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Oak Park near Chicago, Illinois
Oak Park, a west-side suburb of Chicago, is best known for its connection to famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright and as the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway.
A livable, affluent community, Oak Park offers plenty to do in a historic setting just 10 miles west of Chicago.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright built many homes in the Oak Park neighborhood, including one of his first projects, the Winslow House.
The Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio served as Wright’s residence and workshop for the first 20 years of his career.
Visitors can tour the house, learn about Wright’s signature style and illustrious career, and take a guided walk through the historic neighborhood surrounding the house to view several Prairie style and Victorian houses he designed.
Visit the house where he grew up and learn all about his early years and writing career at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home and nearby Museum.
Hemingway was born in a second floor bedroom of the Queen Anne house built by his maternal grandparents. The house has been restored to appear as it did when Ernest lived there.
Oak Park Attractions and Cultural Events
Families and animal lovers will want to visit the nearby 216-acre Brookfield Zoo while those who have a green thumb (or just wish they did) will love wandering the beautifully landscaped Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest indoor conservatories in the country.
The Wonder Works Children’s Museum will delight kids of any ages with its interactive exhibits and the Maywood Park Race Track will get your adrenaline running as you cheer on your favorite harness-racing horse.
During warmer months—late May through October—you can buy the freshest produce straight from local farmers at a Saturday farmers' market.
Oak Park has no shortage of cultural events on its calendar. The city is home to four art galleries and 11 theatres and the Arts Center hosts concerts, symphonies, lectures and special events.
The downtown area also hosts weekly events like Art in the Streets and Thursday Night Out, when shops stay open late and offer great deals and restaurants serve food alfresco from a special menu.
You’ll find countless other community events to enjoy, depending on your interest, like the Oak Park Cycle Club’s annual Wright Ride bike ride.
Dining in Oak Park
Oak Pak has dining options for every taste. Pay homage to the great writer at Hemingway’s Bistro, which serves up French-influenced fare in a refined atmosphere; nosh on stone-baked pizzas and hearty Italian dishes at Cucina Paradiso; or enjoy sushi, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, or classic American cuisine.
While it lacks the nightlife options of downtown Chicago, Oak Park still offers a fine selection of wine bars, pubs, and lounges to keep you from going thirsty. No matter what you are in the mood for, you’ll find it easily in Oak Park.
Metra’s Union Pacific West Line will get you to Oak Park from downtown Chicago (Union Station) in under 20 minutes. Once in Oak Park, you can navigate the downtown area by foot, or jump on the local Pace bus.
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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2013 Lee W. Nelson