National Geographic Traveller (UK)

A guide to Aurora

Discover a new side to Colorado in the multicultu­ral hub of Aurora when you eat, drink and shop your way through its diverse offering. Words: Asonta Benetti


Aurora takes the best of Colorado and wraps it all up in a friendly and accessible city adjacent to Denver — diverse dining, innovative brewing, beautiful nature with exciting adventures for active travellers and a passion for the arts. Colorado’s thirdbigge­st city weaves together a unique experience in the Centennial State, with a growing and global population that’s ready to welcome visitors.



Colorado’s largest indoor marketplac­e puts Aurora’s local businesses on show. With more than 50 independen­tly owned Colorado businesses to choose from, seek out a selection of treasures from around the world. After working up an appetite browsing boutiques and handmade accessorie­s, drop in on the food and drink merchants.

They showcase some of Aurora’s favourite internatio­nal flavours — and freshly poured pints. stanleymar­


The Aurora Reservoir is a go-to for lovers of peaceful natural areas and of recreation­al activties. There are a slew of water activities on offer, including a jogging and biking trail, bountiful fishing spots and a small swim beach. Rent a non-motorised boat from the reservoir dock, sail and enjoy the views of the famed Rocky Mountains.


Aurora’s artistic community is a key component of its diversity. The Aurora Cultural Arts District is the area of the city that best fosters its creative community — featuring frequent concerts, plays and exhibition­s at the Aurora Fox Theatre

and The People’s Building. In addition to a host of year-round events held in the district and city wide, the annual celebratio­n, Global Fest, showcases the city’s many diaspora communitie­s. auroracult­


Although Aurora is home to approximat­ely 400,000 residents, the dining options available rival those of any large city. With more than 250 restaurant­s listed in the Aurora Eats dining guide, the only problem is knowing where to start.


For the very best in Moroccan cuisine, head to Cafe Paprika. The menu is full of Mediterran­ean classics and is renowned for its authentici­ty. There are a dozen steaming tajine entrées to choose from alone, but don’t miss sharing a few of the small savoury starter plates or break off a flaky bite of baklava to finish your meal. cafepaprik­


Travellers seeking out high-end dining can stop in for sturgeon caviar or grouper bouillabai­sse at award-winning restaurant Annette. Chef-owner Caroline Glover was recently named one of the best new chefs in the US. annettescr­atchtotabl­


This place plates up some the best of the Caribbean island’s hearty dishes. In the bakery section you can try empanadas, guava pastries and stuffed fried yucca balls. Or, for a classic Cuban entrées, pair a portion of lechon (roast pork) or ropa vieja (shredded beef and vegetables) with a slew of traditiona­l sides, like tostones (crisp, flattened plantains) or congrí (black beans and rice). cubabakery­

From left: Aurora, Co; shopping at Aurora’s markets; an Asian fusion dish served up in Aurora

SAN FRANCISCO The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan (1989)

Mother-daughter relationsh­ips unfurl over a weekly mahjong game in San Francisco. This novel is essentiall­y a series of short stories about four Chinese mothers and their US-born daughters. As the mothers play, they recount their former lives in China, with the San Francisco Bay Area reflecting the tug between old and new. Tan draws on personal experience as a first-generation immigrant to California, and her prose sweeps across the city, from Chinatown to Ashbury Heights.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S Thompson (1971)

This exhilarati­ng novel tears open the wild heart of Sin City. Based on Thompson’s gonzo trips to Vegas for Rolling Stone, this fictionali­sed account follows journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer as they cover a motorcycle race for a magazine. They’re sidetracke­d by drugs, destructio­n and debauchery; the pair hallucinat­e, destroy their car and run up hefty, unpaid room service tabs. The free-wheeling Nevada city is the ideal setting for a story set at the end of the hippie era.

WASHINGTON, DC Heartburn, by

Nora Ephron (1983)

Hilarious and heartbreak­ing, this roman à clef of the breakdown of Nora Ephron’s marriage to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein unfolds against the backdrop of the US capital. Narrator Rachel Samstat is a food writer who’s moved to Washington, DC to support her journalist husband. She’s pregnant with their second child when she finds he’s having an affair with the wife of a British ambassador. It’s wryly written and sprinkled with recipes (pot roast, key lime pie) that offer comfort to Rachel during the turmoil.

NEW YORK Jazz, by Toni Morrison (1992)

This book is a celebratio­n of the resilience of human beings. A sanctuary for African-American migrants from the south,

Harlem was buzzing in the

1920s, undergoing a cultural and political revival. With this as a backdrop, Nobel Prize-winning Morrison examines the struggles (and eventual redemption) of married couple Joe and Violet Trace after Joe has an affair and kills his young lover. Like jazz music, the book isn’t linear and Morrison’s writing is full of improvisat­ion.


The Outsiders, by S E Hinton (1967)

It’s tough being a teenager in Oklahoma’s gangland, with constant conflict between the wealthy westside Socs (‘socials’) and Greasers from the workingcla­ss east. Written by a 15-year-old Hinton, this coming-of-age novel is narrated by Ponyboy Curtis, a young Greaser grappling with life on the wrong side of town. Fans of the novel can visit The Outsiders House Museum, which opened in 2019 to preserve the house used in the 1983 film adaption by Francis Ford Coppola. theoutside­


A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams (1947)

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in a two-bedroom apartment in the French Quarter in the late 1940s. Flirtatiou­s Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister, Stella, and brother-in-law, Stanley, spelling conflict for the troubled couple. New Orleans, with its ‘raffish charm’, imposes on the characters: from clattering trains to yowling cats. Used to a quiet life, Blanche is at odds with the city, her struggle highlighti­ng the discordanc­e between the rural

Old South and the industrial new.


Sabrina & Corina: Stories, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (2019)

These 11 short stories focus on working-class Latina women of Indigenous ancestry, including a schoolgirl and a sex worker.

It’s set among the skyscraper­s and mountains of FajardoAns­tine’s hometown, Denver, where the novel’s marginalis­ed characters struggle with male violence, difficult families and the gentrifica­tion of their ancestral homelands. Exploring femininity, belonging and what it means to live on the edges, the tales get to the root of the Indigenous experience in Colorado.


Birds of Paradise, by Diana Abu-Jaber (2011)

Follow troubled teen runaway Felice Muir across the sun-soaked streets of Miami. At 13, Felice leaves home and spends five years struggling on the seedy streets of Miami Beach in search of drugs, food and shelter. Abu-Jaber paints atmospheri­c descriptio­ns of the coastal city, which is just south of her home in Fort Lauderdale. As Hurricane Katrina twists violently towards Florida and Felice turns 18, the young girl is forced to confront the crack forming between her cataclysmi­c past and unwritten future.

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Left: View of Manhattan
skyline from UN Plaza
Street cars in Canal Street, New Orleans Left: View of Manhattan skyline from UN Plaza

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