City Guide / Chicago

Chicago Neighborhood Guide: Oak Park

By Kailey Hansen | Oct 18, 2021
Train to get to the Oak Park neighborhood in Chicago

Nestled a mere nine miles from Chicago, Illinois, the Village of Oak Park is a not-so-hidden gem that’s far from your stereotypical suburb. Filled with a diverse community of young professionals, families, and city transplants, Oak Park, IL, is as urban as you’ll get when it comes to suburban living. Here, you will find a relaxed neighborhood with a thriving arts scene, tons of local restaurants and cafes, and iconic buildings designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Welcome to the neighborhood that is located in Chicago’s backyard and has long garnered tons of praise for its unique culture and homey streets. Oak Park has been ranked one of the best towns in the Chicago area by Chicago Magazine, one of the top five “sexiest suburbs,” according to The View, and has made it onto Apartment Therapy’s “Coolest Suburbs” in America list.

Both the Metra train and the “L” subway system run through Oak Park, making travel to Downtown Chicago doable in minutes. If you’re looking to enjoy a serene neighborhood with a rich history that still embodies urban living, this village is the perfect spot for your next home.

Thinking about moving to Oak Park, Illinois? Here’s what you need to know!

Where to go out to eat

There’s something special about patio season in Chicagoland. Experience a trendy ambiance and al fresco dining set to live music at the popular Maya Del Sol, home of delicious margaritas and an array of Latin American food. Up for another drink? Mozy over to Poor Phil’s sports bar, where you can order a classic burger or their specialty oysters and browse a menu of 100 beers.

Sushi enthusiasts can dine at SEN Sushi Bar, while those seeking authentic Mexican fare can head to New Rebozo. The warmer months require a trip to the aptly named Hole In The Wall Custard & Yogurt Shoppe, a tiny, frozen soft-serve joint with a line that’s almost always wrapping around the corner. You can also visit The Little Gem Cafe for a fancy night out or Lou Malnati’s for classic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

Brunch options are countless in this area and include Yolk, Cozy Corner Restaurant, and Sunday brunch at Mediterranean eatery Citrine Cafe. Whether you prefer Sunday brunch or cocktail hour, Hemingways Bistro will satisfy with its menu of French cuisine and its live jazz.

Just across the border of Harlem Avenue in Elmwood Park, you’ll find hands-down the best Italian beef in the city, Johnnie’s Beef. While not technically in Oak Park, this restaurant is certainly worth the trip!

Where to get groceries

You can find a Jewel Osco, Pete’s Fresh Market, and Trader Joe’s in the area to fulfill your grocery needs. This village is also home to the unique Sugar Beet Food Co-Op, a locally owned community store that sells fresh food from farmers. Carnival Grocery is also available and includes a deli and juice bar in addition to regular grocery items.

Where to get coffee

Want to treat yourself? Head to Brewpoint Craft, a trendy coffee shop that makes coffee, specialty drinks, cocktails, and charcuterie boards! Or, visit Courageous Bakery and grab a cup of coffee and a cupcake to raise money for cancer research.

Listen to live music while sipping your cup of joe at the local Buzz Cafe, get creative with your coffee drinks at Wise Cup, which serves Mayan mochas, honey lattes, and cafe au lait, or enjoy a chic atmosphere at Fairgrounds.

Outdoor attractions

Thrillseekers can brave the Go Ape Zipline Tree Top Adventure Course just 20 minutes away or head into the city to explore outdoor art exhibits, lakeshore bike trails, and more.

Within the area, you can experience nature in a new way at the botanical Oak Park Conservatory or picnic in one of the community’s several outdoor parks. You will also find an abundance of seasonal events such as concerts, festivals, and farmer’s markets.

Local gyms

Kickboxing, Zumba, and personal trainers are available at BFit-Fitness studio. You can also work out at your own pace via circuit training at OrangeTheory Fitness, center and strengthen yourself at Corepower Yoga, or create a personalized health plan at CrossFit Spero.

For those who prefer a standard gym experience, the nearby Forest Park Planet Fitness is located just 12 minutes away. If you prefer an elevated workout experience, Oak Park is home to a Fitness Formula Clubs location, Chicago’s premier health gym.

Live music and nightlife

Kinslahger Brewing offers a rotating menu of featured beers and allows guests to BYOF (bring your own food). You can also grab a drink at Wild Onion Tied House, Avenue Ale House, and One Lake Brewing, or zip into the city by train to experience Chicago nightlife.

This village also hosts a series of musical events, with live music playing at several eateries and coffee shops, as well as a free summer concert series available in Scoville Park. Plus, you’re right next door to Chicago’s thriving music scene! 


You would be hard-pressed to find a Chicago suburb with such quick and easy access into the city. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) public transportation system is prevalent in Oak Park, with two “L” train stations (the blue line and the green line), which can transport you into the city within minutes. These trains are Chicago’s elevated-rail subway and arrive at platforms consistently throughout the day. 

You can also access Downtown Chicago or other areas outside of the city by hopping on the Metra railway that runs through Oak Park’s own downtown district. 

This suburb also has a walk score of 79%, a bike score of 65%, and a number of bus stations.  

Honorable mentions

Take a guided tour of Oak Park’s iconic Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, visit the historic Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum, catch a movie at the art deco-style Lake Theatre, or take a stroll along Harrison Street, the community’s self-proclaimed arts district! 

Land a great apartment in Oak Park

If you like the idea of moving to Chicago or the surrounding area, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need. Browse our available apartments in Oak Park or contact us to learn more about how Landing works.

Still looking for the right Chicago neighborhood for you? Browse our other Chicago neighborhood guides, including:

Kailey Hansen

Kailey Hansen is a freelance writer and communications professional based in the land of deep-dish pizza. She has lived in both the city and the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys writing about the amazing things the Windy City has to offer. When she's not dishing about the best places to grab a slice of deep-dish, you can find her writing (and obsessing) about binge-worthy TV shows for BuzzFeed and why cats are the best (and absolutely outlandish creatures) for Rover's blog, The Dog People.