Skip to Content

Galena – Illinois’ Gay-friendly Weekend Getaway

Galena – Illinois’ Gay-friendly Weekend Getaway

The hidden gem for the sophisticated lesbian, gay and queer travelers in Illinois. A hidden gem in the United States of America? Yes, there is – Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois! Even some of our friends living in the USA contacted us after we published our first photos and stories about our trip to Galena asking: Where is Galena, and why are you traveling there? Well, the US American state of Illinois isn’t only about Route 66, Springfield, or Chicago, it also is home to Galena which is the largest city of Jo Davies County, Illinois with a strong connection to the Mississippi River and only 3 hours by car from Chicago.

– in paid collaboration with Visit Illinois –

The heart of the city, which was founded around the first mineral rush in the United States, is the Galena Historic District with its 1,000 preserved buildings constructed before 1900. Restaurants, shops, museums, and the decelerating lifestyle of the local community create an atmosphere that perfectly fits a weekend away from busy Chicago life to the northwestern border of Illinois. Together with Enjoy Illinois and Visit Galena, we created our Road Trip Adventure “Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois” with hotel and restaurant tips, activity highlights, as well as some must-dos for a perfect LGBTQ+ gaycation in Illinois’ northwest here on Couple of Men.

Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena LGBTQ+ Getaway Illinois Rainbow Bridge & Rainbow © Coupleofmen.com
Rainbow Bridge & Rainbow in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com

Gay Galena LGBT Getaway in Illinois, USA

No gay bars, no gay clubs, no gay pride festivals – But still, Galena is considered to be an LGBTQ+ and gay getaway embedded in Illinois’ nature offering a diverse cultural life with museums, tours, historical buildings and multiple activities in and around this small town. The local community is very open-minded and LGBTQ+ welcoming which we learned from talking to some local gay men and which we recognized by walking hand-in-hand as an openly gay couple. The central point of Galena is the picturesque Main Street running parallel to the Galena River. A sightseeing tour on a classic green and red trolley is a great way, to begin with, and to get an overview of Galena’s dimensions. Nevertheless, we loved to stroll by some of the most impressive buildings on Park Avenue on the east side of the Galena River and back to the center by crossing the bridge from Galena Grant Park. Let’s show you all you need to know for a short vacation in Galena.

Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Arm-in-Arm: Belvedere Mansion in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois: Arm-in-Arm in front of Belvedere Mansion © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Tri State Travel Trolley Tour in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Tri-State Travel Trolley Tour in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Hand-in-Hand am Galena Fluss mit Blick auf den Galena Historic District © Coupleofmen.com
Hand-in-Hand by the Galena River with view over the Galena Historic District © Coupleofmen.com
Flying with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines © Coupleofmen.com

How to get to Illinois?

Our favorite airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers flights from €500 to Chicago. A special tip for German LGBTQ+ travelers: SkyTeam member KLM Royal Dutch Airlines with their modern fleet brings you comfortably and quickly from 10 German Airports via Amsterdam-Schiphol, the KLM hub, to over 160 destinations around the globe.

Plan & Book a Chicago Trip >

LGBTQ+ friendly Hospitality Galena

What is most important for a relaxing getaway in Galena? The right gay-friendly accommodation. Although we stayed outside the city center in an Irish Pub Hotel, there are several lovely gay-owned Hotels in Galena to choose from. What about a night at the best Bed & Breakfast/Inn in the USA and second-best in the world by TripAdvisor? The 135-year-old, 4-story brick high Jail Hill Inn is operated and owned by local Matthew Carol who turned the former jail into an Inn with six spacious multi-room private suites. Another gay-friendly hotel is the Felt Manor Guest House at the top of Quality Hill, overlooking Galena with stunning views of the downtown and surrounding countryside. The new innkeepers of Felt Manor are Geoff and Alex, a gay couple welcoming everyone in the Mid-West. Finally, we would like to mention the Aldrich Guest House which innkeepers are the gay couple Douglas and Robert.

Especially meat eaters will enjoy the many restaurants dedicated to quality farm-to-table food and locale ingredients. But also for vegetarians, Galena offers some good places to dine out in style. The two restaurants we would like to mention are the Italian restaurant Vinny Vanucchi’s and the restaurant Fried Green Tomatoes.

Plan your Trip: Enjoy Illinois Hotel and Restaurant Tips

Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Gay Selfie mit Matthew Carol vom Jail Hill Inn in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Selfie with Matthew Carol of the Jail Hill Inn in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Dinner Selfie Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Dinner Selfie Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Felt Manor Guest House auf dem Quality Hill mit Blick auf Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Felt Manor Guest House on Quality Hill in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Felt Manor Galena Illinois: Gay Couple Alex & Geoff | Coupleofmen.com

Gay Couple operated Inn in Galena

Galena is the adopted home for gay couple Alex and Geoff Arroyo-Karnish. The handsome guys decided to move to Illinois, becoming the innkeepers at the Inn at Felt Manor, a historic Bed and Breakfast in Galena, Illinois, which is 172 years old.

Read about Alex & Geoffs Story >

Activity Highlight Galena #1 Zip-Lining

Kayaking, hiking, swimming – The area around Galena has much to offer for outdoor enthusiasts as well as fans of history and sightseeing. And of course, we were looking once again for some extra exciting activities. Already on our arrival day, we went way up the treetops to see the woods of Illinois during our zip line adventure with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. Our guides Scott and Natalie took excellent care of us while we flew through the juicy green forest up to 75 feet high above the ground. Amazing! And the final jump from the 35 feet high platform was the special extra adrenalin kick for sure!

Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Photo moment on the Sky Bridge of Long Hollow Canopy Tours in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Photo moment on the Sky Bridge of Long Hollow Canopy Tours in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Selfie moment after our Zip Line Adventure with Long Hollow Canopy Tours in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Selfie moment after our Zip Line Adventure with Long Hollow Canopy Tours in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com

Activity Highlight Galena #2 Sunrise Balloon Flight

Our second adventure was less about adrenalin but much more about the wonder of flying. After our first appointment was canceled due to windy weather conditions, we got two spots on the early sunrise balloon flight over Galena and Illinois. Although we had to get up at 4 am, the calm and quiet atmosphere of the awaking nature and the spectacular view over Illinois in the morning was worth every extra coffee to wake up. Our guide (also the owner) of Galena on the Fly told us all about the area we were flying over until we landed safely right next to a huge cornfield. The morning Prosecco was just the cherry on top of our must-do experience in Galena. Make this part of your itinerary and have a fantastic flight!

Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Balloon from Galena on the Fly in rainbow colors © Coupleofmen.com
Balloon from Galena on the Fly in rainbow colors © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Gay Galena LGBT Getaway IllinoisGalena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Balloon Ride for sunrise in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Balloon Ride for sunrise in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois View from the balloon over Galena and Illinois during sunset © Coupleofmen.com
View from the balloon over Galena and Illinois during sunset © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Happy Couple - Riding a Balloon from Galena on the Fly for sunrise in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Happy Couple – Riding a Balloon from Galena on the Fly for sunrise in Galena, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Travel Guide Illinois © Coupleofmen.com

Gay Travel Guide Illinois

The US State of Illinois in the Mid-West is known for its capital city Springfield, the natural beauty and beach of Lake Michigan, Chicago, the beginning (or end) of Route 66, the LGBTQ+ vacation gem Galena and, of course, the connection to the Mississippi. All you need to know about your gaycation in Illinois is our Gay Travel Guide Illinois.

Plan your Trip to Illinois >

Our way back to Chicago: #1 Rockford

Another relatively unknown city in Illinois, at least to foreign travelers, is Rockford, although it is the largest city in Illinois outside the Chicago Metropolitan area. On our list for a day in Rockford: The Anderson Japanese Gardens and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House. Did you know that the Anderson Japanese Gardens was designed by landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu who also designed the Japanese Garden in Portland which we visited just a month before? Definitely, a place to recharge batteries being on the road for several weeks already, and to remember the wonderful time we had in Japan. The Laurent House, our second stop in Rockford, was just similarly beautiful and a place to enjoy the beauty of Japanese-influenced modern architecture. It was just the first building by architect Wright we are planning to see of Illinois’ Frank Lloyd Wright Trail. Rockford, certainly a city to back to in the future again!

Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Hand-in-hand at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Hand-in-hand at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Hand-in-hand in front of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Look into the garden from the living room of the round Laurent house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Rockford, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Look into the garden from the living room of the round Laurent house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright © Coupleofmen.com

A night to remember: #2 Geneva

We did not stay in Rockford overnight but choose to end our day in Geneva, just one hour by train from Downtown Chicago. This lovely city right by the Fox River could not get any cuter with a beautiful historic city center, a slow pace lifestyle, and some surprisingly good food places like Craft Urban and FoxFire. We stayed at the European-style inspired The Herrington Inn with an extra special view of the River. And then, we did something unexpectedly relaxing and inspiring: We made our candles at Scentcerely Yours. Wait, what, candle-making? Yes, that was our initial reaction, too. But after spending a half-hour sniffing each other’s way through dozens of scent samples, we found our perfect scent to create a candle and refreshing shower gel. Geneva truly is something to inhale, take a deep breath, and just walk hand-in-hand through the green and neat streets away from busy big-city life.

Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Daan trying his mix of scenses at Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Daan trying his mix of scenes at Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip Logo of Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Logo of Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Finding our favorite at Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Finding our favorite at Scentcerely Yours in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Illinois Road Trip FoxFire - Restaurant tip in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
FoxFire – Restaurant tip in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Galena Illinois Road Trip Galena Gay Getaway Illinois Sitting in bed in our suite at The Herrington Inn in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Sitting in bed in our suite at The Herrington Inn in Geneva, Illinois © Coupleofmen.com
Gay Chicago - City Guide to Pride & Gay Neighborhoods © Coupleofmen.com

Back in Chicago: Gay City Life

Chicago isn’t the capital city of Illinois, but definitely the center of the LGBTQ+ and gay community of the US American state. Boystown and Andersonville are the two Gay Neighborhoods of the city, with gay bars and clubs also hosting most of the LGBTQ+ events and festivals in a town like Chicago Pride. Do you want to know more about Chicago’s Gay City Life?

Gay Chicago: Our City Life Tips >

Interesting Posts for your Gay Travels to Illinois, USA:

Explore Gay Galena: Illinois’ gay-friendly LGBTQ+ Getaway

It was our first trip to Illinois, to Galena, and to Chicago, and we really enjoyed every minute of it. The people have been wonderfully open-minded and friendly, the hotels and accommodations LGBTQ+ welcoming and the food just great. After spending some days in Galena, Illinois we now understand why this area is supposed to be a Gay Getaway in Illinois. Parties, the active gay scene, LGBTQ+ events, and the fast pace of the city life are far, far away from Galena and yet, the atmosphere is simply made for a short vacation or to come back again and again. Wine, beer, farm-to-table food, high-quality accommodations, and the options for close to nature activities – What more do you need for a gaycation in Illinois than the Gay Galena LGBT Getaway Illinois?

Do you want to know more about our gay travels around the world? Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. See you again soon!

Karl & Daan.

Do you like it? PIN IT!

Please note: This trip was made possible in close collaboration with Enjoy Illinois and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as well as the tips and help to come from our wonderful readers, followers, new and old friends from all over the world. Nevertheless, our photos, our videos, our opinions, and our writings are our own, as always.