Shopping and Entertainment in Aurora, Illinois
As I walk along the Fox River on a pleasant fall afternoon, the side streets of Aurora exude an idyllic suburban calm. Along with quaint homes with cute gardens, I pass a small church, then head into bustling downtown Aurora. It feels like the downtown of a big city to me, with its sophisticated shops, restaurants and cafés. Don’t let the city’s quaint charm deceive you – Aurora has excellent shopping and entertainment outlets that will please nearly everyone.
A night at the Hollywood Casino
I´m not usually a big gambler, but the Hollywood Casino, located directly on the Fox River, attracted me with its promise of a fun night. The unique feature of this casino, which stays busy, is that it‘s home to lots of memorabilia from well-known Hollywood movies. I marvel at the original World Champion belt that Sylvester Stallone wore in “Rocky 3“ and walk past original cars from “The Untouchables” and “Wayne´s World.” With USDA prime beef and delicious seafood creations, plus rich pastas, fresh salads, and an award-winning selection of wine, it’s no wonder Fairbanks Steakhouse was named “Best Casino Fine Dining Restaurant” by the readers of Midwest Gaming & Travel as well as winner of OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards. After a snack at the Take 2 Deli, one of three restaurants here, I enjoy the Elvis impersonator on the Casino´s Center Stage.
Broadway at the Paramount Theatre
It’s a good thing I brought my suit, because right in the middle of downtown Aurora is a beautiful, traditional theater. The Paramount Theatre, which opened in 1931, continues to attract crowds with excellent shows, especially its world-class Broadway series. I got my tickets for "Miss Saigon" far in advance – this is a very popular local venue. What fascinated me as much as the show was the building’s interior architecture. Built in the Art Deco style with Venetian elements, the auditorium holds 1,900 people. You can even have the wedding of your dreams in the Paramount’s two-level Grand Gallery. It’s worth coming here just to see the playful and dignified architecture.
Shopping at the Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora
The next morning is all about shopping for bargains, so I head to the Chicago Premium Outlets. Only a 10-minute drive from downtown, this is an absolute shopping paradise, home to 120 exclusive shops with fantastic prices. The opening of an additional 80 stores in the spring of 2015 will make this even more of a Midwest shopping destination. Even early in the morning it´s quite busy here. I spend a few hours trying on jeans, jackets, shirts and exclusive suits from Armani, Boss and Dolce & Gabbana. The Chicago Premium Outlets are aptly named, as they carry some phenomenal brands, including some you might not expect to find at an outlet mall. They also have plenty of everyday clothing brands too, and with the coupon book we picked up at the Mall Office, we enjoyed some additional savings off the already low prices.
Aurora, Illinois offers the perfect combination of urban excitement and suburban idyll. I was pleased at the shopping and entertainment venues, and I know you will be too. I hope to return soon!