Literary Tourism: Oak Park, Illinois

Oak Park is pretty dope. It’s about ten miles west from downtown Chicago, but it’s basically a more concentrated, downscale Chicago. It’s not as big since it’s just a village, but it packs a punch with its shopping, restaurants, and other attractions. Downtown Oak Park especially is full of attractions and, of course, neat literary places that may have some bookish spots in Chicago throwing shade at what Oak Park is packing.


Source: The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

The most notable literary spots in Oak Park are the Hemingway Birthplace Home and Museum. Located just minutes from the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, the Hemingway Birthplace Home offers visitors the chance to see inside Ernest Hemingway’s childhood home. Both the birthplace home and museum are full of artifacts from the writer’s life, including family photos, early writings, and letters written by Hemingway.


Source: The Book Table

If Hemingway’s not your thing, you can always walk over to The Book Table, Oak Park’s “fiercely independent” bookstore. Opened by hubby-and-wife team Jason and Rachel, two former indie bookstore workers, the bookstore is known for selling new books at a 20 percent discounted price. Yes. A discount on new books. They’ve been in the bookstore game for a long time, so they know some things. The bookstore has a huge selection of art books, as well as a kid’s corner complete with new and classic kid’s tales. Can’t forget about the awesome fiction section with its tables and shelves packed with books—you will spend hours browsing these.



Oak Park also has a spot dedicated to serving the young reader in your life. The Magic Tree Bookstore was brought to life in 1984 by co-owners Rose and Iris. This bookstore is dedicated to children’s learning and therefore houses a huge selection of children’s books, as well as young adult books. The literary events at the Magic Tree are catered to help children learn and love all things books. The bookstore also offers amazing services and opportunities for parents and teachers as well.

If you’re visiting Chicago, try and make it out to Oak Park! It’s easily accessible by train and not as crowded as those city streets. Awesome bookstores and a museum dedicated to one of America’s most well-known author? Why not!

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