Located 40 miles from Chicago, the city of Aurora is the second most populous in the state of Illinois. Our downtown is bisected by the Fox River and centers on Stolp Island, where settler Joseph Stolp constructed a woolen mill in 1835. Today the island is the site of the Paramount Arts Center and the Hollywood Casino, as well as the Riverfront Playhouse, the Aurora Historical Society, and a number of restaurants, museums, retail shops and other businesses. It takes about 10 minutes to walk the entire downtown region from one side to the other.
For 100 years downtown Aurora was a powerhouse of manufacturing, driven in part by the downtown location of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s roundhouse and locomotive shop. The railroad shops closed in 1974, and many of downtown’s historic buildings have since been reclaimed and repurposed for retail, education, dining and entertainment or as part of a burgeoning arts movement.
Today, downtown Aurorans are enjoying a new sense of connectedness, enthusiasm – and opportunity. We are bakers and salon owners, singers and dancers, fire-truck collectors and monstrous T-shirt creators. We invite you to join us. You’re just in time.