Without a doubt, one of the number 1 reasons to visit downtown Galena IL is to see the historic architecture and well-preserved 19th-century buildings that line Main Street and the surrounding area. As the home of the former president U.S. Grant, Galena is no stranger to interesting history and, accordingly, historic attractions. From touring these homes to taking Trolley tours around town, and even taking ghost tours, there are a number of ways to enjoy the top historic attractions near downtown Galena IL.
Add even more history to your stay by staying with us at Jail Hill Inn, Galena’s #1 historic Bed and Breakfast – and the only one we know of that is housed in a historic jail! Over the past several years, we have lovingly restored and cared for this stunning building, which once housed an important piece of Galena’s history. We kept many of the original features of the building n tact, including the 9-foot tall windows, original arched ceilings and beams, and even carvings in various window sills.
It’s been an honor to care for this building and to ensure the historical legacy of Galena stays intact, all while offering our guests a luxury experience that is second to none. We’re located just steps away from downtown Galena IL, too, which means you’re close to all the things you want to see and do. Let us show you just how special this incredible town is – book your room at our historic Galena Bed and Breakfast today!
Historic Attractions Near Downtown Galena IL
History lovers absolutely adore Galena. Whether you just come to admire the beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture throughout Main Street, where 85% of the buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places, or whether you want to visit the top historic attractions near downtown Galena IL, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy this charming city and learn about its history.
At its economic peak, Galena was the lead mining capital of the world, the major commercial port on the upper Mississippi, and the wealthiest city in the State of Illinois. At one time, the population of this charming town was over 14,000 – today it’s just over 3,200! During Galena’s heyday, these residents built a number of homes, institutions, and commercial buildings that were meant to last. That legacy lives on today in Galena’s preserved historic buildings.
If you’re short on time, we recommend you get to know a bit of Galena’s history via a walking tour through downtown Galena. These self-guided tours are a great way to see Galena’s past as it exists today. Plan in approximately one hour for this tour. If you don’t want to walk, another way to get an overview of the top historic attractions in downtown Galena IL is to ride the trolley depot. Their hop-on/hop-off tour navigates its way around Galena’s most popular historic attractions and is the most popular.
Once you’ve oriented yourself to the city, there are 3 historic attractions that you really should take the time to visit independently, if you have the time. They include:
U.S. Grant Home
This home, the one-time residence of Galena’s most famous resident, former president U.S. Grant, is the most popular historic attraction near downtown Galena IL. Here, you’ll learn about the President’s humble beginnings in Galena, through to the post-Civil War era when he was granted this home during his hero’s homecoming. The house was thoroughly restored in 1955, and still contains many of the original furnishings.
The Belvedere Mansion, which was built in 1857, is considered to be the finest home of its kind in the Galena area. The home and its stunning gardens are open to the public from May – November. Inside, you’ll find 22 lavishly decorated rooms, which truly give you a glimpse into the lifestyle of Galena’s wealthiest residents.
The Dowling House
The Dowling House is one of Galena’s oldest homes, constructed around 1826-27. John Dowling was a trader who quickly became the largest iron dealer on the Upper Mississippi, and thus a fixture in Galena’s rapidly growing economy at the time. The house was constructed of Limestone, and was at one point was the only trading post in the city.
There are plenty more wonderful historic attractions to see near downtown Galena IL, and we’d be happy to talk to you about these during your visit. If you’re looking for something fun to do at night after all the rest of the historic attractions in downtown Galena IL have closed for the day, consider taking one of the town’s fascinating (and informative) ghost tours. Two of the top tour operators are Amelia’s Ghost Tours and The Haunted Galena Tour Company.
Embrace History at our luxury Bed and Breakfast in Galena
Galena’s history, combined with these historic attractions, is what makes this city such a great place to visit. So many of the top attractions are within just minutes from our Bed and Breakfast in downtown Galena IL, too, which makes it easy to explore and get to know the true character of this town.
Our Bed and Breakfast also provides an unparalleled opportunity to stay in your own private and luxury piece of that history. Inside what was once the Galena Jail, you’ll find 6 luxurious guest rooms outfitted with the finest amenities. The suites are well-appointed, and included in every stay are a gourmet breakfast and a sumptuous afternoon wine and appetizer hour. Relax and unwind after exploring Galena in the comfort of your suite, or sit on our back deck with your wine and appetizers and enjoy the peaceful and thoughtfully landscaped surroundings.
Whatever it is you do in Galena, enjoy the quiet escape away from the busy din of city noise. Couple it with the luxury only found at our Galena Bed and Breakfast, and you have the recipe for an exceptional getaway. Rooms are booking up quickly though, so if you really want to see these historic attractions near downtown Galena IL, don’t wait! Book your room at our luxurious and historic Galena Bed and Breakfast today!