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Aurora, Illinois

Arts and Culture in Aurora, Illinois

By Marieve Herington


Located just an hour from the hustle and bustle of Chicago is the charming community of Aurora, with some fascinating arts and culture. I see why many people find this town to be the perfect weekend getaway – it offers a tranquil setting, but it still has plenty to do.

Farnsworth House: A Hidden Gem in the Woods

I wouldn’t normally consider myself a fan of modern architecture, but the Farnsworth House was a treat like none other. Driving out to the property, all I knew was that Mies Van Der Rohe had designed this house, which looked like just a box in the woods from the images online. It may sound cliché, but you just have to go see it, as the pictures don’t do it justice.

Drive through a thick, beautiful forest to the Fox River’s edge, where you’ll find the house. As you walk up to the house, you’ll see why it’s so famous. The design is beautiful, clean and efficient, yet not the least bit cold. Quite to the contrary – the house and surrounding property are all so inviting, and there is an air of calm about it. It’s probably exactly what Edith Farnsworth, the lady who commissioned Van Der Rohe, had intended for this weekend getaway house. Perhaps what amazed me most about this house was that it looks like a space you might see in the trendiest design galleries today, but the house was built more than a half century ago. It left even this non-modern appreciator in awe of Van Der Rohe’s talent and foresight.

Prairie-Style Architecture by George Grant Elmslie

I admit I didn’t know about the Prairie style of architecture before visiting Aurora, but I learned that one of the leaders of architecture of this style, George Grant Elmslie, has several historically significant buildings right here in Aurora. If you’re a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, you’ll definitely enjoy visiting some of Elmslie’s work in Aurora such as the Keystone Building, the seven-story Graham Building, the Healy Chapel and the Old Second National Bank.

Family-Friendly Museums to Explore

I really enjoyed the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, where I toured exhibits and saw artifacts on the history of firefighting. Housed in a historic fire station, the museum has a wonderful old red fire truck! There were several families with small children, and everyone had something to keep them entertained.

The SciTech Hands-on Museum in Aurora is an interesting place in a historic building that will appeal to families with school-aged children.

Aurora is a fun place for a getaway. Although it’s the second-largest city in Illinois, it sure has some first-rate cultural attractions.

For more information, please visit us:

Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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