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About Aurora, CO

Aurora is a Home Rule Municipality in the U.S. state of Colorado, spanning Arapahoe and Adams counties, with the extreme southeastern portion of the city extending into Douglas County. Aurora is one of the principal cities of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area (Metro Denver). Although Aurora has long been considered by many only as one of Denver’s larger suburbs, Aurora’s growing population in recent decades (now over half the size of Denver) has led to efforts for co-equal recognition with its larger neighbor. Former mayor Dennis Champine once expressed the somewhat whimsical notion that eventually the area would be called the “Aurora/Denver Metropolitan Area”. Indeed, since the 2000 Census Aurora has surpassed Denver in land area, and much of Aurora is undeveloped, while Denver is more fully built-out. However, such efforts are somewhat hampered by the lack of a large, historically important central business district in the city. Aurora is largely suburban in character, as evidenced by the city’s modest collection of tall buildings.

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Explore Aurora Colorado


Aurora is split among three counties and lies distant from the respective county seats. A consolidated city and county government was considered in the mid-1990s but failed to win approval by city voters. The issue was reconsidered in 2006. Colorado voters created the City and County of Denver in 1902 and the City and County of Broomfield in 2001. A consolidated city and county of Aurora would likely include areas not within the current city limits, but the new city-county boundaries would be set, restricting future expansion. In 2008, Aurora was designated an All-America City by the National Civic League.

Aurora originated in the 1880s as the town of Fletcher, taking its name from Denver businessman Donald Fletcher who saw it as a real estate opportunity. He and his partners staked out four square miles (10 km2) east of Denver, but the town – and Colorado – struggled mightily after the Silver Crash of 1893. At that point Fletcher skipped town, leaving the community with a huge water debt. Inhabitants decided to rename the town Aurora in 1907, after one of the subdivisions composing the town, and Aurora slowly began to grow in Denver’s shadow becoming the fastest-growing city in the United States during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Aurora is composed of hundreds of subdivisions thus carries the name of one of the original development plats from which it sprang.


The city’s official elevation, posted on signs at the city limits, is 5,471 feet (1,668 m). However, the city spans a difference in elevation of nearly 1,000 feet (300 m). The lowest elevation of 5,285 feet (1,611 m) is found at the point where Sand Creek crosses the city limit in the northwest corner of the city, while the highest elevation of 6,229 feet (1,899 m) is on the extreme southern border of the city in Douglas County, near the intersection of Inspiration and Gartrell roads. The city itself has the largest number of enclaves in the state. The city also has four exclaves.


Aurora straddles Interstate 70, Interstate 225 and the E-470 beltway. The Regional Transportation District’s light rail transit system was extended to serve the southwestern edge of Aurora on November 17, 2006. The H Line stops at Aurora’s Dayton and Nine Mile Stations; a comprehensive network of feeder buses in southern Aurora serve the latter. An extension of light rail along I-225 through the city is planned to connect with a commuter rail line between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport (DIA), both scheduled for completion by 2017 (see FasTracks). Much of Aurora is more convenient to DIA than Denver itself. This proximity is a factor in the expected growth of the E-470 corridor directly south of DIA, projected to eventually accommodate 250,000 additional Aurora residents. On February 24, 2017, the Regional Transportation District opened the R-Line that runs from the Lincoln Station in Lone Tree south of Denver, to Peoria Station in NE Denver, where riders may board the A line providing service from Union Station in downtown Denver with several stops to Denver International Airport. The R Line makes multiple stops through the core of the central district of the City. Currently, a single day pass can pay the fare for any of the District’s buses, light-rail or commuter-rail modes of transportation. So a single pass can be used to ride a bus to a light-rail station that connects to commuter-rail, like the A Line to the Airport.


The city of Aurora operates under a council-manager form of government, where the city manager runs the city’s day-to-day operations with general guidance from the city council. The Aurora City Council is composed of a mayor and ten council members. Six members are elected from districts the other four are elected at large. The mayor is elected by the entire city. Aurora’s mayor role is largely ceremonial, but the mayor does have direct impact on policy issues as the head of city council.

This full-service city is protected by the Aurora Police Department, one of only 10 law enforcement agencies in Colorado to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies; the Aurora Fire Department, which is accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International; and a Public Safety Communications dispatch call center. The Aurora Municipal Courts handles a wide variety of offense violations, and the Aurora Detention Center is a 72-hour adult holding facility.

The city of Aurora owns the former Guiraud Ranch in Park County. Now the Buffalo Peaks Ranch, it is located on Colorado State Highway 9 near the ghost town of Garo between Fairplay and Hartsel. The Guiraud Ranch was operated from 1875 until her death in 1909 by the French emigrant, Marie Guiraud.


The city of Aurora manages more than 100 parks, more than 6,000 acres (24 km2) of open space and natural areas, and six award-winning municipal golf courses (Aurora Hills, Meadow Hills, Murphy Creek, Saddle Rock, Springhill and Fitzsimons). Aurora also is home to several privately owned golf courses including CommonGround Golf Course, Heather Ridge Country Club, Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club, John F. Kennedy Golf Course and Valley Country Club.

Star K Ranch, home to Aurora’s Morrison Nature Center, provides important habitat for wildlife. It has several trails for nature exploration, including access to the Sand Creek Greenway Trail. Jewell Wetland, a 50-acre (200,000 m2) wooded wetland, features trails, boardwalk/deck access into the wetland and a butterfly garden. Aurora Reservoir and Quincy Reservoir offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor water pursuits.

DeLaney Farm, site of Aurora’s famous historic round barn, has 130 acres (0.53 km2) of open space, trails with access to the High Line Canal, an organic garden managed by Denver Urban Gardens, and two structures on the National Register of Historic Places. The Plains Conservation Center, with 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) of native shortgrass prairie, hosts a variety of educational programs.

Twenty-six historic sites and landmarks are managed by the city of Aurora, including the Gully Homestead of 1870, the Victorian-style Centennial House of 1890, the privately owned American War Mothers National Memorial Home, the Art Deco-style KOA Building of 1934, the DeLaney Round Barn of 1902, and Lowry Building 800, the interim headquarters for the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1955 to 1958.

  • The Aurora Fox Theatre & Arts Center, another historic landmark, is a 245-seat performing arts facility in the Aurora Cultural Arts District, along East Colfax Avenue.
  • The Aurora History Museum is a community-based cultural center featuring a permanent exhibit on Aurora history and two changing exhibit galleries touching on topics related to history and decorative arts.
  • The Aurora Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra established in 1978, offers a full season of full orchestra concerts annually as well as smaller chamber ensemble performances.
  • The Aurora Public Library serves its population, providing four main branches, four PC centers, and a variety of events throughout the year to its population.

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