Oak Park / River Forest
Residents of Oak Park and River Forest prize the quality of life in their villages.
Many residences will tell you that the villages’ outstanding schools played a key role in their decision to live here. Whether your children need day care, preschool, or kindergarten through high school, you’ll find outstanding public and private school options. Active parental involvement in a diverse array of school-related organizations and activities is a longstanding tradition, helping schools in both communities provide a challenging, rewarding educational experience for their students. Many teachers in the Oak and Park River Forest school systems reside in the villages so their children can take advantage of our excellent schools.
An abiding feeling of togetherness permeates the neighborhoods in each of these family-oriented communities. Kids and adults throughout both villages eagerly await the annual block party, a time for playing in the streets closed for the day to motor vehicles. By providing an opportunity for neighbors to relax together, block parties sustain and strengthen neighborhood ties.
Both villages combine the advantages of urban and suburban living. Chicago, with its kaleidoscope of attractions, is just minutes away by expressway or public transportation. Oak Brook’s concentration of corporate headquarters as well as numerous research facilities situated along the Illinois Technology Corridor to the west are also just a short drive from oak Park and River Forest. The villages’ location also permits ready access to many of the area’s major medical centers and universities. Yet life in the villages is more deliberate, more relaxed, more tranquil. They’re an ideal oasis to escape the hustle of big-city life. Quiet, tree-lined streets invite residents to walk or cycle to services, events and shopping in the villages.
Ethnic and cultural diversity are important distinguishing characteristics of these communities. Oak Park is known nationally for its policy on diversity, a policy which has been reaffirmed by each new village board of trustees since its creation in 1973.
Residents can enjoy a myriad of activities and special events throughout the year: A Day in Our Village, a day-long festival of activities, entertainment and refreshments; weekly Summer Concerts in Scoville Park and Downtown Oak Park; Fiesta de Hemingway, a weekend of merriment commemorating the birthday of Earnest Hemingway, one of Oak Park’s most famous sons; juried Arts and Crafts Shows; the annual A.S.I.D. Showcase House; The Village Art Fair; Oaktoberfest; Turn-of-the Century Christmas Tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio; the Oak Park Conservatory’s Annual Poinsettia Holiday Open House; Kitchenwalk, a kitchen tour of local homes; Wright Plus, the annual house walk offering participants the chance to see the interiors of Wright homes and other historically significant homes in the area; a Fourth of July fireworks spectacular; sidewalk sales in most major business districts; the annual Farmers market, open Saturdays from June through October.
Twenty-eight parks, numerous neighborhood recreation centers, and four swimming pools provide village residents with ample sports and recreational opportunities. The villages are the scene of several high-quality races that attract runners form throughout the Chicago area.
The villages are home to 63 religious congregations, which span a wide variety of faiths.
Local government in both villages is accessible to residents and responsive to their needs. Government-related boards and commissions offer opportunities for individuals interested in playing an active role in the legislative affairs of their community.
An abundance of social services is available here, addressing nearly every need imaginable. Innovative responses to significant social issues reflect the villages’ sensitivity and desire to provide support for residents.
We encourage you to learn more about Oak Park and River Forest. And we invite you to visit these sister communities, to discover for yourself why they are such rewarding places to call home.
(written by Jim Matthews)
Calendar Of Events
Oak Park Farmer’s Market is open the first Saturday in June through the last Saturday in October from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. and is located at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 W. Lake Street. The farmers market features fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, honey, cider, cut flowers, plants, bakery and coffee plus entertainment.
A Day in Our Village is held the first Saturday in June, and is a day-long festival of activities, entertainment and refreshments. Features Oak Park organizations. Contact the Community Relations Department at Village Hall, 708-358-5409.
Summer Music in Scoville Park held weekly at 5:30 p.m. from the second Sunday in June through the end of July. Contact the Park District of Oak Park, 708-383-0002 ext. 2717.
Sidewalk Sales are held in the business districts. Call the Chamber for dates.
July 4th Celebration in Mills Park Children and family activities held during the day. Call the Historical Society of Oak Park – River Forest at 708-848-6755 for details.
Festival Theatre mounts an outdoor Shakespeare play in July and August under the stars in Austin gardens. Call 708-445-4440.
Arts and Crafts Show is a juried fine arts and craft show held in Scoville Square Park (Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street). Call 847-991-4748.
The Annual Friends of the Oak Park Library Book Fair is a two-day annual fund raiser which benefits the Oak Park library’s special programs and services. It is held at the Oak Park – River Forest High School. The fair features rare books, hardbacks, paperback, records and collectible sets. For more information call the library 708-383-8200.
The Oak Park Conservatory Annual Garden Walk is held in June. Call 708-386-4700 for more information.
The Fall Festival will take place in September at the Oak Park Conservatory and Rehm Park. The event features music, entertainment for kids and food booths. Contact the Park District of Oak Park, 708-725-2000.
The Annual Frank Lloyd Wright Races, held annually in October, features a 10K and 5K run, a 5K walk and 1 mile youth run through the Prairie School of Architecture Historical District. Contract the Park District of Oak Park 708-383-0002 ext. 2729.
Oaktober Fest, downtown Oak Park every September/October with Live Music, Family Fun, Local Food and Craft Beer.
Community Bank “Makin’ Tracks” 5K Run/Walk hosted by Concordia University, Oak Park – River Forest High School, Fenwick High School. in October. – Concordia University.
Harrison Street Gallery Walks Call 708-847-1761 for information on dates and times.
Full Steam Ahead to Arts on Harrison Mid-October hands on arts activities, Halloween themed art and products, live music and more! Contact the Park District of Oak Park 708-725-2000.
Turn-of-the-Century Christmas Tours are held in December at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Guided tours are given by students who emphasize Victorian holiday customs and family life. Free tours are given between 9 and 11 a.m. Call 708-848-1976.
The Oak Park Concert Chorale Holiday Concert for Senior Citizens performed in December at the United Methodist Church on Euclid Avenue. Performances are primarily a cappella. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call 708-383-4742 for more information.
Annual Poinsettia Holiday Open House held in early December at the Oak Park Conservatory, 617 Garfield Avenue, Oak Park. The event is free to the public with refreshments, music and Santa Claus, craft show and forces paper white Narcissus sale. Call 708-376-4700.
Oak Park and River Forest Children’s Chorus Holiday Concert performs in December at St. Catherine of Sienna – St. Lucy Church of Oak Park. The children come from all types of social and school backgrounds and enter the chorus at varying levels of musical experience. Call 708-383-1971 for ticket and membership information.
Historic Pleasant Home Holiday Open House held in early December. Call 708-383-2654.
Cheney Mansion Holiday Open House Mid-December. Call 708-383-2612.
Ernest Hemingway Museum and Birthplace Boxing Day Celebration held December 26. Call 708-848-2222 for more information.
Cheney Mansion Orchid Show is held in Mid-February. Call 708-383-2612.
Annual Ice Show Extravaganza is a Park District of Oak Park Program. Held in March. 708-383-0002.
Spring Open House at Oak Park Conservatory , 167 Garfield Avenue, Oak Park. Call 708-386-4700.
River Forest Memorial Day Parade is held on Monday, Memorial Day in River Forest. This annual event is organized by the Village of River Forest, the River Forest Service Club, the River Forest Park District and River Forest Youth Baseball / Softball. Call 708-366-6660 for more information.
Kitchenwalk is a kitchen tour of local homes sponsored by Parenthesis. usually held the last Saturday in April. Call 708-848-2227.
Cheney Mansion Garden Sale , Mid-May. Call 708-383-2612.
Wright Plus Annual Architectural House Walk sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, features the interiors of Wright homes and historically significant homes in the area. It is held the third Saturday in May. Call 708-848-1976.
Oak Park and River Forest Children’s Chorus performs a Spring Concert in Mid-May St. Catherine of Sienna – St. Lucy Church of Oak Park. The children come from all types of social and school backgrounds and enter the chorus at varying levels of musical experience. Call 708-383-1971 for ticket and membership information.
Oak Park Village Hall… 123 Madison St., Oak Park…708-383-6400
River Forest Village Hall… 400 Park Ave., River Forest…708-366-8500
Oak Park Post Offices… 901 Lake St., Oak Park…708-848-7901
1116 Garfield, Oak Park…709-848-6561
River Forest Post Office …401 William St., River Forest…708-366-5986
Oak Park Police Dept …123 Madison, Oak Park…708-386-3800
River Forest Police Dept …400 Park Ave., River Forest…708-366-7125
Oak Park Fire Dept …100 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park…708-445-3300
River Forest Fire Dept …400 Park Ave., River Forest…366-7125
Oak Park Township …105 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park…708-383-8005
River Forest Township …8020 Madison St., River Forest…708-366-2029
Oak Park Library …834 Lake St., Oak Park…708-383-8200
River Forest Library …735 Lathrop Ave., River Forest…708-366-5205
Park District of Oak Park …218 Madison St., Oak Park…708-383-0002
River Forest Park District …401 Thatcher Ave., River Forest…366-6660
Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce …1110 North Blvd., Oak Park…708-848-8151
Oak Park-River Forest Day Nursery…1139 Randolph St., Oak Park… 708-434-3192
Oak Park Elementary Schools, Admin. Offices…970 Madison St., Oak Park…708-524-3000
River Forest Elementary Schools, Admin. Offices…7776 Lake St., River Forest …708-366-7340
Oak Park-River Forest High School…201 N. Scoville Ave., Oak Park…708-383-0700
Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation … 1049 Lake St., Oak Park…708-848-1560