For a village Oak Park is bigger than you would think. It stretches past the railroad tracks and over the highway. When you live north of Lake Street it’s easy to forget there’s a whole portion of the city south of Lake Street. Ironically some of the more fascinating parts of the city are to the south. Mostly recently we ventured over to the Arts District.
We started the day by grabbing lunch at Buzz Cafe. It’s this cute little funky restaurant. There’s local art covering the walls: Drawings, paintings, photographs. And color everywhere! The chairs are all hand painted (and all different). It was crowded. But, you could tell that people from the neighborhood frequent the place. (I only had a fruit salad so I can’t really speak to the food).
The first thing you notice when you enter the Arts District, is this strange spirally red sculpture. Strange sculptures are always in arts districts. The neighborhood definitely has a quirky side. The cross walks are painted. The benches are painted. And, more bizarrely, the stores all decorate trees. Some trees have clothes, some trees have sashes. I love the color. It’s refreshing, especially when there are still no leaves on the trees.
It’s an interesting neighborhood. While there aren’t a ton of stores, there are more than a few galleries and studios. The community also promotes engaging children not just in the community but in arts. While there isn’t a lot to do on a random weekend there’s definitely a lot to do during the week. Most of the studios and galleries offer classes.
It’s a bit gritty but in a cool funky way.