Feb
22

Oak Park: A Historic Neighborhood in a Prime Location

February 22, 2013
Downtown Oak Park Main Image

© Downtown Oak Park

Oak Park and gorgeous housing go hand-in-hand. The area is rich in architectural history, and its location between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Loyola Medical Center also makes it a hot spot for many of the city’s professionals.

If you love history, be sure to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio on Chicago Avenue. In addition to featuring some of Wright’s signature architectural styles, the home also contains a variety of sculptures designed by Wright’s artistic collaborator.

You will also want to tour the Ernest Hemingway historic home. The three-story stucco home in the heart of Oak Park is where the prolific author lived until he graduated from high school.

If you want to purchase your own piece of real estate in Oak Park, the average listing price for a home is $267,868, according to Trulia. The cost is a bit higher than the Chicago metro average of $187,700, but Oak Park’s easy accessibility to both the suburbs and downtown makes the extra cost worth it for many families and professionals. Currently, there are 463 homes for sale in Oak Park, with costs ranging from $45,000 for a one bedroom, one bathroom condo to $1,395,000 for a 6,500 square foot home with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

Interested in renting? The average apartment in Oak Park will cost you about $1,500 monthly.

Oak Park has a total population of 51,878, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For residents with children, you’ll be pleased to know that Oak Park contains the highly-regarded public Oak Park and River Forest High School, which is ranked as the 22nd best high school in Illinois. The school offers more than 60 activities and clubs with a focus on subjects ranging from physical fitness to social and cultural awareness. The high school also boasts many notable alumni—ranging from Ernest Hemingway to comedian Kathy Griffin.

 Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Photographer: Don Kalec

Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Photographer: Don Kalec

In addition to touring the notable architecture in the Oak Park community, residents will find an abundance of shopping, dining and entertainment to keep them busy. Here are a few top picks:

Entertainment

  • Oak Park Arts District. A nine block district of galleries, specialty boutiques, unique restaurants and more. Don’t miss the Third Friday of the month gallery walk for an opportunity to mingle with local artists.
  • The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Enjoy some classical music at one of the oldest community orchestras in the United States.
  • Madison Street Theatre. A performing arts center that also offers acting classes for teens and adults.

Shopping

  • Pumpkin Moon. A great place to bring little ones, this specialty shop boasts an eclectic collection of quirky toys and T-shirts and is the perfect place to pick up a gag gift.
  • Scratch n’ Sniff. A unique shop that combines pet and home accessories. Purchase an adorable new leash for your dog and some trendy new home décor items all in one shopping trip.
  • Muse. A fashion boutique that features hard-to-find and emerging designers—a great place to pick up that one-of-a-kind dress.
© Downtown Oak Park

© Downtown Oak Park

Dining

  • Maya Del Sol. Offers a Latin American menu with a variety of vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options. Menu selections include everything from portabella tostados to beef short rib tacos.
  • Marion Street Cheese Market. An excellent place for unusual artisan and farmstead cheeses, plus choose from a wide variety of wine, beer and spirits. Fans of the market can even sign up for the Cheese of the Month club.
  • Hemmingway’s Bistro. Offers French cuisine made with local ingredients and free-range meat. Enjoy menu selections ranging from grilled steak frites to Amish chicken pot pie. For dessert, don’t miss out on the chocolate mousse or the homemade sorbet.

Transportation

  • CTA: Green train lines.
  • Metra: Access the suburbs or the city via the Union/Pacific West Line. The Oak Park station is located at 1115 W. North Blvd.
  • Airports: O’Hare International Airport is about 20 minutes away via car and about an hour away via the green “L” lines. Midway International Airport is about 25 minutes away via car and about an hour away via the Orange and Green “L” lines.
Oak Park Downtown Photo 4

© Downtown Oak Park

So, if historic architecture, unique shopping and easy access to the Loop and the suburbs are what you’re looking for, be sure to check out the real estate in Oak Park. If you’re interested in learning more Chicago new homes in other neighborhoods, be sure to click here.

 

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Jessica Thom

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