The Run Down

We're going to head to Oak Park to visit the home of the greatest American architect to have ever lived. From downtown, we're hopping on the CTA Green line for a short 30 minute ride to Oak Park where we'll be dropped off near the Frank Lloyd Wright–Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. This historic district, which covers a large chunk of downtown Oak Park and the surrounding residential areas, contains the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in the world. There's no way to see everything in one trip but you can follow along this introductory guide to get you started. Here are the details.

1. Tour @ Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

2. Grab a bite @ Jerusalem Cafe

3. Visit @ Mills Park and Pleasant Home

4. Visit @ Unity Temple

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

On our first stop is a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. We’re here for an introductory lesson on Wright’s life and career. This is the home that Wright built for himself and his wife in 1889 when he was just 22 years old. Today, the home is owned and maintained as a museum by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. They offer tours daily and this is where we’ll start. Here are a few logistics details to keep in mind.

– A guided tour inside the home and studio costs $18/adult
– Tours provided daily from 10am – 4pm
– A tour begins every 30 minutes and lasts for approximately 1 hour

The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is located on the corner of a residential neighborhood. When you get here, walk up the long driveway to the museum shop entrance. You can purchase tour tickets here or in advance on their website.

The Home

There are two parts to the tour. The first is the home where Wright and his family resided. The second is the adjoining architecture studio where he worked worked with other draftsmen and sculptors. Below are a few shots from the home tour. 

The design of this lighting fixture above the dining table is a signature style in many of Wright’s designs. When you walk through the home, you might notice some design styles you’d still consider “modern” in home’s today.

The Studio

Attached to the home is the studio where Wright worked. The second half of the tour takes us in here where we’ll see the drafting room, Wright’s office, and library.

The picture above is the drafting room that housed sculptors and other associated architects. This is where many of Wright’s famous works worked created.

After finishing the interior tour, you can walk throughout the neighborhood to peak a glance at the many other homes Wright designed. The gallery above are pictures of a few homes right down the street from the museum. For a more comprehensive guide, we found this map from Curbed that plots all the Wright homes in the area.

2. Jerusalem Cafe

We have two more stops on our architecture tour, but you might be hungry by now. So before venturing on, we are going to stop for a quick bite to eat. We’re walking towards downtown Oak Park to Jerusalem Cafe, which is a casual restaurant serving Middle Eastern cuisine. This is a no-frills restaurant, but the food is damn good and for only $10, you can get a giant plate of rice, falafel, beef shish kabob, schawarma, hummus, and veggies. If you’re in the mood for looking a hot plate of comfort food, then this hits all the right notes.

3. Mills Park and Pleasant Home

We continue on to Mills Park which is the site of Pleasant Home, a home designed by George Maher who was a contemporary of Wright’s and also a part of  Wright’s Prairie School Architectural movement that he led during the early 20th century.  Here are some notes for your visit.

– Tours are held Thursday – Sunday
– Docent led tours are at 12pm  and 1pm ($10)
– Self-guided tours are from 2pm – 4pm ($5 suggested donation)

Pleasant Home sits on the grounds of Mills Park, which has a beautiful walking path you can stroll around. That walking path will lead you to the front porch of the Pleasant House.

If you’re in the mood to really immerse yourself into this early 20th century period, you can opt for a tea party and tour of the home. The Tea and Tours are held at 2:30pm on Thursdays – Sunday. It’s $40 and can be booked on their website.

4. Unity Temple

Our last stop is the Unity Temple, which is about a 10 minute walk from Pleasant Home. In addition to all the homes that Wright designed in the area, he also designed this church which is still in use today. It’s open to the public Monday – Saturday for both docent-led ($18) and self-guided tours ($10). Details can be found here.


After a full day of looking at Frank Lloyd Wright homes and homes built by other architects influenced from this era, once you set your eyes on the Unity Temple, it’s easy to tell that this is one of Wright’s designs.

This church is considered one of Wright’s most important works. In fact, it was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site.  That designation means that its one of the world’s most significant cultural sites. Others on that list includes places like Ankor in Cambodia, the Acropolis in Greece, and Machu Picchu in Peru. Not too shabby of a list to be on.