Welcome to Oak Park
With excellent schools, world-class architecture, extensive shopping and dining, and convenient access to public transportation, Oak Park is one of the choicest Chicago suburbs for families and young professionals seeking serenity and a sense of community for daily life. Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes and buildings line the streets, while old and new landmarks commingle, from the old horse fountain in Scoville Park to the gleaming, glassy public library. The village is visually attractive, to be sure, and endlessly appealing to those with upscale sensibilities. Bungalow-style single-family homes share the village with historic, colorful condo buildings, as well as some new apartment complexes in the downtown area.
What to Love
- Preeminent architecture and historical landmarks
- Easy commute to downtown Chicago via Metra, CTA, and Eisenhower Expressway
- Amenities at your fingertips, from schools to shopping centers
This super-walkable suburb draws out families, young professionals, and the older residents who have called historic Oak Park home for decades. Those who have decided to settle here enjoy the ambiance of classic Chicago, but also love the idea of lawns and bucolic streets. Amidst the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings and other notable Prairie-style architecture in the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District, neighbors play, shop, dine, and otherwise soak up the pleasant vibe of their hometown.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Mom-and-pop bakeries, ethnic eateries, trendy bars, and fine-dining establishments line Lake Street in the middle of town. Primary shopping outlets are found on Lake, Oak Park, and Harlem avenues.
It’s typical for Oak Park residents to turn in early after a satisfying dinner - versus heading out to find bustling nightlife - but the meal can be an occasion on its own. At Maya Del Sol, the local owners have been providing guests with authentic Latin American cuisine and handcrafted margaritas since 2007. Choose from ceviche, nachos, fresh seafood, and char-grilled steaks - washed down with margaritas shaken and served tableside. Award-winning Cucina Paradiso offers Italian family-style dining - think beef tenderloin medallions, chicken calabrese, and ricotta-stuffed gnocchi. Over at the 30-seat Sen Sushi Bar, you’ll feel the passion of owner Chaidanai Chaiprasert, who long talked about opening a sushi restaurant. Choose from a fantastic selection of sashimi and classic maki. Lalo’s and Avenue Ale House, two other Oak Park favorites, are nearby. Later, make your way to Hole in the Wall Custard for a sweet ending to the evening.
Care to cook at home? The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from late May to late October. Pick up fresh produce, even doughnuts, and don’t miss the annual pie bake-off.
Things to Do
Active Oak Park residents needn’t give up their outdoor exercise routines in the colder months. The Park District of Oak Park offers a great lineup of fitness classes; there are a number of other gyms and fitness studios in downtown Oak Park.
Get a dose of nature at The Oak Park Conservatory, one of the top three historical sites in town. The conservatory is free to the public and boasts a vast array of flora and fauna throughout three indoor showrooms, as well as urban outdoor gardens.
For the architecturally minded, Oak Park is home to the Pleasant Home, which is one of the earliest and most distinguished examples of Prairie School Architecture in the nation. The 30-room mansion, built by wealthy resident John Farson in 1897, is now a museum known for its rich custom woodwork, extraordinary art-glass windows, massive fireplace, and tile work.
While Oak Park itself doesn’t contain an abundance of green spaces, Chicago’s historic Columbus Park, with a golf course, is just to the east across Austin Boulevard.
The 74-year-old Lake Theatre is a beloved Oak Park landmark, a historic building fully restored to show first-run films on seven screens with surround sound and digital projects (and free refills on popcorn and fountain drinks!). Catch theater on stage in the summer during the Oak Park Festival Theatre, a favorite cultural offering for everyone in the village.
Oak Park is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
Horace Mann Elementary School, K-5, highly rated public elementary school
Irving Elementary School, K-5, highly rated public elementary school
Oliver W. Holmes Elementary School, K-5, highly rated public elementary school
Oak Park & River Forest High School, 9-12, well-rated public high school