Pride Journey Outdoors: Aurora, Illinois
Aurora has been ranked the number one city in the country to live the American Dream. Located 35 miles west of Chicago, Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois with a population of 200,456 and is known as the "City of Lights" because it was one of the first in the nation to illuminate its streets with electric lights. Plus, it’s gay-friendly. Check out two outdoor activities you can enjoy if you decide to visit the city.
Described by the City of Aurora as the “crown jewel” of Aurora’s parks, it’s fitting to call Phillips Park a hidden gem among Chicagoland’s historic parks. Its 325 acres are home to a zoo, golf course, aquatic center, scenic lakeside walking trail, and a magnificent Sunken Garden. The Sunken Garden was designed by Ray C. Moses, an Auroran, and constructed in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. Planting over the years has commemorated significant historical events, including layouts paying tribute to the armed services during WWII. Seasonal attractions include spring tulips, summer and fall annuals, and the Phillips Park Festival of Lights at wintertime, the largest free holiday lights display in Northern Illinois.
The communities of the Aurora Area in Illinois are joined by a gorgeous stretch of Fox River, offering peaceful non-motorized boating on its gentle waters and hiking, running, and cycling alongside it on its trails. Visitors can ride along or paddle the Fox, taking time to stop in charming, historic downtowns for shopping, dining, and live entertainment. For the avid kayaker, the Marge Cline Whitewater Course in downtown Yorkville, Illinois offers some of the Midwest’s only consistent, year-round Class I-II rapids. Birdwatchers and anglers will find plenty to appreciate about the Fox River, from migrating bald eagles nesting in rookeries to abundant game fish giving chase around the river’s lowhead dams.
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