Shops in downtown Aurora are reopened, so it’s time to grab a face mask and spend an afternoon visiting these one-of-a-kind gems.
Walk inside Branch Gardens, 77 S. Lake St., and it’s a paradise of overflowing greenery that will delight the senses or perk up any staycation. Owners Kori and Bryan Kasper lovingly fill the corner shop with plants and curated decor and gifts.
A block down is Warehouse 55 at 55 S. Lake St. With garage doors that open up to more than 30 vendors, Warehouse 55 is a soon-to-be two-floor shopping playground for those smitten with all things vintage and mid-century. Vendors dress up their spaces with the most festive of touches, and it’s hard to walk away without falling in love with something.
Walking east on Downer Place a block and a half is Wyckwood House at 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 16. Celebrating its second anniversary this month, the impeccably staged store inspires homeowners with handcrafted signs and must-have furniture pieces. Owner Shannon Gutierrez has added a line of women’s clothing that is sold online and in the store. The store is a go-to for clever occasion cards and thoughtful gifts.
It’s now time to walk east to City Hall and walk down the pedestrian-friendly Water Street Mall that is now flanked by The Venue and Gary Brown Art. The art gallery has regular business hours and is worthy of a stop.
Now on Galena Boulevard, travel a block east past Broadway and stop into I of the Angeles, the new spiritual and metaphysical shop at 217 E. Galena Blvd. Owner Maria Saltijeral schedules reiki and tarot appointments throughout the day, and sells inspirational merchandise including incense, jewelry, tapestries, and more.
Next door at 221 E. Galena Blvd. is My Daughter’s Dress, a resale occasion dress shop featuring prom and wedding dresses at a fraction of the retail cost. The nonprofit accepts donations of formal dresses and accessories, and has the mission to make every girl and woman feel beautiful in her own skin.
Walking back west, stopping across the street for bakery items is always a good idea and La Central or La France have amazing and delicious selections.
At Galena Blvd. and Broadway, cross the street to stop into The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange at 8 N. Broadway. Owner Yvonne Thompson entices passerby with coffee, handmade soaps and creams, a selection of vintage vinyl, and handpainted furniture. The store is the perfect place to pick up a creative party or host gift, too.
Further north on Broadway, Patron Boots is a great stop to inhale the fresh leather of boots and see the latest in Western and casual wear.
Kitty-corner at Broadway and New York Street is Aurora Regional Fire Museum that boasts a nice gift shop filled with fire-themed items including toys, mugs, and more. Custom t-shirts designed by local artist Chris Hodge are a hit.
Heading west, it’s time to round out the day with a walk along the riverwalk, and if hunger strikes, there is La Quinta de los Reyes, Gillerson’s Grubbery, and Ballydoyle all within reach, or more than two dozen other restaurants to choose from in a walkable downtown.
The above walking tour of downtown shops works best if started with a coffee at Society 57, 100 S. River St. Car and bicycle parking are available across the street at Aurora Public Library.