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Antiquing and Sightseeing in Galena

By Rachel

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Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Rachel Granholm

Let’s go antiquing and sightseeing in Galena!

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a super fun getaway celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary. We drove South towards Iowa through some of the most beautiful country backroads and farms that I have ever seen. I feel like, being out in open fields and meadows, I can breathe a little easier, knowing that the weight of the world isn’t constantly on top of my shoulders. In a way, it feels like home out in the country.

Anyways, during this little getaway, we took a day trip to visit Galena, Illinois. This city has been on my destination bucket list for quite a while, for many reasons, and will get into those more below. This post is going to be a jam packed one so join me as I take you antiquing and sightseeing in Galena!

First, A Backstory

So that this post all makes sense, I am first going to give you a little background. Bear with me here as this starts to all come together. When my husband and I first started planning this trip, we somehow ended up putting ‘The Field of Dreams’ museum at the top of our list, meaning we would be traveling to Iowa.

You might be thinking, “Really, Rachel? Iowa?” Me too. But you guys… I had no idea this part of Iowa was so pretty! It has more hills than Minnesota and so many beautiful bluffs, streams, and rolling meadows. I was blown away by the beauty of the landscape.

a small creek in the Driftless region on the Midwest

Anyways, if you are not familiar, ‘The Field of Dreams’ is a baseball movie starring Kevin Costner. It’s one of our favorite movies of all time. It takes place at a farm in Dyersville, Iowa where the set of the movie still sits today and you can pay to get in to visit it.

So, we stopped there first and took it all in! The corn wasn’t up yet obviously because it’s early in the season but it’s just a gorgeous setting.

The Farmhouse from the movie 'The Field of Dreams'
This is me in front of the farmhouse at ‘The Field of Dreams’.

The farmhouse is what I was most excited to see because, well, it’s on old farmhouse! The porch on this house is just lovely and has incredible views. Typically you have to pay to even be let inside the fence for a tour but, luckily for us, the tour guide was super nice and let us inside the fence to just go on the porch! What a guy.

the porch at The Field of Dreams movie museumThe porch on ‘The Field of Dreams’ house.

The detail on the porch is outstanding. From the beadboard on the ceiling to the beams and columns to the schoolhouse lights… all of it made me so giddy. We peeked in the windows too and saw all of the pretty vintage pieces that adorned the inside of the house. What a dream!

The porch ceiling at ‘The Field of Dreams’ house.

Antiquing and Sightseeing in Galena

There is a scene in the middle of the movie that is supposed to take place in Chisholm, Minnesota but they actually use the city of Galena instead which is much closer to the farm. Can you see where I’m going with this?? We wanted to visit the movie site as well as Galena, not only because of the movie, but also for the antique shopping!

a picture of the downtown Main street in Galena, IllinoisThe main street in Galena.

We arrived in Galena on a Saturday morning with a bright blue sky overhead and I was SO excited! The main road that all of the shops and eating places are on is curvy, full of old buildings, cobblestone bricks, and beautiful architecture. We took our time strolling in and out of shops, taking in all the sights.

an old brick hill and walkway located in Galena, IllinoisThis brick hill is just amazing to me. It’s been there for so many years! We also think that the staircase next to this hill was used in one of ‘The Field of Dreams’ scenes!

I was most excited about going into the antique shops. Before going to Galena, I had heard from so many people about how amazing the antique shopping is in this town. Honestly guys it wasn’t nearly as great as I had hoped. There were just three antique stores on the main street and one a bit further out of town. I’m wondering if other stores hadn’t made it through the pandemic or if larger retail stores had taken over? Either way I was disappointed. There was one really cool antique shop that had so many vintage books which was amazing. We spent a good amount of time going through the massive amount of books. I ended up choosing five books with pretty covers that I could take home to use for display.

standing on an old brick walkway in Galena, Illinois

There were so many incredible views from many different parts around town. Galena is nestled along the Galena River. There is a bridge that you can walk across which takes you to a park on the other side that is full of old war relics. It is a charming park with a gazebo, a water fountain, and many benches for sitting and taking in the sights.

the bridge over the Galena River from the other side, looking into townThe view from the other side of the bridge. You can see the end of a cannon in the far left of the picture.

What I fell in love with most in this cute town is the stunning architecture. There is an abundance of old brick and stone buildings, each one with a unique and storied facade. We are talking like hundreds of years old! Just imagine the person that laid each brick by hand or welded all of the iron pieces together.

a decorative iron bracket under a staircase outside

Many of the buildings also had beautiful iron work, similar to what you see in New Orleans, which I thought was super fascinating. Even little things like the lamp posts and lighting on the buildings just blew me away! I could have walked around for another two hours just admiring the detail on the buildings.

the antique post office building in Galena, IllinoisThe detail on the post office building was magnificent. Just look at those light fixtures!

At the end of the day, I was pooped! A severe thunderstorm prompted us to leave a tad earlier than we had anticipated but that’s okay. We had walked up and down the street twice, had an amazing lunch and sipped delicious coffee. Even though the antiquing was a bust, I was so grateful to have meandered through this picturesque town with my favorite person.

a beautiful green pasture viewed from an antique store window

The Vintage Pieces

I did find a few pretty things that came home me. Lately I have been being pretty particular about what I’m buying, so the vintage pieces that I am going to show you really spoke to me.

As I mentioned above, one of the antique shops had an amazing selection of vintage books. Here are some of the hardcover books that I purchased!

two vintage hardcover books stacked on a chair

I chose these books because of the subject matter, the pretty covers they had underneath the dust cover and the large size of them. They were $8 each, which was higher than I would have liked, but I truly do love them and will be able to use them in many different ways throughout my home. Besides that, I wanted to support a small business and keep what antique stores are left in Galena open and thriving!

two vintage books displayed on a chair with faux flowers and lace

The second piece I found was this milk glass pedestal bowl!

a scalloped milk glass pedestal bowl displayed on top of vintage books

I’m being pretty selective with milk glass and only adding pieces to my collection that are unique or that I don’t see very often. I was doing a quick second lap at one of the antique stores and spotted this beautiful bowl that I didn’t see the first time around (that is one of my antique shopping tips and it paid off!) Anyways, I have a larger bowl with the same scalloped pattern and was super excited about finding the small version! I paid $5.50 for this bowl which is a very fair price. It’s a lovely addition to my collection.

Okay! The last piece I found is my favorite of the whole trip. At the final antique store we went to, and in the very last room, was this incredible crewelwork picture!

a floral needlework picture in a wood frame hung next to a fireplace

Vintage needlework is another item that I love to collect and am always keeping my eye out for them. The detail on this one is just stunning. Everything on it is in perfect condition and I love how it already came framed and matted! I paid $29 for this large needlework, which might have been a tad high, but the picture made me gasp when I saw it, so that’s worth it to me. I hung it next to the fireplace for the summer season ahead. It adds so much color to the space and am so excited to enjoy it!

an old brick building in Galena Illinois

Closing Tidbits

I hope you enjoyed coming antiquing and sightseeing in Galena with me! It was such a fun place to visit and, in a way, felt like going back in time. This quaint town is full of character, exuding a small town ambience that is steeped in a beautiful history. It was also magical to see ‘The Field of Dreams’ movie sites and to take in the beauty of Iowa along the way. My hope is that the pictures and the narration in this post tied everything together for you. Be encouraged to take an adventure to a place that you have never been and find joy along with way.

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23 Comments. Leave new

  • debra@commonground
    May 12, 2022 10:16 pm

    What a beautiful town! It’s worth the trip to see the streets and architecture alone. I think so many small town shops and businesses that depend on tourists just couldn’t make it thru the last several years. I love that gorgeous green porch ceiling, beautiful country. We live in SW Missouri and we too have all those wonderful hills and bluffs and rivers. Thanks for sharing all your amazing photos; glad you had a great get-away!

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 13, 2022 7:51 am

      Hi Debra! It is just gorgeous. I’m happy that you enjoyed reading this one…I do appreciate you stopping by today!! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  • Marilyn Phillips
    May 13, 2022 9:12 am

    Wonderful trip and I loved seeing Galena. It’s on my bucket list. So fun to see your finds. Glad you were able to get away.

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 13, 2022 10:17 am

      Hi Marilyn!
      Thanks for reading! It really is a spectacular town. Have a lovely weekend!

  • meagan trento
    May 13, 2022 5:28 pm

    Such a cute town! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Love the pictures.

  • Thanks for sharing your exciting trip. So much architecture in this Galena. The bridge pic is a winner too. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 17, 2022 8:51 am

      Hi Judy! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and for leaving such a lovely comment! I so appreciate it! It really is a gorgeous little town. Hope you have a lovely day!

  • What an awesome trip! I love the color of the porch ceiling on the Field of Dreams farmhouse. Thank you for sharing your photos and insights with us.

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 19, 2022 8:10 am

      Hi Anna!
      Thank you! I knoowww…isn’t that pretty?!? Glad you enjoyed reading this one, friend!

  • Debbie-Dabble
    May 19, 2022 6:08 am

    I am so glad that i stopped by because I really enjoyed this post…I love older quaint towns and homes and the street you shared here is just so darn cute with all those wonderful store fronts!! Thanks for taking us along on your trip!!!

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 19, 2022 8:11 am

      Hi Debbie!
      Thank you SO much for stopping by!! It really is the cutest town that I’ve ever seen just full of charm! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it. Hope you have a lovely day!

  • […] Antiquing and Sightseeing in Galena […]

  • I really enjoyed reading this, and seeing the photos. Galena was my Dad’s home town. We lived in the Chicago area, and went back to visit every Spring, Summer and Fall. My Grandfather was in construction. He helped build some of those lovely buildings, and he was one of the workmen that put down the brick and cobblestone streets. I have many warm memories of our family trips to Galena.

    • Rachel Granholm
      May 20, 2022 8:54 am

      Hi Linda!!
      Thank you SO much for sharing that with me. That is SO COOL and so special. I’m thankful to your grandfather for working so hard in that little town to make it such a wonderful place to visit so many years later. I’m truly touched by your story and I thank you so much for sharing and for stopping by the blog. I appreciate it more than you know. Hope you have a lovely day!

  • Our Hopeful Home
    May 20, 2022 9:52 pm

    Oh my gosh you visited one of my favorite places in whole world! We live in Illinois, a few hours’ drive from Galena. We have a dear friend who has a home there and every winter we go there for a New Year’s holiday getaway. (Unfortunately due to Covid, we had to skip a December 2020 New Year’s Eve holiday visit.) This town is near and dear to my heart. Sorry you had a bad experience vis-a-vis antique shops. I’ve always found the town to be oh-so-quaint, friendly, and a great place to find vintage and thrifty treasures. I’ve blogged about our visits over the years. You can see a bit of that here:

    https://www.ourhopefulhome.com/2017/01/our-new-years-visit-to-historic-galena.html and here:

    Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm:) xo Kathleen

    • Rachel Granholm
      June 3, 2022 10:10 am

      Hi Kathleen!!
      That’s SO cool!!!! Thanks so much for sharing that with me! I really do love it…maybe we’ll go back someday. It was on my bucket list for years and years and am so happy I finally got to visit it. Thanks for reading!!! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  • Lora Bloomquist
    May 22, 2022 9:53 pm

    We’ve never been to Galena, but now I want to go! What a charming, historical town; picture perfect indeed! I love soaking up every detail of architecture, too. So glad you enjoyed your trip!

  • This looks like such a fun trip, Rachel! I love all the goodies you found and what a picturesque place to shop and eat too. The town is crazy beautiful. So excited you got to be where Field of Dreams was filmed! Big hugs, CoCo

  • Hi, next time you are in the Galena area you must stop at two places: Purrfection Thrift Store (it’s huge, ever-changing) and the Grand Antique Mall in Elizabeth, Humongous! I love treasure hunting at these two spots

    • Rachel Granholm
      January 17, 2024 9:28 am

      Hi, Debbie!
      Thanks so much for the info! Not sure we’ll be back anytime soon but it’s always good to know of other treasure troves! Have a great day!


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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

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