Local My Life

Downtown Oak Park

I love this town of mine. There are so many distinct areas, and a few weeks ago I walked around downtown Oak Park with the kids and took photographs. It’s a pretty charming place.

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  • heather
    August 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I love your town too! I did an internship at the Home & Studio one summer and spent all my lunch hours exploring as much as possible! It’s a gorgeous place!!!

  • Abbi
    August 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I love it too! And I love that every.single.time. I walk down Marion there is always a cute kid in that fountain!

  • Ele
    August 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    So cute! Is that where the Renaissance Art Fair is?
    Beautiful photos as well:)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:06 am

      I’m not familiar with that one, but they hold a lot of art fairs in the park at Lake St. and Oak Park Ave. (about a mile away from Downtown Oak Park).

  • Elizabeth Peremans
    August 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I’ll be in Chicago this weekend, what good eating places would you recommend in Oak Park?

    • Michelle
      August 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      It is nice seeing Oak Park through your lens. I am from Minneapolis, but moved to Oak Park almost three years ago. I learned about your blog from a friend in Minnesota and I love it! Thanks for sharing your ideas and creativity!

    • Megan
      August 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      If it’s nice outside, you can’t beat the patio @ Maya del Sol. It is THE BEST. The staff is great, and the food is amazing. They catered my wedding last summer and everyone said it was the best wedding food they ever had. I highly recommend the nachos as a appetizer if you eat meat. They will change your life.

      If you’re a foodie, definitely go to Marion Street Cheese Market. Great food, too, and a very knowledgeable staff…they catered my rehearsal dinner…

      Both are accessible by the Green Line–Maya is just south of the Oak Park stop, Marion Street is just south of the Harlem Stop (which is also the Metra station, fyi.) If you’re a vegetarian, Munch is pretty new, and it’s on the north side of the Harlem stop–right near the fountain with the kids. Hope this helps!

      • Elizabeth Peremans
        August 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm

        Thanks so much! Maya Del Sol sounds amazing!!!

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Megan has some great recommendations! I’ll also throw Erik’s Deli in if you want a casual kid-friendly kind of place. It’s across the street from Maya del Sol.

      • Elizabeth Peremans
        August 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Thank you so much for your recommendations… specially for the kid friendly ones. We’ll probably go there after visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo.

  • Malinda
    August 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve only been once to do Focus Group testing for my web site, but I literally took every spare second I could to explore the Oak Park area – absolutely LOVE it. Would consider moving there if it didn’t snow ;)

  • Sangeetha
    August 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I love it too! i live in river Forest and love to come out there on the weekends especially for the Farmer’s Market. Your photos provide me a new appreciation of OP.

  • alexis
    August 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    can i ask what photo filter/effect you use on these? it is so subtle and lovely.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

      It’s a combination, but the main one that you’re noticing is “Lux (Hard)” from Totally Rad.

  • RD
    August 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I want a $1.00 movie theatre! Wow! Neat town.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Well, they’re not usually a dollar. That’s just a summertime special. ;)

  • Circa1972vs1906
    August 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    My pal Andrea Jablonski did that Nelson Algren mural! It is rad! woo hoo! props.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Awesome! That’s my favorite one.

  • Rebecca
    August 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Aw! That’s my ‘hood! I live on Marion and love it!

  • {leah}
    August 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I <3 Chicago architecture. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Amanda
    August 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Great pics! I used to live on Ridgeland and now live on Grove. Love this town!

  • Katie
    August 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    So so cute! I love finding little areas like this :)

  • MJ
    August 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Found you through Gretchen Rubin’s email – pretty funny, I was born and raised in Oak Park, and my dad still lived there till about a year ago. I spin through now on my way to see him in a nearby town. Definitely need some photos of the Farmer’s Market though! Have a couple cinnamon or powdered sugar doughnuts for me. :)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Maybe I’ll get some shots at the market this weekend, weather permitting!

  • Tequila b
    August 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I love Oak park, when my Fiance gets to Ref soccer at Oak park river forest High, im excited bc we get to eat dinner in the city.

  • Danielle
    August 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I also live in Oak Park and spent the weekend at the Farmer’s Market as it’s currently in it’s full glory! Do you know what the white bikes are for that are around town (the one in one of your photos)…are they a memorial?
    Your web site(s) (personal and business)are brilliant. I love living in a village with so many talented and creative people like you!

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Usually white bikes are in memorial, but I think this one just happens to be white by coincidence. It’s outside the flower shop, and they often fill the bike with plants and flowers.

  • Karena
    August 29, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    An amazing setting and I love these urban images!!

  • Emily
    August 30, 2011 at 6:21 am

    great Art Deco details.

  • Tena
    August 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I am from Lockport, but have lived in Alabama for almost 27 years. Your pictures draw me home.

  • Tracy
    August 30, 2011 at 8:12 am

    We moved to OP a month ago from Hyde Park–I can’t tell you what a difference it is. The Village ought to hire me on as an ambassador, as my incessant love for it fills all conversations at present. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    Maybe you’ll consider a meet-up with readers?

    • sangeetha
      August 30, 2011 at 11:55 am

      I second Tracy’s meetup idea! :)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

      I may be meeting up with someone on Friday… maybe I should see if she’s up for it being a bigger thing? It would be during the day though — people might be working.

  • Jeran
    August 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Great pictures. Do you like to set your exposure a little higher to get that antique/faded effect for your images? Or do you fade out some of the color after in photoshop or another software? Please do share.

  • rebecca
    August 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hey, that’s my home too! Like the first Rebecca, I live on Marion. Been here for a while, didn’t realize you were local!

    May I ask what discount and thrift stores you like in the area and greater Chicagoland? We’re furnishing our first owned place and I want to buy used, not new & overpackaged, furniture! Thanks if you–or anyone–can offer advice!

  • Amanda
    August 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I live in Oak Park too! Thanks for giving me a renewed love of the town with your pretty pretty pictures.

  • claire@gibsonking
    August 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    wow! your hometown is the cutest. what excellent pictures! thanks so much for the tour!

  • erin mck
    August 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    adore that rustic movie theatre. these photos really make me want to visit. the whole town looks almost modern-quaint if there is such a thing.

  • Susan/Project Balancing Act
    August 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Go to Red Hen Bread Company (grab a sandwich, yum)… walk to the back and look at the framed photo of the baby boy holding up a bread roll in the corner… That’s my James!

  • Sarah
    August 31, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    My bro and SIL live on S. Ridgeland. You are, to me, a celebrity, so to see all the same areas and landmarks on your blog (and mention of restaurants like Maya del Sol) that we see when we visit is really nifty to me. :) xo

  • Juliana
    September 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Awww, my hometown! I grew up on Oak Park Avenue, blocks from the Frank Lloyd Wright home & studio. We used to sneak out to Erik’s for lunch in high school! All this awaits Eleanor and August…..

  • Sarah @ Freestyle Home and Life
    September 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

    We live in Chicago, but have hopped on the Green Line out to Oak Park on a number of occasions — it’s such a lovely place to go for dinner and/or a movie. I think these pics really capture the atmosphere well.

  • yvette
    September 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    How is it possible that I’ve been following your blog for some time now and had no idea you were in the Chicago area?? I’m in Evanston! I have a couple of friends in Oak Park and they really love it! Lovely photos!

  • Shell
    September 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    It’s so cute! My town is not so cute, so major jealousy at the moment :-)

  • Kath
    September 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Love Oak Park! I stayed there recently while attending a college graduation. Oak Park/River Forest are one of the few places I’ve been I’d consider moving too. I love the Frank Lloyd Wright influence on the signs and planters. Lovely!