According to the most recent census, Chicago makes up about a quarter of the population of Illinois. That’s a big city with a big draw. But the majority of the state is made up of cornfields, suburbs, rolling plains, and tight knit communities.
The American Midwest is on full display in this list of the 15 best small towns to visit across the state:
Consistently ranked as one of the best places to visit in the American Midwest, Galena is a big draw for honeymooners, foodies, and city dwellers who need a little rest and relaxation. It used to be a mining community and now is one of the top two tourism stops in Illinois. Just about 3,500 people call Galena home and they know first-hand that there is plenty to do.
Visit the former home of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, spend an afternoon at one of ten nearby golf courses, or maybe a full day at one of the two wineries in town. On the Galena River you can boat, canoe, or kayak, and just 13 miles from town flows the mighty Mississippi. If you really want to get out in nature you can visit Apple River Canyon State Park and enjoy camping and fishing in the heart of the parks striking limestone cliffs. If you’re visiting in June, be sure to check out the annual Great Galena Balloon Race.