Galena, Illinois is a small 19th-century town of 3,200 people – and about that many spirits. Located in the northwest corner of Illinois, this old mining town has almost one square mile of historically registered buildings and roads, making sure that the haunted homes of old spirits are undisturbed.
Visiting Galena in the fall makes you want to experience the supernatural stories and places, even if they usually give you the heebie-jeebies. Thankfully, there are options to be guided through the experiences so you don’t have to go off ghost hunting on your own. However, if that’s how you prefer to experience the supernatural world, no one in Galena will look twice. In fact, many people are willing to talk about what they know and the experiences they’ve had – you just have to ask.
One of the companies that host guided tours is Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours. This company offers two types of tours to experience the town and all of the haunted spaces. There are daily bus tours that only cost $30 and they also offer a Haunted Pub Crawl each Friday and Saturday starting at 8 p.m.
The Haunted Shuttle Bus Tour is the tour for you if you like to see the evidence of ghosts through EMF detectors and Ghost boxes. This ghost hunting equipment is available to adults on every bus tour done by Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours. The bus will take you around to some of the town’s most haunted spaces. From visiting the “Lady in Black” in the DeSoto House Hotel to hearing about the supernatural at One Eleven Main, a funeral home turned restaurant, to a stop at the oldest cemetery in Galena, there will be enough spirits to satisfy everyone. Tours are daily at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9 p.m. You can purchase tickets online or at their store’s location at 307 Main St.
Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours also offers the Haunted Pub Crawl if you’re looking for a different type of ghost tour. This is a two and a half hour walking tour that starts at 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. The cost for this tour is $25 which includes hors d’oeurves at 3 different bars, your guide and the history and stories you will be told. There will be special cocktails at each of the haunted locations so that you can experience two types of spirits at once.
The Haunted Galena Tour Company is another local business that is willing and excited to show and tell you all about the town’s history and the ghosts who roam the streets and live in the buildings. This company hosts a Ghost Walk that takes you to some of the most haunted places by candlelight and they also have a Spirits & Spirits Tour.
The Haunted Galena Ghost Walk is more of an experience with costumed tour guides, candlelit walks, and more. This tour is not focused around ghost hunting, it’s more for hearing the stories and lore that are from Galena’s past. Even though this is not the focus, you are welcome to bring ghost hunting equipment as long as it is not disruptive of the tour. This is a 90-minute walking tour through Galena’s historic district that starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They recommend you buy your tickets online in advance as there are limits on how many people can come. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under. The tour departs from Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop and ends at the Desoto House Hotel while stopping at various haunted locations around town. Make sure you dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
If you are more interested in drinking your own spirits while hanging with the local spirits, the Spirits & Spirits Tour is for you. This Haunted Happy Hour begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. (sometimes the tour does run longer so plan accordingly). The tour takes you to 3 haunted establishments – the DeSoto House Hotel, One Eleven Main, and The Galena Brewing Company. Tickets cost $25 and include the tour guide and their storytelling and folklore, as well as 3 different specialty drinks. You must book your ticket by 3 p.m. on the day of the event. The tour departs from A Darkness Lovely located at 304 S. Main.
The final company that offers a guided tour is Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl. Their storyteller will take you to three different haunted pubs in downtown Galena, the most historic part of the town. You’ll hear rarely heard ghost stories about the spirits you may be sitting next to. You’ll be told how Galena began and fell, and how it has become one of the most toured towns in Illinois. This pub crawl will use ghost equipment to connect with the spirits and support the stories with evidence. You are not required to drink on this tour, and because of this, they do recommend having someone be the designated driver of your group. Galena doesn’t have Uber, but they do have EcoCab that you can call. The tour lasts for 2.5 hours and begins at 7 p.m. Sunday – Thursday or at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.