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Ah Oak Park, IL. Best known for being home to Earnest Hemingway, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and oodles of small businesses including CarefulPeach!

#SmallBusiness for the win!

As a life-long Oak Parker, I have a few favorite spots that will be well worth the Metra, CTA, or Lyft over here.

Check out our favorite small business destinations below!

New to Oak Park? Start your journey at Visit Oak Park. Located in the heart of Downtown Oak Park, they are the kindest and most knowledgeable staff! Visit Oak Park is always in the know for festivals and all of the fun events going on.

Lake Use

How quaint is the Lake Theater Marquee?

Catch as movie at Lake Theater (they have the cutest marquee!). In the summer, Scoville Park hosts live music and movies. If you visit Oak Park and don’t check out Frank Lloyd Wright home tours, it might be a crime. Mills Park is a perfect spot to read a great book or for a picnic locale, but you already knew that. You can also visit the childhood home of Ernest Hemingway or stop in the museum. While there are quite a few conservatories in Oak Park, a fantastic one is  the Oak Park Conservatory. While it’s a little smaller than Garfield Park and Lincoln Park Conservatory, it’s a wonderful little spot to take a peaceful walk.


FOOD

Chicago is for sure a food hub- almost every neighborhood you go there is a new restaurant or can’t miss dish. Oak Park is no exception to this! Behold, our favorite spots for quick bites and savory meals below:

BREAKFAST TIME

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I dream of this berry covered waffle.

George’s has always been a favorite of mine. Who doesn’t want to start their day with the fluffiest pancakes imaginable? If you are looking for some great classic diner food, I would also suggest heading over to Al’s Grill (they make some of the best soup!). Delia’s Kitchen (pictured above) serves Intelligentsia coffee (a Chicago favorite!) and makes the largest breakfast burritos you can imagine. Last but certainly not least, Cozy Corner Coffee Shop is a breakfast favorite of Kelly’s.

 

COFFEE BREAK

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Lattes in a beautiful glass mug are such a treat!

For grabbing a cup of coffee and a pastry or two Sugar Fixe, has my heart. They have AMAZING macarons, delicious pasties, great coffee, and the best staff ever. If your in the city, they also have a location up north in Lincoln Park. Prairie Bread Company has great a workspace (quick WIFI, too!) and the staff is always so friendly! They have the most amazing challah bread, and a slice of their cinnamon bread is the perfect afternoon snack. Spilt Milk is another Oak Park gem that has the best pie in the coziest shop. Again, the nicest people work there (friendly staff is a reoccurring theme of Oak Park businesses!) Even if you aren’t a big pie fan, they have such good cookies and their chai tea is fantastic! Another great coffee spot is L!ve Cafe. It’s perfect if you are looking for a great spot to plug in with your computer and get to work with a nice big cup of coffee! Live Fresko makes the freshest smoothies and juice around (their wheatgrass smoothie is my favorite), plus they serve Metropolis coffee #heaven.

 

LUNCH DATE

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Munch is a restaurant right around the corner from us that specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. They have amazing salads and I’ve gotten some delish grain bowls over the years, but my favorite item on their menu is the mint chocolate chip milkshake. Plus, they are BYOB! Buzz Cafe is quaint, charming, and makes a great sandwich and always has good coffee. Lea French Street Food is a new neighbor of ours, and I have tried just about everything on their menu (my fave is the lynnaise salad, pictured above). The Moroccan and Lebanese fare at Grape Leaves is always as pretty as it is tasty. Mama Thai serves up some of the best comfort food imaginable. Perfect for cold Chicago winters when you just want to eat a warm bowl of noodles. Saigon Pho has great pho and I cannot recommend their ban mi sandwich enough! While Chicagoland has oodles of tacos joints, Boss Burrito is one of my favorites. Quick and tasty, their tacos are a Peach favorite on busy days!

 

DATE NIGHT DINNER

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A wine glass in had is super de duper.

One of the best date night spots in Oak Park is definitely La Notte. It’s cozy, elegant, and every item on the menu is amazing. Each dish is made to order, and they have some of the most delicious sauces! Another great Italian restaurant is Trattoria 225 (pictured above). Their Italian food is off the charts, and their walls are adorned with local art that is for sale- so charming! The Little Gem Cafe is a cute bistro in Downtown Oak Park that has a mean french onion soup and great cocktails. Looking for the best sushi in Chicagoland? Sen Sushi Bar is hands down the winner! They even have a michelin star. Sen does not take not take reservations, and there is almost always a line, but trust us, its worth it! Citrine has a great brunch and one of my favorite burgers in Oak Park! They also have wonderful cocktails New Rebozo‘s upscale Mexican food is must visit, especially if you enjoy mole!

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This photo doesn’t do the patio justice! Soak it up for your self with a cocktail in hand

Maya Del Sol is known for its tasty cocktails. Every item on the menu is out of this world, I am particularly enamored with their nachos del sol.They have the most beautiful patio in the summer time (shown above). It’s charming and downright magical with plants abound and twinkly lights overhead. Maya also has little heaters for chilly night AND cozy fleece blankets, which is such a luxury since Chicago weather can go from hot and sunny to freezing in a snap!

DRINKS

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A bottle of bubbly at Hemingway’s is the perfect way to celebrate just about anything!

If you know CarefulPeach even just a little, you know we love to have a cocktail in hand! While Maya certainly makes a mean margarita, Hemingway’s Bistro is the perfect place to sip champagne.

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Decisions, decisions.

Beer Shop (the best next door neighbors ever!) always has a great list on draft and they have board games! They always post fun events like trivia on their Instagram. Plus, Beer Shop is BYOF (Bring your own food), you can order a pizza and they will deliver it there! Another personal favorite spot to grab a beer is Poor Phils Bar & Grill. Granted, I’m a little bias because I worked there for a few years in high school and college, but they have the largest beer selection you can imagine! The bar room is cozy with booths and every table is greeted with a basket of freshly made popcorn. In the summer, they have a large patio that over looks the beautifully bricked Marion Street. Its the perfect spot to unwind after a long day.


SELF CARE

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Can you believe this stunning spot is a Pilates studio?? Who knew a working out could be so glamorous.

Polished Nails and Day Spa always has fair prices and does great work! They just redid the salon and it looks so serene. Looking for a fresh cut? Another great nail salon is Pink Nail Studio. Aptly named, the entire studio is a bright shade of Elle Woods pink- perfect for a mani pedi spa day with a few girlfriends! My favorite spot for a great hair cut is Sandra Ross (if you can book an appointment with Chelsey she is a miracle worker!). Center Stage Salon is Karen’s favorite spot for a cho, but Kelly swears by James Anthony Salon for cut & color. Midwest Microblading is another new neighbor of ours. Their studio specialize in providing custom results for long term eyebrow enhancement and eyelash extensions and post the most amazing before and afters on their Instagram (seriously, its memorizing!)! Village Pilates is the most gorgeous pilates center you have ever seen! They have a great Instagram and are always posting videos that you can follow along at home.


SHOPPING

People often ask us who we think the best shop in Oak Park is. Its CarefulPeach, duh! But if you find yourself in the neighborhood, here are a few other Oak Park gems to add to your shopping list.

JEWELRY

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Gem is the chicest spot on the list.

Looking for some fabulous jewelry? Oak Park Jewelers carries a variety of classic and gorgeous jewelry and watches, plus they do repairs & appraisals. My engagement ring is from Oak Park Jewelers, so I might be a little bias! Gem (pictured above) always carries unique and innovative designs. Go follow them on Instagram! Another great shop is The Gold Hatpin. They are a teeny little shop on marion street hidden in Chicago Rugs. The Gold Hatpin carries the most amazing selection of vintage and antique jewelry. If you are ever pining after a stunning art deco piece, check them out!

 

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES

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Two Story Farm House is by far our most adorable neighbor.

Looking for a cute outfit? If you are a frequent reader of the blog you already know that Sanem’s is one of our favorites! Find a new yoga fit or running shoes from Lively, which is located just across the street from Sanems. Also on that block are Nora’s Shoes (there is always a pair in the window I’m lusting after!)  and Manouche clothing. I think of their style as upscale casual french girl, which the Peach is all about! 16 Suitcases is just around the corner from us and always has fun new arrivals! Their Instagram is a great spot for daily outfit inspo. My fave pair of summer sandals are from Two Story Farm House (pictured above). They have such a great mix of clothing, lifestyle, and accessories, its almost impossible to walk of the store with out purchasing something! Takara is a favorite of Milissa’s and has such a dynamic and amazing sense of style.

KIDS

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Shopping with a little one in mind? Sugar Cup Trading (pictured above) always has the most adorable kid clothes, books and fun accessories.  Magic Tree Bookstore lives up to its name! It has a really cute tree inside that looks well, magical. I remember shopping there as a kid, and now I go there to get gifts for my godson.  its totally adorable and has a great section of baby, kid, and tween books! Another cute shop is Gepetto’s Toy Store. Their friendly staff will always help you find an age appropriate toy in your price range. Another fun spot is Pumpkin Moon. They are just down the block from us and always have such fun kid finds!

 

BookTable

Can’t you just smell that new book smell! ahhhh…

Another Oak Park gem is The Book Table. If you are the kind of person that likes to get lost in a bookstore, this is going to be your new favorite destination. I know I sound like a broken record at this point but they have the most friendly staff! I have gone there for so many different types of books (kids books, cookbooks, novels, travel guides, ect) and they always have the perfect suggestions! Their staff always has great suggestions for gifts and will order just about any book for you if its not in the shop. Truly an Oak Park favorite.

A few other great specialty spots in the neighborhood are Pieritz Brothers for office supplies (this small business has been around for over 115 years!), One Stop Comics for new and vintage comic books, Gala-Tec for all of your apple needs (everyone needs a great local tech support!), Fitzgeralds for gorgeous stationary, cards, and monogrammed gifts. Olive & Well always has tasty creations and is a staple when I do my Christmas shopping. Fiberista Club is a knitting shop that has the most gorgeous and colorful Instagram. Bead in Hand is a a retail bead shop that also has classes and hosts parties.

VINTAGE FINDS

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There is always something great to find at Brown Elephant!

Love to hunt for a diamond in the rough? Trends carries wide range of women’s clothes and accessories. The 2nd Chance Shop, is a A non-profit resale shop and adoption center and  all proceeds support the Animal Care League shelter and operations. Right around the corner from The 2nd Chance Shop you will find Divine Consign,  who always has tons of furniture from of differnt styles to choose from. The Brown Elephant always has something great hidden away (I once bought a table and two chairs from them for $25!)

ValsHalla

Inspiration at Val’s Halla is literally floor to ceiling!

A blog of Oak Park gems certainly wouldn’t be complete without Val’s Halla Records. Val’s Halla is a record store in the Arts District of Oak Park that has been in Oak Park for over 40 years!  I bought my very first CD from Val’s many years ago and always find something spectacular. Its a charming spot where you are guaranteed to find inspiration. Whether you are on the hunt for a classic or looking to be inspired by your new favorite tunes, Val’s Halla is a stop you need to check out!

PUPS & PETS

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Looking for a spot to pamper your pup? Karen swears by Bubbles & Brushes for grooming. Scratch ‘N Sniff (pictured above) always has great treats and gifts for your pups & beyond!

 

Undoubtably, there are tons of others small businesses around the neighborhood that are not on the list. What are your favorite Oak Park gems? Let us know in the comments below!

Enjoyed this post? Check out this blog on Oak Park Courtyards and  this one about a perfect picnic in Mills Park

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