My Favorite OPRF Season of the Year

Who doesn’t love summer in OPRF!?!?  The pools… the farmer’s market donuts… the green parks… AND who doesn’t love spring?!?!!  The flowering trees… the farmer’s market donuts… the anticipation of summer… AND! ... but for the lack of donuts, who doesn’t even have a love for winter in OPRF?!?!?  The holiday lights… the snowy nights…


But really… my favorite season of the year in OPRF is… Marching Band Season!!  Yes!  Ever since I was a kid!  I was very young when my family lived at 324 N. Elmwood Ave in Oak Park.  To this day one of my most earliest of all memories is running to the front screen door on a warm (can’t remember if it was fall or spring) afternoon because I could hear them!!  They were coming!!!  See… back in those days (early ‘70’s) the Oak Park & River Forest High School Marching Band would actually practice and march down the streets of the village around the high school.  It was like my own little parade a couple afternoons a week! It was awesome!!


I don’t think you will see the same parading down the streets from today’s OPRFHS Marching Huskies but if you are ever able to get to a home football game or even just a late afternoon rehearsal… you can see and hear for yourself the awesomeness that is this marching band.  As Ken Trainor of the Wednesday Journal so unbelievably asked himself in his October 2017 article, “An Audience of One in the Late Afternoon” (link), you will ask yourself the same… “These are high-school kids?”


Disclaimer – I am biased toward the OPRFHS Marching Huskies because I currently have a junior alto sax and a freshman front-line marching in this band and my oldest was a trumpet marching all 4 years before graduating in 2017.  I have had the privilege of being one of this bands photographers since 2013. You can see the band rehearse most Mondays and Wednesday-Fridays after school at the practice field near the tennis courts at Linden and Erie.  August – mid-October.  This isn’t just a football game playing band… this is a serious competition marching band traveling the state performing their show. GO Marching Huskies!!

OPRF - The Scoop on Schools

How do you compare the Oak Park and River Forest public school systems and some of the private programs within the surrounding communities? 

Remember, I attended some of these schools growing up in the OPRF area. I also have sent my own kids into these same local schools. From personal experience, I attended Pilgrim Nursery School, Beye School Kindergarten, St. Giles 1st-8th, and St. Ignatius College Prep for high school. My daughters and son have attended First United Church Nursery School (an awesome experience), Oak Park's Holmes Elementary, and now I have one at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, one at Oak Park & River Forest High School, and one off to college at Tulane!!!

Oak Park

Oak Park might not rank as high for their public school system as River Forest, but I feel Oak Park offers the most complete package to serve a family from play school, preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and on to high school.

Several years ago, Oak Park completed a $60 million physical and curriculum upgrade of its schools. The public elementary and middle schools are divided into districts. This means where you live decides what schools you will attend and there are rarely any exceptions. Some of the schools score or rate better than others so obviously this translates into some districts being more desirable to live in than others. When I take you for your first tour of Oak Park and to look at some homes we can discuss this at length at that time. This district map will help you visualize the areas in Oak Park as they pertain to school districts.

My wife, Julie, and I have been very impressed with District 97. It is a fantastic school system. 

River Forest

The River Forest public school system is small and very successful in providing a top notch education and producing some impressive scores and ratings. At the time I am writing this - the River Forest public middle school (Roosevelt) ranks #3 in the state. River Forest (as well as Oak Park) also has a number of outstanding private schools like Montessori programs (Keystone, Alcuin, Intercultural). Keep in mind River Forest is a more expensive market to purchase in than Oak Park. Their excellent school system is one of the reasons why..

Elmwood Park

The Elmwood Park school system is nothing to overlook as it is currently ahead of state and national averages. The system consists of two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. The website link below for Elmwood Park district 401 is very comprehensive!

Oak Park, River Forest, and Elmwood Park School Links

    •    Oak Park Public Schools
    •    River Forest Public Schools
    •    Oak Park/River Forest Public High School
    •    Fenwick High School in Oak Park
    •    Trinity High School in River Forest (all female)
    •    St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago
    •    Elmwood Park Public Schools
    •    St. Vincent Ferrer Elementary School, River Forest
    •    St. Luke Elementary School, River Forest
    •    St. Giles Elementary School, Oak Park
    •    Ascension Elementary School, Oak Park
    •    Alcuin Montessori, Oak Park
    •    Keystone Montessori, River Forest
    •    West Suburban Montessori, Oak Park
    •    Intercultural Montessori Language School, Oak Park

Local Universities

    •   Dominican University
    •   Concordia University

Local Things To Do!

An Abundance of Activities In and Around the Oak Park & River Forest Area

Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Elmwood Park...So Much To Offer!

There is plenty to do in the Chicagoland area and below I have included some links to our most popular attractions. Within the our local community, there is also an abundance of events and activities to do in and around the Oak Park/River Forest area.


That reason alone is why many people move here. In a matter of minutes, you can be in downtown Chicago but if you want a little quaint village evening with excellent dining, a movie, a walk through our historic districts… there is no place like Oak Park River Forest.


Below are my favorite local activities & seasonal highlights: