sits nestled between the western Chicago suburbs of Aurora
and Naperville. Of the 198,000 people that call Aurora home, over 10,000 of them live in the South Farnsworth neighborhood. North of Ogden Avenue and east of Hill Avenue, the South Farnsworth neighborhood stretches north just shy of E. New York Street to encompass the entire Oakhurst County Forest Preserve, a favorite area of the locals.
Although mainly comprised of married families with children, South Farnsworth suits the needs of its many, varied, residents. For people working in the city, the straight drive east into downtown Chicago on Interstate 88 makes South Farnsworth an ideal combination of comfortable suburban life and city access. The neighborhood also houses
Waubonsie Valley High School, a top high school in the area. Potential residents can also find very affordable housing in South Farnsworth – much cheaper than in Chicago and even overall in Aurora.
Schools in South Farnsworth
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
The neighborhood of South Farnsworth offers residents a variety of quaint, unique dining options. On the top of the list is Pie Boss, a relatively new business that creates specialty pies and desserts. Each item offered on the menu has a distinctive flair, such as the Spinach and Feta Pie or the Spicy Lamb Pie. Top one of those entrees off with a South African Custard Tart with homemade vanilla ice cream, and you quickly become a repeat customer.
On the southern edge of the neighborhood along Ogden Avenue, you find Fox’s Pizza Den. This locals’ favorite serves gourmet pizza along with fun dishes like Wedgies and Big Daddies. Wedgies look and taste just like sandwiches, except Fox’s serves them up on a handmade pizza crust instead of bread, and a Big Daddy pizza measures 12 by 24 inches and contains a whopping 21 slices.
Although not technically in South Farnsworth, Doggie Diner sits just on the other side of Hill Avenue and deserves a mention. This affordable eatery serves traditional diner foods like hot dogs, gyros, beef sandwiches and burgers. Even seafood lovers can find a warm seat here by enjoying the house-favorite half-pound basket of shrimp with fries on the side.
For entertainment, many people like to hit up Saddle Up Saloon and Dancehall. This laid-back, country-style bar serves tasty drinks and plays line-dancing music all night. Every Friday and Saturday Saddle Up offers fun step-by-step line-dancing lessons where everyone from beginners to the advanced regulars can join in. The Saloon sits a quick four-mile drive east of the neighborhood off of Ogden Avenue.
On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, you find the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. Opened in September of 1931 and restored in 1976, the beautiful historical building features many types of theatrical performances. Comedy shows, musicals and even Broadway-caliber shows put on by hardworking artists can be seen in the Paramount Theatre.
History & Culture
After the Blackhawk War in 1834, the McCarty’s took claim of the land now known as Aurora, Ill., that spans to the east and west sides of the Fox Valley
River. After selling the west side to the Lake brothers, two villages emerged: West Aurora and East Aurora; the latter of which now houses the South Farnsworth neighborhood. The two towns joined in 1857 to create Aurora as it exists now, but interestingly, they decided to build the government buildings primarily on Stolp Island, found in the Fox Valley River directly between the two sides.
In 1856, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad established its roundhouse and locomotive shop in the town, making it the largest employer in the Fox Valley Region. The economy in the manufacturing city boomed until the railroad closed in 1970. An economic and employment slump lasted for many years until business regained momentum with the construction of the Hollywood Casino in 1993.
Learn more about Aurora’s ever-changing history by visiting the Aurora Historical Museum in the downtown area near the Fox Valley River. Another fun way to spend time in Aurora is at the town’s Holiday Festival of Lights. This town served as a hometown to many famous people, including author Clive Cussler and meteorologist Tom Skilling.
Most people who live in Aurora travel by car or by train. The largest thoroughfare running through Aurora, Interstate 88, takes drivers east into the city or west toward Iowa. The Metra commuter train also stops in Aurora on its Burlington Northern Santa Fe route, which ends at Union Station in downtown Chicago. Pedestrian and bike safety is a concern of the local government and as such, bike lanes have been added to several of the streets. A car is still the best mode of transportation in the colder months.
While the neighborhood of South Farnsworth does not have public parking options, inexpensive public parking is available for downtown Aurora patrons. The on-street and lot parking rates and time limits vary by color. For example, a platinum parking space can only remain occupied for a maximum of 90 minutes, while a mercury space in a parking lot can stay occupied for 10 hours. It is best to call ahead for a cab, or schedule your pick up online. Uber drivers are less likely to pick you up, or you will be waiting quite a while for your ride.
Many people who choose to live in South Farnsworth take the affordability of the neighborhood into consideration. The rental of a one-bedroom apartment runs $800-$900 per month on average, and the cost of living is 7.8 percent below the state average.
One of the largest shopping centers in the area, Westfield Fox Valley is anchored by JC Penney, Macy’s, Carson's and Sears. The shopping mall has over one million square feet of retail space with 150 stores to choose from. With high-end clothing shops like the Buckle and H&M, and luxury boutiques like Brighton Collectibles and Pandora, Westfield Fox Valley has a store for almost every need.
While grocery shopping can be done year round at stores like Aldi and Mariano’s in Aurora or farther east in the Naperville Walmart or Costco, the warmer months of the year also bring Aurora’s famous farmers' market. For over 100 years, the farmers' market in downtown Aurora has offered fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, artisan cheeses and more. From June until October every year, you can join in on the fresh food and fun
Oakhurst County Forest Preserve is a protected nature area for those who love the outdoors. The 22 acres of woodland offer hiking trails, biking trails, picnic shelters and historic sites. In addition, Lake Patterson spans 55 acres of fresh clean water for boaters, fishermen and naturists to enjoy. This park is kid and dog friendly