Aurora is a suburb of Chicago that occupies parts of four counties: Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will. It is home to 200,661 people (2015 Census estimate). The city generally consists of three regions: a section west of the Fox River, a section east of the Fox River, and a far east portion that extends from the Dane/DuPage County line to Naperville. An early adopter of all-electric street lighting, Aurora took the nickname “City of Lights” in 1908.
At one time, a native American settlement stood where downtown Aurora currently stands. With the eventual arrival of European settlers, the area developed as nascent cities on either side of the Fox River during the first half of the 19th century. The two joined as one, officially incorporating as Aurora in 1857. It grew as a magnet for immigrants and thrived economically as a manufacturing center.
Aurora’s climate is similar to much of the midwest, that is humid continental with warm summers. The average high temperature in July, the warmest month, is 84°F. The average low during the coolest month, January, is 16°F. Aurora sees an average of just under 38 inches of rain annually and 29 inches of snow.
Aurora operates public transportation services via train (Metra) and bus (Pace). Primary motor routes in and out of Aurora are I-88 (east-west) and SR 31 (north-south). Chicago O’Hare International Airport is about an hour-long drive via I-88 to I-294. The average one-way commute for workers in Aurora takes 29 minutes, about four minutes longer than the U.S. average.
Aurora Cost of Living
According to Sperling’s Best Places, the overall cost of living in Aurora is 97 (the U.S. average is 100). You’ll save about 20 percent on housing, but you’ll pay more for transportation and utilities. And you’ll pay an effective sales tax rate of 8.25 percent. The state income tax rate is 3.75 percent. How far will your earnings go in Aurora? Use the links below to find out.
Several school systems attend to families in Aurora. The three primary systems are the East Division of Aurora Public Schools, the West Division of Aurora Public Schools, and Indian Prairie School District (IPSD). There are four private high schools and nine public high schools. The largest is West Aurora High School. For higher education, you’ll find more than 80 colleges within 40 miles, including Aurora University, a mid-size, private, four-year school.
As you might expect in the highly populous Chicago region, you’ll find lots of options for health care, including 48 hospitals located within 30 miles. Among these, Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora is a 210-bed general medical and surgical facility. U.S. News and World Report rates it as high performing in both Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and in Heart Failure.
Aurora Real Estate
According to the most recent census data, Aurora has 66,440housing units and an owner-occupied rate of 66.3 percent. The median value of owner-occupied houses is $168,900, and median monthly costs of ownership are $1,710 for people with a mortgage, $618 for those without a mortgage. The median monthly cost for those who rent their home is $1,071.
If you’re looking for lodging, you’ll find the Aurora/Naperville area offers most of the names you already know: Holiday Inn, Super 8, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Quality Inn, and Motel 6. The majority provide free Wifi, and most have free breakfast as well. For something a little out of the ordinary, consider a stay at Mansion Bed & Breakfast in the nearby village of West Dundee. It’s a 28-room, historic home within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
In the mood for Hellenic dishes? You might want to get a table at Basil’s. The lamb is said to be perfectly tender and the potatoes, “to die for.” Papa Bear American Family Restaurant is a good choice for breakfast. Their skillets come layered with potatoes, eggs, cheese, and a variety of meats and veggies. Be sure to bring a big appetite.
Aurora Things to Do
If you can, plan to take in a show at the beautifully appointed Paramount, an Art Deco style theater hosting top musical and dramatic entertainment. Or, tour the Tanner House Museum, built in 1857, an Italianate style house that was home to one of the city’s first residents. Blackberry Farm is a nice adventure for the entire family – five museums of living history on 54 acres. There’s a train ride, carousel, ponies, and paddle boats.