While nearby Chicago tops the list of destination cities in Illinois, the village of Oak Park is truly a unique and noteworthy place. For history and architecture buffs, Oak Park is chock full of gems, and indeed tourists from around the globe come to see and experience these treasures of Oak Park, Illinois. Perhaps most noteworthy, the village holds numerous homes designed by world-renown Frank Lloyd Wright who spent the first 20 years of his 70-year career in Oak Park. His first prairie-style homes are here along with his former home and work studio which drew many other talented architects here to work designing homes in the area. Living in Oak Park and walking around Oak Park is an architectural feast, with so many styles, and so much beauty! But enough about the stunning homes…(let me know if you want a tour:). What else about Oak Park makes it a super place to live? Here are my top ten best things about living in Oak Park:
- Oak Park is less than 30 minutes away from all of the excitement and vibrancy of Chicago with easy access via public transportation. This means that Oak Parkers have easy access to world-class museums, theaters, music, and sports venues, restaurants, shopping, the beauty of the lakefront, and so on and so on…
- Oak Park is Urban-Suburban…this should require no explanation based on #1, but we do have our own small city here with lots of elements of urban living just on a smaller scale and a bit better price tag.
- Oak Park is culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse and the residents are proud of this! It’s in the Oak Park DNA to embrace diversity!
- It’s friendly; Oak Parkers have a great sense of community and of being community-focused citizens. You will find an inordinate amount of people who truly want to help others; this “fact” based on many years of observation and participation in the community.
- Oak Park public schools are top-rated schools in Illinois and there is a wealth of private school options to support all preferences for learning.
- Oak Park is famous for being a town of trees, an urban forest if you will:), and the diversity of species is as broad as the climate allows.
- Oak Park abounds with beautiful parks with useable space for gardens, play, ballgames, tennis courts, picnicking, so on, and so on. An active Park District provides many opportunities for kids and adults.
- It’s rich with an appreciation for the arts and even has an “Arts District”
- Its boutique shops and locally-owned restaurants provide a wealth of dining and shopping pleasure
- It’s safe…our police and fire departments are top-notch and they do their jobs in a way that aligns with local values
What are the top tens of your town? If you currently reside in Oak Park, what do you think of my top tens? Are yours different? I have lived in Oak Park for over 15 years, and just like the gorgeous trees here, I have grown roots that have given me strength and enabled me to live a vibrant, happy life. While it’s not my birth town, I proudly claim Oak Park as my favorite hometown.
by Jennifer Thomas, Oak Park resident, real estate broker @GRTHOMES