For architectural history hounds, Robie House is a must-see. Frank Lloyd Wright designed this 20th-century American architectural masterpiece for Frederick Robie, a bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer. The home, which was completed in 1909, is a classic example of Wright’s Prairie School of design, with its open layout and linear geometry of form. Wright prided himself on creating all-encompassing, stylistically harmonious environments, and he oversaw everything from the furniture to the exquisite leaded- and stained-glass doors and windows. It was also among the last of Wright’s Prairie School–style homes. During its construction, he abandoned both his family and his Oak Park practice to follow other pursuits, most prominently the realization of his Taliesin home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Docents from Oak Park’s Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation lead tours of the interior, and after a massive, 10-year restoration in honor of the house’s 100th anniversary, it looks better than ever. Right now, three different tours are available. The hour-long Guided Interior Tour gives the best overview of Wright and the home, taking visitors through all of the rooms. The 90-minute Private Spaces tour is a more in-depth tour, offered Saturdays and Sundays, delving into areas that are usually off limits, like the billiards room and servants’ wing, and is best for those who are true Wright fans and not just curiosity seekers. The 35- to 40-minute kid-centric Wright Mystery Tour is based on Blue Balliett’s novel The Wright 3, and students in grades 5 through 10 lead visitors through the house, exploring the ghosts and plot twists in the novel. (Kids on the tour must be accompanied by an adult.) Note: Advance reservations are a good idea in summer.
A Wright specialty bookshop is in the building’s former three-car garage—which was highly unusual for the time in which it was built. Allow 1 hour for the tour, plus time to browse the gift shop.