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JackieTakestheTrain

Frank Lloyd Wright Tours in Chicago/Oak Park

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Not sure that "tour bus it" is even English, but you get the gist.

 

My husband and I are thinking of going to Oak Park this summer. It seems like it is an easy drive from the city. We could just rent a car for the day and return it. Public Transportation looks like an option, too, but not sure about this neighborhood or the neighborhoods in between for late evening travel.

 

I found one company -- Chicago Savvy Tours -- that does tours of Oak Park. They do pick-up/drop-off at downtown hotels.

 

Anyone familiar with Oak Park area and the best way to get there?

 

Thanks!

-- Jackie

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Don't bother with a car to go to/from Oak Park, especially if you'd have to rent one.

 

The town itself is generally safe, especially the areas with the Wright sites. Pay attention, as you would when walking anywhere, but I wouldn't imagine that even the late evening should be an issue. If you're exploring on your own, don't wander too far east; the area around Austin Avenue, which is the border with the City of Chicago, is where things start to get hinky. But I doubt anything would attract a tourist that far east.

 

There are two transit choices to Oak Park:

 

*The Green Line of the L runs every 15 minutes or better but stops along the way in some very sketchy neighborhoods on the West Side of Chicago. Plenty of people take the Green Line to/from Oak Park, though, and the main "danger" is punks grabbing someone's smartphone just before a station stop and running off the train with it. :angry2:

 

*Metra's Union Pacific West commuter line runs, outside the frequent rush-hour service, only hourly on weekdays or every two hours on parts of the weekend, but it flies through the neighborhoods the Green Line stops in and nobody goes "Apple picking" on the Metra. :lol:

 

The Green Line terminal and the Metra station in Oak Park are right next to each other in downtown Oak Park. The Green Line would also allow you to get off at Oak Park Avenue, a half-mile east of the terminal, somewhat closer to the Wright sites than the terminal, with (like downtown Oak Park) plenty of restaurants and shops to keep up foot traffic into the night. But the walk to/from the Metra station would be fine too.

 

Oh, and turning to why you're going there, :lol: the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust runs Wright's home and studio in Oak Park and offers tours of it but also the historic district of Wright-designed buildings.

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Don't bother with a car to go to/from Oak Park, especially if you'd have to rent one.

 

The town itself is generally safe, especially the areas with the Wright sites. Pay attention, as you would when walking anywhere, but I wouldn't imagine that even the late evening should be an issue. If you're exploring on your own, don't wander too far east; the area around Austin Avenue, which is the border with the City of Chicago, is where things start to get hinky. But I doubt anything would attract a tourist that far east.

 

There are two transit choices to Oak Park:

 

*The Green Line of the L runs every 15 minutes or better but stops along the way in some very sketchy neighborhoods on the West Side of Chicago. Plenty of people take the Green Line to/from Oak Park, though, and the main "danger" is punks grabbing someone's smartphone just before a station stop and running off the train with it. :angry2:

 

*Metra's Union Pacific West commuter line runs, outside the frequent rush-hour service, only hourly on weekdays or every two hours on parts of the weekend, but it flies through the neighborhoods the Green Line stops in and nobody goes "Apple picking" on the Metra. :lol:

 

The Green Line terminal and the Metra station in Oak Park are right next to each other in downtown Oak Park. The Green Line would also allow you to get off at Oak Park Avenue, a half-mile east of the terminal, somewhat closer to the Wright sites than the terminal, with (like downtown Oak Park) plenty of restaurants and shops to keep up foot traffic into the night. But the walk to/from the Metra station would be fine too.

 

Oh, and turning to why you're going there, :lol: the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust runs Wright's home and studio in Oak Park and offers tours of it but also the historic district of Wright-designed buildings.

 

 

Hey John! Thanks for the quick reply and the info! :)

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Hi,

 

I visited Frank Lloyd Wright houses last year when I was in Chicago. I just took the El, it was very easy and Oak Park feels a good area. As you walk up from the station you pass the home of Hemmingway also. There is an interesting church designed by Lloyd Wright also quite near the station. I was in Chicago just recently, and the "1 day fun pass" for CTA covers both bus and EL trains, for just $5.75 per person.

 

Bon voyage,

 

Ed :cool:

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Hi,

 

I visited Frank Lloyd Wright houses last year when I was in Chicago. I just took the El, it was very easy and Oak Park feels a good area. As you walk up from the station you pass the home of Hemmingway also. There is an interesting church designed by Lloyd Wright also quite near the station. I was in Chicago just recently, and the "1 day fun pass" for CTA covers both bus and EL trains, for just $5.75 per person.

 

Bon voyage,

 

Ed cool.gif

A belated update to this post: Unity Temple(the church you're referring to in Oak Park) was recently restored, and just reopened. I hadn't revisited since the restoration effort finished up late last year(if I recall correctly), though. You also could go south to visit the Robie House, in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

 

There are other FLW houses and buildings you could visit that aren't too far away. For example, you either could do a bus ride from Chicago to Plano to visit the Farnsworth House, or do a bike reservation on the Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg(whatever the earlier westbound train from Chicago to Galesburg and eventually Quincy, is called) train and bike from there to Farnsworth and back. From going north to Sturtevant, WI(just outside Racine and neighboring Wind Point, WI, where both these buildings are located), you could find your way over to the SC Johnson company complex, administration building, and research tower to do a tour. Or you could visit Wingspread in neighboring(to the north) Wind Point, which was a house originally built by FLW for one of the Johnson executives. It's now home to the non-profit Johnson Foundation, today. I forget what the cost for the Farnsworth house tour is, but both the SC Johnson company headquarters/administration building/research tower tour and also the one for Wingspread are free. It's a shame to me that they don't allow pics inside the SC Johnson company buildings on that tour, and that you only can take inside pics of the visitor's center(when you wait in, before the tours begin), and outside of each of those buildings. There are no photography restrictions whatsoever at Wingspread(including inside), thankfully!

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