10 Things We Love About Evanston
There’s a place not far from Chicago that’s one part university town, one part quiet lakefront retreat, and another part city. We’re talking about Evanston, of course.
With a population of just under 75,000, Evanston boasts excellent transit connectivity into Chicago, a lively downtown district with shopping and dining, and a string of lakefront beaches. In many ways, it could almost be viewed as a miniature version of Chicago itself, or at the very least, the link between the big city downtown and the quieter North Shore suburbs.
Here are just a handful of reasons we love Evanston and why it’s a great place for any home shopper to consider.
Homeownership is attainable
Just like Chicago itself, Evanston features all types of housing, from condos to townhouses to contemporary single-family homes and vintage mansions. Home prices are just as diverse as the city’s housing stock itself, making homeownership within reach for many prospective buyers.
It’s a hub for homegrown talent
Laying claim to the 230-acre Northwestern University campus is not just a talking point, it’s an economic driver as well as a hub for homegrown talent. Currently ranked as the ninth best university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Northwestern’s reputation as a premier school draws some of the brightest and most ambitious minds from around the world to the Chicago area for their studies. Being a notable higher education destination also gives Evanston a more cosmopolitan vibe versus the usual midwestern college town.
Commuting to Chicago is a breeze
Walking along Chicago Avenue, you’ll hear a familiar rumbling and chimes indicating transit stops. This is the CTA’s Purple Line train, which has several stations within Evanston. The line connects Evanston and Northwestern University with downtown Chicago, meaning that students and office workers have an easy commute to and from the city on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Metra’s Union Pacific North Line has three stops in Evanston, providing more commuting options and quick access to Ogilvie Transportation Center.
Boutique shopping and fine dining are within an arm’s reach
After a long week, it’s fair to want a nice dinner or beverage somewhere close by. Fortunately for Evanston residents, there are tons of options to choose from. There’s sustainable seafood from Oceanique, fine Italian from Campagnola, or classic American dishes at Farmhouse Evanston, among many other restaurants. And when looking to purchase gifts or get a little something for yourself, there’s a selection of clothing boutiques and independent stores.
There’s an active downtown scene
While a high-end dinner or craft brew is an appealing prospect, there’s more to downtown Evanston than shops and restaurants. Take for instance the many special events and activities that are planned throughout the year by the city and local chamber. In a typical year, there’s everything from comedy shows and movies and concerts in the park to numerous art festivals, a farmers market, and more.
Spending a day at the beach is easy
When you live in Evanston, the lakefront is never more than a handful of blocks away. With seven city beaches (including a dog beach), there are plenty of places to go if your favorite sandy stretch is too crowded. Evanston’s beaches operate on a paid token system, but the city does offer free beach days on some Mondays during the summer.
You can find solace at the lakefront
If sunbathing at the beach isn’t your thing, there’s still much to see and do along the lakefront. There’s the architecture and grassy plazas of Northwestern University and Dawes Park, just to name a few things to explore. Or grab a book and find a quiet spot at one of the other parks that line Lake Michigan and enjoy the sounds of birds and gentle waves cresting along the shoreline.
Arts and culture abound
Among the city’s many cultural attractions are the Evanston History Center, located in the historic Charles Gates Dawes House, and the Evanston Art Center, which offers community-based events, workshops, and exhibitions. The city also has a thriving arts scene for performers, with numerous local theatres catering to aspiring actors and actresses, as well as museums.
While some venues are closed amid COVID-19, others are open with reduced capacity so be sure to check their websites and social media accounts for the latest updates.
Schools are in strong standing
Evanston and a small part of neighboring Skokie share a school district (Evanston/Skokie School District 65), with elementary schools making up the bulk of the district’s educational offerings. Nearly all of the district’s elementary schools receive high marks from the Illinois State Board of Education and have teacher retention at 90% for the district.
Plenty of recreational opportunities
Between the dozens of parks and athletic facilities and programs, there’s no shortage of recreational opportunities in Evanston. Children have access to all sorts of programs, from flag football, tennis camps, and soccer, to dance and art classes. And the fun isn’t limited to the kids; Adults have many recreation options as well, including dance, yoga, and painting classes.