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Old 12-18-2007, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Citizen of the World
38 posts, read 131,526 times
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I'm interested in thoughts about Oak Park vs Riverside. We sold our house in Wrigleyville and are now renting in OP while we search for a home. We found a house we love in Riverside but don't feel that our hearts are in Riverside the way we think they are in OP. Does anyone have any thoughts on OP vs Riverside? Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:20 PM
 
2,329 posts, read 6,342,978 times
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They're very different towns. Oak Park is far more urban and and has large retail districts, restaurants, etc. Riverside is a beautiful town with drop dead gorgeous period homes...but not much else. Riverside was created by design to limit retail, and also isolate itself from the rest of the surrounding areas (common in subdivisions now, but at the time when landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead devised the layout for Riverside is was revolutionary). It really depends what you're looking for...of course the two towns are really only 5 minutes away.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Hollywood/Brookfield, IL
677 posts, read 4,074,417 times
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The schools in Riverside have slightly higher test scores than the schools in Oak Park, if that matters to you. I agree with via chicago; the two towns are very different and your lifestyle should determine which is a better fit for you. Both are great places to live though.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,876 posts, read 8,755,699 times
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I don't think these two communities could be any more different if they tried. As a most basic matter, Riverside is more conservative and Oak Park more liberal and progressive. Riverside has tended to be resistant and/or slow to change over the years, whereas Oak Park has a history of change and novel ideas, which makes sense as OP was in danger of going down the proverbial toilet not too long ago due to "white flight," whereas that was never a danger in Riverside. Most people in Riverside are happy with the status quo and even something like new sidewalks can spark serious public debate.

Riverside has no business district to speak of (it's sole attraction used to be Chew Chew Cafe, which closed earlier this year, may God rest its soul) whereas Oak Park has Lake St. and a burgeoning Harrison St. But, as someone pointed out, Riverside is hardly isolated given all the things to do in neighboring towns (even though it may feel like an "island" inside of it). Of course, OP is more diverse, both economically and racially. The housing stock in Riverside needs no introduction (much of it is beautiful), but there's little by way of nice "mid-tier" stuff (less than $500k) or apartments and condos (there's some but not as much as in OP).

I would think this would be an easy choice, as I've never seen anyone "cross-shopping" these two communities If I were younger and more liberal, I'd pick OP. If I wanted a quiet, affluent community, I'd pick Riverside.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Citizen of the World
38 posts, read 131,526 times
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Thank you so much for your thoughts! Yes, we are younger and more liberal - but we found a house we love in Riverside and we are really struggling to find one in OP. The reason why we are comparing them is because they have good public schools, are in good proximity to the loop, and neither town has modern subdivisions (although I understand Riverside is like one big subdivision). We like the trees, the unique homes, and the nice-sized lots. What we really want is OP. We'll figure something out eventually - I hope!
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:17 AM
 
2,329 posts, read 6,342,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiannonsmum View Post
(although I understand Riverside is like one big subdivision).
Riverside was actually the first planned community in the United States.

Last edited by via chicago; 12-19-2007 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:45 PM
 
220 posts, read 708,968 times
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I'll echo what has been said about the differences. Riverside is much more "suburban" than Oak Park, but does have a very nice housing stock and location along the bend of the Des Plaines river.

But you are not too keen on driving to to everything, then Riverside may not be your place. Since Oak Park is more "urban", normal everyday services are generally within walking distance. Plus, the race, age, and economic diversity in Oak Park is better than Riverside, which is something I value. Hell, it's probably more diverse than Wrigleyville.

Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Loss Wages
1,310 posts, read 6,377,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by via chicago View Post
Riverside was actually the first planned community in the United States.
Really? where can you get more information on that? I am super interested...
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:34 PM
 
2,329 posts, read 6,342,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deegers View Post
Really? where can you get more information on that? I am super interested...
You can check out Riverside's homepage which has a brief history, as well as a virtual tour of their 77 National Historic Landmarks
http://www.riverside-illinois.com/History.htm

You can also find a masters thesis on Frederick Law Olmsteads design here (copy and paste the link to go there directly)
http://www.snre.umich.edu/ecomgt/pubs/riverside.htm

Last edited by via chicago; 12-19-2007 at 03:54 PM..
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:37 PM
 
220 posts, read 708,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by via chicago View Post
Riverside was actually the first planned community in the United States.
Hmmmm???? I'm not sure about that. What about Savannah, GA, New Haven, CT, Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC....etc? Those are all much older than Rivierside.
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