If you’re looking for a little R&R away from the city, Galena Country is open…

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Just a three hour drive from Chicago, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills, rich in history and loaded with incredible outdoor adventure, shopping and dining – and it’s LGBTQI-friendly to boot!

Galena main street, courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

Where to eat

Galena is filled with delicious and unique dining options. For a casual meal, Otto’s Place is a hidden gem with a menu that is as cosy as its red, two-story brick 1899 structure. Ideal for breakfast or lunch, favorites include quiche of the day, the bread pudding French toast and corned beef hash.

Oh, and be sure to order a Bloody Mary, as their home-made mix and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos garnish check all the right boxes!

Another tasty stop to explore is Galena Brewing Company, a local grassroots craft brewery that uses only the finest ingredients. Come hungry, as the brewery serves up a diverse menu loaded with delicious comfort food (including a giant pretzel with cheese sauce and port sliders).

They also have live music every weekend, making it the perfect stop for a relaxing night on the town!

Where to shop

The Neighbourhood “fashion-forward” shop

Shopping in Galena is an experience of its own. Named The Best Main Street in the Midwest by Midwest Living, downtown Galena features more than 125 independently-owned storefronts, restaurants, and galleries nestled into a historic, Helluva Half Mile.

Some favorite places to explore along the way include The Neighborhood and Gabby’s Gifts. The Neighborhood is a fashion-forward shop full of women’s apparel, handmade bath products and everyday accessories. Visitors are encouraged to write a note on their walls and donate a dollar to help build at least two clean water wells in Uganda, Africa each year. 

Gabby’s Gifts is a boutique store full of exclusive men’s grooming products, gifts, home décor, children’s toys, bath and body products – plus tons of accessories.

If hand-crafted, functional items are on the must-find list, Galena Clay Works is the place to go. Located just off of Main Street, local potter Kent Henderson creates functional bowls, dishes, and cups that are all high-fired and food-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Also available are decorative and whimsical sculptures and raku vessels and vases.

Make sure to stop by A Bushel And A Peck as well. Located in the scenic hills of Galena Country about 25 minutes from downtown, this two-story treasure is filled with antique, vintage, repurposed furniture and home décor, as well as locally-crafted honey, maple syrup, cheese and glasses of old-fashioned soda – perfect for those who like rummaging around for quirky gifts!

Where to go

If tasting and toasting is on your list, Galena Country is home to some of the best places to quench your thirst. Stop by Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, a gorgeous country vineyard that is home to a number of award-winning wines.

Unwind with the tasting and tour combo. At only $10 per person, visitors are guided through the history of the winery, a tour of the vineyard and taste six of the 40 wines, made on site. 

Blaum Brothers Distilling Company is also an excellent place to taste award-winning spirits, made with the finest, local ingredients. A stop here gives visitors a first-hand look at the distilling process and the $10, 45-minute tour ends with a guided tasting.

For nightlife in the heart of Galena, head over to Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape. This wine and martini lounge features a diverse wine menu, specialty drinks, and unique beers. Plus, they have a Bloody Mary bar on Saturdays and live music every Friday and Saturday night. (Yes please, Miss Kitty…)

Where to stay – LGBTQI-friendly favourites

The Inn at Irish Hollow, Illinois Office Of Tourism

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Galena Country, with numerous B&Bs, inns, hotels, and resorts to choose from. Here are some of the LGBTQ community B&B favorites… 

Aldrich Guest House is a gay-owned, five-bedroom B&B that dates back to the Civil War and is only a five-minute walk from downtown Galena. Jail Hill Inn – named the #1 B&B in the country by Trip Advisor – showcases six luxury suites and cuisine in the historic jailhouse, within walking distance of Main Street. 

The Steamboat House is located in an extraordinary mansion just one and a half blocks from Main Street and includes a daily wine time and a billiard room. And finally, The Inn at Irish Hollow offers seven rooms and cottages complete with lavish seven-course candlelight dinners, lush amenities, massages and more than 500 acres of quiet countryside trails to explore.

Fancy it, DIVAs?

Find more great places to wine, dine and stay in LGBTQI-friendly Galena Country at visitgalena.org. Want more on LGBTQI Illinois? Visit enjoyillinois.co.uk/amazingforall

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