Two Routes from Chicago to Galena
Directions from downtown, O'Hare or the northern suburbs...
Directions from the west or south suburbs...
- If you are driving from downtown Chicago, O'Hare or the northern suburbs, get on I-90 west (Kennedy),
and follow the signs towards Rockford.
- Exit I-90 on I-39 S / US-51 S toward Illinois Highway 20 around Rockford. The signs are marked to
Freeport and Galena. You will pass an I-39 exit heading south...ignore this and follow Highway 20 toward Freeport.
- If you are driving from Chicago's west side, get on I-290 west (Eisenhower), if you are starting from the south suburbs, take I-294 North (Tri-state), exit onto I88 West (Reagan)
- Take I88 west (approximately 40-45 minutes) continue past Annie Glidden
Road Toll/Northern Illinois University to I-39/US-51. Exit I-88 onto I-39/US-51 north
towards Rockford (approximately 15-20 minutes). This is not a remarkably scenic
drive...don't fall asleep. When I-39/US-51 ends, exit west on Illinois Highway 20
around Rockford towards Freeport.
- Stop for gas, a drink and/or a bio-break at the "Winnebago rest stop" (Gas/McDonalds/Subway/Culvers) on the very west end of Rockford on Highway 20....get back on Highway 20, head west towards Freeport.
- Proceed on Highway 20, follow the signs to Galena on the
Freeport by-pass. The road turns into a 2 lane highway. The Freeport by-pass
is marked 55 MPH, the city of Freeport uses the by-pass as a significant source
of income from speeding tickets... 60 MPH is fast enough on the two lane,
and you probably won't get a ticket. Over 60 MPH you are taking your chances.
Once you are past the west end of Freeport on Hwy 20, you can speed-up if
- Proceed west on Highway 20. Eventually, you will go through
a town called Stockton. STOCKTON IS A SPEED TRAP. THE SPEED GOES FROM 55 MPH,
TO 35 THEN UN-EXPECTEDLY DROPS TO 30 MPH. I HAVE HEARD OF PEOPLE GETTING SPEEDING
TICKETS AT 32 MPH. YOU DECIDE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A QUAINT LITTLE $75+
SOUVINEIR (and your name in the paper!). Look for the cop in either the high school (on left) or the grocery
store (on right) parking lot.
- Stay on Highway 20 until you reach the town of Elizabeth (approximately 45 minutes from Rockford). As you enter Elizabeth you will go down a hill, proceed all the way through town. On the west end of Elizabeth you will again likely be under the radar gun. Elizabeth, while not a speed trap, will write you a ticket if you are over the speed limit. Look for the police car behind the white garage in front of the church, across from the baseball diamond.
- Proceed on Highway 20 another 15-20 minutes to Galena. The scenery will be exceptional. Mind the centerline. When you get to Galena, you will decend a steep hill, cross the river and turn right at the stoplight. You are now in downtown Galena.
If you get lost, and you have a cell phone that works in the country ... Call the store at (815) 777-3550.