Let us help you plan your trip to OPFT!

From parking to bugspray, we’ve got you covered!

Directions and Maps

167 Forest Avenue Oak Park, IL Austin Gardens sits one block north of Lake Street and 3 blocks west of Oak Park Avenue, with theatre gate access at Forest Avenue in Oak Park. If you use GPS or a map service such as Mapquest or Google Maps, the address 167 North Forest will point you to our entrance gate. View Google Map

Take the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to Harlem Avenue (Illinois 430), exit north and continue to Lake Street. Turn east and continue three blocks to Forest Avenue. Proceed north one block to the Park (on the west side of the street). Parking is available in the village parking garage.  See “Parking” below for detailed parking suggestions.

The most direct and convenient access is to take either the Metra / Union Pacific West line to the Oak Park Station, or CTA Green Line “L” to the Harlem/Marion station. Walk north on Marion to Lake Street. Turn east and walk two blocks to Forest Avenue. Turn north, walk one block and the park is on your left. HELPFUL HINTS: Austin Gardens park, our summer home, technically doesn’t have an address. It’s often referred to as “Corner of Lake and Forest” or “the 100 block of North Forest Avenue” in Oak Park. If you use GPS or an online mapping site such as Mapquest or Google Maps, the address “167 North Forest” will point you to the entrance gate in the park. Parking is available in the Forest Avenue parking garage as well as various downtown Oak Park lots. “But when I search online, I find 1010 Lake Street. Isn’t that your location?”    No. We have a business office in 1010 Lake Street but that’s not where we perform. (Austin Gardens is immediately north of 1010 Lake Street.)


There is free parking (after 6pm) is available in Village lots on North Boulevard. Please do not park in the 19th Century Club, as this is a private lot.  There is a limited amount of free parking north of Austin Gardens on Forest Avenue, plus there are plenty of metered spaces all around the park on Ontario and Marion.

Weather Cancellations

Much as we hate to, we must sometimes cancel a performance because of weather.

Canceling is a tough decision and we make that decision as close to “curtain” as possible in the hopes of getting in the evening’s show. If you have already purchased a ticket and the performance is cancelled, we apologize and ask that bring your ticket or purchase receipt to the box office on another day and it will be honored.

Sometimes a light rain will break out during a performance we may continue to play through a light rain or pause, allow you to seek cover until it blows over and then resume. A downpour or the presence of lightening will cancel a performance. Your ticket will serve as your “raincheck.”

If we are rained out (or heated out) the entire last week of the season or closing night, and you were in attendance, please call (708)445-4440 and leave a message for our Box Office Manager to discuss the situation.

Check the weather forecast here.


Beautiful Austin Gardens has a lush green lawn and plenty of space. We have accommodated as many as 350 (check please) with no worries of crowding or sight lines.

  • There are bleachers set up towards the rear of the “house.”
  • We offer plastic chairs for a $2 rental but most patrons prefer to bring their own chairs or blankets along with their picnic hampers. Chairs are not set up in advance except for some group sales.
  • Children (children 12 and under are our guests and do not need a ticket) are encouraged to sit  close to the stage.
  •  If you need help placing or setting up you chairs/blanket we will be happy to assist you.
What about dining?

There is a long and treasured tradition of picnicking before (and during) performances. Many people come early and dine while they watch the stage being set-up.

Austin Gardens is tucked away in the heart of downtown Oak Park. There are many restaurants which offer wonderful dine in or carry out fare. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are very close by for last minute feasts.

Our Box Office sells concessions such as coffee and cold drinks as well as light snacks.

As Oak Park Festival Theatre is hosted in Austin Gardens compliments of the Park District, we ask that you help keep the park as beautiful as possible and dispose of your trash & recyclables before you leave.

May I bring my dog?

YES!  As long as they do not disrupt the performance.  According to Oak Park statute, all dogs must be on a leash of a maximum 8 feet in length.

What time do the box office and gates open?

The box office is open one hour before the performance

Austin Gardens is a public park. The gates except the main entrance/box office are closed 45 minutes before the performance. If you come early for your picnic or to stake out your preferred spot, just check in at the Box office once it is staffed. An announcement reminding you to do so is made each evening.

What’s the restroom situation in the park?

There are three chemical toilets for our patrons. At least one is handicapped accessible.

Are there a lot of insects in the park?

Any outdoor event may have small unwelcome guests. It very much depends on the particular summer. Our last several seasons have been reasonably bug free but we do offer complimentary insect repellant. Citronella candles are also a good idea.


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