Summertime at CUC: the sun is shining, new students are coming and going for Jump Start, and there’s a quiet anticipation that campus will be bustling again soon. When the weather is warm, our campus’ surrounding neighborhood is a beautiful place to discover. Explore the River Forest-Oak Park area with these activities, most of which are walking distance from campus.

  1. Movies at the Lake Theater: An old-time movie theater that has been renovated with a high-quality sound system and comfortable seating, you can check out the most popular new movies here. 1022 Lake St., Oak Park, IL.
  2. Famous Deep-Dish Pizza: You’ve heard of Chicago deep-dish pizza by now, right? Oak Park is home to two of the big ones, Lou Malnati’s (1038 Lake St., Oak Park, IL) and Giordano’s (1115 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, IL). Try each one on a different weekend, or better yet, order takeout from both and do a taste test with your friends.
  3. Shopping: Even if it’s just window shopping, there are quite a few areas near campus to buy essentials, gifts, books, sweet treats, coffee and more. In Oak Park, check out the areas around Lake & Marion Streets, and Lake Street & Oak Park Avenue. In Forest Park, there’s a quaint downtown stretch along Madison Street. And closest of all in River Forest, the shopping center at Lake & Harlem has many familiar chain stores and restaurants.
  4. Architecture Tour: River Forest and Oak Park are well known for their historically significant architecture—after all, this is where Frank Lloyd Wright built his home and studio, and where many of his contemporaries built houses and public buildings. Walking tours are available through both the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Chicago Architecture Center.
  5. Hiking and Wildlife-Spotting: When you need a break from the academics, Thatcher Woods has a free nature museum and trails where you can take a peaceful walk, do some birdwatching, or have a picnic in the fresh air. 738 Thatcher Ave., River Forest, IL.
  6. Ice Cream: Have we saved the best for last? Perhaps! It can be pretty hot outside during the first few and last few weeks of the school year, so try some local spots for frozen treats, like Petersen’s (1100 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, IL), Massa (7434 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park, IL), Brown Cow (7347 Madison St., Forest Park, IL) and Oberweis (124 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL).