The best summer events in Oak Park are worth waiting for, year after year. They bring residents together to have fun and it’s the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the town like a local.
As a long-time local, I’ve had the pleasure of attending many of the village’s warm-weather festivities over the years. From lively concerts to block parties to craft fairs, there is always something entertaining going on for Oak Parkers to enjoy during the sunny weather.
For this blog post, I’m rounding up some of my personal picks for the very best summer events that will make the season more fun!
My Pick of the Best Summer Events in Oak Park That You Shouldn’t Miss
Thursday Night Out
📍Marion Street (between Lake and North Boulevard)
Downtown Thursday Night Out is a refreshing pause during the work week and it’s the best summer events in Oak Park for foodies. This gathering is held every Thursday event from June through August. The streets are closed to what was once a pedestrian-only path but have since re-opened to vehicles.
The highlights include live musical performances and retail or side-walk sales. Oak Park has some great boutiques to shop for unique items.
Stop at the kiosk cart near ColdStone Creamery to purchase a book of 4 tickets. There is a list of participating restaurants with a post on their food menu. Enjoy a stroll through downtown and enjoy a taste of Oak Park!
Residents run into neighbors and old friends and catch up on the latest happenings in life.
The kids enjoy free animals and sculptures created by a balloon artist and romp in the water fountain while munching on delicious foods from Oak Park restaurants.
A Day in Our Village
📍800 Lake St | Scoville Park
Oak Park provides the perfect backdrop for a summer day out in the park. What I love most about this event is the relaxing ambiance where you can soak up the friendly neighborhood atmosphere.
Expect to find a wide array of activities, from live music and dance performances. There will also be numerous information booths from local organizations, providing a great chance to learn more about the services and opportunities available in the community if you are thinking of staying in Oak Park for the long term.
This is a fantastic chance to visit every booth and see everything this incredible village has to offer if you’re looking for a place to volunteer!
Freebies are given away at booths. Live music and food vendors are also present. Get there early since it does get very busy!
Bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and a bag to hold all the giveaways. Numerous businesses and organizations offer pamphlets, freebies, and mini activities (such as massages, bubbles, solar ovens, and similar things).
Oak Park Farmers’ Market
📍460 Lake St
I am a huge fan of farmer’s markets. Even when traveling to other cities, I seek out markets to support local farmers and producers.
In Oak Park, I stroll to the Pilgrim Church parking lot where the Oak Park Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from May through October. The market opens at 7:00 AM and ends at 1:00 PM.
I prefer to go early to beat the donut lines. If you haven’t tried them, you will be in for a treat. The donuts are freshly made and served with cinnamon sugar (my favorite). You can also get powdered or plain donuts.
Producers travel from other Illinois cities, Southwest Michigan, and lower parts of Wisconsin.
The market doesn’t allow pets, smoking, or bicycles. I saw a woman once holding a small dog in her arms while walking around at the market. She was approached and asked to exit so keep in mind that there are no exceptions unless it is a service animal.
As I wander through the bustling market, I am always greeted by the myriad of colors, scents, and sounds. From the vibrant fruits and vegetables, chef demos, live music from the band, harvested honey, and freshly picked herbs, to the fragrant flowers – everything is a feast for the senses.
Bring your reusable tote bags and enjoy the freshest local produce and artisanal delights!
📍Marion Street (between Lake and South Boulevard)
Well, hold onto your hops because this event is a beer lover’s dream! Imagine being in a hoppy wonderland surrounded by not just a few, but a gazillion craft beers to tantalize your taste buds.
We’re talking 80+ breweries pouring a treasure trove of crafty concoctions from every corner of the nation. From hop-forward IPAs that practically dance on your palate to rich, velvety stouts that are the liquid equivalent of a cozy blanket on a winter’s night – it’s all here, and then some.
The musical acts will have you dancing in the streets. There are several live bands scheduled throughout the day that infuse the atmosphere with electric energy that is nothing short of infectious. DJs bring a different kind of magic to the mix with foot-stomping house music. The beats blend seamlessly together and take you from the cha-cha slide to a karaoke sing-along.
If you are up for a taste bud-tingling adventure like no other, take a trip to the Microbrew Fest! Get ready to embark on a beer safari where you’ll discover unique and elusive brews that are about as common as a unicorn sighting, all in the wide-open embrace.
There are nice mugs and mementos that you can take home too. This event will have you sipping, savoring, and smiling all day long.
Concerts at the Park
📍800 Lake St | Scoville Park
At Scoville Park, everyone will get into the groove, laugh, and enjoy the summer vibes at these concerts from June through August!
We’re talking music that’ll make your hips sway, melodies that’ll make you want to sing (even if you shouldn’t), and an atmosphere so festive and relaxing.
From jazz to rock to toe-tapping tunes that defy genre, these concerts are your summer playlist come to life.
Get a nice picnic blanket, arrive early, bring your funky dance moves, and that friend who insists on playing air guitar. Let’s make some hilarious, unforgettable summer memories!
📍615 Garfield St | Oak Park Conservatory
This annual wine festival previously occurred on a single weekend. It was rescheduled for the last Friday of each month from June to September. I think that it’s great. It means we have more time to enjoy wine!
The price is about $20, and it includes two drink tickets plus light food fare to pair delectable culinary bites. It’s a fantastic way to sample a glass of red or white in the conservatory garden.
The only challenging thing is parking because there is no parking lot nearby.
Uncorked is a must for wine lovers and it’s one of the best summer events in Oak Park.
📍Marion Street (between Lake and North Boulevard)
Of all the best summer events in Oak Park, this one is the most highly anticipated weekend event for me. Every year the village raises the bar and brings outstanding musical talent that makes life in Cook County worth paying taxes!
During the day, there are plenty of activities. Kids can join the Zucchini Race with a personalized vegetable adorned with creative decorations, making it a fantastic and fun-filled experience for the little ones. There are also areas where kids can play, get their faces painted, and dance unabashedly.
Navigating the streets and sidewalks with strollers is ok, but when super crowded, it may feel like a crawl.
At the food booths, families can enjoy sweet or savory munches for pizza, burgers, bratwurst, popcorn, nachos, funnel cake, pastries, and a range of culinary cuisines from Italian to Indian and Mediterranean. The food choices are so diverse.
During the evening, the event is mostly over 18 years of age. The cool air is filled with music from band covers like Bon Jovi and BB King. I’ve discovered up-and-coming musical talents like Jackie Venson and others from this festival. Believe me when I say the performances are amazing!
How to Get to Oak Park from Chicago
Getting to the best summer events in Oak Park from Chicago is very easy.
By car: Take the I-290 West towards the Western Suburbs. Exit Harlem Ave and head north to Lake St. The closest public parking can be found at:
- Lake & Forest Parking Garage – 938 Lake Street
- Holley Court Parking Garage – 1125 Ontario Street
- The Avenue Parking Garage – 720 North Boulevard
By Chicago L Train: Take the Green Line to the Harlem stop. You will be closer to events by exiting the east end of the platform. For events at Scoville Park, exit at the Oak Park stop.
By Chicago Metra: Take the Union Pacific Northwest line from Ogilvie station to Oak Park station.
Final Thoughts on the Best Summer Events in Oak Park
This village comes alive in the summer with endless opportunities for community fun and entertainment, and most events have free admission.
There is a diverse range in my pick of the best summer events in Oak Park, from the Oak Park Micro Brew Review to the Hemingway Birthplace Museum. All are family-friendly experiences.
I hope this blog post has provided a helpful preview of the festivities that make summer in Oak Park an unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re looking for music, food, culture, or family bonding, you’re sure to find an exceptional summer event perfect for you. Read our suggested itinerary for a memorable 2-day visit in Oak Park which includes a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and Unity Temple. You can also visit Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park for free.
Don’t miss out on making lifelong summer memories at these one-of-a-kind Oak Park celebrations.
Mark your calendars and make plans to hit up the best festivities that capture the spirit of our thriving community. See you there, Oak Park!