"A Town Along the Fox River" Aurora by riorich55

Aurora Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 43 photos

Just West of Naperville

I started this page over 3 years ago, but just haven't been able to get into the downtown area of Aurora to shoot some pictures until this past Saturday (March 16, 2013) So finally I have a couple of pictures and tips to go along with my original restaurant review.

Aurora is a another suburb of Chicago (one of about 200 cities considered Chicago suburbs) just west of my hometown of Naperville. Aurora is actually bigger then Naperville by about 50,000 residents and in fact is the 2nd largest city with a population of almost 200,000. The city has been expanding rather rapidly over the past 20 years or so as the surrounding farm land has been developed and many upscale homes have been built. The easy access to the commuter trains into downtown Chicago and the highway system that leads into Chicago along with the high tech corridor of Interstate 88 has led to it growth during that period of time.

Back in 2007 just before I joined Virtual Tourist Sue and I had the opportunity to go to the Paramount theatre in downtown Aurora, which is a 1930's theatre which has been renovated in the last 15 years, to listen to a lecture and slide show by one of Public Broadcasting travel gurus, Rick Steves. So I guess you could say that Aurora had a part in my becoming much more of a travel guru.

City of Lights

Back in 1908 the city adopted the name the "City of Lights" Aurora was a city on the first United States major road from east to west called the Lincoln Highway or Route 30. The Lincoln Highway never had the glamor of its more famous cousin Route 66, but it also did not have a TV show named after it. Route 30 actually was a true east/west highway starting on the east coast of the United States and ending on the West Coast. Route 66 actually starts in downtown Chicago. There is a spot in another suburb of Chicago, Joliet, where the 2 roads intersect.

Anyway, Aurora was one of the first communities in the United States with street lights back in 1881 and was the first major community on the Lincoln Highway to actually have street lights. With that businesses and restaurants could stay open longer and with the number of cars starting to increase year by year Aurora became a thriving city with its traffic and fairly large manufacturing base along with Fox River.

Quiet Downtown Area

Unlike Paris, Aurora is not all that gay and lively. On the cold and misty Saturday I visited there were very few people on the street and very few of the businesses were open.

About 20 of so years ago a Riverboat Casino opened up in downtown Aurora with the hope and promise of bringing other jobs and businesses into town. But typically the casino goers just drive their cars to the casino parking deck, enter the casino and leave after they are done winning and most often losing their money.

The Paramount Theatre brings in some people, but does not have something going on 365 days a year. Recently a branch of the local Community College moved from its old store quarters in downtown Aurora to a newly built facility. But as much as Aurora tries to update their downtown it still hasn't caught on with most of the areas residents.

Aurora has always been an ethically diverse area. It is divided into several different sections. To the east of the Fox River in the older area of town it is mostly Hispanic. The Hispanic population now is about 40% of all residents. To the west of the Fox River you will find Aurora College and some very nice older homes. This is still the old part of Aurora and I can't tell you exactly the ethnic makeup of that part of town. In the areas farther from downtown is where the big homes have been built in the old farm areas.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice Old Renovated Theatre and Located on the Fox River
  • Cons:Having Trouble Getting Their Old Downtown Up To Speed
  • In a nutshell:It Has Possibilities
  • Last visit to Aurora: Mar 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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