|Home Rule Municipality|
The Aurora Municipal Center
Nickname(s): The Gateway to the Rockies
The Sunrise of Colorado
Location in Arapahoe County
and the State of Colorado
|Platted||1891 as Fletcher|
|Incorporated (town)||1903-05-05, as the Town of Fletcher|
|Incorporated (city)||1929 as the City of Aurora|
|• Type||Home Rule Municipality|
|• Mayor||Steve Hogan (R)|
|• City Manager||George (Skip) Noe|
|• Home Rule Municipality||154.3 sq mi (369.7 km2)|
|• Land||154.1 sq mi (369.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|Elevation||5,471 ft (1,648 m)|
|• Home Rule Municipality||339,030|
|• Rank||US: 56th|
|• Density||2,106.8/sq mi (789/km2)|
|• Urban||2,374,203 (US: 18th)|
|• Metro||2,645,209 (US: 21st)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|ZIP codes||80010-80019, 80040-80047 (all but 80045 PO Boxes), 80137, 80247|
|Area code(s)||Both 303 and 720|
|GNIS feature ID||0204737|
|Highways||I-70, I-225, US 40, SH 30, SH 83, SH 88, E-470|
The City of Aurora (, ) is a Home Rule Municipality in the 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-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area (Metro Denver). The city's population was 325,078 in the 2010 Census, which makes it the third most populous city in the state of Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the United States.
Denver and Aurora are the principal cities of the Denver Metropolitan Area, which in 2012 had an estimated population of 2,645,209 (the 21st most populous MSA in the U.S.). However, Denver and Aurora combined make up less than half of the Denver Metro Area's population and Aurora has approximately half the population of Denver. The estimated population of Metropolitan Denver was 3,214,218 in 2012 (16th most populous CSA).
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 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. Rather aptly, Aurora, the city composed of hundreds of subdivisions thus carries the name of one of the original development plats from which it sprang.
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 the City 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.
A large military presence has existed in Aurora since the early 20th century. In 1918, Army General Hospital #21 (later renamed Fitzsimons Army Hospital) opened, with the U.S. government expanding and upgrading the hospital facilities in 1941 just in time to care for the wounded servicemen of World War II. Lowry Air Force Base was opened in 1938, straddling the border of Aurora and Denver. It eventually closed in 1994, and was redeveloped into a master-planned community featuring residential, commercial, business and educational facilities. In 1942, the Army Air Corps built Buckley Field, which over the course of history has been renamed Naval Air Station, Buckley Air National Guard Base and finally Buckley Air Force Base. The base, home of the 460th Space Wing and the 140th Wing Colorado Air National Guard, is Aurora's largest employer.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center for seven weeks during the fall of 1955. In 1943 the hospital was the birthplace of 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Decommissioned in 1999, the facility is part of the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado Denver, and the Fitzsimons Life Science District. The Anschutz Medical Campus also includes the University of Colorado Hospital, which moved to Aurora from Denver in 2007, and the Children's Hospital. The first carbon-ion radiotherapy research and treatment facility in the U.S. has been proposed at the site. These facilities will employ a workforce of 32,000 at build-out.
In 1965, mayor Norma O. Walker became the first woman to head a U.S. city with a population over 60,000.
In 1979, it was announced that a science fiction theme park would be built in Aurora using the sets of a 50-million dollar film based on the fantasy novel Lord of Light. However, due to legal problems the project was never completed. The script of the unmade film project, renamed Argo, was used as cover for the "Canadian Caper": the exfiltration of six US diplomatic staff trapped by the Iranian hostage crisis.
In 2004, Aurora was honored as the Sports Illustrated magazine's 50th Anniversary "Sportstown" for Colorado because of its exemplary involvement in facilitating and enhancing sports. The city attracts more than 30 regional and national sports tournaments annually to Aurora's fields, which include the 220-acre (0.89 km2) Aurora Sports Park opened in 2003. Aurora's active populace is also reflected in the variety of professional athletes hailing from the city. Aurora's first semi-professional sports franchise, the Aurora Cavalry in the International Basketball League, began play in 2006 but folded by seasons end due to budget mishaps.
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.
On July 20, 2012, Aurora was the site of one of the largest mass shootings in terms of number of casualties in United States history. The 2012 Aurora shooting occurred just after midnight, when a gunman opened fire during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in a Century movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The shooting drew an international response from world leaders. U.S. President Barack Obama visited victims, as well as local and state officials, and addressed the nation in a televised address from Aurora on July 22. The events marked a turning point in recognition and public perception of the city; rather than referring to the site as being in "Denver" or "suburban Denver", as would have been typical before the event, virtually all media accounts of the incident unequivocally named "Aurora" as its location.
Aurora is located at (39.695887, -104.808101). 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.
As of the 2000 census, the city had a total area of 142.7 square miles (370 km2), of which 142.5 square miles (369 km2) was land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), or 0.17%, was water. By 2010, the city had grown to 154.7 square miles (401 km2), surpassing Denver's 153.0 square miles (396 km2) and ranking as the 54th largest U.S. city in land area.
Aurora is composed of dozens of neighborhoods, districts and (current and former) military installations. Among them:
- Aurora Heights
- Aurora Highlands
- Aurora Hills
- Aurora Knolls
- Beacon Point
- Berkshire Village
- Buckley Air Force Base
- Carriage Place
- Chaddsford Village
- Chambers Heights
- Cinnamon Village II
- Cross Creek
- The Dam East
- Del Mar
- The Dam West
- Fitzsimons Campus
- Fox Hill
- Hallcraft's Village East
- Hampton Hills
- Havana Heights
- Heather Gardens
- Heather Ridge
- Heritage at Eagle Bend
- Highline Villages
- Hillside at Del Mar
- Hoffman Heights
- Hutchinson Heights
- Jackson Farm
- Lowry Campus (formerly Lowry Air Force Base)
- Lyn Knoll
- Mission Viejo
- Morris Heights
- Murphy Creek
- Original Aurora (the Fletcher townsite, Aurora's "downtown")
- Peoria Park
- Pheasant Run
- Piney Creek
- Pride's Crossing
- Ptarmigan Park
- Quincy Hill
- Rocking Horse
- Saddle Rock
- Settler's Village
- Serenity Ridge
- Seven Hills
- Stapleton (a portion of the redevelopment of Denver's former airport lies in Aurora, directly north of Original Aurora)
- Smoky Hill 400
- Smoky Ridge
- Sterling Hills
- Stricker's House
- Summer Valley Ranch
- Tallyn's Reach
- The Timbers
- Tollgate Run at Kingsborough
- Tollgate Village
- Village East
- Waters Edge
- Willow Trace
|West: Denver, Centennial||Aurora|
South: Greenwood Village, Centennial,
Aurora experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with four distinct seasons and modest precipitation year-round. Summers range from mild to hot, with generally low humidity and frequent afternoon thunderstorms, and Aurora also averages about one dozen tornado warnings throughout tornado season, running from April–July. Although a touchdown does occur every couple of years, tornadoes are typically weak and short lived, but there is a long history of dangerous and devastating tornadoes. Aurora residents typically hear the tornado sirens go off numerous times more than residents in Denver, to the West. All of Aurora is located east of I-25, where tornado alley begins. Hailstorms, at times 1-2'+ deep happen on occasion, and typical hailstorms are very common throughout these months. July is the warmest month of the year, with an average high of 89 °F (32 °C) and an average low of 57 °F (14 °C). Winters range from mild to occasional bitter cold, with periods of sunshine alternating with periods of snow, high winds and very low temperatures. December is the coldest month of the year, with an average high of 43 °F (6 °C) and an average low of 17 °F (−8 °C). The average first snowfall in the Aurora area occurs in late October and the average final snowfall occurs in late April, although snow has fallen as early as September 4 and as late as June 1st. Generally, deciduous trees in the area are bare from mid October to late April/early May. However, not all trees planted in Aurora are deciduous, such as the Prickly Pair Cacti, Yucca Plants, other Cacti, and Magnolia trees. Despite some bitter cold days each Winter, Aurora is located at a latitude low enough, with a high-enough sun angle and intensity, to support these trees with year-round green foliage.
|Climate data for Aurora, Colorado|
|Record high °F (°C)||
|Average high °F (°C)||
|Average low °F (°C)||
|Record low °F (°C)||
|Precipitation inches (mm)||
As of the 2010 census, there were 325,078 people, 121,191 households, and 73,036 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,939.6 people per square mile (748.9/km²). There were 131,040 housing units at an average density of 766.7 per square mile (296.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.1% White, 15.7% African American, 4.9% Asian (1.1% Korean, 0.8% Vietnamese, 0.5% Filipino, 0.5% Chinese, 0.5% Indian, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% Cambodian, 0.1% Burmese, 0.1% Nepalese, 0.1% Pakistani, 0.1% Indonesian), 1.0% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 11.6% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.7% of the population; 21.9% of Aurora's population is of Mexican heritage, 1.0% Salvadoran, 0.7% Puerto Rican, 0.4% Guatemalan, 0.3% Honduran, 0.3% Peruvian, and 0.2% Cuban. Non-Hispanic Whites were 47.3% of the population in 2010, compared to 85.1% in 1980.
There were 121,191 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.2.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 37.6% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 100.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,507, and the median income for a family was $52,551. Males had a median income of $35,963 versus $30,080 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,095. About 6.8% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
EconomyAccording to the Aurora Economic Development Council, the largest public employers in the city are:
|1||Buckley Air Force Base||12,100|
|2||Anschutz Medical Campus||6,360|
|3||University of Colorado Hospital||4,050|
|4||Aurora Public Schools||4,020|
|5||Cherry Creek Schools||3,820|
|6||City of Aurora||3,740|
|7||Community College of Aurora||510|
|1||The Children's Hospital (Aurora, Colorado)||4,100|
|4||ADT Security Services||1,600|
|5||HealthONE Colorado: The Medical Center of Aurora||1,480|
|7||Lockheed Martin Corporation||810|
|9||Beverage Distributors Co.||600|
|10||Advantage Security, Inc.||580|
The City of Aurora levies an Occupational Privilege Tax (OPT or Head Tax) on employers and employees.
- If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the employee and employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
- Both employer and employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
- It is the employer's responsibility to withhold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
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 Blackstone Country Club, CommonGround Golf Course, Heather Ridge Country Club, Heritage Eagle Bend Golf and Country 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 
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 more than 30 years ago, offers a full season of full orchestra concerts annually as well as smaller chamber ensemble performances.
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.
Primary and secondary education:
Post-secondary and career education:
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.
In 2014 the U.S.A. Powerlifting Raw Nationals and the IPF Open Powerlifting World Championships were both held in Aurora, Colorado. The WC was the 35th Women and 44th Men open Powerlifting Championships, and it was held on the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast.
Notable natives and residents
- William L. Armstrong - former U.S. Representative and Senator
- Scott Bentley - professional football player
- Michael D. Brown - former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director
- Zachery Ty Bryan - actor
- Dwayne Carswell - professional football player
- Larry Coyer - professional football coach
- T.J. Cunningham - former professional football player
- John Denver - late songwriter-singer-musician-actor, occasional resident
- Danny Dietz - U.S. Navy SEAL
- Madhuri Dixit - Bollywood actress
- Penny Flame - screen name of Jennifer Ketcham, pornographic actress turned blogger
- Brian Fisher - former professional baseball player
- Maggie Flecknoe - radio personality and voice actress
- Missy Franklin - Olympic swimmer
- Michael Garcia - former Colorado legislator
- Eddie Gill - professional basketball player
- Foolish Things - alternative rock band
- Freddy Glick - former professional football player
- John Grahame - professional hockey player
- Cole Hernandez - professional actor and dancer
- James Eagan Holmes - suspected perpetrator of the 2012 Aurora shooting
- Bob Hagedorn - Colorado legislator
- Neil Hopkins - actor
- Michelle J. Howard - Vice Admiral, United States Navy
- Danny Jackson - former professional baseball pitcher; world series with KC Royals 1985
- Matt Jordan - professional soccer player
- Brian Kelly - professional football player
- John Kerry - U.S. senator, U.S. presidential candidate, and U.S. Secretary of State
- Daniel Kucera - retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Church
- Nate Marquardt - professional mixed martial arts fighter
- Aaron Moorehead - professional football player
- Sean Moran - professional football player
- Jane Norton - Former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
- Bill Owens - 40th Governor of Colorado
- Frank Peña - U.S. Amateur featherweight champion and retired professional boxer
- Aaron Pitchkolan - professional soccer player for FC Dallas of the Major League Soccer
- Brandon Quinn - actor
- Kayla Radomski - professional dancer
- Bill Ritter - 41st Governor of Colorado
- Brendan Schaub - UFC Fighter in the Heavyweight division
- Senim Silla- Rapper
- Paul Smith - former professional football player
- Billy Thompson - professional football player
- Tyler Toner - professional mixed martial arts fighter
- Sean Tufts - professional football player
- Tiffany Vise - professional ice skater
- Frank Weddig - state politician
- DaVarryl Williamson - former professional boxer
- Louis Wright - professional football player
- Najibullah Zazi, convicted al-Qaeda member
Aurora has a single sister city, Adama, Ethiopia, which was established in 2014 after Aurora Sister Cities International was resurrected in 2013. The city of Aurora had a previous sister city program from 1988 to 2004.
- Outline of Colorado
State of Colorado
- Colorado cities and towns
- Colorado counties
- Colorado metropolitan areas
- Aurora Sentinel, the local newspaper
- "Active Colorado Municipalities".
- "Colorado Municipal Incorporations".
- "Aurora History". City of Aurora, Colorado. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". 2012 Population Estimate.
- "ZIP Code Lookup" ( The post office serving 80137 is located in Aurora, however “Watkins” is the place name assigned to the ZIP code.
- "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012" (
- "Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012" (
- Cornelius, Cornell (2014-09-24). "CSU plan presents new hope for U.S. Cancer Patients". Colorado State University. Retrieved 11/8/14.
- "World Youth Day memorial signs in need of repair".
- "AAC Winners by State and City". Ncl.org. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- "Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: 70 Victims The Largest Mass Shooting". Good morning America. July 20, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- "Officials release complete list of injured victims in Aurora massacre"
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".
- Planning and Development Services DepartmentAuroragov.org:
- Climate Summary for Aurora, Colorado
- Weather.com—. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved November 8, 2013.
- "Factfinder2census.gov". Factfinder2census.gov. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- "Aurora (city), Colorado". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau.
- "Colorado - Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau.
- "Aurora Economic Development Council". Auroraedc.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- "USA/Canada Offices." Mexicana de Aviación. Retrieved on January 28, 2009.
- Aurora Symphony Orchestra (1999-02-22). "About the ASO". Aurorasymphony.org. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- Laura King Van Dusen, "Marie Guiraud: 1860s Pioneer, Mother of Ten, Widowed at Forty-five, Amassed One of the Largest Estates in Park County Up to 1909", Historic Tales from Park County: Parked in the Past (Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2013), ISBN 978-1-62619-161-7, pp. 15-20.
- Smith, James. "Your Aurora Government". Aurora Government. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- visitaurora - International Powerlifting World Championships
- "Sean Moran". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- "Aurora Sister Cities International". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- City of Aurora website
- Aurora Economic Development Council website
- Aurora Chamber of Commerce website
- Visit Aurora website
- CDOT map of the City of Aurora
- On Havana Street a community business organization
- Aurora Macaroni Kid a family friendly events calendar
- Aurora Cultural Arts District