I had the lovely opportunity to take my best friend on a girls weekend trip to Aurora Illinois for a little bff vacation! We had an exciting, fun filled weekend in Aurora packed with special events and tons of delicious foodie hot spots. Aurora, Illinois is located about 40 miles west of Chicago and 113 miles south of Milwaukee. In Midwest distance? This was a quick hour and a half drive for me: the perfect distance for a quick weekend getaway!
Thank you to the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for inviting Katie and me for a weekend trip to your beautiful city! All opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Friday Night in Aurora Illinois
Grab a beer at Gillerson’s Grubbery
We started off our weekend with a delicious beer at Gillerson’s Grubbery. I had a delicious raspberry brew that was courtesy of Oswego Brewing Co. I loved it so much I drank (two!) before I could take a picture…oops!
First Fridays & Food Truck Fest in Downtown Aurora
We were very fortunate to experience the annual Food Truck Fest in Downtown Aurora during our weekend trip! It’s typically the first weekend in May, so it’s incredibly easy to coordinate your trip to this event. Even if you can’t plan that specific weekend, head to downtown Aurora for First Fridays! On the first Friday of the month, downtown Aurora gets pretty lively with music, art, delicious food, and overall community fun! My own hometown has this, and I absolutely love seeing other cities have this monthly event! It’s a great way to check out the local shops, artists, and see what fun things a city has to offer.
Chill Evening at Two Brothers Roundhouse
So, I had googled Two Brothers before my weekend trip to Aurora, but that barely scratched the surface of how magnificently large this place is. Not only is it a brewery, it has several bars, a restaurant, a cafe, AND is an event venue. It’s massive and incredibly cool. We popped in while they were hosting Art Bar, which is a pop up art exhibit featuring artwork from local artists that you can actually purchase! You can find them monthly at Two Brothers and find a different theme each month!
Since our Saturday plans included plenty of wine… we decided to hangout at the cafe for a late night snack and tea. It’s a FULL cafe, as in it offers seating (tables AND couches), not just a barista and bakery counter. They even have shelves with tons of board games; I really enjoyed the late night cafe vibe. More cities need to have a late night cafe! The cafe “closes” (as in stops making drinks) around 9 pm, but you can still enjoy the atmosphere, relax on the couches and play some games.
Saturday in Aurora Illinois
Morning at Calla Lily Spa
After a late night checking out the downtown scene, a spa morning at Calla Lily Spa was the absolute perfect pick me up! What better activity to add to the itinerary of a girls weekend in Aurora Illinois than a day at the spa pampering yourself!? In case you need some convincing… here’s 5 reasons you need to pamper yourself with a spa day during your girls trip to Aurora IL! (Thank me later!)
Lunch at Endiro Coffee
Endiro Coffee may look like a casual coffeeshop, but I was SURPRISED by the full breakfast/lunch menu they offered! (I spill ALL the beans on my delicious food in Aurora here.) Not only does Endiro offer delicious food and drinks, but you can rest assured that your money is going to an incredible wholesome business. Endiro’s vision is outstanding: “At Endiro Coffee, our vision is to be a company that partners with others to end child vulnerability globally through coffee and its people, related products, profits, serivces, spaces and stories. Good people, good food! What more could you really want out of a lunch spot?
Wine on the Fox Festival – **Special Event
Another special event….coming right up! May is CLEARLY the time you need to hightail it down (or up…or over..) to Aurora Illinois for your weekend vacation. It’s unbelievable how many cool things happened in JUST A WEEKEND?!
Wine on the Fox is a [delicious] wine tasting festival located in Oswego, another cute little down just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Aurora, Illinois. Located right on the Fox River (hence the name), it’s a beautiful spot to lounge, drink wine, and have a beautiful afternoon in the sunshine! They have live music, so feel free to pack up some folding chairs and sunscreen to enjoy the atmosphere! Wine tasting is purchased via tickets: 1 ticket per sample, and they have 100+ options for you to try. (Really, the place is littered with booths and about 5-10 types of wines, sangrias, etc at each booth!) If you like a particular wine, you can buy a full glass OR purchase the bottle, too!
Unique Dinner at Hardware Gastropub
Dessert charcuterie board anyone?! Hardware Gastropub is a restaurant no foodie should miss! From unique foods, such as the dessert charcuterie board shown above, to unique beverages, to being environmentally friendly, Hardware Gastropub really is a must see and taste.
An Experience at the Paramount Theatre
After a delicious dinner, we buzzed on over to the Paramount Theatre to see August Rush! I love a good Broadway play, and August Rush definitely brought tears to my eyes! The Paramount Theatre hosts a variety of events, some including ballet, hip hop and other dances, commedians, family friendly plays, as well as “Movie Mondays.”
Sunday in Aurora Illinois
Buffet Brunch at Turf Room
If there’s one thing I love just as much as brunch….it’s a solid buffet, which I was stoked to find a delicious buffet brunch at The Turf Room! My suggestion? Try a small taste of everything, but especially stop over at the carving station for mouthwatering prime rib, and snag a waffle with from scratch whipped cream and butter!
An Afternoon at Phillips Park
Unfortunately, we didn’t explore EVERYTHING Phillips Park has to offer, which is much more than what I know you’re assuming right now! It’s a full 325 acres—so you know it’s packing the good stuff.
May is the perfect time for tulip sniffing, frolicking, posing, and admiring! The Sunken Garden is a beautiful space at Phillips Park filled with tulips of all sizes! Made me feel like Alice laying amongst the daisies in Alice in Wonderland. (Except I wouldn’t squish flowers!)
Phillips Park has a golf course, a zoo (with 100 different animals! completely FREE), family aquatic center (offering slides, kid friendly swimming pools, sand volleyball, and concession), a dog park, BMX/skate park, tennis courts, several playgrounds, picnic areas…. and really so much more. You can find the full juicy details here.