Surrounded by amazing landscape and rich civil war history, Galena has long been a popular destination for an escape from the city or a relaxing weekend getaway. From hotels to hot air balloons to golf courses and apple picking, Galena offers all the ingredients for an outstanding group gathering, too.
“Galena is a great place for small corporate retreats and association meetings looking for a unique, refreshing destination as opposed to a hotel by an airport or a metropolitan or suburban experience,” says Jay Allen, director of sales for Visit Galena Country. “We have updated meeting spaces and properties, historic hotels and numerous experiential venues.”
The 138-year-old Jail Hill Inn, a bed and breakfast downtown, accommodates up to 12 in six guest rooms. The innkeepers pamper guests with chocolate and champagne upon arrival, a daily gourmet three-course breakfast and wine-and-cheese receptions each evening. The dining area can be converted into a meeting space for corporate gatherings or teambuilding retreats, and buyouts of the inn are also available.
The rural Goldmoor Inn, 5 miles south of Galena, has lodging for up to 41 guests across 18 cozy suites, cabins and cottages, each equipped with a fireplace and whirlpool tub. Meetings for up to 50 can be held indoors, and events for up to 150 can be accommodated in outdoor venues surrounded by 8 acres of blooming gardens.
For larger groups, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa has 80 guest rooms, 200 villas and 15,000 square feet of event space for gatherings of up to 350 people. As part of a multiyear renovation to the property, the exterior, lobby, public spaces, meeting space and guest rooms were updated. The resort also has four golf courses, 26 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding and boat rentals for fishing on Lake Galena.
Taste of Galena
“Our area gives you what you need in meeting space and hotel options, but also allows for activities that groups can take part in to relax, be a part of a team-building experience or enjoy each other’s company experiencing our Main Street shops and restaurants,” says Allen.
At the core of these attractions is the Historic Main Street, an 1800s-era street lined with over 100 unique businesses housed in historic buildings. Between shops, dining options from gelato bars to fresh seafood complete a culinary ensemble to suit any group’s tastes.
Newest to the restaurant ring is Amelia’s Under the Lamp Light Dinner Theatre, where groups of up to 60 dine while being entertained by mentalists, magicians or musicians, depending on the evening.
Also new to Galena’s Historic Main Street entertainment is the Spirits and Spirits tour led by Haunted Galena Tour Company, on which attendees visit three locations to enjoy cocktails and learn about the haunted history of the area.
Trips to local farms are a growing trend to add to event itineraries in Galena. “We’re seeing agritourism grow because we do get a lot of requests from everyday travelers interested in seeing how an operating farm works,” says Rose Noble, president and CEO of Visit Galena Country. “We know that people traveling from the city don’t get to have those experiences very often.” To accommodate such requests, Terrapin Orchards offers strawberry and apple picking for groups in season.
Adventurous groups can take in sweeping views of Galena on Alpine slides or try zip lining over the Mississippi River at Chestnut Mountain Resort. History enthusiasts can take a trolley tour through the historic district or explore The Galena and U.S. Grant Museum.
No matter what time of year you’re meeting in Galena, there is never a shortage of entertainment. The town hosts many annual festivals, such as the Great Galena Balloon Race in June and Galena Oktoberfest (complete with German cuisine and weiner dog races) in October, that draw visitors from miles around.