Galena Travel Guide

Discover the best of Southeastern Kansas with our comprehensive travel guide to Galena. Find out where to go, what to do, and what to eat in this charming town.

Introduction to Galena

Nestled in the beautiful Great Plains of Southeastern Kansas, Galena is a charming town that has much to offer visitors. From breathtaking natural landscapes to rich cultural heritage, Galena is the perfect destination for those looking for a quiet getaway from the chaos of city life. With its warm and friendly locals, great food and drink scene, and abundance of outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone in Galena.

List of Places to Visit in Galena

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Galena is home to a number of museums and historical attractions, making it a perfect destination for history buffs. Some of the top cultural attractions to check out include:

  • Galena Mining and Historical Museum: This museum is dedicated to preserving the mining heritage and history of the town.
  • Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum: This museum offers exhibitions and interactive displays showcasing the history of the town and surrounding area.
  • Rainbow Bridge: One of the most photographed landmarks in Kansas, the Rainbow Bridge is a historic landmark bridge over Brush Creek.

Natural Attractions of Galena: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Galena has plenty of options to explore. Some of the top natural attractions and outdoor adventures to check out include:

  • Prairie State Park: This park is home to a stunning tallgrass prairie ecosystem, making it perfect for hiking and birdwatching.
  • Schermerhorn Park: This park offers scenic views, perfect for picnics and a peaceful stroll.
  • Crawford State Park: This park has miles of hiking trails, lakes, and fishing spots, perfect for a day trip.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Galena

Those looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Galena will find plenty of hiking and biking routes throughout the town and surrounding area. Some of the top routes to explore include:

  • Galena Bike Trail: This trail takes you through the scenic countryside of Southeastern Kansas, providing stunning views.
  • Trail of Tears: This trail follows the historic journey of the Cherokee Indians, making it a great option for history buffs.
  • Ozark Highlands Trail: This trail offers a variety of terrains and landscapes, making it one of the best hiking and biking routes in the state.

Best Things to Do in Galena: Activities and Tours

From cultural activities to outdoor adventures, there’s no shortage of things to do in Galena. Some of the top activities and tours to check out include:

  • Galena Haunted Tour: This tour takes you through the town’s allegedly haunted sites and tells the stories of its famous ghosts.
  • Galena Street Motorcycle Museum: This museum showcases vintage motorcycles, making it a must-visit attraction for motorcycle enthusiasts.
  • The Big Brutus: Standing over 160 feet tall, The Big Brutus is a colossal mining machine that is now a popular tourist attraction in Southeastern Kansas.

Week-Long Itinerary for Galena

To get the most out of your visit to Galena, we’ve put together a week-long itinerary that covers some of the top attractions and activities in the area.

Day 1: Visit the Galena Mining and Historical Museum, then explore the scenic Schermerhorn Park.

Day 2: Take the Galena Bike Trail, stopping at the Ozark Highlands Trail and Crawford State Park.

Day 3: Explore the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum, then visit the famous Rainbow Bridge.

Day 4: Take a haunted tour of Galena, and then visit the Galena Street Motorcycle Museum.

Day 5: Spend the day hiking the Trail of Tears and then relaxing back at your hotel.

Day 6: Take a day trip to the stunning Prairie State Park, perfect for birdwatching and hiking.

Day 7: Visit the Big Brutus, then enjoy a final night out in Galena’s vibrant food and drink scene.

Food and Drink Scene of Galena

No visit to Galena would be complete without sampling some of the town’s great food and drink. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chicken fried steak: A classic Kansas dish, chicken fried steak is a must-try in Galena.
  • Bierock: This pastry stuffed with ground beef and cabbage is a Galena favorite.
  • Knoephla soup: A German-inspired soup made with dumplings and potatoes that is perfect for cold weather.

Local Beverages

  • Boulevard Brewing Company: Located in nearby Kansas City, this brewery produces some of Kansas’ most famous beers.
  • Ozark Mountain Coffee Co.: This local roaster produces some of the best coffee in Southeastern Kansas.
  • Kansas wine: The state boasts several award-winning wineries that are worth checking out, such as Prairie Fire Winery.

Where to Stay in Galena: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

From budget-friendly options to luxurious accommodations, Galena has plenty of options in terms of lodging. Some of the top hotels, hostels, and guesthouses include:

  • The Baxter Inn Bed and Breakfast: This charming and cozy bed and breakfast offers upscale accommodations and a delicious breakfast.
  • Elizabeth Street Bed and Breakfast: This historic home has been converted into a cozy and romantic guesthouse, perfect for couples.
  • Best Western Joplin: Located just 7 miles from Galena, this hotel offers affordable rates and comfortable rooms.

What to Buy in Galena: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

To remember your trip to Galena or to bring home some of the town’s unique products, be sure to visit some of these shops:

  • Riverton Drugstore and Gift Shop: This historic pharmacy offers gifts and souvenirs unique to Galena, like stones from the nearby mine.
  • Galena Arts and Recreation Center: This art gallery features works by local and regional artists, perfect for bringing home a unique souvenir.
  • Johnny’s General Store: This store offers merchandise unique to rural Kansas, such as branded clothing and locally made jams and jellies.

Local Culture and Customs of Galena

Galena is rich in history and culture, mainly stemming from its mining heritage. The town is also known for its friendly and welcoming locals, so be sure to embrace the small-town charm while you’re there.

Best Time to Visit Galena

The best time to visit Galena is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant and mild. Summer can get uncomfortably hot, and winter can be bitterly cold, so plan accordingly.

Do’s and Don’ts of Galena


  • Embrace the town’s history and culture.
  • Take advantage of the outdoor activities and natural landscapes.
  • Try the local food and drinks.


  • Be disrespectful to the locals or their traditions.
  • Litter or damage the natural landscapes.
  • Ignore the town’s rich history and heritage.

Safety and Health

Safety in Galena

Galena is a relatively safe town, though visitors should take common precautions such as locking their cars and keeping valuables out of sight.

Health in Galena

Galena is home to several medical facilities, including a local hospital and pharmacy. Be sure to bring any necessary medications with you as some items may not be readily available.

Getting to Galena: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Galena

  • Joplin Regional Airport: Located just 12 miles from Galena, this airport offers flights to several destinations in the U.S.

Bus Stations Near Galena

  • Greyhound: The nearest Greyhound station is in Joplin, just 7 miles from Galena.

Other Options

  • Car rental: Several car rental companies are available in the nearby Joplin area, making it easy to explore Galena and the surrounding area.

How to Get Around in Galena

Most visitors opt to rent a car while in Galena, but the town is also easily walkable for those who prefer a slower pace. Biking is also popular, with several routes available for exploration.

Where to Go Next from Galena: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Kansas City: Just a few hours away, Kansas City is a bustling city with plenty to see and do.
  • Tulsa: This vibrant city offers a mix of city life and cultural attractions, making it an excellent choice for a day trip.
  • Springfield: This historic city is home to several museums and cultural attractions, making it perfect for history buffs.


With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and cozy small-town charm, Galena is a true hidden gem in Southeastern Kansas. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore and learn, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque town. So pack your bags, hit the open road, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Galena.