Discover | Aurora

August 2018 View more

As Naperville’s western neighbor and the second-most populous city in Illinois, Aurora makes for a convenient day trip—the only caveat is there are more attractions than you could possibly tackle in 24 hours. Its downtown district along the Fox River boasts a bustling casino, two theaters and plenty of dining options on New York Street’s Restaurant Row. Millennium Plaza, with live music in its gazebo through September, is a gathering place for residents and visitors alike all summer long. Aurora also has a vibrant Latino community—the state’s largest next to Chicago—and a number of Latino-owned businesses, from dental practices to delectable taquerias.


RiverEdge Park
One Republic (August 11), Chris Young (August 17) and Get the Led Out (August 24) are set to play at the outdoor music venue this summer.
360 North Broadway, 630.896.6666,

Hollywood Casino
Try your luck at slots, poker, roulette and more at this floating casino on the Fox River, which also has three dining options: a deli, buffet and steakhouse.
1 West New York Street, 630.801.1234,

The Paramount Theatre
This 1931 art deco theater hosts Monday movie nights, performances from local arts groups such as the Fox Valley Orchestra and a Broadway series, including musicals such as Legally Blonde.
23 East Galena Boulevard, 630.896.6666,

Riverfront Playhouse
Aurora’s own nonprofit storefront theater has produced more than 200 shows since its opening in 1978.
11–13 South Water Street Mall, 630.897.9496,

Splash Country
This Fox Valley Park District-operated waterpark is decked out with a lazy river, flume slides, play areas and sand volleyball courts.
195 South Barnes Road, 630.906.7981,

Sky Zone
Kids, teens and adults alike can catch some air at this indoor trampoline park, which features a new Warrior Course (think NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior”) to test speed, strength and agility.
87 Executive Drive, 331.207.4759,

This STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) museum in the historic post office building has more than 200 hands-on exhibits to explore.
18 West Benton Street, 630.859.3434,

Phillips Park Zoo
In operation since 1915, this pint-sized zoo houses reptiles, birds and mammals native to the area, from a brown basilisk reptile to a bald eagle to the North American river otter.
1000 Ray Moses Drive, 630.256.3860,


Two Brothers Roundhouse
Fare Elevated American pub food with a seasonal slant, plus some of the best craft beer in the area
Good for Open-air sipping in the sprawling outdoor space with a courtyard and gazebo
Must try Fried pickles with spicy ranch dressing, fish tacos, cinnamon root beer floats and whatever seasonal brew is on tap
Bonus Two Brothers now has a distillery up and running in the 162-year-old Roundhouse, with free tours offered Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.
205 North Broadway, 630.264.2739,

La Quinta de los Reyes
Fare Mexican eats, from guacamole made tableside to saucy enchiladas and fresh seafood.
Good for Margaritas on Monday, tacos on Tuesday … need we go on?
Must try Molcajete de res, a platter of grilled steak and nopal (cactus leaf)
36 East New York Street, 630.859.4000,

Banana Split
Fare Classic soft-serve ice cream treats from an old-fashioned walk-up window open February to mid-October
Good for A summer date or trip with the kids
Must try The namesake banana split in three different sizes
820 Church Road, 630.896.8680,

Gillersons Grubbery
Fare Burgers, sandwiches and classic bar shareables (think wings, fries and soft pretzels)
Good for A filling meal with the family or a group of  friends
Must try Panko-breaded cheese curds; The Mac Daddy burger with bacon, roasted jalapeno and mac ‘n’ cheese; vegan burger with pineapple salsa
33 West New York Street, 630.340.3719,

Ballydoyle Pub
Fare Irish pub favorites with a few American classics in the mix
Good for Bar-side entertainment, from bands to open mic night to trivia
Must try Corned beef boxty, chicken pot pie, bangers and mash
28 West New York Street, 630.969.0600,

Jake’s Bagels & Deli
Fare Freshly baked bagels and bagel sandwiches
Good for Quick but tasty breakfast or lunch to-go
Must try Seasonal flavors of cream cheese, such as peaches ‘n’ cream or cherry vanilla
220 North Broadway, 630.906.0332,

U Samba? Brazilian Restaurant
Fare Authentic cuisine, from heart-of-palm empanadas to codfish croquettes
Good for Takeout, catering or a quick lunch or dinner
Must try Feijoada, black bean stew served over rice
37 West New York Street, 630.897.3903,

Pie Boss
Fare South African pot pies with savory fillings
Good for A midday snack on the run
Must try Spinach and feta pie, chicken and mushroom pie, chocolate custard tart
1649 Montgomery Road, 630.898.3448,


Fox Valley Mall
Go bowling at Round 1, design your own furry friend at Build-A-Bear Workshop, browse baubles at Charming Charlie or shop your way through dozens of other popular retail stores.
195 Fox Valley Center, 630.851.7200,

Rocktown Adventures
This outfitter for outdoor sports—from paddleboarding to cross-country skiing—will not only help you get the right gear for your chosen activity, but also offer guidance on where to go to give it a try.
107 Spruce Street, 630.506.5706,

Branch Gardens
Visit this recently opened garden shop to infuse some green into your scene, from perennials to planters.
77 South Lake Street, 630.303.1042

Wyckwood House
Like Etsy brought to life with a hyperlocal twist, this boutique showcases the handmade wares of area makers. Browse mugs from Amy Song Ceramics, vegan skincare from Jade Lilly, candles from Illuminate Space and rustic wooden signs from The Knotted Table. Keep an eye out for events—from whiskey tastings to hand-lettering classes—hosted by the shop’s artisan partners.
14 W. Downer Place, Suite 16, 630.220.6841,

All Spoked Up
This community bike shop has riders covered with both bike sales and service for every kind of cycling. Shop kids, cruiser, road, mountain, fixed gear and BMX bicycles, plus check out the full line of skateboard decks, trucks, wheels and accessories.
14 West Downer Place, 630.801.9005,

Chicago Premium Outlets
A recent expansion to the mall has added outlets for popular stores such as Restoration Hardware, Armani Exchange, Saks Off Fifth, Victoria’s Secret/Pink and more.
1650 Premium Outlet Boulevard, 630.585.2200,