Best Western

A bustling retail corridor blooms on Madison Street in Forest Park, Oak Park’s neighbor to the west.

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The selection at HouseRed

At Chix with Stix, a yarn shop

When Augie Aleksy uprooted his histories-and-mysteries bookshop from well-heeled Oak Park to the rundown main drag of Forest Park in 2000, the locals scoffed. But it proved to be a brilliant move: Centuries & Sleuths is now one of a multitude of hip, city-worthy boutiques and restaurants lining the three-block stretch of Madison Street from Harlem to Des Plaines Avenues. Located ten miles west of the Loop, the strip is just a few blocks north of the Eisenhower Expressway and has the advantage of free parking, thanks to the village’s decision to remove the meters on Madison. You can also take the Green or Blue Line, both of which have el stops a few blocks away.