10 Things to Do in Aurora, Illinois – A Midwestern Hidden Gem
By jhenr | Updated October 26th, 2022
Aurora may be the second largest city in Illinois, but many locals live here and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day and night. If you’re planning on visiting Aurora or if you just live here and want to know more about this great area, here are 10 things to do in Aurora, Illinois!
Chicago Premium Outlets
Chicago Premium Outlets is a great place to find discounts on designer labels. With over 130 stores, there is something for everyone. The next time you are looking for a bargain, be sure to check out Chicago Premium Outlets. You can also sign up for their email list to receive notifications of sales and special events.
Visit The Phillips Park Zoo
Phillips Park Zoo is the only zoo in the state of Illinois that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The park’s atmosphere is really like no other I’ve experienced. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, giving you a behind-the-scenes tour of their facility.
Take a Tour of Wrigley Field
One of the most iconic buildings in the Midwest, Wrigley Field is home to the Chicago Cubs and just one of the many things you can do when visiting Aurora. The building is open for tours where you can learn about its rich history and see a game if you’re lucky. Tours are available year-round on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00AM as well as Mondays during the months of June through August at 11:00AM.
Check out Blackberry Farms
In the past few decades, Blackberry Farms has grown from a family farm into an internationally acclaimed culinary destination and event space. The property includes a restaurant that offers both casual and fine dining options, an event center for hosting weddings and private parties as well as cooking classes that feature locally sourced ingredients.
Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple
The Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple was established as a place of worship for the Hindu community and is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. The temple’s construction began in 2005 and was completed six years later. This spiritual landmark can be found on Route 59, near downtown Aurora. Visitors will be welcomed by a stunning gold statue of the deity that stands at over 20 feet tall.
Aurora Regional Fire Museum
The Aurora Regional Fire Museum is a hidden gem of the Chicago area. It’s the only museum solely dedicated to firefighting history and it’s an interesting way for visitors to learn about where we’ve been as a country with regard to fire prevention. The museum contains over 10,000 square feet of historic memorabilia from all over the world, including rare pieces that date back over 500 years!
Built in 1915, the Paramount Theatre has been an anchor for the downtown area since its inception. Built as a silent movie house, it also played host to vaudeville performances and concerts. It was given landmark status by the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places on November 29th 1976.
Hollywood Casino Aurora
Hollywood Casino is the newest casino opened near Chicago. It boasts a first-of-its-kind gaming experience with 1,800 slot machines and 89 tables that include blackjack, roulette, and poker. Hollywood Casino offers Hollywood Cafe for more than just snacks and drinks.
They offer a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with something for everyone! The fun doesn’t stop when you leave the casino floor because there are plenty of entertainment options including live concerts from major headlining artists!
Splash Country Waterpark
For a truly unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest, head to Splash Country Waterpark. The park offers a ton of family-friendly attractions such as three water slides and a lazy river.
If you’re looking for some more adventurous activities, try out one of their white water rafting trips or go on an ATV tour! If you want some time to relax, then grab lunch at the park’s food court before checking out the climbing wall or trying your luck at the arcade games.
Tanner House Museum
Named for Dr. John Tanner, a physician who practiced medicine in Aurora during the 1800s and early 1900s, this historic museum is dedicated to educating visitors about the medical profession and showcasing medical artifacts from around the world. You’ll also find a small gift shop with items ranging from health-related books and games to t-shirts designed by local artists.
With so many things to do, you’re sure to fall in love with Aurora, Illinois! From exploring the outdoors to learn about history, there’s something for everyone in this Midwestern hidden gem. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!