Article updated September 2020.
I’ve always been a fan of big city life; that’s where all the fun is: lively nightlife, numerous job opportunities, diverse shopping destinations and upscale dining options. Yet all the hustle and bustle of the city can be quite exhausting at times; if you’re looking for a quieter, more peaceful and energizing place to live in, Oak Park is for you.
The walkable neighborhoods with tree lined streets that boast a pleasant, friendly atmosphere, specific to small delightful towns, will make you feel at home right away. Plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants, several professional dance and theatre companies, including Circle Theater, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and Momenta, and a young arts district on Harrison add to the neighborhood’s charm.
And perhaps one of its most appealing features, Oak Park enjoys a prime location within the metro area as it’s one of the closest suburbs to downtown Chicago. A short commute will take you straight to the vibrant Loop with its swarm of shops, jobs and entertainment venues; multiple modes of public transportation are available in the area, including the Chicago ‘L’ Blue and Green lines, CTA buses, and Metra commuter rail.
The entire area is extremely varied in terms of architecture and style and consists of a mix of vintage apartment buildings and bungalows, prairie-style and Victorian houses next to stucco, frame and brick homes, including Hemingway’s boyhood homes and the largest collection of residential properties designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; so diverse, yet working so well together.
Housing options are also quite varied, ranging from apartment complexes to single family homes, suitable for both young professionals working in the Loop and young families with kids. But the best part about living here is that you don’t have to spend your entire paycheck on rent as rental rates are a little lower than in the city.
In addition, Oak Park is an environmentally-friendly town, supporting bike culture and other forms of sustainable living.
Here’s a video explaining a few of the bicycling rules and cyclists’ responsibilities in regard to sharing the road in Oak Park.