Earth : North America : United States of America : Midwest (United States of America) : Illinois : Chicagoland : Oak Park
Only about 10 miles west of downtown, Oak Park is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, Green Line or Metra Train.
Metra or the Green Line are most convenient for getting to the more scenic parts of Oak Park. Metra's service is limited outside of rush hour. Take the Union Pacific West line out of Ogilvie Transportation Center (schedule: ). The Green Line runs regularly every day and is accessible from the Loop; exit at the Austin, Ridgeland, Oak Park or Harlem stop.
Taxis will go to Oak Park, but Chicago taxi drivers are unlikely to know the streets in this suburban destination.
Oak Park is conveniently located to both of Chicago's major airports. Taxi fare to either O'Hare or Midway is around $30.
Oak Park is very pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. A self-guided walking tour starting and ending on the Green Line would allow you to see most destinations within a few hours.
Oak Park does not follow Chicago's street numbering system. East-west streets start at 0 at Austin Boulevard and increment as they head west, reaching 1200 at Harlem. North-south streets include a north-south designation in their addresses. The zero line is the elevated freight/Metra/Green Line track running through the center of the town. Visitors from Chicago are sometimes confused that Madison Street, the north-south zero line in Chicago, is 500 south in Oak Park.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Oak Park has the world's largest concentration of Wright's Prairie School works, including his workplace home.
Oak Park offers a variety of independent boutique shops. The most active cluster of these shops is called Downtown Oak Park, on Lake Street from Harlem east to Oak Park Avenue. This stretch includes the historic Unity Temple and post office. Don't miss the recently-rebuilt stretch of shops on Marion Street south of Lake. Continuing from this stretch, more shops and restaurants can be found on Oak Park Avenue, from Lake Street south to Pleasant Street.
Until the 1970's, Oak Park was a dry town. Alcohol restrictions have since lifted, though as a relic of this law, there are still no free-standing liquor stores in the city, and some grocery stores do not sell alcohol.
Within Oak Park, some worthwhile bars include:
Owing to Oak Park's past prohibition, bars emerged on the borders of the city. The largest quantity of bars can be found on Madison Street in Forest Park, just west of Harlem Avenue. Roughly 16 bars exist on this stretch of about five blocks. All Forest Park bars are casual, focused on beer, and offer basic pub fare.
A popular spot for live music is Fitzgerald's , just across the street from Oak Park. Their bar has a friendly pub feel, and their nightclub next door offers a variety of reasonably-priced entertainment most nights of the week.
Oak Park contains no major chain hotels, but it does have several independent hotels and B&Bs for visitors.
Oak Park borders Austin, a rough neighborhood on Chicago's Far West Side. The Oak Park police are active, but this nearby influence cannot be completely removed from Oak Park. Behave as you would in any urban environment. That warning aside, most destinations in Oak Park are removed from the Chicago border and are not risky to visit.