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Finding a place to live in Aurora is no ordinary experience for newcomers. A mix of well-preserved history and community-wide creativity makes this city feel smaller than it actually is. Only Chicago has more residents, but Aurora's convenient and picturesque spot along Fox River has turned it into a transportation, entertainment, and shopping hub for urban commuters, suburban transplants, and lifelong locals alike.
Downtown streets are filled with masterpieces by everyone from Frank Lloyd Wright to George Grant Elmslie, who built more commercial buildings here than anywhere in the world. There are even dozens of still-standing homes built from Sears Catalog kits in the early 20th century. Among all this architectural history are rooms for rent, apartment complexes designed to blend in with the historic styles, and brand new units that keep springing up in response to growing business opportunities.
The Fox River divides Aurora into the East Side and the West Side, and the County Line creates a third area, Fox Valley, which borders neighboring Naperville. These three regions contain several neighborhoods that played an important role in modern American architecture, as well as brand new residential and commercial areas that are expanding opportunities for renters and job-seekers alike.
The Boulevard District is wedged just northwest of the river, between Galena Boulevard and Prairie Street. Home to both Aurora University and Abraham Lincoln Park, and stopping just north of Aurora Country Club, this district is one of the most family-friendly residential parts of town. But even if you don't have kids, you'll enjoy the youthful vibe that comes with proximity to a college campus.
The Fox River is the focal point of Aurora culture and recreation, and right in the middle of it, Stolp Island holds three of the city's most popular attractions: Paramount Theatre, Hollywood Casino, and Leland Tower. Built in 1931, the Paramount Theatre is one Aurora's oldest landmarks, but it's also a working performance venue that still hosts big-name music acts, stand-up comedians, and the Broadway Series of critically acclaimed musicals. Hollywood Casino, meanwhile, offers a Vegas-style buffet, the award-winning Fairbanks Steakhouse, and exciting poker tournaments.
Just east of Stolp Island, on the other side of the river, RiverEdge Park is one of the Greater Chicago Area's most attractive outdoor entertainment options. Right next to the Metra Station for easy city access, the venue's ten-acre pavilion and 30-acre park fill up each year for seasonal events like the Fox Valley Irish Festival, the summer concert series Downtown Alive!, and the blues festival Blues on the Fox.
Other events and attractions include the Aurora ArtWalk, the SciTech Interactive Science Museum and outdoor science park near the Aurora Public Library, The Sunken Garden, and the Phillips Park Zoo.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Aurora, IL is $771 for a studio, $1,053 for one bedroom, $1,317 for two bedrooms, and $1,602 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Aurora has increased by 1.9% in the past year.
If you work in Chicago but the city isn't a good fit for your family, budget, or lifestyle, Aurora might be the perfect solution for you. That's because commuting takes as much effort as it would in the city itself; Aurora is the westernmost point -- and first morning stop -- on the BNSF Metra Line to Chicago's Union Station. The Aurora Metra Station on Broadway opens at 4:30 AM on weekdays, when early risers can board one of the morning's first two direct routes to the Windy City, but you'll have to wait until 8:30 AM to start catching trains with room for bikes. Even weekend routes start at 5:10 AM, and they all allow bikes, so you can enjoy full days in the city or another suburb during your down time.
For residents who need easy access to the surrounding counties and more rural parts of the state, Illinois 31 (Illinois Route 31) runs parallel to the Fox River and stretches all the way from Oswego to Wisconsin. You can use this road, which turns into Lake Street and River Street downtown, to get directly to Geneva, Elgin, Batavia, McHenry, or Algonquin. It also intersects with I-88, giving you two routes into the city that are both less than fifty miles. However, the Metra's hour-long morning routes are almost always a better bet.
Downtown Aurora's cafes, antiques, and boutiques are still steeped in history and designed to encourage small business growth with an intimate sense of community. Culture Stock Bookstore is community group L.I.F.T. Aurora's passion project, and it's your best source for vinyl, used books, and even live poetry readings and open mic nights. Several small jewelry boutiques line Broadway, giving local artists a place to share their handmade wares.
On the East Side, thrifty shoppers travel hours from every direction to take advantage of Aurora's main shopping attraction, the Chicago Premium Outlets. This world-class savings mecca is full of unbelievable deals on clothes, shoes, and accessories from the most in-demand designers and department stores.
Fox Valley is the best neighborhood if you're in the mood for a full day of indoor, high-end shopping. As New York Street turns into Aurora Avenue just before Naperville, you'll reach the neighborhood's namesake: the former Fox Valley Mall (now Westfield Shoppingtown at Fox Valley). This gigantic shopping center has 157 stores, including all the usual mall staples and a few designer boutiques.
Apartments for Rent Under $600 in Aurora, IL
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