Paramount Theater in Aurora
WINNERTop 100 rank: 74
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At the crossroads of city and country, Aurora is on the fringe of the Illinois Research & Development Corridor, a major stretch of intellectual and corporate brainpower.
As one of the first cities in Illinois to implement an all-electric street lighting system, Aurora is nicknamed "The City of Lights." And it keeps the flame alive downtown with entertainment at the Paramount Theatre and Hollywood Casino.
Downtown Alive, a free festival that includes live music and a variety of food booths, is held every Friday night in the summer. The only downside? A lingering reputation for crime, despite declines in the last six years.
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