Aurora Illinois, Illinois

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What's it like to live in Aurora Illinois?

What are the people like in Aurora, IL?

Aurora is an extremely diverse community full of wonderful people, and like anywhere else there are a few that are less wonderful than others.

We bought our first (and second) house in Aurora, living there for twelve years before moving out of the city in 2005. Aurora is divided by the Fox River; at one time East and West Aurora were actually separate cities, before merging in the mid-1800s. Both of our homes were on the West Side. We have been supporters of two local recovery ministries and volunteers with our church at Hesed House, the homeless shelter on the south end of downtown. Many years ago I also was a substitute teacher at West Aurora High School (District 129) and at Waubonsie Valley High School (District 204).

In addition to having the traditional divide of the river, parts of Aurora are in four different counties (DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and even a tiny bit of Will) and four different school districts.

Economically, socially, and politically, Aurora is probably one of the most diverse communities you’ll find in Illinois. There are some very expensive and relatively recently built homes, some very old and run down homes, and everything in between. There are some semi-defined ethnic neighborhoods and some very mixed ones.

Aurora is a wonderful city with a rich history and a ton of diversity - as well as a lot of potential. If this question was posed because of the recent factory shooting, do not let that define your image of Aurora - EXCEPT that the victims were ethnically diverse, and the police and fire departments, who are dedicated to the city and public service, did the best they could and responded by all accounts with heroism and excellence.

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Aurora, IL?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is if you have kids, I really recommend you put them in district 204. They are by far one of the best districts out of the neighboring ones, this coming from a student in that district.

Also, for whatever reason, the Honda dealership sucks. It may be the third biggest in the country, but some of the people there just flat out suck. Don't go there.

If you ever need to go into Chicago, I strongly recommend taking the train to get there. I personally use the route 59 station, and it is faster and easier than driving down town.

In the winter, avoid the Ogden bridge at all costs. If that thing has ice on it at that angle, there could be a very big accident that you don't want to be apart of.

Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. This seems to happen a lot, especially in the first half the summer. One minute it's sunshine, the next it could be rain and thunder.

Xfinity is by far the best internet provider we have to offer, so I would try and get that for my internet. All the cell carriers work equally well, but in some areas AT&T seems to work just a tad better.

Got a job offer in Aurora, IL. I’m born and raised in Oregon. Any advice?

Aurora is a big city and there are essentially three distinct parts. The west side, the east side, and fox valley.

I live on the West side of Aurora in an old neighborhood near Aurora University. It’s perfect for us because it’s old tree lined mansions that are still very well maintained, but might not be too exciting for a single guy. Downtown does not really have crime, it’s just an older and slightly run down area. The city has made a lot of progress with downtown aurora (Riversedge Park is a beautiful outdoor music venue on the river, they’re opening an new indoor “open mic” sort of venue soon, and there’s a few good restaurants and bars).

The crime is on the east side, but you should never have a reason to go there to be frank.

Fox valley is essentially an extension of Naperville. Very new and relatively high price, but very prototypical “suburbia.”

My advice would be to come out for a weekend and see all parts of Aurora, plus Naperville, St. Charles and Geneva. For a single guy I would definitely think about renting an apartment in DT Naperville or DT St. Charles.

Can anyone tell me about aurora?

I've really fallen in love with Aurora in the 4 years I've lived here. I am originally from DeKalb (went to DHS, went to NIU), so I understand the intimidation of Aurora. But living here now is really great!

I live on the West Side near Mercy Hospital (Indian Trail and Sullivan, less than a Mile from the river). I bike just about everywhere and Aurora is a great biking town. If you're near the Hesed House you're right on the Fox River Trail and the Virgil Gilman Trail (runs East-West).

Downtown is alot nicer and more fun than it looks. THere are alot of empty store fronts, but the restaurants and bars that are down town are great. Gillersons is one of my favorites.

If you have even the smallest interest in theater get Paramount Season Tickets. My wife and I got them, neither of us crazy about theater but kinda into it, and we were blown away. We've renewed 3 years in a row.

As /u/txtechie713 pointed out, the Rt. 59 area has tons of shopping and chain restaurants. Hollywood Palms - a movie theater - is worth checking out. It's a very unique place and they server food during the movie.

The "bad parts" are near east side (so just east of down town then for maybe 2 miles as you head east). Past that it gets very suburban yuppie - most people out there say they live in Naperville when they actually live in Aurora. The near south side, mostly on the east but some of the west (in fact, the very area you are living in) is also not a great neighborhood. The gang activity is real and there is violence. The nice thing is that gangs tend to shoot each other and not random strangers. So my advice? Don't join a gang.

The homeless folks are actually mostly alright. I've had conversations with many of them and they are on the whole fine people. The usual mental illness and systemic poverty issues, but none are "dangerous" in my experience.

I love the new library. I mean love it. They have a maker space, so if you want to play around with a 3d printer, you can! You just pay for materials! It's incredible!

The food truck rally is coming up on May 4. That will be right downtown - last year it was packed! Lines an hour long. A little annoying. I know the woman who sets these events up and she assured me they are going to do a better job - but despite the long wait it was a ton of fun. Live bands, art galleries, good food.

First Friday's - The first friday of every month the store fronts in Aurora turn into art galleries. There is almost always free food and free drinks (yes, beer and wine!). They bring in big name artists and also showcase local artists. Aurora has an "artist residency" program - I'm not sure of the details but artists get rent subsidies as long as they are working and displaying downtown I think.

I could go on and on! I was intimidated by Aurora when I moved here, but now I really love it. Warts and all.

What YOU Need to Know About Living in Aurora Illinois