Located outside of Chicago, Cicero is best known for its Polish Cathedral architecture and rich Italian food, which is fitting. Al Capone hid out in the city in the 1920s. Today the working-class community is home to several Capone landmarks and several parks that allow residents to get out and enjoy the natural world that exists outside the city’s borders. If you happen to be visiting Cicero, here are just a few of the things you should add to your to-do list.
See the Heritage of the Town Along West Cermak Road
History buffs will line the 20th-century architect that lines West Cermak Road, creating a European flavor that stands out against a midwest backdrop. The Olympic Theatre is a prime example of the city’s unique architecture. While driving down the town’s main artery, make sure to peak at 4833 W. 22nd Street, the home of Al Capone’s headquarters.
Visit the St. Mary of Czestochowa
Speaking of architectural wonders, no visit to Cicero is complete without a stop by the most notable landmark in town- the St. May of Czestochowa church. Built in a classic Polish Cathedral style, the stunning vestigial features two towers over 200 feet tall and pays an ode to a different time in Chicago’s past. It is very easy to imagine Capone bowing at the alter while plotting his next move from the pews.
Visit the Manmade Haven of Columbus Park
While it is easy to get entranced in the neo-Gothic beauty of the city, Cicero has some stunning outdoor attractions that shouldn’t be glossed over. At the top of the list is Columbus Park, an artificial park entirely designed by Jens Jensen to resemble Prairie Style in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The park runs over 144 acres of land and features a gentle lagoon that runs across it and several stone paths. Over the last few years, it has been embellished and now features a nine-hole golf course that locals and visitors enjoy regularly.
Get Lost in the Botanical Marvels of the Oak Park Conservatory
Rounding out the list is the Oak Park Conservatory, located just a couple of minutes outside the city. Built to resemble an Edwardian building, the large greenhouse is home to hundreds of plants the public is welcome to tour. Inside, you will find everything from succulents to rainforest plants to orchids to exotic fruit like papayas.