Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Aurora, Illinois

Just 40 miles west of Chicago motorcoach tour groups will find exclusive deals at high-end designer outlets, inspiring attractions, a craft brewery scene with an independent streak and a historic theatre quietly rising up the ranks of the storied Chicagoland theater landscape. This Aurora Area tour itinerary is provided by the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and can be customized to fit your group’s needs.

Day 1: Shopping and Entertainment in Aurora, Illinois
Begin your tour with a visit to one of the largest high-end outlet malls in the Midwest, Chicago Premium Outlets, where passengers can shop for exclusive deals on deluxe and designer goods at more than 160 stores. Chicago Premium Outlets is more than a shopping center; it’s a true shopping destination for Chicagoland visitors, attracting tourists from all over the globe to its easily accessible location off I-88 in Aurora, Illinois. A recent expansion includes a dedicated motorcoach entry and drop-off area, a curated collection of public art on display throughout the property and on-site dining options that feature some of Chicago’s best fast-casual restaurants.
Next, take in a matinee at the rising star of the Chicagoland theater scene, Aurora’s Paramount Theatre, a perfect location for tour groups to get the best bang for their Broadway buck. This 1,888 seat historic art-deco venue has been at the center of an arts & entertainment revitalization underway in Downtown Aurora, and has produced award-winning shows acclaimed by critics for their inventive and larger-than-life set design, breathtaking performances and masterful direction.

Carl Draper (center) is cowboy Will Parker in Oklahoma!, the debut collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein about turn of the century American pioneers. Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti directs. Performances run through October 18, 2015 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666. Photo credit: Liz Lauren

After the show, tour passengers can dine on elevated gastropub fare and taste some of the Midwest’s most beloved craft beers, at Two Brothers Roundhouse. The Roundhouse is a historically significant structure, identified as the oldest standing railroad roundhouse of its kind in the United States, and Two Brothers’ renovation of the space has brought many new uses to this legendary building, including a celebrated in-house coffee roasting program, a limited-release brewing operation, a live lounge where visitors can catch the latest and greatest touring and local bands, and a soon to be completed distillery of artisan spirits.
Close the day at a bus-tour friendly Aurora area hotel, where your group can find warm, knowledgeable hospitality in a retreat-like atmosphere at a great value.

Day 2: The Hidden Gems of the Aurora Area
Rise and shine with an excursion out to Plano, Illinois, to tour Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, a minimalist masterpiece set against a backdrop of natural bliss along the Fox River. This world-famous home is considered the gold standard for modern domestic architecture, representing the ultimate refinement of van der Rohe’s minimalist expression of structure and space.
Extend your tour of Plano with a visit to The Homestead 1854, an elegant estate where your group can enjoy private dining and a creative retreat with experiences tailored to meet your needs.
A short drive west to Sandwich, Illinois, brings your group to a charming downtown where you’ll find more examples of historic architecture in traditional styles, like the Sandwich Opera House. Constructed in 1878, over the years the Sandwich Opera House has hosted legendary musical acts on its intimate stage with pristine acoustics. Your passengers can step into history with lunch at the Bull Moose Bar & Grill, where they can enjoy a beer and a burger the way the old “Bull Moose” himself, Teddy Roosevelt, would have done: Isabella, the 1893 Pullman railcar attached to the bar, was commissioned by the monumental American politician for cross-country tours between 1900 and 1913.
Tour passengers can work off their meals by shopping the distinctive antique and vintage shops in Downtown Sandwich, regarded as the antiquing capital of the region thanks to its monthly fairs and high concentration of exceptional dealers.
End your group’s day with an exploration of the fundamental questions of the universe at Fermilab, a U.S. Department of Energy site in Batavia, Illinois, open to visitors year-round. Public tours of the facilities are available, where your group can see how physics is investigated using large-scale particle detection devices, and meet the people contributing to their discovery. Fermilab is also home to more than 6,800 acres of natural wildlands that your group can tour on foot or by vehicle – see the bison preserve and an astonishing collection of prairie wildflowers, and spot up to 300 species of birds that call Fermilab home.
Group reservations are required at these attractions. For more information, contact Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Sales Director Pete Garlock, at (630) 256- 3194 or pete@enjoyaurora.com.
To learn more about what makes the Aurora Area an amazing group tour destination, visit tourinaurora.com.