Top 7 Best Parks in Aurora, IL

Phillips Park - Aurora, IL
Phillips Park – Aurora, IL. Source:

A visit to Aurora, Illinois will give you a good opportunity to retreat into this city’s highly urbanized parks. Located predominantly in Kane County and some parts of DuPage County, this city has several parks with great playgrounds, dog parks, picnic areas, trails, biking paths, lakes, rivers and other features that make them desirable to travelers and tourists.

If you are planning a trip to Illinois, we have featured top 7 best parks in Aurora, IL that you can consider based on the customer reviews, ratings, complaints, satisfaction, cost and their general excellence. Read on to find out more.

McCarty Park

McCarty Park is the city’s first park, located at 350 E. Galena Blvd. This well-managed park recently underwent renovations and features a decorative wrought-iron fence, new entryways, pergola, landscaping and drinking fountains for people and pets. If you are looking for a fun way to beat the heat, the park also features an interactive fountain where you can cool off.

Waubonsie Lake Park

Waubonsie Lake Park features picnic areas, trails, biking paths, playgrounds, a pavilion and a lake. Located along Kautz Rd in Aurora, this park has a well-designed trail around the lake for visitors to run or jog around. If you are planning to visit this park with your children, there are plenty cool playgrounds and water fields for them to play.

Simmons Park

Simmons Park is located at 1201 E Indian Trail Road on the outskirts of Aurora. This is a nice park with walking, biking and jogging trails, as well as a playground with necessary equipment. It also features lots of space in the fields for you to relax and a nice pavilion for shelter, concerts, and exhibits among other things. Most sports can also be played here.

Lebanon Park

Lebanon Park is another park in Aurora that provides a good opportunity for outdoor and active lifestyles. Located at 1051 Lafayette Street, Lebanon Park is an 8.5 acre park with a lot of services and social amenities. Most water sports can also be played here such as canoeing, kayaking and rafting and also includes a boat launch. The park also welcomes visitors for winter camping, bird-watching, nature viewing, freshwater fishing, cycling, and hunting.

Garfield Park

Garfield Park is located at Church and Sheffer Roads on a 28 acre piece of land. Amenities in this park include horseshoe courts, tennis courts, a basketball court, a playground, a picnic pavilion, a winter ice skating rink, warming house, open grassy recreational areas and two Little League fields (Dolan & Andrews).

Phillips Park

Here, you will find Mastodon Island and West Recreation Area which features many services and social amenities. A gazebo with tiered seating is available to visitors. The site is easily accessible from the east side of the lake, along Wyeth Drive through a pedestrian bridge. There is also a playground for children, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts and a pavilion.

Solfisburg Park

Located at Ohio Street and Indian Avenue, Solfisburg Park features a wide range of services including one Pony League field (Lancaster), one Little League field (Frett) and one Legion League field (Bernard). All these come with full lighting and access inroads. Amenities in this park include courts, a playground, and a pavilion among others. The park is also a good sport for outdoor sports such as baseball and softball.

Fashion and Fun – Shopping In Aurora

Chicago Premium Outlets

Shopping in Aurora offers many businesses for you to visit and be able to experience brand name shops like Macy’s and JC Penny. And when you visit someplace like Aurora, IL. Shopping gets taken to a new level.

The downtown area of Aurora offers such local boutiques such as Fresh Tee, YM, or even Bella Rose. All of which are situated just a short distance apart from each other. At Fresh Tee, you will find clothing lines that will deliver options full of bright colors and unique designs for the individual that likes to stand out in the crowd. If you are more in the market for classic glamor, then the boutiques of YM or Bella Rose are just the ones to add a glamorous splash to your wardrobe.

For those shopping in Aurora who feel more like a more time consuming shopping adventure, a large mall might be what you find you are seeking. The Chicago Premium Outlets Mall could be just the shopping experience you desire. Situated just off the Premium Outlet Boulevard, this mall brings Chicago to the Aurora shopper. This mall will bring all the name brand items to those customers of Aurora along with the outlet price.

The shopping alone in Aurora isn’t enough unless you stop by to taste the many flavors of Greek foods found at Basils Greek. An award winning location that will let you choose from a selection of 12 different beer flavors, Basils has proved to be an excellent destination to end the evening after a long day shopping.

If you’re looking for a more laid back environment or just a great place to get some breakfast, Blueberry Hill Pancake House has got you covered. With a family friendly atmosphere and delectable goodies, this little restaurant is a stop everyone should make. The perfect place to grab a bite before starting a full day shopping in Aurora or even off on a sightseeing adventure.

Shopping can also be more of a social outing than just ways to purchase items, and if you are one of those people, then Aurora is just the perfect location. When you decide that you want the full social outing experience, then taking a trip to Fox Valley Mall is just the right combination of great shops and outstanding atmosphere. Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Claire’s are just part of the many selections that this massive mall will offer to you, the visitor.

But, don’t let your shopping in Aurora leave out the younger shoppers in your life. Build a Bear, The Kids’ Locker, and The Children’s Place are all available for the younger world of customers. Helzberg Diamonds, H&M, The Gap, and Macy’s make this a must stop for everyone who wants to flex their purchasing genes.

A visit to this menagerie of stores is the perfect outing for you when you want to experience the full shopping experience in Aurora with the flair of a mall. Shops that offer beautiful clothes, sporting goods, video games, shoes, home décor, and even novelties at Spencer’s, are just one half of the mall story. Stop in the local McDonalds for a burger, Subway for a meatball sub, or maybe you want to grab a pretzel at Wetzel’s, whatever meal you might envision as you shop can be found within the walls of Fox Valley Mall.

When looking at the world of merchandise and retail delights, you can find that shopping in Aurora is the perfect location. Everyone will find just what they are looking for and have opportunities to enjoy the atmosphere of a mall or step into the most intimate world of the local shops. Aurora does indeed have it all.

Summer Fun & Entertainment in Aurora Illinois

Looking for some fun family activities to round out the summer? We’ve assembled a list of places to go in the Aurora area for some great family fun and entertainment. As an Aurora Illinois resident, all of these activities make the yearly list of outings for the whole family. If you’re interested in moving to the Aurora area, you can use this list to learn more about our local community.

Go Shopping


Enjoy the benefit of outdoor outlet shopping at the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall in Aurora. This mall has it all, located at 1650 Premium Outlets Boulevard. Just exit the I-88 tollway on Farnsworth Avenue and it’s just South of the tollway.

In addition to the Outlet Mall, and the Fox Valley Mall, there are plenty of small quaint shops in the Fox Valley area. Aurora, Naperville, Geneva, Batavia, and St. Charles are just a few of the many great cities in our area that exhibit the small hometown feel with their downtown shopping opportunities. History, charm, and treasures await your next shopping adventure in these local venues.

Catch a Movie

Cool off from the heat by taking in an IMAX movie at the Randall 15 IMAX movie theater. This Goodrich movie theater is located at 500 N. Randall Road in Batavia.

Visit our Museums

Investigate the history of Aurora and other surrounding area fire departments at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. This museum is located at 53 North Broadway in downtown Aurora. The museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:00-4:00.

You can also visit the SciTech Hands-On Museum in Aurora – SciTech’s mission is to engage people in experiencing and learning science and technology in a fun and interactive way. This fun museum is located at 18 W. Benton Street in Aurora.

Another great local attraction is the Naper Settlement which offers history and fun in Naperville. Located at 523 S. Webster St. in downtown Naperville, the Naper Settlement is a museum village of 19th-century homes, shops and public buildings that exhibit a collection of historical facts and furnishings. Visit their website or call the Settlement at 630-420-6010.

The Aurora to Downtown Train

Take a Metra train trip to downtown Chicago in the summer. The BNSF Railway Line will take you directly to the heart of downtown Chicago at Union Station. Hop a free trolley from Union Station to a variety of fun locations downtown, such as the Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, the Field Museum, or Navy Pier. Go to the Metra website to find your nearest train station

Enjoy Fresh Fruit

Take a break from cooking a hot meal in your kitchen and explore the fresh fruits and vegetables at the local Farmers Markets this summer. Kane County Farmers Markets are found in Aurora, Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, St. Charles and Sugar Grove. DuPage County Farmers Markets can be located in the towns of Naperville, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Downers Grove and Lisle.

Water Parks!

splash country - Aurora, ILThere is no better way to cool off from the summer heat than in a family fun water park. Fortunately, you do not need to travel far to find relief, as the Fox Valley Park District sponsors two local parks. Splash Country Water Park is located at 195 S. Barnes Road in Aurora, and the Philips Park Aquatic Center is located at 828 Montgomery Road in Aurora. These parks feature pools, water slides and fun for the family which you will enjoy all time during your stay.

Have questions or looking for a particular family activity? Let us know and we’ll include it in our list!


Remembering the Floods of 1996

Those that lived in Aurora in 1996 remember the devastation and damage that was caused by severe flooding from July 18 to July 20, 1996. Most of us still share the stories of watching our basements and homes fill up with water, seeing kids literally swimming in the streets, and helping each other remove lost contents from our homes, and piling stacks of sopping wet garbage on the curb for garbage trucks to take away.

Record Flooding Devastates Aurora, IL and Surrounding Cities

Kishwaukee River Flood in Illinois
Source: Wikipedia

The record flooding occurred due to large amounts of rain that fell over just a couple days. Local creeks, streams, and rivers overflowed, sending rivers of water into our communities and neighborhoods. For many, the sewage also began backing up into basements and homes as the local sanitation departments had no where to send the sewage once the rivers grew so high, along with the combination of storm and sanitary drainage systems which became flooded with rain water, leaving very little room for sewage and forcing the water to seek any place it go, leading it directly into our basements.

According to the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Water Resources;

“Record rainfall amounts over 16 in. were reported for the 24-hour period ending at 7:00 a.m. on July 18, 1996, in northern Illinois. These amounts resulted from several subsequent thunderstorms tracking along the same west to east stalled low-pressure front. This rainfall produced record flooding in highly urbanized northern Illinois (fig. 1) from July 18 through July 20, 1996. This flooding caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage and two deaths (Chicago Tribune, July 21 and July 26, 1996). Numerous houses were inundated (fig. 2), and roadway infrastructure in the area was damaged as many roads and bridges were washed out. Three dams in the region experienced complete failure, whereas numerous other dams were overtopped experiencing varying degrees of damage.

It wasn’t just Illinois that was affected. In fact, the Illinois Governor Jim Edgar declared a state of disaster for 15 northern Illinois. It didn’t take long for President Clinton to make most of those counties Federal disaster areas, as well.

Below is a video taken in a nearby city, Sugar Grove, which shows the extent of the flooding and water damage. This was the reality for many Northern Illinois residents in July of 1996:

The Aftermath: Cleaning Up the City

After the water drained from the streets and the rivers and streams began to return to their normal levels, millions of residents and businesses had to begin rebuilding. While insurance adjusters went from home to home to help their customers and get them their funds as quickly as possible so they could pay for their cleanup and restorations, millions of homeowners were left to restore on their own since they didn’t have the proper flood insurance needed to cover the damages.

We spoke with one local water damage restoration worker in the area who said, ” we’re located in Elgin, IL, about 20 miles north of Aurora but we’re seeing restoration companies coming from dozens of states to help homeowners remove the existing water in the their homes, ensure no mold will be growing in their house, and to help them dry out their homes and property. It’s great to see so many people coming together to help each other and get this great city back up and running.”

With billions of dollars of damages to the area and plenty of insurance and FEMA money available to help affected homeowners, many damage restoration and construction businesses came to the area to assist the local clean up.

Rebuilt – Back to Normal

It took many years, and some areas still show signs of the damage caused by the flooding in July of 1996 but, as a whole, the city of Aurora rebuilt and came back better than ever. Much like the Chicago fire that damaged much of the city a century ago, this disaster brought the city of Aurora together and helped make Aurora the great city it is today.

Four (4) Awesome Places to Eat & Drink in Aurora, IL places to eat & drinkAurora Illinois is home to some of the best local restaurants, bars, pubs, and breweries in the entire Chicagoland area. While most people might be searching for the “Signature Rooms” in the area, which sits atop the John Hancock Building, but if you’re like us over here at, you also love to find the local gems that provide amazing food and amazing drinks in an awesome atmosphere.

Four (4) Awesome Places to Eat & Drink in Aurora, IL

This list won’t touch on the most popular places in the Fox Valley, but it will highlight some of the great local places that we highly recommend you visit if you have some free time on your hands.

Two Brothers Roundhouse

Two Brothers has become a popular local name in the craft beer sector. In addition to providing some of the best craft beer in the country, Two Brothers also has some local places where you can eat and drink some of their best recipes. One of their locations is in Aurora on N. Broadway. While we really enjoyed their pub burger, we also like to read reviews and feedback from local customers on Google. Here’s a great review:

This place is freaking awesome inside. It’s shaped like a big donut! The middle is like a Biergarten. There are concerts too! All the beer I tried of there’s was good, food was decent too. This is my new go to spot! – Zach Z. on Google

Pomegranate Cafe

Located in a quiet shopping center near the Fox Valley Mall, just a half mile from the corner of Rt 59 and Ogden Ave, and next to United Healthcare and 1st Family Dental of Fox Valley, the Pomegranate Restaurant is a great local gem that provides amazing diner food that we love to frequent during breakfast, brunch, and lunch hours.

One of our writers, Chris, highly recommends the veggie quesadillas.

Juquilita Tacos

When visiting the local area, this little taco shop is a must. Aurora is home to some great authentic mexican restaurants and taquerias. Juquilita Tacos is a quiet place that provides amazing at a great price. Despite misspelling their own name on their website, we highly recommend visiting this for some great tacos. Here’s what one local reviewer Google reviewer;

The food is very good – among the best I’ve found in the 3 yrs I’ve been in this area. Tortas, tacos and burritos are all very good. This is not a place to dine in despite the fact that there are tables there because it is cluttered. This is very much like a place you’d find in Mexico if you were to go off the “strip” of tourist places. What it lacks in atmosphere is more than compensated for by great food at reasonable prices.

The salsa are great, both red (hot) and the very tasty green.

De King’s Tavern

A great local place to belly up to the bar and have a drink. It doesn’t get much better than the friendly staff and great tasting (and affordable!) tap beer available at De King’s. If you look through the numerous 5 star reviews on Google, you’ll notice people mentioning the great staff, clean atmosphere, pool table, juke box, and one person even calls it the “perfect hole in the wall bar”. That’s a great compliment. Swing by and have a PBR next time you’re in town.

Those are four amazing places to eat and drink in the Aurora area. Aurora is a big town that’s home to hundreds of amazing places to eat and drink and these are four that recently stood out to us. Feel free to share your favorite places and we might include them in our next write up – email us at


The Best Malls in Aurora, IL

Chicago, IL Water Tower Place
Water Tower Place in Chicago, IL – ~40 miles east of Aurora, IL

Throughout the United States, malls are a common destination for American families to visit for shopping, eating, movies and more. While most people think about big malls, like the Mall of America in Minnesota or the Water Tower Place mall in Chicago, there are thousands of smaller malls that serve hundreds of millions of customers on a regular basis, especially during the holiday season.

If you’re living in the Chicago area, you know there are many malls to choose between. From the Geneva Commons or Algonquin Commons on Randall Rd, to the Huntley Outlet Mall, the Oak Brook outdoor mall, the Spring Hill mall, or even Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Each of these malls are so different. While location is important for convenience, there are also many other factors to consider, including; cleanliness, stores available, parking options, and much more.

Chicago Premium Outlet Malls

For many years the Aurora Outlet mall – known as the Chicago Premium Outlets – has been a destination for millions of northern Illinois residents in order to to find great deals on their favorite products and brands, including; Coach, Banana Republic, Express, and many more.

Being located right off major tollway, “the Reagan”, route 88 and the corner of Kirk Rd has made the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, IL an common shopping choice for millions of Illinois residents.

Fox Valley Mall

The Fox Vally  mall is also located near the major highway, route 88, just south of the route 59 exit, and not far from the delicious Chicago restaurant, Portillos. Located less than a mile from the intersection of route 59 and Ogden Ave, and only 3 miles south of Rt. 88, this mall is a common, convenient choice for local visitors.

Looking for more than just shopping? Like many of the local malls, the Fox Valley mall is not far from many movie theaters and some great eating spots.

Welcome to Downtown Aurora

Shop in Downtown Aurora

The heart of Aurora offers a unique sense of place for its citizens and visitors alike. Downtown Aurora’s historic architecture provides solid character and its riverfront location promotes the value of our environment and natural resources. With a year round calendar of special events and our new Festival Park, Downtown Aurora is a center of activity for families to enjoy.

Downtown is also the hub for culture and entertainment, hosting the internationally acclaimed Aurora football team, award winning City of Light’s Library, the Fox River Cultural Center, and the Aurora Historical Museum.

The business district in Downtown is formed by unique shops and restaurants with flavors from around the world in a pedestrian friendly atmosphere.

Work in the Chicago Suburbs

Downtown Aurora offers a wide variety of services and building options for businesses, making it a great option to draw new businesses to the local Chicagoland area. Being easily accessible to transportation, we make it easy for local citizens to travel, including; the Pace bus system, and being easily access to nearby interstate highways make it an easy commute to and from surrounding areas.

Businesses and employees also have easy access to a wide variety of services that help make the day-to-day routine easier.  Services include dry cleaning, banks, post office, shoe repair and professional assistance.  And you don’t have to drive to lunch; Downtown Elgin has a wide variety of restaurants serving lunch and dinner. In addition, hospitals and childcare are close at hand.  Finally, you can easily work out during the noon hour or after work at The Entrance, Aurora’s premiere workout facility.

Locate your business in one of our beautifully restored buildings, most featuring renovated workspaces and internet connections.