3 Days | 10 Miles | in From Local Experts
Architecture aficionados will be stunned by the treasure trove of landmarks in the Oak Park area, including the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world!
Make sure to check with attractions ahead of time for up-to-date operating hours, travel policies and health and safety information.
Begin your adventure seeing the landmark that spelled a shift in architectural practices across the country. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, nestled on a tree-lined street in the heart of Oak Park, was completed in 1889 and is widely considered to be the birthplace of Prairie-style architecture. Marvel at original blueprints in the famed architect's immaculate laboratory before taking in the spectacle of colorful stained glass and ornate wood carvings in his adjacent living quarters.
Next, hit the streets of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood is home to 25 Wright-designed treasures, many are private residences not open for interior tours, but a self-guided tour or a guided bicycle tour of their exteriors offer a captivating glimpse at the evolution from traditional homes to the flat-roofed designs that cemented his legacy.
For lunch, stop by Carnivore Oak Park, a quaint market and local Illinois Made gem selling high-end meat & seafood, plus sandwiches, lunch plates & gourmet ingredients.
After lunch, head over to the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple. Arguably one of the most iconic Frank Lloyd Wright designs in the world, Unity Temple is a National Historic Landmark and was recently inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The grandeur of its skylights, geometric elements, and decorative woodwork wows visitors of all ages and interests.
For dinner, stop by Maya Del Sol, a hip, lively spot featuring Latin American eats, craft margaritas & cocktails, and one of the best patios in the Chicago area.
Begin your day with a tour of George W. Maher's Pleasant Home. This 30-room mansion, one of the nation's most distinguished examples of Prairie-style architecture, boasts intricate woodcarvings and extraordinary art glass windows.
Continue your architectural adventure with a guided tour of the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum. This beautiful Victorian home, where the author spent his first six years, is rich with Victorian décor and rare family photographs.
Head over to Delia's Kitchen, a contemporary café and restaurant that is open 7 days a week, serving breakfast and lunch.
After lunch, head over to historic Village of Riverside - with its culturally significant architecture, lush landscapes and gas lantern-lined streets. Explore this charming village with an afternoon walking tour from the Frederick Law Olmsted Society.
Wrap up your afternoon at Quincy Street Distillery. This Illinois Made gem has garnered national attention with its small-batch spirits using historically-inspired recipes and regional ingredients. Follow a guide through the bonded area where spirits are distilled and bottled, learning humorous anecdotes about the area's history of Prohibition. Afterwards, groove along to Prohibition-era tunes while sipping a handcrafted cocktail in the Speakeasy bar.
Explore the architecture and the animals at the world-famous Brookfield Zoo. Spend a day exploring the 216-acre grounds, home to more than 2,500 animals and some 450 species. The hop-on, hop-off open-air Motor Safari trams are a great way to take it all in and include live narration. Don't miss the dolphin show!
Walking around the zoo can sure work up an appetite! Luckily, at Brookfield Zoo, there are plenty of fabulous food options. They are located across the park so it is easy to grab snacks on the go, or sit down with the family for a larger meal.