In my opinion, there are a hundred reasons to take the Green line to Harlem. From rich cultural experiences to shopping and dining that rivals any city hub, Oak Park will meet and exceed your expectations from a quick solo trip to an extended family staycation. Located just 10 miles west of the Chicago loop, downtown Oak Park is a refreshingly quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Here are 10 reasons to jump on the Green Line and take it to the final stop: Harlem.
Frank Lloyd Wright homes – Tour the homes designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Oak Park has the largest collection of Wright-designed structures in the world, including his private residence and living quarters which have just recently been open to the public.
Hemingway birthplace and museum – Oak Park was home to one of the most important authors to ever live. Built in 1890, it was the first home in Oak Park to have electricity. His home still stands, and down the street is a museum filled with childhood photos and early writings.
Dining culture and breweries
Citrine – Mediterranean and American Cuisine to rival any top city hot spot
Little Gem Restaurant – Intimate and cozy European eatery
Lake Street Kitchen – Casual restaurant with good food and a large bar area
Hemmingway’s Bistro – Serves French dishes with fresh Midwestern ingredients
Lea French Street Food – French-inspired fast and casual restaurant
Maya Del Sol – Mexican meals and drinks in a stylish setting
Beer Shop – Combination bar and craft beer shop serving donuts on the weekend
Two Brothers Brewing – Craft beers and high-end pub fare
Oak Park Brewing & Hamburger Mary’s – What’s better than burgers and beer?
Munch Vegetarian – Vegan and vegetarian comfort foods
Cooper’s Hawk – Just opened! Winery and restaurant
*I feel obligated here to note that I can’t possibly list all of the incredible dining experiences in Oak Park. This is by all means, a short list. I encourage you to stop in any of these places, and countless more you’ll pass that should be on this list. Please note any favorites I may have missed in the comments below.
As you will find out, Oak Park has a lot to offer. In order to cover more ground, you may want to consider hopping on a Divvy bicycle. Conveniently located on several major streets, consider renting one for the day. You’ll be happy you did!
Cafes and bakeries
Spilt Milk – Homemade pies and pastries
Sugar Fixe – Gourmet French pastry shop
Live Cafe and workspace – Coffee, salads, sandwiches and a community workspace
Courageous Bakery – Cupcakes for Courage’s cafe offers various breakfast and lunch options
Scoville Square Park is located just outside the public library, and is perfect for a picnic, people watching, or taking the kids steps away to a playground.
With free events happening every day, the Oak Park Public Library is a beautiful retreat for yourself or the whole family.
Careful Peach – Gifting and specialty home decor with a European focus
Lively Athletics – Fashionable athletic and lifestyle apparel
Nora’s Shoes & Manouche– Effortless style in both footwear and fashion
Sanem’s – A trendy and classical-chic women’s fashion boutique
16 Suitcases – Fun juniors and women’s clothing, accessories and gifts
Sugarcup Trading – An über stylish baby and kids fashion boutique
Trends Consignment – Women’s pre-owned fashions and accessories
Two Story Farmhouse – A uniquely curated home, gifts and fashion “farmhouse”
Every Saturday enjoy locally grown produce, baked goods and live music. I would also be doing you an injustice if I failed to mention the freshly made donuts. Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., so come early to get first pick!
Through Aug. 31 from 5-9 p.m. every Thursday night, you can enjoy a taste of Oak Park. If dining al fresco, entertainment for the kids, and live music sounds like a fun night out, jump on the Green Line with the whole family for a friendly and tasty night out.
From cultural celebrations of the arts, wine festivals, the MicroBrew Review and Oaktoberfest, there is a special event for everyone. Check the calendar and plan your next trip to Oak Park!