Pokémon Go in Downtown Aurora

A Pokémon Stop at Millennium Plaza allows players to load up on Poké Balls. Catch Pokémon in downtown Aurora.

A Pokémon Stop at Millennium Plaza allows players to load up on Poké Balls. Catch Pokémon in downtown Aurora.

Do you play? Or have you noticed a lot more people hanging around in downtown Aurora lately? They might not see you because they are on the hunt for Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is the latest app craze with a twist. It brings people outside. Similar to Ingress – it is an augmented reality game that requires its players to go outside and walk to try to find Poké Stops, Pokémon, Poké Balls, etc. There are even Poké Gyms.

In downtown Aurora, the game is popular because of the high number of Google landmarks and museums. The sidewalks especially fill up after 7 p.m. with players collecting Poké Balls and catching Pokémon.

Pokémon is short for “pocket monsters.” It’s a game that started with video games and collectible cards and never really went out of fashion since its debut in 1995.

Some popular spots in downtown include the old Elks building on the northwest corner of Stolp and Downer and the nearby old library building and fountains just east of Stolp Avenue. There’s often a lure (a great place to catch Pokémon) around the fountain.

To play the game, the Pokémon Go app is needed. Most smart phones can handle the app, which uses Google maps. It’s free to play and it’s a good excuse to get out and about.

All a player needs to do is create it’s avatar and then go collect some Poké Balls to catch Pokémon. Poké Balls are available at Poké Stops – usually close to landmarks like Millennium Plaza or the G.A.R. Museum.

Once a player reaches level five, they can start going to Poké Gyms where players can battle their Pokémon. There’s a gym at the Tivoli parking garage at River/Galena.

Pokémon Go is also a great way to learn about some downtown history since it names each landmark and/or museum.

Businesses are quickly catching on and creating lures to attract Pokémon and Pokémon Go players.

On August 5 during First Fridays, Aurora Regional Fire Museum is hosting a Pokémon Go evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Patrons can dress up and participate in a scavenger hunt. There will be activities for the whole family.

Next time you visit downtown Aurora, ask what Pokémon are hanging around. Then take a peek inside one of downtown’s four museums or grab a coffee from River’s Edge Cafe or Blue Bird Beat to power up.