’s filled with accessories and gifts.

The town is packed with history, but don’t let that daunt you. If a tour through the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site isn’t on your itinerary, you just might take the Main Street Tour With Gen. Grant as your guide. Scout out the stores as you go.

On Dec. 7, the Main Street businesses will light up their Living Windows displays, beginning at 4 p.m. Then on Dec. 10, one of the town’s most beautiful and romantic visions of the year comes to life with the Night of the Luminarias when 5,000 candle-lit luminarias line the streets and sidewalks.

Getting There

Galena, Ill., is located 410 miles northeast of Kansas City, via Interstate 35, Interstate 80, U.S. 218, U.S. 151, U.S. 52 and Illinois Hwy. 84 (the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Hwy.).

Where to Stay

Annie Wiggins Guest House

A bed-and-breakfast inn situated in an 1846 mansion known for its well-appointed rooms and hearty breakfasts. Rooms from $155/night.

1004 Park Ave.

The DeSoto House

The oldest operating hotel in Illinois features 55 rooms all decorated in Victorian style. Rooms range from $70-$250/night. 230 S. Main St.

Where to Dine

Fried Green Tomatoes

USDA Choice steaks are accompanied by a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, and fried green tomatoes are on the menu too, of course.

213 N. Main St., 815-777-3938

One Eleven Main

Farm-to-table restaurant that showcases fresh, seasonal cooking. Cozy, exposed brick interior. 111 N. Main St., 815-777-8030