The Chamber’s Madison Street Holiday Walk kicks off the December shopping season. Along with cocoa, real live reindeer and marshmallow roasting, Forest Park gets a chance to show off our Madison Street shop-owners and their wildly creative storefront windows. 

This is the moment to shop local, folks. Our merchants have hung on through a brutal recession. Check out the vacant storefronts in some of our neighboring municipalities and you’ll see Forest Park is one of the only cohesive business strips left standing. 

But just because they’re still here doesn’t mean our merchants are out of the woods financially. This holiday shopping period is the final infusion of cash that can make or break a retailer’s year. 

Forest Park has been known for its hospitality since the early 19th Century. Back then it was funeral lunches and German immigrant beer gardens that spurred micro-tourism. In the 20th century we were providing nightlife and taverns for neighboring “dry” municipalities of Oak Park and River Forest. 

Here we are in the 21st Century, and Madison Street has evolved so far from the sleepy antique shops and drinker’s bars of the 1990s. 

“The Street” is now a regional magnet for cozy, interesting boutiques and diverse dining options. We’ve even got a pop-up toy store! 

What more could we need for the gift recipients in our lives? Before you click that mouse on for your Christmas shopping, think about the interesting things you can pick up right here on Madison Street.