Oak Park IL Digital Publication

Welcome to the Oak Park Area

Welcome to the Oak Park Area

Just 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, Oak Park is a visitor’s gateway to exploring the 18 communities in Western Cook County.

Oak Park and the area’s communities began on the American Frontier. In the 1830s and ’40s, the first settlers bought and sold parcels of land to travelers of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, the first train to run west of Chicago. As Oak Park continued to grow due to the suburban development boom following the Chicago Fire of 1871, the village embraced its rich heritage and continued nurturing its legacy to remain vibrant.

Today, visitors can discover this rich culture by exploring the massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in the area, including the architect’s own home & studio and the recently restored Unity Temple; visiting Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace, a beautifully preserved and antique-rich Victorian home; and touring George W. Maher’s Pleasant Home to marvel at its opulent art glass windows and ornate detailing.

Visit the community of Brookfield to explore the world-renowned Brookfield Zoo and take advantage of the village’s recreational amenities, including a kayak landing and extensive hiking/biking trails. The Village of Riverside, designed by acclaimed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is home to an array of architectural treasures lining its charming roads.

Visitors will find the area’s range of attractions, shops, eateries, entertainment options and accommodations priced to meet any budget. With its convenient location hugging I-290 and accessible via both CTA and Metra trains, the Oak Park Area is the optimal setting for friends, families, or groups to visit or host a special event. Visit Oak Park, your experience awaits!

Visit Oak Park
www.VisitOakPark.com | (888) OAK-PARK


Village of Oak Park
P: (708) 383-6400

Named one of the top 10 neighborhoods in the nation by the American Planning Association, Oak Park is more than a place – it is also a way of life. This thriving community, adjacent to Chicago on the west, boasts an excellent school system, esteemed architecture, boutique shops, a wide array of dining options, a vibrant arts scene, a diverse population and an extensive public transportation network.

The village also represents a distinctive blend of urban and suburban lifestyles, where Victorian homes and charming tree-lined roads meet skyline views and world-class attractions.

Village of Brookfield
P: (708) 485-7344

Like nature? According to Chicago magazine, “You’ll love this western suburb, which is home to Brookfield Zoo and a stretch of the Salt Creek forest preserve.”

Brookfield is a diverse community surrounded not only by a world-class zoo but many natural amenities like the Salt Creek bike trail, Oak Savannah, great parks, and a kayak landing! After enjoying these destinations, book yourself an appointment at Brennans Massage and Spa, refuel with a scrumptious pizza from Paisans Pizzeria & Restaurant, or a filet mignon slider at the Brookfield Ale House. There is always something new on the menu in Brookfield, indoors or out!

Village of Riverside
P: (708) 447-2700

When you visit picturesque Riverside, you’re not just entering another town; you’re entering a new experience. Designed by the visionary landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, with charming streets that elegantly curve and meander, sweeping green spaces and architectural treasures, every visit to this National Landmark landscape is a celebration of the extraordinary.

Village of Bellwood
P. (708) 547-3500

Village of Berkeley
P. (708) 449-8840

Village of Broadview
P. (708) 681-3600

Village of Elmwood Park
P. (708) 452-7300

Village of Forest Park
P. (708) 366-2323

Village of Franklin Park
P. (847) 671-4800

Village of Hillside
P. (708) 449-6450

Village of Maywood
P. (708) 450-6300

Village of Melrose Park
P. (708) 343-4000

City of Northlake
P. (708) 343-8700

Village of North Riverside
P. (708) 447-4211

Village of River Forest
P. (708) 366-8500

Village of River Grove
P. (708) 453-8000

Village of Schiller Park
P. (847) 678-2550

Village of Westchester
P. (708) 345-0020

5 Ways to Experience the Oak Park Area

1. Prairie Style Pleasures

Begin your adventure visiting the landmark that shaped global architectural practices. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, nestled on
a tree-lined street in the heart of Oak Park, is known as the birthplace of Prairie Style architecture. See original blueprints in the immaculate laboratory and marvel at colorful stained glass in the adjacent living quarters before hitting the streets of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this fairytale neighborhood is home to 25 Wright-designed residences. Landmarks like the Nathan Moore House, Heurtley House, and Hills-Decaro House, illustrate Wright’s evolution from traditional homes to the flat-roofed structures he is known for today.

No architectural odyssey would be complete without a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple. Arguably the boldest design of the 20th century, this National Historic Landmark is fresh off a long-awaited $25 million restoration – and after seeing the renewed grandeur of its ornate woodwork and skylights, it’s clear the project was worth the wait. Another distinguished example of Prairie Style architecture is just down the street, and is the only George W. Maher design currently open to the public; the Pleasant Home, an opulent 30-room mansion, boasts a softly lit porch and picturesque garden from the outside. Venture inside to see its elegant woodwork, decorative motifs and colorful tilework.

The nation’s leading example of Prairie style commercial architecture, Scoville Square, sits at the prominent corner of Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. While it’s primarily a meeting and events space, visitors can pop into the impressive lobby to see the monumental oak staircase and marble wainscoting. The building also has a variety of merchants, like the casually elegant New American eatery Winberie’s Restaurant.


Start with a guided interior tour of the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace. This beautifully preserved Victorian home, where the author was born and spent his first six years, showcases antiques and rare family photographs offering a glimpse at Hemingway’s early influences. You can also step into another time at the Nineteenth Century Club. Once the private women’s club for the area, this landmark structure now hosts public art, music, and cultural events. Catch an afternoon performance in its stylish ballroom before checking out the Oak Park River Forest Museum. This new museum, housed in a restored historic firehouse, sheds light on these distinct communities with its rotating exhibits and never-before-seen artifacts. The Riverside Historical Museum, in Riverside’s historic downtown is another must-see for its compilation of archival material highlighting Frederick Law Olmsted’s landscape architecture. The village’s architectural legacy is also emphasized, from the famed village water tower to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley House.


Craft beer lovers, rejoice! The Oak Park Area is brimming with micro-local breweries for drinkers of all palates. Fancy lagers? Check out Kinslahger Brewing Company, named one of the nation’s best local breweries by Travel + Leisure. Flagship beers like the creamy Baltic Porter and the earthy Chicago Common continue to satisfy locals and visitors. Those looking for a variety of year-round ales alongside a constantly changing line-up of seasonal offerings should stop by Wild Onion Tied House, a buzzy family-owned brew pub in Oak Park’s Pleasant District. Two Brothers Social Tap, Oak Park’s newest haunt for craft beer, offers a selection of artisanal coffees and well-balanced beers in a bustling space steps from the CTA Green Line. The Oak Park Brewing Company, the area’s first brew pub, is a local favorite. The relaxing ambiance, sustainable brew practices, and live entertainment lineup contribute to its enduring appeal.

Not a beer guru? Indulge in award-winning wines and made-from-scratch bites at Coopers Hawk Restaurant and Winery, a modern eatery with a Napa-style tasting room and artisan market. Craving a stronger libation? The historically-inspired, small-batch artisanal spirits at Quincy Street Distillery are the cornerstone of handcrafted cocktails in the on-site speakeasy bar.


Coming to the Oak Park Area with the kids in tow? Begin your trip at Brookfield Zoo, home to more than 3,000 animals representing some 420 species. Hands-on experiences like penguin encounters and giraffe feeding allow your family to connect with nature like never before. Afterwards, chase some mind-bending indoor thrills at Vault Escape in Riverside. Guests can choose from five different on-site escape rooms, varying in theme and difficulty, requiring teams to work collaboratively and solve puzzles before time runs out.

Feeling adventurous? See the Forest Preserves of Cook County from the treetops at Go Ape! This seven-acre park features five breathtaking ziplines, suspended obstacle courses, Tarzan ropes and a junior course for younger kids who want to experience the action closer to the ground. Tykes 8-and-under will love Wonder Works Children’s Museum, a 6,400-square-foot place for fun and creative play. Engaging activities like “Build It!” and “Lights, Camera, Action!” aim to spark cooperation and imagination.

Aspiring scientists shouldn’t miss the Cernan Earth and Space Center, one of two space-age planetariums in Chicagoland. Watch a laser light show in the 44-foot dome theater, then peek at the lobby’s display of notable spacesuits, fossils and telescopes. Continue your afternoon of exploration at the Oak Park Conservatory. Home to more than 20,000 plants in its fern, desert and tropical showrooms, this botanical wonderland is a lush and hidden oasis sure to enthrall visitors of all ages.

5. Adventures in Art

It only makes sense for an artist to start their journey at the Oak Park Art League, one of the longest, continually-running non-profit arts organizations in Illinois. Housed in a rehabbed 1902 carriage house, this beloved landmark offers an array of arts courses for all skill levels and hosts rotating exhibits in its historic gallery space. Check out Riverside’s artistic spirit at the Riverside Arts Center, a gallery and event space making seasonal exhibits and arts education accessible to the area’s creative community for more than 20 years.

The area’s vibrant artistic spirit is perhaps best reflected in the “Urban Local Made” collection at the Oak Park Visitors Center. Debuting in fall 2017, this curated product line features exclusive artwork, gifts, and gourmet edibles made by local artisans and artists. If the handcrafted items inspire you, head to Laura Atwood Studio Beads & Trading Co. to shop the vast selection of handmade items from around the world. Beads, vintage textiles, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and other arts-and-crafts supplies fill the 1,200-square-foot shopfront along Brookfield’s Broadway Avenue. Higgins Glass in Riverside is another haven for artsy types, offering an enchanting and colorful line of collectible glass pieces like rondelays, jewelry, and ornaments.

Next, plan a day in the Oak Park Arts District. A stretch of quirky boutiques, art galleries, and eclectic eateries line Harrison Street in this low-key, friendly neighborhood in Southeast Oak Park. The district has something for everyone: hear some stand-up at the Eastgate Café, satisfy a sweet tooth at the Happy Apple Pie Shop, see a show at Open Door Theater, or catch a set from a local musician at Buzz Café.

Best Bets for Every Season

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly happenings, outdoor live music, craft beer festivals, or architectural tours, the Oak Park Area scores with a wide array of special year-round events. Here are our some of our favorite annual events for every age, personality, and budget.


March, April, May

Jazz Thaw
Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Riverside Arts Weekend
Guthrie Park
Riverside, 60546

Bike Brookfield & Old-Fashioned Street Dance
Various locations
Brookfield, 60513

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Madison Street
Forest Park, 60130

Beer Under Glass
Garfield Park Conservatory
Chicago, 60624

Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk
Wright Historic District
Oak Park, 60302

OPRF Historical Society’s Spring Housewalk
Various locations
Oak Park, 60302


June, July, August

Uncork Illinois
Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Summer Nights
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, 60513

Riverside Cruise Nights
Burlington St. at Longcommon Rd.
Riverside, 60546

Oak Park Festival Theatre
Austin Gardens
Oak Park, 60301

Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum
Oak Park, 60302

Thursday Night Out
Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Summer Concerts in the Park
Kiwanis Park
Brookfield, 60513


September, October, November

Brookfield Arts Fest
Kiwanis Park
Brookfield, 60513

Open House Chicago
Various locations
Oak Park, 60301

Oak Park On Tap
Pleasant Home
Oak Park, 60302

Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Boo! at the Zoo!
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, 60513

Riverside Garage Car Show
Riverside Garage
Riverside, 60546

Casket Races & Zombie Pub Crawl
Madison Street
Forest Park, 60130


December, January, February

Holiday Magic
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, 60513

Winterfest + Cookie Walk
Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Oak Park Theater Month
Various locations
Oak Park, River Forest, Berwyn

Holiday Walk & Festival of Windows
Madison Street
Forest Park, 60130

Home for the Holidays
Downtown Oak Park
Oak Park, 60301

Winter Greens Market
Oak Park Conservatory
Oak Park, 60304

Bite Nite
Nineteenth Century Club
Oak Park, 60301

Business Districts

Hemingway District
100 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 445-1149

The Hemingway District in the “Heart of Oak Park” is home to a group of award-winning restaurants, specialty shops and international and local designers of jewelry and fashion. Located on Oak Park Avenue from the Hemingway Birth Home to St. Edmunds Church and on Lake Street and North/South Boulevards from Euclid to Grove.

Downtown Oak Park
1010 Lake St., Ste. 114
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 383-4145

Downtown Oak Park offers an exceptional array of stores and restaurants, including one-of-a-kind boutiques and an impressive mix of ethnic cuisines that will delight every personality, schedule, and budget. Accessible by both the Metra and the CTA green line, Downtown Oak Park offers a year’s worth of special events that will make your visit to Oak Park a memorable one. Located between Harlem and Forest Avenue and Ontario and the train station.

Oak Park Arts District
Harrison St. between Ridgeland Ave. and Austin Blvd.

A unique collection of studios, shops, and restaurants on Harrison Street. You’ll find dance and yoga studios, healing arts practices, a specialty pet store, salons and barbershops, a beading studio and an iconic record store in the district. Check the website for classes and special events like the monthly Third Friday Gallery Walk.

Pleasant District Association
South Blvd. to Randolph St., Harlem Ave. to Home Ave.

Pleasant District welcomes visitors to enjoy an assortment of service-based businesses including restaurants, personal care and wellness and lodging and banquet accommodations. Pleasant Home, a National Historic Landmark museum, is situated within a 4.5-acre public park and is open to the public for tourists, programs and event rentals. Accessible by the Metra and CTA Green Line, the Pleasant District is situated just steps from Downtown Oak Park and hosts several special events including an annual pub crawl.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Historic District

Oak Park is internationally known for its architectural styles ranging from Victorian to Prairie. It is also known as having the most Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in the world. A third of the houses in the village are located in historic districts, one of them being the Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. This area boasts beautiful tree-lined streets with gorgeous homes that are not to be missed. You may even feel like you’ve walked right into a storybook. Visit flwright.org to schedule a tour.


Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

World-famous Brookfield Zoo is open every day inspiring guests through extraordinary connections with animals, nature and each other. It is home to more than 3,000 animals representing in excess of 420 species in naturalistic habitats. For information on special events, group rates, and ticket packages, visit the zoo’s website.

Cernan Earth & Space Center
2000 Fifth Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
(708) 583-3100

Explore the stars and planets visible in Earth’s night sky or travel to the edge of the Universe. From black holes to biodiversity, dramatic programs at the Cernan Center take audiences of all ages on exciting voyages of discovery. Visit the center’s website for schedules, previews, pricing, Star Store hours, laser shows, membership and more.

Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum
339 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 445-3071

Enjoy guided tours of the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home where the Nobel Prize winning author was born in 1899 and spent his early life. Group rates and times are available. Reservations are only required for groups greater than 10 people; tours run on the hour. Gift shop on site.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio
951 Chicago Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(312) 994-4000

Guided tours are offered daily at Wright’s first Home and Studio where the legendary architect experimented with design concepts that became a new American architecture and the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. Pair your tours at the Home and Studio and nearby Unity Temple. Find a large selection of unique items at ShopWright.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple
875 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-8873

Frank Lloyd Wright’s newly restored Unity Temple is an architectural masterpiece and National Historic Landmark, considered to be among the most innovative and imaginative structures of the 20th century. Interior tours available Monday through Saturday. Pair your Unity Temple tour with a tour at the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
(312) 746-5100

One of the largest indoor conservatories in the country, Garfield is easily accessible via the CTA Green Line Train – Conservatory stop. Special features include the tropical Palm House and Fern Room, designed by Jens Jensen. The Children’s Garden, Desert House, Monet Garden, Sugar from the Sun and outdoor gardens are also worth seeing!

GoApe Treetop Adventure & Zipline Course
1100 Ogden Ave.
Western Springs, IL 60154
(800) 971-8271

See the forest preserves from the treetops! This seven-acre course, built and operated by Go Ape, offers a two- to three-hour trek through more than 40 obstacles located 40 feet in the air. The course includes zip lines, Tarzan swings, and a series of rope ladders bridges and more. There is also a Treetop Junior course, offering an all-ages experience.

Hal Tyrell Trailside Museum
738 Thatcher Ave.
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-6530

This historic mid-1870s Victorian mansion is nestled among live native animals, wildflower gardens, and more. Natural-surfaced hiking trails wind through beautiful oak woodlands to a pond and along the Des Plaines River. Trailside Museum is child friendly, and offers a wide variety of public nature programs and exhibits for children, families and adults.

Oak Park Conservatory
oakparkconservatory.org or fopcon.org
615 Garfield St.
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 725-2400

The Oak Park Conservatory consists of three indoor botanical showrooms, Rubinstein Meeting Room & Garden and the Elsie Jacobsen Discovery Garden. It is an ideal location for a birthday party, bridal or wedding shower. Browse the gift store for unique nature-based children’s items and specialty gardening products. Go online to learn more about programs, special events and tour information.

Oak Park River Forest Museum
129 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 848-6755

An Oak Park landmark built in 1898 as a firehouse, the new OPRF Museum features changing exhibits on the area’s history, including an exploration of Oak Park’s welcoming legacy of racial diversity. The museum also includes a hands-on Children’s Corner and a research center open to the public.

Oak Park Visitors Center
1010 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 848-1500

The one-stop shop for visitors to the area, the Oak Park Visitor’s Center offers unique gifts and local art as well as a range of dining guides and area maps to make your stay stress free. Tickets are available for Hemingway’s Birthplace, the Pleasant Home, performances by the Oak Park Festival Theatre and the There Goes the Neighborhood Gangster Tour.

Pleasant Home
217 S. Home Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-2654

Explore this opulent mansion designed by Prairie School architect George W. Maher in 1897. A national historic landmark, Pleasant Home features an Arts & Crafts interior with art glass windows and intricately carved wood. The home is available for event rental, guided tours and offers a variety of community and artistic programming.

Riverside Historical Museum
10 Pine Ave.
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 447-2542

Explore a unique collection of artifacts, photographs and archival materials that emphasize the urban plan and landscape architecture of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. This noteworthy architectural legacy includes public buildings and private residences designed by world-renowned architects and local history dating from the Native American period to the present.

There Goes the Neighborhood Gangster Tour
Oak Park Visitors Center
1010 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 848-1500

John Binder’s tour visits 15 houses in Oak Park and River Forest that were once owned by major hoodlums, including Tony Accardo, Paul Ricca, Sam Giancana, “Tough Tony” Capezio and “Machine Gun Jack” McGurn. Hear about their criminal careers and interesting home features. Purchase tickets at the Oak Park Visitors Center.

Vault Escape
3234 Harlem Ave.
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 990-3029

Your team will break a curse, steal art or escape another adventure by cooperating, communicating and collaborating – all while having fun at Vault Escape! 15, 30 and 60-minute portable games are also available. At our location or yours, our premium experience is one you can’t wait to play.

Wonder Works Children’s Museum
6445 W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-4815

Wonder Works is a child-sized world with six experience zones where young visitors explore, experiment, create and imagine. An environment designed for play-based learning with programming that employs the arts and sciences and strengthens social, emotional and intellectual development. Daily admissions, memberships, field trips, private and semi-private parties are available.



Carleton of Oak Park
1110 Pleasant St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 848-5000

Nestled in the historic Pleasant District, The Carleton is a boutique hotel with 154 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites. Perfect for romantic getaways, long-awaited vacations to the Frank Lloyd Wright homes, or corporate retreats, The Carleton is an Oak Park tradition. Dine in at Barclay’s American Grille or Poor Phil’s Restaurant, and ask about the 6,000 square feet of event space that is perfect for weddings, social events, and meetings.

The Write Inn
211 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-4800

Enjoy your stay in this historic renovated inn with 65 rooms and suites. Family, Parlor King or Signature Suite Rooms are available. The Write Inn is walking distance to Hemingway shopping and dining district, the Green Line to Chicago’s Loop, Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, Unity Temple and Hemingway Birthplace. The Inn features the fine cuisine of Hemmingway’s Bistro.


Bishops Hall Bed & Breakfast
605 Iowa St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-7774

Built in 1916 in the Georgian revival style, Bishops Hall was a bishop’s residence for several decades. It is located among the highest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright commissioned homes, including Wright’s own home and studio. It is a rare opportunity to stay in one of Oak Park’s exceptional historic homes.

Harvey House Bed & Breakfast
107 S. Scoville Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 848-6810

With its welcoming yet informal atmosphere, Harvey House offers guests good company or simply just a break from daily life. National and local accolades include the New York Times, Midwest and Chicago Magazines, and the Chicago Tribune. You will find Harvey House to be an urban oasis.