A slice of Germany in Chicagoland, Frankfort is an old-fashioned community committed to its history. With its 1890s-style downtown square, lush 21-mile trail, and famous festivals, Frankfort is truly a “Jewel of the South Suburbs.”
Frankfort is 34 miles south of Chicago.
Frankfort was recently ranked 36th in the Nation’s Fastest Growing Suburbs by Forbes Magazine.
Frankfort is the 2009 Governor’s Hometown Award Winner.
Frankfort has a sister city in Weidhausen, Germany.
Historic Downtown Frankfort is modeled in the style of an 1890s town square.
Population (2000)- Total 16,928
Density 952.7/sq mi (367.7/km2)
Median income $107,759
While the first settlers of Frankfort were of English and Scottish descent, coming from the New England Colonies, the township was established by German farmers from the Pennsylvania area. In 1850, Frank Chappel gave Frankfort township its name, inspired by the name of his home city in Frankfurt-Am-Main, Germany.
Frankfort was founded in 1855 and incorporated in 1879. In 1855, Frankfort Station was built on a line made by the Joliet and Northern Indiana Railroad, bringing business and prosperity. Even today, Frankfurt is one of Chicagoland’s fastest growing regions and the “Jewel of the South Suburbs.”
The median home value in Frankfort is $405,972. Properties include Colonials, western style homes, ranch estates, and gorgeous brick/stone customs. Homes feature multiple car garages, hardwood floors, large fireplaces, and expansive gourmet kitchens. Apartments range from $650-$900 for a one-bedroom unit and $800-$1100+ for two-bedroom units.
Old Plank Trail Tavern on 113 Kansas Street (815) 469-9586 is a quaint dive bar that was formerly Frankfort’s first post office. The bar features a beer garden, a handsome vaudeville piano, and a 10-foot pool table. There’s even a poker parlor and a Nintendo Wii.
Ryan’s Pub on 7928 West Lincoln Highway (815) 469-3655 is a biker bar that any local can enjoy. Beyond the rough exteriors is an atmosphere of warmth, friendliness, and character.
With its unique artwork, antique shops, and old-fashioned buildings, Historic Downtown Frankfort is a destination in itself. In addition to shopping and restaurants, Downtown Frankfort provides a weekly Country Market every Sunday, May through September. Visitors can bike directly to the market from Old Plank Trail Road- a perfect start to the morning!
Downtown Frankfort is also home to the Kids Work Children Museum on 11 South White Street (815) 469-1199. The museum features a sensory table, face-painting table, mini theater, shadow room, art room, and more! With its special party room, Kids Work is a perfect place for field trips children’s birthdays.
Shoppers will find a wide variety of options between the extensive Prairie Crossing Shopping Center on 11067 West Lincoln Highway, The Vineyards on 20551 South La Grange Road (815) 258-0497, and Hickory Creek Marketplace on 19933 South La Grange Road (815) 469-6010.
Chef Klaus’ Bier Stube on 679 La Grange Road (815) 469-0940 is equally ideal for a family dinner or a romantic date night. In addition to many German specialties such as sausages and schnitzel, the Bier Stube offers first-rate seafood—lobster, Santa Fe Shrimp and Oysters Rockefeller—and juicy steaks. The restaurant provides a number of fine German beers on tap, including Erdinger Weiss.
For a good sandwich or deli-style lunch, locals recommend Café Milan on 8303 West Lincoln Highway (815) 469-7124. The café offers classic diner ambiance and large portions.
Buenas Nachos on 444 North LaGrange Road (815) 469-8353 is the place to go for high-quality Mexican at fast food prices. The rice, chicken, and steak tacos are especially delicious. The restaurant has little seating and is primarily recommended for take-out, great for a picnic or last-minute lunch.
The 21-mile Old Plank Road Trail is a great spot for nature walks, morning runs, and afternoon bike rides. The trail is set within lush oak woods and golden prairie grass. Exceptional plant communities such as Prairie Lily, Silky Aster, and Savannah Blazing Star thrive in this beautiful environment.
The German Heritage Celebration on 140 Oak Street is held the first Saturday of May at the Founder’s Center. The celebration honors Frankfort’s German roots and sister city, Weidhausen. This fun all-ages event includes traditional German music and authentically costumed dancers.
With over 300 artisans, the Fall Festival in historic Downtown Frankfort (815) 469-3356 is one of the most beloved and anticipated craft events in the Midwest. In fact, the festival has received continual recognition as one of the “Best Shows in the United States” by Sunshine Art Magazine. In addition to artwork, the festival provides a food court, an entertainment tent with a dance area, and live stage performances from local musicians.
Briedert Green Community Park on 123 Kansas Street (815) 469-3356 hosts a number of festivities. In the summer, it is the location of free Concerts on the Green and Movies on the Green from June 20th to August 29th. From January through February, it is home to Winter on the Green, with highlights such as a chili cook-off, ice-sculpture demonstrations, and winter games.
The Frankfort winter season features glorious festivities such as Christkindl Weekend. Holiday sounds and lights abound in the Children’s Lantern Parade and Annual Tree Lighting, and of course no Christmas would be complete without a Visit with St. Nicholas.