Aurora is a city predominantly in Kane County, with sections in DuPage, Kendall, and Will counties. It is located in the outer region of Greater Chicago in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the second most populous city in the state, and the 114th most populous city in the country. The population was 197,899 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to have increased to 199,963 by July 2013.
Once a mid-sized manufacturing city, Aurora has grown tremendously since the 1960s. Founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits and population have since expanded into DuPage, Will, and Kendall counties. Between 2000 and 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Aurora as the 34th fastest growing city in the United States. From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the city as the 46th fastest growing city with a population of over 100,000.
In 1908, Aurora officially adopted the nickname "City of Lights," because it was one of the first cities in the United States to implement an all-electric street lighting system in 1881. Aurora's historic downtown is located on the Fox River, and centered on Stolp Island. The city is divided into three regions, The West Side, located on the west side of the Fox River, The East Side, located between the eastern bank of the Fox River and the Kane/DuPage County line, and the Far East Side/Fox Valley, which is from the County Line to the city's eastern border with Naperville.
The Aurora area is home to an impressive collection of architecture, including structures by Frank Lloyd Wright,Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruce Goff and George Grant Elmslie. The Hollywood Casino Aurora, a dockside gaming facility with 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2) and 1,200 gaming positions, is located on the river in downtown Aurora. Aurora is also home to a large collection of Sears Catalog Homes (over 50 homes) and Lustron all-steel homes (seven homes).
Aurora is located at (41.7637855, -88.2901352).
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 45.80 square miles (118.6 km2), of which 44.94 square miles (116.4 km2) (or 98.12%) is land and 0.86 square miles (2.2 km2) (or 1.88%) is water.
While the city has traditionally been regarded as being in Kane County, Aurora's city limits also include parts of DuPage,Kendall and Will counties. Aurora is one of only three cities in Illinois spanning four counties. (The other cities are Barrington Hills and Centralia.)
Formed in 1987, the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (AACVB) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to aggressively promoting and marketing the area as a premier overnight destination. The goal of the AACVB is to enhance the economic and environmental well-being of a region comprising ten communities: Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville.
Aurora's downtown is full of architectural landmarks and historic places. It includes a major Hindu temple, the Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago. Aurora also has its own zoo, Phillips Park Zoo, located in Phillips Park.
Downtown Aurora is home to the Paramount Theatre, a large live performance theater on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Hollywood Casino. There is also the Leland Tower, a former hotel which was the tallest building in Illinois outside the Chicago city limits and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The largest collection of commercial buildings by Prairie School architect George Grant Elmslie is located here. Also located downtown is the main building of Aurora Public Library and a branch campus of Waubonsee Community College.
Downtown Alive, a festival that includes live music and a variety of food booths, is held on three weekends (Friday and Saturday night) in the summer; Blues on the Fox (featuring national blues artists) is held on the Friday and Saturday of Father's Day weekend. Roughly 8,000–13,000 people attend. The quarterly AuroraArtWalk is hosted by the Cultural Creatives—a grassroots team of local artist, property owners, patrons and the City of Aurora. The Riverfront Playhouse is a not-for-profit theater that has held a storefront location in downtown Aurora since 1978.
A fixture of Downtown Aurora, the Waubonsee Community College Campus, which formerly sat on Stolp Island near the Paramount Theatre, has recently been closed, as a new and greatly expanded campus was built on the Western banks of the river, between the river and IL Route 31. The construction of the campus was part of a larger plan to redevelop the Downtown area, putting in parks and new walking paths, making the area more inviting. The plan also included a pedestrian bridge, which would connect the two banks of the river. Also in the works is a plan to modify or reconstruct the bridges onto Stolp Island, which have not been maintained for close to 60 years