15 Best Things to Do in Galesburg, IL

Galesburg, IL
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With its ties to the railroad industry, it's no surprise that Galesburg became an energetic urban city in Illinois.

Galesburg was established in 1837 and was lauded as one of the pit stops for the Underground Railroad.

Expect an array of businesses, historic sites, and family-friendly parks in modern Galesburg.

The city also has its fair share of entertainment venues and tranquil destinations to immerse guests in its quaint charm.

There are plenty of sights and attractions to explore!

As proof, here are the best things to do in Galesburg, Illinois:

Unwind at Lake Storey

Daytime view of Lake Storey
Larry Richey Photography / Shutterstock.com

Lake Storey is undoubtedly a powerhouse for recreation in Galesburg.

Along Machen Drive, Lake Storey is divided into several distinct stations that span a wide area.

Constructions around the lake began in 1927 to accommodate locomotives with calm, soft water instead of harsh boilers and pistons.

Now, it's a beautiful outdoor destination with activities like fishing, hiking, and picnicking available to the public.

The park is known for hosting big festivals, including the Great Balloon Race and Cardboard Boat Regatta.

The other side of the lake provides access to even more facilities, like a nature center, campground, and lakeside recreation facility.

You can enjoy loads of activities at Lake Storey.

Don't forget to stop by!

Glimpse Artworks at the Galesburg Community Arts Center

Galesburg values art and its importance to the community.

That's why officials constructed this arts center in 1923.

The Galesburg Community Arts Center is a haven for art enthusiasts, containing extensive collections of national, regional, and local works.

They're known to host about 40 different exhibits each year, accessible to the public.

Browse through carefully curated selections of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more.

Galesburg Community Arts Center also hosts workshops and classes for people of all ages because learning art should be accessible to everyone.

If you'd like to take home a memory, the center has an on-site gift shop with plenty of trinkets and affordable items.

Feast your eyes on the beautiful artworks at the Galesburg Community Arts Center!

Visit the Exhibits in the National Railroad Hall of Fame

On Main Street, you can find the National Railroad Hall of Fame, a destination formally recognized by the US Congress.

The attraction aims to collect, preserve, and educate about all things related to the railroad system in America.

These railroads played an important role in America's development as a powerful economic country.

At the National Railroad Hall of Fame, you'll be met with exhibits that feature artifacts from past trains and railroads.

Some examples are former outfits of train officials, stunning photos of locomotives, and maps of the railroad system.

Visiting the museum is a great way to learn about America's history and connection with historic railways.

Book Tickets to a Show at The Orpheum Theater

As the "Jewel of Galesburg," this well-preserved theater is home to all sorts of classical and modern performances.

From fairy tales and esteemed plays to horror musicals and concerts, you never know what type of show to expect from The Orpheum Theater.

Even better, their performances are held in an elegant historic building with intricate designs and old-style decor.

Both outdoor and interior facilities have been beautifully restored to emit a traditional splendor and vibe.

You'll see sparkling chandeliers, gold linings, and mahogany red seats.

The Orpheum Theater has all you need for a classy night of theater entertainment.

You can find it in Galesburg along the lengths of Kellogg Street.

Watch a Movie at AMC Classic Galesburg 8

Galesburg is home to a top-of-the-line cinema for some of the newest movies at AMC Classic Galesburg 8.

Located on Carl Sandburg Drive, this theater features modern cinema amenities at their finest.

These include a clear sound system, a large HD screen, and standard leather seats for maximum comfort and experience at the movies.

They also have a concession stand that sells all the usual movie snacks and drinks, from popcorn and candies to various types of sodas.

You can even order ahead so that the snacks and drinks will already be prepared when you get there.

Like many other AMC Theaters, they also offer discounted movie screenings every Tuesday.

If you're looking for a simple way to spend your time, the movie cinema is always a good place to start.

There's no need to buy a membership to enter the Bunker Links Municipal Golf course.

Built in 1924, this destination makes golf affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to give the game a chance.

This public course has plenty of trees and greenery to offer sweeping views of a well-maintained, pristine environment.

Local fans of the game also designed the course to include elevated terrains and risky water traps, giving players a fun and challenging experience.

Those new to the game can also book lessons and learn the fundamentals from a veteran golf player.

Bunker Links Municipal Golf Course can be located at Lincoln Park Drive, Galesburg.

It's an underrated golf course you've got to try if you're ever in the city!

Bring Your Kids to Discovery Depot Children's Museum

Founded in 1999, this museum has been a cherished learning venue for children of various dreams and likes.

Discovery Depot Children's Museum contains an assortment of diverse, colorful exhibits that present educational opportunities through fun, hands-on methods.

The museum covers a vast space for exploration, including two floors and outdoor exhibits.

Through their themed exhibits, kids can learn about subjects like math, science, technology, arts, culture, and more.

Some examples include make-believe destinations like a fire station, bank, grocery store, train depot, and vet clinic.

Children can explore the exhibits and find a work-related attraction they genuinely like, as young as they are.

It gives you a sneak peek of what your child could want for their future!

Drop them off at Discovery Depot Children's Museum on Chambers Street, Galesburg.

Discover the Story of the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site

Exterior of Carl Sandburg State Historic Site
Robert Haugland, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carl Sandburg was a man of many accomplishments; he was an acclaimed writer for many genres, lecturer, and folksinger.

He won prestigious awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes and a Grammy Award for his spoken performance in a documentary.

As its name suggests, the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site is a venue containing artifacts and information about the esteemed man.

Remembrance rock at Carl Sandburg State Historic Site
Robert Haugland, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The exhibits discuss his origins, struggles, and life experiences up to his death.

You can explore his home while also learning about what life was like in the past, the old tools people used, and the trends of architecture before.

This can be an engaging, immersive experience that can be fun for everyone, especially for history buffs.

Visit Carl Sandburg State Historic Site along 3rd Street, Galesburg.

Shop at the Galesburg Antiques Mall Co.

The Galesburg Antiques Mall Co. has been part of the city's vintage shopping scene for more than 25 years.

With three floors available to explore, this antique mall offers a wide selection of products, from furniture and glass items to books, decor, and various antiques.

They're housed in a beautiful historic building, formerly the Register Mail, with informative displays about the business scattered inside the premises.

The items you'll find in the Galesburg Antiques Mall Co. may be random and sometimes chaotic, but that's a part of its quirky charm.

You never know what you'll see in this antique mall!

They also add new products daily, so there are always new finds.

If you're a fan of antiques or love a good deal, head towards Prairie Street!

Taste Local Favorites at Cherry Street Brewing Company

Cherry Street Brewing Company is a family-friendly pub offering American comfort meals and many beverages.

Some of their most popular menus are tasty burgers and steaks, but their menu also features an array of vegetarian options.

The inside of Cherry Street Brewing Company boasts a pleasant atmosphere with friendly and accommodating staff.

Sometimes, they hold events that provide live local music and are a nice touch to the pub.

Try local cuisine through Cherry Street Brewing Company!

Spend the Night at Best Western Prairie Inn

Set in a rural location at Galesburg, Best Western Prairie Inn is a splendid destination to take a break from exploring city sights.

Situated on Soangetaha Road, this inn offers a calming outdoor scene with plenty of plants and greenery.

It also has a list of convenient amenities, including an indoor heated pool, lounge, and a fully equipped bar for your meals and drinks.

Meanwhile, the rooms are fashioned in a simple aesthetic that is just right for a cozy, relaxing atmosphere.

Best Western Prairie Inn checks out many ingredients for a restful break, nestled close to the outskirts of the city.

Guests can expect a peaceful time in the hotel.

Hike the Trails at Kiwanis Park

Situated on Knox Street, Kiwanis Park is a community park in Galesburg.

It spans 50 acres and features an array of activities that friends, families, and individuals can enjoy.

There are courts and fields for some popular sports like softball and volleyball.

It's also equipped with an 18-hole disc golf course, a skate park, drinking fountains, and a gazebo.

For children, Kiwanis Park is home to two types of playground structures and a splash pad that's perfect for the summer.

For those looking to connect with nature, there's a multipurpose trail that you can freely explore at Kiwanis Park.

Whether you want to have a picnic, roam the trail, or try a sport, Kiwanis Park is a venue for both fun and leisure recreation.

Dine at Landmark Cafe & Creperie

This quaint cafe on Seminary Street is one of the most popular dining establishments in Galesburg.

Landmark Cafe & Creperie is an old-style cafe in the city's historic district, boasting tasty crepes and French cuisines.

Aside from that, locals and travelers have sung praises for the cafe's spinach bisques.

The building itself is a beautifully restored piece of architecture featuring arched windows and pressed tin ceilings.

It was formally recognized as a landmark site to be preserved as much as possible.

With an outdoor patio adorned with verdant plants and shaded umbrellas, Landmark Cafe & Creperie aims to have a cozy atmosphere.

Have a taste of Galesburg's local cuisine and drop by this cafe!

Explore the Sights of Seminary Street

Buildings along Seminary Street
Robert Haugland, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seminary Street is a famous street that's rich in history and unique, independent businesses from various stages of history.

In the 19th century, this street thrived as a venue for boarding houses, but events like World War II led to the street's decline.

A few local partners made plans to revitalize the district and established a string of businesses to jumpstart the area's popularity.

Until today, some of its historic buildings remain, including Calico Cat and Landmark Cafe & Creperie.

A walk along Seminary Street can give nostalgia as you see its selection of old-style architecture and traditional ambiance.

There are also plenty of establishments to hop through, from restaurants and cafes to museums and a local theater.

Take a trip down memory lane on Seminary Street, Galesburg.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get a Customized Work from Creations by Carolina

Specializing in glass and window art, Creations by Carolina can craft a beautiful piece of artwork according to your request.

This studio has existed since 1984, featuring various types of stained-glass art.

You can also book classes with their current founders, Steve and Val Morris, who learned the art of staining glass from Carolina herself.

The vibrant, intricate patterns of the glass look beautiful, especially when it's exposed to the brightness of sunlight.

Creations by Carolina has a small gallery you can explore on Main Street, Knoxville.

It's about 15 minutes away from Galesburg.

The shop was previously in Galesburg, but they relocated the venue to Knoxville.

Try this new activity and unleash your creative side!

Final Thoughts

As an urban city, Galesburg lacks none.

It's home to diverse destinations from local businesses and museums to historic sites and leisure attractions.

Even though it's a modern city, Galesburg has retained much of its old-style allure.

If you've reached this point, you now know the best things to do in Galesburg, Illinois.