Oak Park is a suburb just to the northwest of Chicago. After the Great Chicago Fire the area grew rapidly because of its location along the railroad. In 1902 it was incorporated, becoming independent from the town of Cicero. Today it is one of Chicago's nicest suburbs, with broad tree lined streets and large older homes.
There is quite a bit to see here. Oak Park was home to architect Frank Lloyd Wright and author Ernest Hemngway. There are 25 buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in town, the largest concentration anywhere. The Unity Temple on Lake Street is considered the world's first work of modern architecture. The reinforced concrete edifice looks totally organic within the neighborhood. The Arthur Heurtley House (318 Forest Avenue) and the Pleasant Home (217 Home Avenue), both private residences, are excellent examples of Wright's Prairie style.
For more information on Frank Lloyd Wright, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. It was his residence for twenty years. The house was built in 1889, when Wright was just 22. It has been restored to its appearance in 1909, when he moved out. This is a great place to learn about the revolutionary style of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the buildings that he designed.
The Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and the Ernest Hemingway Museum are both located along North Oak Park Avenue. One of America's greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway grew up in Oak Park until he was 20 in 1919. His home, a magnificent Victorian, has been restored and features period furniture. The museum has displays and artifacts from the author's life. It's a must for any fans of Hemingway.
Each of the attractions mentioned here is within a few blocks north of the L and Metra stations. If you want to spend an afternoon here, check out one of the many restaurants along Lake Street and North Boulevard.
Train: Oak Park/Lake, Oak Park (Metra)
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
Address: 951 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Telephone: (312) 994 4000
Hours: Open daily 10:00-17:00
Ernest Hemingway Museum
Address: 200 North Oak Park Avenue
Hours: Open Sunday through Friday 13:00-17:00; Saturdays 10:00-17:00
$8.00 Seniors (65+)/Children (<18)/Students
Free for children under 5.