Over the past year, the pandemic has brought tourism to a standstill. This has had a big impact here in the Oak Park area, which usually attracts millions of visitors to our local attractions like: the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Hemingway Birthplace Museum, and Brookfield Zoo. Now more than ever, they need your support. 

With vaccines giving us all hope that life will start returning to some normalcy this summer, our attractions need locals—like you—to buy tickets and visit while they wait for more visitors to be able to return soon. 

With strict safety guidelines in place at each of our local attractions, here are a few great ways to explore your own backyard with your family and friends. 

As a local, it might be easy to forget, but Oak Park is the birthplace of American architecture. If you’ve never visited, drop by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, and enjoy a guided tour of where Wright’s Prairie style design got its roots. Take a Wright Around Oak Park Tour to get a deeper glimpse into this genius designer with a walking tour of ten Wright homes in the surrounding historic neighborhood.  

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

If you’ve never attended the annual Wright Plus Housewalk before, this is the year to go. This year’s event was recently rescheduled for September, but you’ll soon be able to purchase tickets. Not only do you get extraordinary access to eight private residences, and two landmark buildings designed by Wright and his contemporaries, but you will also be supporting the great work of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. 

While any tour of Oak Park usually includes a stop at Wright’s famed Unity Temple, the best way to see his masterpiece right now is a special virtual tour as part of the Vintage Home Show on Saturday, April 24. This special event, hosted by the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation and the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce, features virtual workshops for how to repair, restore, and renovate historic buildings. 

Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace Museum ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

If you’re watching the new Ken Burns Hemingway documentary on PBS, taking a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace Museum provides a behind the scenes glimpse of this enigmatic author that you just can’t get from watching the documentary.

The majestic Pleasant Home offers three unique tours. Get a glimpse of servant life at the mansion, or take an expanded tour and see all three levels of the home. A new grounds tour will be offered this spring.

The Oak Park River Forest Museum showcases unique and interesting historical artifacts of the area. Check out their many historical and timely exhibits, including the Fair Housing exhibit. 

Finally, come one, come all, and enjoy the many famed exhibits of Brookfield Zoo, including Dinos Everywhere, which will only be here until September.

Be sure to check out the new Pick Oak Park guide to find local shopping and dining options to fill out a perfect day for your family and friends. 

As we get closer to summer travel, look to Visit Oak Park for more information.

Visit Oak Park is the tourism bureau serving the Village of Oak Park and its neighboring Cook County communities, including the villages of Brookfield, Forest Park, North Riverside, River Forest and Riverside.

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