Escape to Illinois’ Second-Largest City
When people plan for a weekend in a big city in Illinois, they think of Chicago. But Aurora, as the state’s second-largest city, offers plenty of big-city fun at a fraction of the cost. Enjoy live performances, museums and shopping with fewer crowds, free parking and less traffic. And when you are ready to take a break and rest for the night, choose Holiday Inn Express and Suites Aurora – Naperville.
From cozy accommodations for two with a jetted tub to kid-friendly suites with bunkbeds and a Playstation 4, this hotel truly has something to offer everyone. Spend your evening enjoying the indoor pool and hot tub, and kick off your morning with a workout in the on-site gym followed by a delicious complimentary breakfast served up by our friendly staff.
For those who are traveling to and from “the other big city” in Illinois, the hotel is located just steps away to the Metra station serving the BNSF rail line with easy access to Chicago’s Union Station.
Old Meets New: Historic Theatre and Roundhouse, Plus Modern Shopping and Locally Grown Fare
Day 1: A Local Twist on Broadway and Beer
On your first day in Aurora, come prepared with tickets to the hottest show in town: A Broadway-series performance at the Paramount Theatre in the heart of downtown. The historic grand theatre opened in 1931 and attracts 350,000 patrons from more than 250 communities every year. While show offerings are diverse – past performances have included “Cats,” “Tommy” and “Mary Poppins” – theatre critics have been consistent in their praise for the high quality of each show, from the unforgettable performers to the creative set designs. While tickets for shows like these could run into the $100s in larger cities, you can get your hands on the best seat in the house on a Saturday night for less than $80, and most tickets are considerably less than that. If time permits and you’re in town on a Monday, see the theatre in a different light by taking in a classic movie for just $1.
We suggest a matinee performance at the Paramount so you’ll have plenty of time to linger at Two Brothers Roundhouse. This is a great venue for dinner – and a lot more. The oldest limestone roundhouse in the United States, constructed in 1856 to serve Aurora on the Chicago & Aurora Railroad, the unique building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside the 70,000-square-foot facility is a full-service supper club restaurant, music venue, and the Two Brothers Café and Beer Bar serving local brews plus coffee roasted on-site. You can also find the Zephyr Room, featuring a bar built in 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago, serving up high-end, handmade cocktails with Two Brothers artisan spirits and other premium liquors. The menu features everything from burgers to walleye to steak, but the restaurant is famous for its fish tacos. Outside, you’ll find one of the largest and most unique beer gardens in Chicagoland. When the weather is warm enough, you can enjoy food, drinks and live music among the trees, lights and a roaring fireplace.
Day 2: Shop Bargains and Eat Hardware
If you’re pining for Chicago’s Mag Mile shopping experience, Aurora has you covered – for a lot less money. Chicago Premium Outlets is an outdoor center with more than 160 stores, including brands like Adidas, Coach, Nike, Kate Spade, Vera Bradley, Restoration Hardware and more. More than a shopping center, visitors can spend the day on-site enjoying the fireplaces, art installations, a play area and reflecting pond. When you’re ready for a break, fuel up at one of the 14 dining locations within the center.
Ready to celebrate a fruitful day of bargain-hunting? Wind down at Hardware. Priding itself on sustainability, this gastropub and brewery is committed to growing and harvesting ingredients for a truly local dining experience. Hardware staff maintains a 1.5-acre hop farm for brewing its own B.B.G.B. beer, and they grow lettuce, herbs, fruit and nuts on-site. They even make their own bacon and some of their own sausage. Enjoy an appetizer and salad before selecting from a range of entrées, from a vegan risotto to a Wagyu flat iron steak. Save room for one of the truly unique dessert options like pork belly with red cherry ice cream or an “adult” Ho-Ho with Maker’s Mark whiskey cream filling. Finally, choose from one of 450 whiskeys served straight-up or in a Prohibition-era cocktail as you toast to a truly memorable time in Aurora.
Start planning your trip to the Naperville and Aurora area...book your perfect hotel stay today with Holiday Inn Express & Suites Aurora - Naperville, Illinois!
Other Must Reads...
- Live Performances at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL
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- Shopping in the Aurora, Illinois Area
- Dining in the Aurora, Illinois Area