Your GUIDE to Sugar Skull City, celebrate Day of the Dead in downtown Aurora

Welcome to Sugar Skull City! Aurora Downtown is honoring Day of the Dead, the beloved Mexican cultural tradition, from October 15 to November 5, 2023. Join us in celebrating Dia de los Muertos with art, activities, specials, videos, shopping, and much more.

“We come into this world to learn to die, and we die to begin our true life.”

Danza Tolteca-Chichimeca

You’re Entering Sugar Skull City 2023

Sugar Skull City is a three-week festive, downtown-wide celebration of Day of the Dead in Aurora, Illinois beginning on October 15.

Sugar Skull City ACTIVITIES

Welcome to Sugar Skull City! Most activities can be enjoyed at your leisure. If you are looking for events, then please visit on November 3 and 4. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy the list of suggested activities below.


  • Take a self-guided walking tour of downtown storefronts decorated for Day of the Dead by local artists and downtown staff. Click on link above for this year’s map of participating businesses. Visit anytime! Consider visiting between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday to make the most of our dining and shopping opportunities.
  • Enjoy specials and menu items at restaurants that honor the Day of the Dead traditions. See specials below.
  • Sugar Skull City Scavenger Hunt: Find as many BUTTERFLIES drawn by local artists in storefronts as you can from Oct. 15 through Nov. 5 in downtown Aurora. Butterflies are symbolic of souls returning to visit. There are TBA total locations. Tag the ones you find @downtownaurora on Instagram for weekly giveaways. #sugarskullcity
  • Learn how to make DIY sugar skulls and papel picado. Videos below!
  • Shop downtown stores for local artisan Day of the Dead merchandise.
  • Stop into Mexican restaurants and bakeries and support Latinx-owned businesses.
  • Buy an official Sugar Skull City tote bag. 2023 locations: TBA
  • Participate in an ofrenda contest at Santori Public Library of Aurora, 101 S. River St. View ofrendas the first week of November in the library’s atrium.
  • Download Day of the Dead coloring pages. See below.
  • Enjoy an evening of Day of the Dead celebrations at First Fridays on November 3, 2023.
  • Shop a special Sugar Skull City Art and Market Aurora TBA

To request information in Spanish, please email info[at]auroradowntown[dot]org.

Para solicitar informacion en espanol, envie un correo electronico a info[at]auroradowntown[dot]org.

Throughout Sugar Skull City, we will have ONE large Sugar Skull screen print on YELLOW paper hidden in plain sight in downtown Aurora. If you find it, take a photo and #sugarskullcity on Instagram, and you could win an official Sugar Skull City tote bag. You can also enter by submitting the photo via email to info[at]auroradowntown[dot]com. Winners will be chosen randomly each week until November 5.

Day of the Dead merchandise displayed on NBC’s Chicago Today. Sugar Skull City tote bags are for sale at a variety of downtown retail locations including Wyckwood House, Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, and Aurora Regional Fire Museum. Photo by Jose Torres

Sugar Skull City MERCH

Visit shops in downtown Aurora for special Day of the Dead gifts, home decor, accessories, and more. Purchase an official Sugar Skull City tote bag for $20 at The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange and Society 57. Other Day of the Dead merchandise is available at Wyckwood House, Do or Dye Designs, The Cornucopia Shop, and Aurora Regional Fire Museum.

Visit our shops for fun Day of the Dead Merch:

  • Blissful Blooms, 55 S. Lake St. located on the 2nd floor, inside Warehouse 55
  • Do or Dye Designs, 24 S. Stolp Ave.
  • Wyckwood House and Cocktail Bar, 80 S. River St.
  • The Cornucopia Shop, 63 S. Broadway
  • The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, 64 S. River St.

Visit La Central Bakery, 110 E. Galena Blvd., for sugar skulls, Pan de Muerto and more.

Sugar Skull City SPECIALS

  • Altiro Latin Fusion | 1 S. Stolp Ave. ~ Cafe de Olla and Pan de Muerto $4.99 
  • La Quinta de los Reyes | 36 E. New York St. ~ Pumpkin Margarita
  • La Central Bakery | 110 E. Galena Blvd. ~ Pan de Muerto
  • Society 57 | 100 S. River St. ~ Honey Spiced Latte Hot honey + cinnamon + espresso + steamed milk. And for kids: Caramel Apple Cider Steamed apple cider + cinnamon syrup + whipped cream + caramel sauce drizzle
  • French 75 Gallery & Lounge | 56 E. Galena Blvd. ~ Spirit of the Dead cocktail
  • Craft Urban | 41 S. Stolp Ave. ~ guajillo braised lamb shank | Skull Candy cocktail
  • Torresmania | 3 S. Lincoln Ave. ~ Apple Cider Margarita

Specials are subject to change.

Sugar Skull City GALLERY

Learn how to make a sugar skull using only three ingredients! See our videos below.

Sugar Skull City VIDEOS

Learn about alebrijes. What is an alebrije? Watch and find out about these mythical animals from Mexican Folk Art.


Coloring pages are a joint project with Culture Stock.

Thanks for visiting! Come again!