In this series of blog posts, we’re providing a summary of the neighborhoods where we’re currently listing and developing homes. This one is on Oak Park, which is actually not a neighborhood but rather a village.
The Village of Oak Park is due west of the city of Chicago, and is well known in its own right for fantastic schools, rich culture, and a community-wide focus on historic preservation. The residential architecture is unparalleled–and many visit just to see some of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright homes, one of which is pictured above.
Oak Park is bound by Harlem Avenue to the west, North Avenue on the north (conveniently), Austin Boulevard to the east, and Roosevelt Road on the south. It’s only 4.5 square miles and is home to around 52,000 people. Downtown Oak Park is centered around Lake Street on the village’s west side.
There’s one main library, in Oak Park’s downtown, with two neighborhood branches, Maze and Dole. They have cool programming like no fines for overdue materials and a book bike that travels the streets April through October.
Near the main library is Scoville Park, one of 16 parks in the village and home to a summer concert series. Two of these parks have outdoor swimming pools and one has an indoor skating rink.
The Oak Park Conservatory is a landmark in the village, offering free admission to the public and welcoming 40,000 annual visitors. Its three indoor showrooms–Mediterranean, Tropical, and Desert–are a great way to experience different flora and fauna, no matter the season.
Read on to see why it’s always a beautiful day in Oak Park.
Entertainment and Eating
It’s tempting to think of Oak Park as a suburb, but the diversity of the area’s shopping, dining, and entertainment means there’s plenty to do on the weekends without taking the Metra into the city.
Well, for commuters who do have to head into the city, Oak Park Bakery is a great resource. It’s open from 5am Tuesday through Saturday and is right off the Metra line.
But for those sticking around the village, Oak Park has everything from food co-ops and vegetarian restaurants to popular pan-Asian cuisine, a patisserie, and Petersen’s old-fashioned ice cream. There are antique jewelers and independent bookstores, art galleries and comic book shops.
Arts and culture are in no short supply either. As a couple of examples, the Oak Park Art League is an activity community with education and exhibition spaces, and the Oak Park Festival Theatre puts on outdoor shows in Austin Gardens in the summer. And, of course, there’s the architecture.
A typical commute to The Loop by rail from Oak Park is about 35 minutes, door to door. To O’Hare Airport, it’s around an hour. By car, a typical drive to The Loop without traffic would take about 20 minutes, and a trip to O’Hare is 25 minutes, sans traffic.
Walkscore.com gives Oak Park a walk score of 78, a “very walkable” rating that means most errands can be accomplished on foot. The most walkable Oak Park zip codes are 60301, 60302, and 60304. Public transportation options are good.
According to Zillow, home values in Oak Park have stayed fairly consistent, with projections to increase by 0.8% in the next year. The median home value in Oak Park is about 48% lower than in River Forest to the west and is most similar to that of Riverside, which is to the southwest.
A Bit of History
Oak Park was incorporated as a village in 1902. Almost all homes in Oak Park were built between 1892 and 1950, in the boom after the Chicago Fire of 1871. Interestingly, the population reached 64,000 in 1930–quite a bit larger than that of today. Oak Park has maintained a focus on inclusion throughout periods of change, with public statements supporting integrated housing and diversity.
More details about Oak Park’s history can be found on The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest’s website.
If you’d like to learn more about Oak Park, I recommend exploring the following resources:
- On the Grid’s Oak Park guide (somewhat dated)
- The Village of Oak Park website
- Chicago Magazine’s dated-but-still-mostly-relevant neighborhood guide (from 2013)
- Visit Oak Park’s website
- The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest
If you’re interested in living in Oak Park, check out the following homes, including active listings and some that are upcoming:
- 841 N Euclid
- 435 N Taylor
- 171 N Lombard
- 264 Iowa (expected completion 4/30/18. See more upcoming projects on this Google Map)
Please contact me directly for more information on buying a home and living in Oak Park.