Appreciate the Arts with an Aurora Getaway
Are you looking for something completely different to revive your joie de vivre? Unplug and stretch your mind (and your legs!) with a couple of days of culture-infused fun in and around Aurora, Illinois.
Choose Your Live Events
As you plan your escape, start by booking tickets for a couple of live events. Most of your options will be in the evening, leaving your days open to explore museums, art galleries and architecture (see next section).
- In the heart of downtown Aurora, the beautiful and historic Paramount Theatre offers acclaimed Broadway shows and more.
- For a more intimate community theatre experience, the Aurora area has several excellent options to choose from. The stages are smaller, the seating is limited, but the shows are always memorable:
- Not far from the Paramount is Riverfront Playhouse, established in 1978 and still delighting audiences in what it calls “a sort of blue-collar clubhouse for artistic types.”
- Just to the north, in Batavia, you’ll find Albright Theatre. It’s tucked away on the third floor of the Batavia Government Center downtown, but it maintains the building’s historic industrial vibe.
- Further to the north and also built out in the upper floor of a historic building is Steel Beam Theatre in downtown St. Charles. The theatre features more traditional seating and a larger stage, but still keeps the experience up close and personal.
- For something completely different, check the schedule for the Batavia Fine Arts Centre. Attached to Batavia High School, the center attracts regional and national tours, including dance troupes, musical acts and more.
Plan Your Tours
Now that you’ve chosen the shows you’d like to see, it’s time to decide how to spend your days in the Aurora area.
If you’re interested in fine art, you can tour a variety of galleries.
- In downtown Aurora, the Aurora Public Art Commission maintains a free gallery open to the public and hosts live events. The gallery is located within the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, which also features artifacts illustrating the history of Aurora, from the prehistoric era to today.
- Two local schools have excellent galleries open to the public. The Schingoethe Center of Aurora University celebrates the art of Indigenous people who originally inhabited the land in and around Aurora. And Waubonsee Community College in nearby Sugar Grove has rotating exhibits highlighting professional visiting artists, faculty and students.
- In addition, Batavia has two excellent gallery options. Water Street Studios has rotating exhibits featuring local artists. And Fermilab has a fascinating artist-in-residence program, through which the gallery displays the artist’s work, and the artist is invited to give a lecture about the exhibit. (Consider attending the virtual talk before your visit!)
If you like your art on the larger side, the Aurora area boasts some incredible architecture.
- The city has created a self-guided Architectural Walking Tour, with more than 20 stops, a printable guide and even an accompanying audio file you can download and listen to as you tour. You can also pick up a Downtown Heritage Brochure at David L. Pierce Art & History Center.
- In neighboring Plano, you can tour the Edith Farnsworth House, designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951 and designated as a National Historic Landmark. The house sits on 55 acres and overlooks the Fox River. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance, as tours are limited to 15 people.
The art world is alive and well in Aurora. Plan your visit today for a personal encounter with creativity, intellect and passion.
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For those who are traveling to and from “the other big city” in Illinois, the hotel is conveniently located close to I-88 with easy access to Chicago.