Image from above of Evanston

Top 20 Things to do in Evanston IL

Evanston, a lively city just a stone’s throw from Chicago, boasts a multitude of exhilarating attractions and endeavors for locals and tourists alike. Stunning parks, beaches, exceptional museums, and top-notch entertainment make it a must-visit destination. Here are the top 20 things to see and do in Evanston!

Relax at Lighthouse Beach and Park

Lighthouse Beach and Park, situated along Lake Michigan’s shores, offers an idyllic spot for unwinding, swimming, or picnicking. The park boasts a playground, picnic tables, and ample green space for leisure activities. Take a leisurely stroll on the beach, soak up the sun, or visit the historic Grosse Point Lighthouse, built in 1873.

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

Situated on Northwestern University’s campus, the Block Museum of Art showcases a vast collection of contemporary and historical artwork. With ever-changing exhibitions and engaging events, there’s always something new to discover. Don’t forget to visit their website for the latest exhibitions and events.

Revel in Live Performances at Evanston SPACE

Evanston’s Society for the Preservation of Art & Culture in Evanston (SPACE) is a bustling venue hosting musical, theatrical, and comedic performances. This cozy setting delivers an unforgettable experience, spotlighting local and touring artists alike. Be sure to check out their calendar for upcoming events.

Meander Through Bustling Downtown Evanston

Downtown Evanston teems with an eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and galleries. From well-known chains to one-of-a-kind boutiques, there’s something for everyone. Highlights include Church Street Plaza, a popular shopping destination, and the Evanston Main Street Metra Station for easy downtown Chicago access. Don’t miss Fountain Square, a central gathering place featuring a stunning fountain and hosting numerous events year-round.

Connect with Nature at the Evanston Ecology Center

The Evanston Ecology Center offers the perfect opportunity to learn about local plant and animal life, participate in environmental programs, and explore Ladd Arboretum’s stunning surrounds. With various workshops, classes, and events for all ages, it’s a fantastic destination for families and nature lovers.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Mitchell Museum Evanston IL from inside

Dedicated to the history, culture, and art of North American Indigenous peoples, the Mitchell Museum delivers an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages. The museum’s displays showcase artifacts, textiles, pottery, and contemporary art, providing a comprehensive understanding of Native American cultures.

Tee Off at Canal Shores Golf Course

Golf aficionados will appreciate the challenging 18-hole Canal Shores Golf Course, offering picturesque scenery and an enjoyable day out for all skill levels. Situated along the North Shore Channel, this public golf course features tree-lined fairways, water hazards, and well-maintained greens.

Step Back in Time at the Frances Willard House Museum

Experience Evanston history firsthand at the Frances Willard House Museum, former residence of the suffragist and social reformer. The museum provides guided tours, captivating exhibits, and special events, offering insight into the life and work of this influential figure. Discover her role in the temperance movement and her efforts to secure women’s right to vote.

Delve into History at the Charles Dawes House

Explore the elegant Charles Dawes House, home to the Evanston History Center, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich past through enthralling exhibits, archives, and educational programs. The beautifully preserved mansion, once home to the 30th U.S. Vice President, offers guided tours, allowing visitors to learn about the architecture of Evanston, history, and the Dawes family.

Experience Theatre at the Piven Theatre Workshop

The Piven Theatre Workshop, a renowned performing arts institution, has nurtured the talents of many successful actors. Offering innovative performances and educational opportunities, the workshop is dedicated to fostering creativity and personal growth. Check their schedule for upcoming shows and immerse yourself in the world of theatre.

Get Active at the Chandler-Newberger Community Center

This multifaceted community center offers a variety of recreational programs, sports leagues, and cultural activities for all ages. From basketball and volleyball to dance and art classes, the Chandler-Newberger Community Center is a hub for health, wellness, and community engagement.

Unleash Your Curiosity at the Evanston Public Library

The Evanston Public Library is more than just a place to borrow books; it’s a center for learning and community involvement. With a wide range of resources, programs, and events, the library caters to diverse interests and age groups. Visit their website for a list of upcoming events and workshops.

Savor the Evanston Farmers Market

Picture of stalls in the farmer's market in Evanston

Running from May through November, the Evanston Farmers Market is a popular Saturday morning destination. With over 50 vendors offering fresh produce, baked goods, and artisanal products, it’s an excellent place to support local businesses and enjoy high-quality, farm-fresh goods.

Hone Your Culinary Skills at Now We’re Cookin’

For food enthusiasts, consider taking a cooking class at Now We’re Cookin’. This culinary studio offers various classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Learn new techniques, discover international cuisines, and share your passion for cooking with fellow enthusiasts.

Noyes Cultural Arts Center

The Noyes Cultural Arts Center is home to several art organizations, galleries, and studios. Visit the center to explore rotating exhibitions, attend workshops, or participate in events. This thriving arts hub is an essential stop for anyone interested in Evanston’s creative scene.

Stroll Around Northwestern University Campus

Northwestern University, a prestigious institution with a beautiful campus overlooking Lake Michigan, offers picturesque grounds, historic buildings, and opportunities to attend sporting events or performances. Check their events calendar for public lectures, exhibitions, and concerts.

Wander Through the Shakespeare Garden

Located on Northwestern University’s campus, the Shakespeare Garden is a hidden gem featuring plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. This tranquil oasis provides a serene setting for relaxation, reflection, and enjoying nature.

Experience the Evanston Art Center

The Evanston Art Center is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and creation of visual arts in the community. With a range of exhibitions, classes, and workshops, the center provides opportunities for artists and art enthusiasts to engage with diverse creative expressions. Be sure to check their website for current exhibitions and class schedules.

Enjoy Dempster Street Beach

Dempster Street Beach, situated on Lake Michigan’s shores, offers a perfect spot for relaxation and recreation. Enjoy a day of swimming, sunbathing, or beach volleyball while taking in the stunning lake views. The beach is also home to the Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens, a historic property that hosts various events and programs throughout the year.

Join the Festivities at the Custer Fair

Held annually in June, the Custer Fair is a cherished Evanston tradition. This lively event features arts and crafts vendors, live music, delicious food, and fun activities for the whole family. Don’t miss this celebration of community spirit and creativity.

Evanston offers a wealth of attractions, activities, and experiences for residents and visitors alike. From outdoor adventures and cultural events to shopping, dining, and

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