Plan My Days For Me Again
June 4, 2013 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Mrs. W and I will be speeding four days in Galena, IL at the end of July. Recommendations for restaurants, book stores, arty type things, craft stores, and any off the beaten path treasures that typical visitors might not know about? I am leaving this very open ended; if you liked something there, or in the general area, let us know.
posted by wittgenstein to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As a kid, we used to absolutely love the Kandy Kitchen. Now, it may not have as much appeal for the adult, but if you like candy, it's still worth a stop. It's basically owned and run by this own old guy who has had the place forever. Lots of really delicious homemade candy and very charming.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:26 PM on June 4, 2013

I remember there was a good used bookstore on the main street, but this was about ten years ago.

Go to the U S Grant house.
posted by brujita at 1:30 PM on June 4, 2013

Galena is awesome! I haven't been there for years, but the best thing I remember is find your parking first (unless your hotel offers it) on Commercial or Water Street.

I would start at the far end of the downtown on Main Street, and work your way toward the entrance where the river gates are. Go up the side streets and scope out the restaurants and shops, take note of the menus (most are posted outside). If you hit your intended restaurant shortly after opening, all the better for getting seated.

Definitely visit the museum on Bench Street. Also, drive around up there and take in the sights of the houses and the hills that have a view below. The ladies at the museum might give you some insight as to particular eateries and arts places.

One time, I wandered into the DeSoto and there was a room with several weavers set up for demonstration, very peaceful and welcoming. So definitely check that out and the online calendars for arts events. I was helping at the big arts fair in Grant's Park on the other side of the river once, and it's really awesome.

If you are coming in from the East (i.e., Rockford), there is a tower overlook before you get to Galena that is worth stopping at to see the views. Sad to see that the Vinegar Hill Lead Mine is closed :-/

I loved the rock shop there -- get your hunk of real Galena lead! Truly, I don't think you can go wrong if you start at the far end and work your way forward, but ask the locals and museum ladies for further recs. It's not all that huge, it's more like the size of say, Bucktown in Chicago, if a bit longer in breadth.

Another weird thing is if you are coming from Rockford area, there are a few really unique billboards that reminded me of BurmaShave type things. Watch out for late afternoon t-storms, they can come rushing down like no tomorrow.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

We were there just last year. If you are yarn-y, FiberWild on the main drag should be worth a visit.

Red's Antiques and Wholesale Barn is, in fact, very little antiques and mostly cast iron doodads like coat hooks and boot pullers, and metal lawn ornaments. However, they have the most incredible collection of giant metal chickens surely on the whole planet (or at least they did last year...and I can't imagine they've unloaded all those giant metal chickens quite yet). And as we all know, nothing says love like a big metal chicken.

We went on a trail ride at Shenandoah Riding's well pretty well run as far as trail riding operations go, if you like that kind of thing, and it's a walk-trot and not walk-only ride.
posted by drlith at 2:29 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Galena last year. It was a lot of fun. We just embraced the touristy feel and wandered the main street for a day and a half. You'll be there longer, so you might want to go out of Galena for a day. Apple River Canyon might be a nice option.

The town is small, and there are a lot of free guides to pick up and read, so you'll be able to find all of the shops and restaurants. I'll point out a few places we had good experiences:
One Eleven Main-- good food.
Otto's Place-- great brunch, dinner looked intriguing, too.
Dirty Gurt's-- It's a silly touristy place, but it had good burgers
Jamie's Wine Shop-- we had some wine and sangria and nice conversation here. The owner swears by the local sushi place, believe it or not. It was closed when we were there.
Fritz and Frites-- good food.

Have a great time!
posted by TrarNoir at 6:01 PM on June 4, 2013

Dubuque is close. Walk around downtown and the river area, check out Eagle Point Park and the elevator car.
posted by starman at 4:35 PM on June 5, 2013

Oh, god, how could I forget my perennial recommendation to go for a boat ride whenever the opportunity presents itself? There's one option in Galena, and a couple more options in Dubuque.
posted by drlith at 11:26 AM on June 6, 2013

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