Oak Park Neighborhoods

Though located within a small geographical Oak Park Neighborhoodsarea, the village of Oak Park contains several distinct neighborhoods. Some regions of northern Oak Park, commonly defined as being north of Lake Street, contain such areas as the historical Frank Lloyd Wright District. Various mansions are found in northern Oak Park, especially along tree-lined Chicago Avenue, East Avenue, and north Oak Park Avenue. The area between Lake Street and Madison Street, or the mid section of Oak Park, has various architectural styles.

The architecture found in the mid section of Oak Park is a grand mix of 19th-century Victorian mansions located beside smaller homes of the post-World War 2 era. Southern Oak Park, south of Madison Street, contains the Seward Gunderson Historic District, and some of the first homes in the area from the 1900s. Some people characterize Oak Park as both middle-upper and upper class.

There are several business districts within Oak Park, such as the Harrison Street Arts District along the I-290 expressway and Chicago Avenue at Harlem, but some consider downtown Oak Park as the main business district, bordered at the west by Harlem Avenue, at the east with Oak Park Avenue/Euclid Avenue, south by South Boulevard/Pleasant Street, and north by Ontario Street. However, there is a growing vacancy rate within downtown Oak Park. Some of the independent, “mom-and-pop” stores have moved out, making room for brand-name chain stores such as Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks. There has been a great deal of heated discussion and debate within the village as to the cause of these vacancies and the solution to ending this problem. In the past several months a number of those vacant store fronts have been occupied.

Oak Park is home to one of the nation’s leading park districts, first organized in 1912. It has some thirteen parks scattered throughout the village, for a total of 80 acres of parkland. The Park District also operates two historic houses, the Oak Park Conservatory, two outdoor pools, a gymnastics center, and a seasonal ice rink; these facilities as well as climate-controlled buildings at many of the parks host programs and events for all ages. The Park District also operates a dog park, where dog owners, with a permit, may bring their pets to play off-leash.

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