10 Reasons to spend the NATO Summit weekend in Oak Park

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By Community Editor

Provided by Downtown Oak Park

We know what you're thinking. Should you go to downtown Chicago this weekend? Why take a chance? There are plenty of great events and places to enjoy right here in Oak Park. No parking restrictions or road closures, no threat of tear gas in crowds, and you can wear your vintage tie-dyed tees without fear of reprisal.

These are our top picks:

Saturday, May 19th

1. GATHER - Oak Park Farmers' Market season opening day (Saturday 7-1pm) We've been waiting for this day since last October.The Farmers' Market is held in the Pilgrim Congregational Church parking lot, 460 Lake St., one block west of Ridgeland Ave.

2. EXPERIENCE - Art in the Park (Austin Gardens, Saturday & Sunday 10-5pm) Ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and wood - oh my! Don't forget to grab some Mancini's pizza or gelato while you're there, or stop over at the restaurant (1111 Lake Street) and pick up a NATO Burger (Netherlands cheese, Avocado, Tomato, Onion) Yumm.

3. CELEBRATE - Concordia University Chicago Graduation In honor of Concordia graduates, come celebrate with a lunch or dinner al Fresco at one of Downtown Oak Park's eateries. Our favorite outdoor spots? We suggest Mancini's, Hutong, Purees, Prairie Bread Kitchen,Marion Street Grille or Jerusalem Cafe. A special congratulations to DTOP's Intern - Kristina Conrady!

4. COMPETE - Scrabble Tournament (Saturday 1-4pm) Fervent competitors, casual players, and newbie's age 6 and up are welcome to participate in Oak Park Public Library's spring Scrabble Tournament. Choose competitors from your age bracket and put your Scrabble skills to the test starting at 1 pm on Saturday, May 19 at the Main Library, 834 Lake Street. Register at the library, online or call 708-452-3440.

5. MINGLE - Plan your evening out

  • The Elaine Dame Trio (Jazz) will be performing Saturday starting 8pm at Sushi House's Dragon Lounge, 1107 Lake Street
  • Bar Louie, 1122 Lake Street, live music Friday from 5-7pm; half-off selected appetizers Friday 4-7pm; beer of the month, Dos Equis for $3.50; Monday new drink list revealed - new beer, wine and martinis and mixed drinks will be $1.00 all Monday.
  • Stop by Lake Street Kitchen + Bar for micro brews, specialty cocktails, and wine specials. Try an item off their new Spring menu - outdoor seating available!

Sunday, May 20th

6. GROW - Spring Plant Sale at Cheney Mansion (Sunday 10-2pm) Park District of Oak Park's Cheney Mansion's 15th annual plant sale features a wide variety of weather-tested, hardy perennials grown at the gardens of Cheney Mansion, 220 North Euclid. In addition to their regular offerings, this year they feature Illinois native prairie and woodland wildflowers. Commercially grown plants originate from The Natural Garden collections, and are local ecotypes indigenous to northeastern Illinois.

7. REFUEL - Brunch in Downtown Oak Park Enjoy the beautiful weather and let someone else do the cooking for you at your favorite neighborhood brunch spot. Need a suggestion? We likeMunch (Sat & Sun Brunch 10am-2pm), Aripos (Sunday Brunch 10:30am-5pm)& Delia's Kitchen (open daily 7am to 4pm).

8. GASP - There Goes the Neighborhood Tour of Gangster History (11am & 1:30pm) - John Binder, mob historian and author of The Chicago Outfit, conducts the popular "There Goes the Neighborhood" tour of gangster history in Oak Park and River Forest. The exterior tour visits 15 houses in these two suburbs which were previously owned by major hoodlums, including Tony Accardo, Paul Ricca, Sam Giancana, "Tough Tony" Capezio and "Machine Gun Jack" McGurn. John will discuss the criminal careers of the former owners, the interesting features of each home, the family's time there, and answer questions from the audience. The bus tour departs (and returns to) the Oak Park Visitor Center at 1010 Lake St. Please call the Visitor Center at 708-848-1500 to purchase tickets, $30 per person.

9. EXPLORE - Our museums aren't closed this weekend!

  • Ernest Hemingway Museum- 200 N Oak Park Ave open Sun. 1-5pm and Sat. 10-5pm
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio - 951 Chicago Ave open daily 10-5pm
  • Unity Temple - 875 Lake Street open Sat. 10-2pm and Sun. 1-4pm for tours
  • Wonder Works, A Children's Museum - 6445 West North Ave open Sat. 10-5pm and Sun. 12-5pm

10. SPLURGE - Do some summer shopping Skip the fuss that is Michigan Avenue and come to the Galleria d'Oak Park - we've got boutiques, jewelry, shoes, cooking, books, home goods, fair trade gifts, and much more.

Specials in Downtown Oak Park

  • A New Collection of TAKARA Linens and Batik clothing, accessories and handbags arrived to compliment the spring trends with a pop of color. Spring/Summer Trippen and Cydwoq shoes arrived and they are fantastic! Shop Takara's BackRack up to 50% off - 123 N Marion Street --15% off on Dimmi shoes at Shoe Soko, 111 N Marion Street
  • Receive a free pair of earrings with your purchase over $100.00 or more, and 25% OFF Spring knits at Croix, 131 N Marion Street
  • Stop by for coffee and chocolate samples through May 20th at Ten Thousand Villages, 121 Marion St. Celebrate World Fair Trade Day every day!



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