Oak Park, IL downtown storefronts

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2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 81
Demographics 56
Economy 59
Education 60
Health 55
Housing 43
Infrastructure 56

#32. Oak Park, IL

Oak Park, IL isn’t your typical suburb. On the contrary, this mid-sized city with some 51,000 residents is full of unique character and charm. Of course, it helps that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright established his studio and built many homes in his unique Prairie architectural style here. But beyond that, Oak Park residents value diversity, community, education and social justice, making this an ideal place to live if you want to get involved and make a difference. This geographically small city (Oak Park spans just 4-and-a-half square miles!) packs a big punch.

Top Colleges/Universities: Triton College in neighboring River Grove.

Top Industries & Employers: Education, local government, health care

Weekend Plans: Hit up the Oak Park Farmers’ Market in the morning, followed by coffee at Wise Cup. Spend the afternoon among the plants and greenery at Oak Park Conservatory.

Favorite Place to Feast: Maya Del Sol, which serves up incredible Latin fusion dishes and craft cocktails. Locals love grabbing a seat on the restaurant’s patio.

Beloved Beverage: Any of the rotating craft beers at Oak Park Brewing Company, which has some serious Oak Park pride.

Outdoorsy Activity: Spend the day picnicking, kicking around a soccer ball, riding your bike or doing yoga at one of Oak Park’s 18 parks spanning 84 acres. 

Rooftop Bar: Avenue Ale House, which, in addition to an awesome rooftop patio, has a chef-driven menu with fun dishes like crispy buffalo cauliflower and blackened BBQ Ribs with chipotle mac and cheese.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: The hottest doggy bar in town is BeerShop, a combination beer store and taproom that welcomes pups with open arms. Locals love to bring their dogs here to socialize while they sip and shop.

Remote Work Perk: It’s easy to get involved in causes you’re passionate about in Oak Park, a city known for its social and civic engagement. Nonprofits like Sarah’s Inn, the Oak Park Area Arts Council and Yemba are always looking for new volunteers.

One More Thing … Oak Park’s residents are seriously engaged with the political process. As a result, the city often leads Cook County in voter turnout, with numbers regularly topping 80 percent during presidential elections!

– Sarah Kuta

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