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Located 15 to 20 minutes west of Chicago, the village of Oak Park lies a few blocks west of IL-50, with most of it north of I-290. The village connects to the city via Chicago Transit Authority’s rapid transit system, yet still removed enough to enjoy the benefits of suburban life. Oak Park's Forest River High School earned a gold medal for best high schools from U.S. News & World Report. However, the cost of living, especially housing, remains higher than the city, the state and the nation.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Oak Park, IL is $1,042 for a studio, $1,190 for one bedroom, $1,795 for two bedrooms, and $1,959 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Oak Park has increased by 4.7% in the past year.
Brazilian, Japanese, Latin American, Caribbean, Italian and vegan fare make up several of Oak Park's dining options. The rectangular vicinity from Lake Street to South Boulevard, going north to south, and from Harlem Avenue to Oak Park Avenue, going west to east, houses many of Oak Park's restaurants.
The highly rated Taste of Brasil Cafe may not look like much from the outside, but the food tastes divine. For a lighter option, try the smoked salmon bagel layered with veggie cream cheese, tomato and lettuce or the picanha steak sandwich with caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese. For a full-course meal, start off with the fried yucca basket and enjoy feijoada, Brazil's national dish, before ending your meal with prestigio cake. Quench your thirst with Brazil's famous soft drink, Guarana Antarctica.
Indulge in the gluten-free tastes of Maya Del Sol while dining on the outdoor patio. Start off with a house salad comprised of jicama, pumpkin seeds and a honey-apricot vinaigrette. Next, try the cochinita pibil, which pairs a South American pork shoulder with black beans and pickled onions. Finally, finish with an off-the-menu dessert made by topping a pecan crisp with brown sugar and coupling it with butternut squash ice cream. Visit on Tuesdays for the half-price wine list.
The Oak Park area also includes several outstanding bars. Enjoy a view of the village on the Avenue Ale House's rooftop patio while downing a specialty brew and noshing on fresh Delaware oysters smothered in lemon, horseradish and chili sauce. Cocktails and delectable food combine at Bar Louie. The Zagat-reviewed Kinderhook Tap serves up a rotating selection of local drafts at the full bar, as well as grass-fed beef and all-natural chicken and pork, raised without hormones and antibiotics.
In 1837, the first residents purchased land in the area, then known as Cicero. It would not officially become Oak Park Village until 1902. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, suburbs around the city, including the area that later became Oak Park, experienced an influx of residents fleeing the city. Today, the village remains diverse, with more than 20 languages spoken in homes across Oak Park.
Due to the village’s close proximity to Chicago, dozens of notable people in the fields of art, music, literature, film, sports and politics have lived here. These include Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Simic, Ludacris, and NFL coach Mike Shanahan.
The Hemingway Museum teaches visitors about the life and works of the former Oak Park resident and renowned author. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio showcases the life and accomplishments of Wright and his workshop, responsible for designing several homes and a church in the village between 1889 and 1909.
Oak Park features an arts district that runs along Harrison Street, starting at Austin Boulevard and stretching west for nine blocks. This district showcases galleries, performing arts workshops and classes, such as painting, beading and dance.
Held on the first Sunday of June, the A Day in Our Village community festival allows current and potential residents to learn more about the village through activities and information booths. On the Fourth of July, the village holds a parade in the morning and residents enjoy a fireworks display at night.
The Chicago Transit Authority’s Green and Blue Lines both service the Oak Park area, as well as the Union Pacific West Line. The PACE bus line provides another public transportation option. Private transportation includes reserving a ride with Uber, calling a taxi or renting a Zipcar.
The village manages all public parking areas, including more than 100 lots. Due to limited space, drivers must apply for parking permits and passes to use these spaces. The parking permits range from $50 a year to $305 per quarter, and parking passes range from free to $15 per day. I-290 passes east to west through the southern portion of Oak Park, accessible from the north side via Oak Park Avenue. IL-64 forms the northern border of the village, while IL-43 forms the western border.
You can accomplish most errands in this village by foot, especially on the east side of the village between Harlem Avenue and East Avenue. Oak Park has bike lanes along Division Street, a combination of bike lanes and shared lane markings on Chicago Avenue, and shared lane markings on Jackson Boulevard from Ridgeland Avenue to Austin Boulevard. Bike racks and lockers appear throughout the village.
The cost of living in Oak Park hovers just above $80,000, which rises above the state average by over 30 percent and the Chicago average by 40 percent. The average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment hovers around $1,400. The cost of groceries, utilities and miscellaneous costs remain in line with the national average, and all costs, aside from housing, remain in line with Chicago.
Many of Oak Park’s shops sit off of North Boulevard or Lake Street, between Harlem and Oak Park Avenue. However, with 12 distinct shopping districts, shopping areas lie scattered throughout the village.
Ten Thousand Villages features unique handmade items from artists around the world. Muse's merchandise includes high-quality clothing items with character, both from its own label and from outside labels.
CarefulPeach Boutique sells high-end housewares and other items imported from France.
The Economy Shop, a thrift store inside a Victorian-style house, consists of of three floors filled with new and used items.
Find your next great read at the The Book Table, a locally owned book store that hosts author events. The staff can special order out-of-stock items. The Book Table offers competitive prices, even when compared to online retailers.
Geppetto’s Toy Box prides itself as a high-quality toy store that provides free gift wrapping. It hosts the Annual Feeding of the Goblins to collect candy and toothbrushes for Operation Gratitude. On its Neighborhood Toy Store Day, Geppetto's Toy Box features entertainment, games, a photo booth, glitter tattoos, and arts and crafts activities.
The specialty food store Olive & Well sells oils, spices and tabletop accessories. Go on a tasting to sample its selection of oils and vinegars.
Grocery stores in Oak Park include Harvey Fresh Market, Fair Share Super Market and Blue Ribbon Meat Market, along with chain stores such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Oak Park holds a farmers market in the Pilgrim Church parking lot every Saturday morning from late May to early November.
Oak Park contains six community parks and nine neighborhood parks. This group of parks include amenities such as bocce courts, a pool, sand volleyball, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, chess tables and playgrounds. Stevenson Park has a skate park. Two of Oak Hill's parks have sled hills and outdoor ice rinks, four parks have splash pads and five parks have walking paths. All parks cost nothing to visit, but the ice rink and pool require paid admission.
Maple Park features a 12,000 square feet off-leash area for dogs to run and play. It requires an annual passes, which costs $45 for the first dog and $5 for each additional dog, with a limit of three dogs.
Each year, Scoville Park hosts nine evenings of live music, called the Summer Concert Series. Artists include local and recognized musicians from a variety of genres.
4 Bedroom Apartments for Rent in Oak Park, IL
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