10 Best Things To Do In Aurora, Illinois: The City of Lights

things to do in aurora illinois
Izza
Izza 
Updated

Known as the “city of lights,” the historic city of Aurora, Illinois, is a delightful destination to visit. Located on the Fox River, this city on the waterfront is famous for being one of the first cities in the U.S. to implement electric street lighting. If you ever find yourself in the city of Aurora, there are a variety of experiences that await you. Read more to find out what they are!

1. Watch a live performance at the Paramount Theatre

Paramount-LeLand
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cbradshaw used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the most extraordinary experiences one can witness in Aurora is a performance at the Paramount Theater. This theater is known for hosting Broadway-worthy spectacles, in a comfortable, intimate setting. The quality of the venue, the shows, and the drink menu is superb, so if you are ever in Aurora, don’t miss out on an opportunity to see a spectacular performance in the city of lights!

Paramount Theatre

Phone: +1 630-896-7676

Address: 23 E Galena Blvd, Aurora, IL 60506-4128

Website: Paramount Theatre

2. Partake in an interactive experience at the SciTech Hands On Museum

Scitech (old Aurora Post Office)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Leif Rogers used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Whether you are visiting with family or friends, the SciTech Hands on Museum is an enjoyable experience for any group. Unlike a traditional museum, the SciTech features interactive exhibits, where you can participate in exciting scientific experiments. This is a great place for an afternoon of fun-filled learning.

SciTech Hands On Museum

Phone: +1 630-859-3434

Address: 18 W Benton St, Aurora, IL 60506-6013

Website: SciTech Hands On Museum

3. Try your odds at the Hollywood Casino Aurora

Hollywood Casino Aurora
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bohao Zhao used under CC BY 3.0

For a night of enjoyment with your friends or significant other, visit the Hollywood Casino Aurora. This is the perfect place to visit if you are in need of a couple of hours of excitement, paired with food and affordable drinks. There is free valet parking and plenty of slots to try and test out your luck!

Hollywood Casino Aurora

Phone: +1 800-888-7777

Address: 1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506-4120

Website: Hollywood Casino Aurora

4. Enjoy the wonders of the countryside at the Blackberry Farm

20170706 15 Blackberry Farm
Source: Photo by user David Wilson used under CC BY 2.0

If you crave a break from the cityscape, visit the Blackberry Farm, for a countryside experience. The area of the farm is comprised of endless fields and a peaceful atmosphere. There are carousels, trains, and hay wagon rides included in the price of admission. The Blackberry Farm is perfect for a relaxing day trip with family or friends.

Blackberry Farm

Phone: +1 630-892-1550

Address: 100 S Barnes Rd, Aurora, IL 60506-8118

Website: Blackberry Farm

5. Enjoy the lush gardens and wildlife zoo at the Philips Park

Phillips Park Zoo Elk
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mythicmeadows used under CC BY 3.0

For a day trip full of relaxation, visit the Philips Park Zoo. Admission to the area is free, and within the grounds, there are plenty of wildlife to witness, as well as lush gardens to stroll amongst. There are also playgrounds, tracks, a golf course, and a beautiful waterfall. This is an excellent place to visit when you need an outdoor escape.

Philips Park Zoo

Phone: +1 630-256-3860

Address: 1000 Ray Moses Dr, Aurora, IL 60505-5786

Facebook: Philips Park Zoo

6. Be one with the outdoor surroundings at the Red Oak Nature Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For another day of outdoor fun, visit the Red Oak Nature Center. This is a great place for a picnic in the woods, or a brisk hike up the trail. There is also a welcome center that includes exhibits about reptiles, fish, and bees.

Red Oak Nature Center

Phone: +1 630-897-1808

Address: 2343 S River St, Batavia, IL 60510, USA

Facebook: Red Oak Nature Center

7. Learn about the history of fire service at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum

Aurora Regional Fire Museum
Source: Wikipedia

For a taste of Aurora’s history, visit the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. Featuring curious exhibits that will give you the feeling of a bygone era, this is the perfect place to stop by for a few hours. There is also a gift shop, where you can purchase a souvenir to remember your visit.

Aurora Regional Fire Museum

Phone: +1 630-256-4140

Address: 53 N Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505-3328

Website: Aurora Regional Fire Museum

8. Witness beautiful vistas and landscapes at the Oakhurst Forest Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

At the Oakhurst Forest Preserve, you can continue your relaxation in the outdoors of Aurora. This place is notable for being a prime location for picnics, barbeques, and camping. There are plenty of different spots to enjoy here, with winding pathways, open fields, and lush scenery.

Oakhurst Forest Preserve

Phone: +1 630-898-4560

Address: 1680 Fifth Ave Aurora, IL 60505

Website: Oakhurst Forest Preserve

9. Browse through various exhibits at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

At the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, a traveler to this city can explore the area’s culture in more depth. There are a variety of exhibits at the museum, ranging from historical exhibitions to art shows. Admission to the art center is free and there is also a gift shop, where you can purchase a trinket.

The David L. Pierce Art and History Center

Phone: +1 630-906-0650

Address: 20 E Downer Pl, Aurora, IL 60506

Website: The David L. Pierce Art and History Center

10. Experience a variety of outdoor activities at Mastodon Lake and Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Mastodon Lake is named after the mastodon, an extinct, elephant-like creature whose remains were found here in the early 20th century. You can visit the lake and witness a life-size sculpture of the long-lost mastodon, as well as enjoy fishing or walking along the trails.

Mastodon Lake and Trail

Phone: +1 630-898-7228

Address: Smith Blvd. at Ray Moses Dr. Aurora, IL 60505

The city of cosmic lights awaits!

Aurora Stolp Island Fox R
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cbradshaw used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Although the name can be misleading, Aurora is far from a bustling, big city. It is more of a secret, natural oasis, with so many different outdoor gems to get lost within. Rather than the city of electric light, Aurora is the city of cosmic light. If you are ever stopping by Aurora, don’t forget to spend some time in its enchanting natural environment.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Izza Qureshi is a creative writer and artist residing in the Washington, D.C. area, but her mind is likely floating somewhere in the cosmos. Fascinated by the mysterious of the unknown world, she...Read more

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