September is packed with events so we’re highlighting some of the best in our new blog: The Best September Events in the Oak Park area!
So much is going on, up, down, and around Oak Park this September that you’ll need to mark your calendar to keep up. We decided to focus our brand new blog on bringing you the highlights of what you can expect and so without further ado let’s dive into the Best September Events in/near Oak Park!
Kicking off our blog on the best September events in and around Oak Park isBerwyn’s Oktoberfest running from Sept 15-Sept 16th. Here you’ll find a celebration of all things German and includes live music, a food court and a carnival! And did we mention the Beer Garden? Wow, it’s gonna be a doozy, that’s for sure. On Saturday you can bring the kids for the Family Pavilion that will have appearances from McGruff, the Berwyn PD’s crime dog alongside face-painting and more. Expect performances from R-Gang, 16 Candles, Sails and Tributosaurus.
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Next up on our blog on the best September events in/near Oak Park is the duelingOaktoberfest in Downtown Oak Park on Sept 15-16 – yep, you’re gonna have to decide whether you do two days of this or one day each with Berwyn’s Oktoberfest. Expect live music from the Monophonics, Lady Wray, and the Dead Horses alongside your craft beer, food, and kids’ Root Beer Garden.
Rounding out our blog on the best September events in/near Oak Park isChicago A Cappella’s Cabaret Night on Sept 23rd at 7:30pm. Hosted at the Open Door Theater at 902 S. Ridgeland Ave, you can join the singers from Chicago A Cappella presenting an intimate evening of cabaret music for just one night. You also get to mingle with the cast at a reception afterward – which is included in the ticket price!
Not bad, right? Some fun events to do right here in/near Oak Park in September.
The Oak Park Conservatory is a local gem; a stellar establishment that’s filled with flora, fauna, and history – and it’s free! We figured we’d put together a blog focusing on one of Oak Park’s top three historical sites so here it is: your guide to the Oak Park Conservatory!
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Located at 615 Garfield Street, and open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm (they’re closed Mondays!), the OPC gets around 30,000 visitors each year. But where did it all begin? The conservatory began in 1914 as a project for the community at large; a place where residents could house their exotic plants there while they went out of town. The glass structure was built in 1929 however by 1970 it had fallen into a state of decay. That was when locals stepped in and saved it, expanding it into a space to teach kids and gardeners alike.
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The Oak Park Conservatory contains three indoor showrooms with names that reflect what you’ll find there. There’s the Mediterranean room that’s filled with plants from the Calfornia coasts alongside ones from Chile, South Africa and even Australia. The Tropical room is, as you expect, pretty humid and filled with fig trees, banana trees, and papaya trees – alongside birds of paradise and a central pond. The Desert room is just as hot but much drier and filled with cacti and other desert plants like Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants and Sun Dews.
There are many events that take place here too such as the upcoming Fall Fest on Sunday, Sept 24th from 11am-2pm. Stop by and celebrate the arrival of Autumn with horse-drawn hayrides and a free pumpkin for each family to attend. You can also stop by the Fall Harvest Market on Friday Sept 22nd where you can pick up mums, fall pansies, broom corn, gourds and more!
Interested in becoming a volunteer? The Oak Park Conservatory is always looking for more Docents, Special Event Volunteers, and even Committee Members. Simply hit up theFriends of the Oak Park Conservatory website for more details.
This week, we’re delving into the history of one of Chicago’s most famous architects. Frank Lloyd Wright was a stunningly gifted architect who may have been born in Wisconsin but when he moved to Chicago in 1887, he quickly became the city’s most famous son.
His legacy – from his own house to the buildings around town – lives on magnificently (did you know that Oak Park is home to the biggest number of Wright’s buildings?) and we thought we’d focus today’s blog on those homes; where you can find them and what their history is. So without further ado, here’s Your Guide to the Frank Lloyd Wright Houses.
Kicking off your guide to the Frank Lloyd Wright Houses isFrank’s home itself over at 951 Chicago Ave. It was here that Frank began experimenting with his unique design ideas and you can see for yourself the seeds he was planting for what became known as his signature form of architecture that became known as Prairie Style. It was built from 1889-1898 and he lived here until 1909.
Then there’s theRobie House over at 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave on the campus of the University of Chicago. Created for businessman Frederick C. Robie, it was designed in Frank’s home in 1908 and finished in 1910. This building sums up Prairie Style perfectly and is considered by many one of the first buildings to sum up modernism. It’s also being restored at the moment but if you take the tour, you’ll be able to see it all for yourself.
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Next up isThe Rookery over at 209 S. LaSalle Street in the financial district of Chicago. This local landmark is home to Frank’s brightly lit and beautifully structured light court – considered by experts to be one of his most energetic interiors. Frank joined this project in 1905 and came on board to remodel the already existing light court and lobbies. He managed to maintain a balance between the ornamental ironwork that was already in place with his own visions and created something that many consider transcendent.
Those are just three of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses here in Chicago but you can visit others. FromBach House to theUnity Temple, you need to get out there and see these magnificent structures for yourself. They’re each timeless and stunning.
One of the best things about living in Oak Park, and there are many great aspects to calling this enclave home, is the restaurant scene. You don’t have to go to Chicago for a vibrant and thriving culinary community when there’s one right here at home. There are many places where you can have a great meal, but here are our picks for the best restaurants in Oak Park.
If you’re looking for the flavors of Mexico, Maya del Sol is your spot. Known for their tasty margaritas and expansive patio, their menu will take you south of the border with items including piña colada ceviche and blackened fish tacos. Don’t miss their cochinita pibil, a dish of pork shoulder, achiote, pickled red onion, black beans, and your choice of habanero or serrano salsa on the side.
For your fresh fish fix, you’ll want to visit SEN Sushi Bar. This cozy space has some of the best sushi in the Chicago area, with melt-in-your-mouth sashimi and creative maki. For example, the SEN make is a roll of shrimp tempura, scallion, fire torch scallop, squid, lime juice, cilantro, and lemongrass reduction. Visit at lunch for their affordable bento boxes, which include soup, house salad, shrimp & veg tempura, California roll, and rice.
Another international favorite is Il Vicalo Trattoria, with homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and pizzas. Its name means “the alley” and it lives up to its moniker with its large outdoor patio situated between two buildings. Go on the weekends and you’ll be entertained by live music while dining on carpaccio di manzo and Ravioli della Nonna.
Winberie’s Restaurant and Bar is a casual and comfortable place that serves American cuisine in a historic building. On Sundays their brunch buffet is popular. For just $20 you can get your choice of made-to-order Belgian waffles, omelets, and benedicts, and pile up the weekly meat selection from the carving station. Dinner includes options like cedar-planked salmon and their signature classic meatloaf.
There are so many more delicious spots to dine in Oak Park, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our favorites. If we missed yours, please let us know!
Kicking off our blog on the best boutiques/stores in Oak Park is theCareful Peach Boutique at 1024 North Blvd in the heart of downtown. This unique boutique (say that out loud three times fast!) is home to any number of amazing finds and deals with everything from table settings to linen, from décor to special gifts – all with a French focus. You’ll not leave here without buying at least one thing but it’s not cheap. They even have a wedding registry so if you REALLY want to loot the store, find someone to get married to – and quick!
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Next up on our blog on the best boutiques/stores in Oak Park isDivine Consign at 809 S. Oak Park Avenue. As it’s a consignment store, you’ll find a terrific array of goods and choices at great prices. The focus here is on art and furniture so if you’re looking to decorate your home, this is the place to go. They don’t just sell any old tat either; the stuff here has been carefully curated and is so beautiful.
Finishing up our blog on the best boutiques/stores in Oak Park isSanem’s over at 134 N. Oak Park Ave. This is the place to hit up for women’s clothing so if you want a new Fall look, this is the place to find it. There’s lots of trendy stuff on hand, from bags to blouses, and from jewelry to jeggings! You might even have an idea of what you want but trust us, when you get to Sanem’s your list goes out of the window as your eyes grow wide with all the stuff you never even thought of.
There you go; some great places to shop and some great bargains to be had from the best boutiques and shops in Oak Park! If you have any places you’d like to share with us, let us know in the comments!
Thursday is the new Friday, and nowhere is that truer than in Oak Park. Each summer downtown turns into party central with Thursday Night Out, a community celebration featuring the area’s best restaurants and showcasing local boutiques to a soundtrack of live music. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of this fun weekly event!
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Thursday through August 31 you can participate in this do-it-yourself dine-around. You’ll begin by visiting the Downtown Oak Park kiosk at Lake and Marion to pick up your booklet. For just $16, each booklet not only contains four dining vouchers, but also a voucher for $2.50 off two movie tickets at Lake Theater. If you get two booklets they’ll throw in a $5 gift certificate that you can use at Thursday Night Out shops and boutiques.
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So where you can you use those vouchers? Only at some of the best restaurants in Oak Park! You can explore a world of cuisine with baba ghanoush and pita at Jerusalem Cafe, chicken masala at Khyber Pass, or gyoza at Sushi House. Use a voucher at Q BBQ for a taste of ribs or some cornbread, and Munch is offering vegan nacho supreme and Mexican cauliflower veggie ceviche. Pick up some pre-movie snacks at Wells Street Popcorn or indulge your sweet tooth with a root beer float at Cold Stone Creamery or a big macaron at Sugar Fixe Patisserie. As you can tell, you’ll want to come back every week so you can explore all of these different tastes and more.
Accompanying this tasty evening is entertainment. They’ve got live music on the streets, and the genres and bands change every week. One Thursday it may be jazz and the next, Irish. There could be Flamenco, R&B, rock, blues, or Latin. No matter what it is, you’ll be dancing from one restaurant to the next.
Thursday Night Out is your new weekly tradition, so go ahead and add it to your calendar from now until the end of the summer. For even more fun things to do in Oak Park be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Independence Day is one of the most festive holidays of the year. There are parades and cookouts and fireworks displays all over the country, and one of the best places to celebrate the fourth of July is Oak Park and its surrounding communities. Here’s how you can have fun on this most American of holidays.
Begin your festivities a day early at neighboring Riverside at their Concert in the Park. The concert begins at 5:30 p.m. with a performance by Tony Ocean, followed by the Brat Pack. Berwyn is also hosting an Independence Day-eve celebration with fireworks in the J. Sterling Morton High School West Stadium. They’ll have children’s activities beginning at 7 p.m. and the fireworks start at 8:30 p.m. Because you’ll be inside the stadium they ask that you do not bring in outside food and drink.
The fourth of July begins in Oak Park itself with a parade down Ridgeland between Adams and Augusta. The parade steps off from Longfellow Park at 10 a.m. and you can expect to see community groups, local sports teams, politicians, businesses and service organizations, kids, musicians, and even animal lovers and their pets. This is a popular event for families, so be sure to get their early to save your spot.
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That evening the night skies over Oak Park light up with a fireworks display. The show begins at dusk in the football stadium of Oak Park and River Forest High School, near East Avenue and Lake Street.
One of the great things about Oak Park is how easy it is to get downtown. Take a quick ride on the Blue Line and you can celebrate in Millennium Park with the Grant Park Music Festival’s free performance, followed by fireworks from nearby Navy Pier.
For more festivities in the area you can check out Visit Oak Park’s website, and we’ll also share fun things to do on Twitter and Facebook.
Oak Park is an amazing community year-round, but it’s especially fun during the summer. The tree-lined streets are filled with fun things to do, from shopping at the robust farmers market to outdoor theatrical productions. Here are just a few of the ways you can enjoy summer in Oak Park.
The Saturday morning Oak Park Farmers Market is more than just a place to get fresh produce straight from the source, it’s also a gathering place for the community. With freshly made donuts and live bluegrass music, this market is a perfect way to get your weekend off to a great start while stocking your pantry.
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If the play’s your thing you’ll love the Oak Park Festival Theater’s outdoor performances in Austin Gardens. Located near downtown, the troupe performs classics such as Macbeth and modern productions like The Amish Project. The shows are ticketed and you can have a picnic before they begin. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are nearby.
You can wait for the weekend to go out and have fun, but in Oak Park you don’t need to! Every week through August downtown turns into a giant progressive dinner with Thursday Night Out. For $16 you get a ticket booklet that lets you choose from a special menu at four different restaurants. There’s entertainment on the street, or you can cool off in the movie theater with your voucher good for $2.50 off two adult tickets.
Vintage car fans will want to head to Oak Park’s next door neighbor for Berwyn’s Cruise Nights. Several Tuesdays throughout the summer the town’s Depot District becomes a showcase for classic vehicles. You can show off your own car, truck, motorcycle or scooter at no charge and you don’t even have to register. The streets are lined with everything from ice cream to martinis, so you can make it a fun evening for the family or a great night with friends.
These are just a few of the many fun things to do this summer in Oak Park. For more ideas, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
A good wine bar can make all the difference between a great night out and a lame one. And here in windy Chicagoland, there are all kinds of them.
But which ones are the good ones? Which ones will be guaranteed to give you a great night out? We went out to find the best and bring them back to you. So raise a glass because it starts right now.
We began our tour at theJ9 Wine Bar over at 1961 N. Halsted Street. The J9 opened six months or so ago and has rapidly established a friendly presence in the area. It’s cute, charming and romantic with an extensive menu, and glass and full bottle options. It’s perfect for a date and there’s a fireplace too! We found the staff to be really knowledgeable about the wines which was really helpful. The music wasn’t too loud making it a perfect place for a conversation over a great glass of wine. Highly recommended!
We also checked out thePenumbra Wine Bar and fell in love with that one too. Located over on 3309 W. Fullerton Ave (between Kimball Ave and Spaulding Ave/Logan Square), is closed Mondays but is open 5-10pm on Tue-Thurs, 5-11 on Fri-Say and from 4-9pm on Sundays. The name Penumbra is inspired by the owner’s experience living the first part of her life in Ecuador. Having no electricity, candles were used for light thus creating a space of partial illumination = PENUMBRA. The romantic and penumbra lit atmosphere is accompanied with a diverse wine list, local craft beer and unique handcrafted artisanal cocktails that introduce an aspect of wine in each drink. The food is a unique twist of Latin-inspired steak and seafood dishes with an aspect of wine incorporated into them.
TheTwisted Vine – over on 3530 N. Halsted Street – has a great ambience and none of the snobbishness that certain wine bars come with. The Twisted Vine began life as a wine and gift store but around 2013 converted into a lounge-style bar specializing in wine and whiskey. It’s a very friendly, intimate establishment and often have entertainment on hand (singers, bands, etc). They do offer up a very small food menu so if you’re hungry, this isn’t the place for you. But the selection of wines is as varied as it is amazing. We sampled the European wine flight, the Spanish Red and the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and loved all of them.
So the question begs; can you go wrong if you name yourself Sugar Fixe?The Sugar Fixe Patisserie has and we have the answer; clearly not! They serve up some unbelievable breakfast pastries – from sweet and savory Brioches to all sorts of croissants. But that’s just the tip of the dessert iceberg; you can find tarts, pastries, cookies, cupcakes and dessert cakes oh my! They also have Macarons of all types of flavors as well as custom cakes. Sugar Fixe uses all-natural ingredients and offer up some gluten-free and dairy-free sweets. And a quick shout out to their coffee too; we sampled the La Colombe and loved it.
There’s a new gunslinger in town – and that’s theHappy Apple Pie Shop that opened earlier this year. Now, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way; the pies. A-ma-zing. We sampled the maple custard pie and the apple pie and loved both equally! They even do dinner-esque pies such as spinach, ham & cheese quiches! The crusts are flaky and the filings are delicious. But that’s the half of it. You see, what makes the Happy Apple so darn happy is that its work force includes people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So there’s NO reason you shouldn’t be stuffing your faces with Happy Apple pies other than, of course, diabetes.
No list of Best Desserts in Oak Park is complete withoutLa Casa del Churro Café! They make the best churros in town along with great coffees. We sampled the cappuccino hazelnut, ice cream and, of course the churros – and loved everything we could stuff in our mouths. The churros are soft and fresh and the chocolate filling is delicious. Oh, and the Oreo Frappe was nothing short of Heaven.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there now and satiate your sweet tooth with some of the best desserts in Oak Park!