17 Fun Things To Do In Evanston IL Illinois

Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, Evanston, Illinois, is a charming city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and a plethora of activities for residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, art lover, nature explorer, or history buff, Evanston has something to offer everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the top things to do in Evanston, ensuring your visit is filled with memorable experiences.

  1. Stroll Through Northwestern University Campus: Begin your exploration of Evanston by taking a leisurely stroll through the prestigious Northwestern University campus. Marvel at the beautiful architecture, lush greenery, and a sense of academic energy that permeates the area. Don’t miss landmarks like the stunning Deering Library and the serene Lakefill, offering picturesque views of Lake Michigan.
  2. Visit the Block Museum of Art: For art enthusiasts, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art is a must-visit. This dynamic space features a diverse collection of visual arts, including contemporary and modern pieces. With rotating exhibitions, you’ll always find something new and inspiring to appreciate.
  3. Dine in Evanston’s Culinary Scene: Evanston boasts a thriving culinary scene with a variety of restaurants to satisfy every palate. From trendy cafes to upscale dining establishments, the city offers diverse options. Explore local favorites like Farmhouse Evanston for farm-to-table delights or Found Kitchen and Social House for a unique and eclectic dining experience.
  4. Shop at Downtown Evanston: Head to downtown Evanston for a delightful shopping experience. The area is home to a mix of independent boutiques, specialty stores, and well-known brands. Spend an afternoon browsing through the shops, and you might discover unique items that make for perfect souvenirs or gifts.
  5. Nature Retreat at Ladd Arboretum: Escape the urban hustle by visiting the Ladd Arboretum. This expansive green space features walking trails, gardens, and a tranquil atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxing nature walk, bird watching, or a peaceful picnic.
  6. Attend a Performance at the Evanston SPACE: Music and performance lovers should check out the Evanston SPACE, a dynamic venue hosting live music, comedy shows, and other performing arts events. The intimate setting ensures an immersive experience, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  7. Explore the Grosse Point Lighthouse: Evanston’s Grosse Point Lighthouse is a historic gem that offers a glimpse into the city’s maritime past. Take a guided tour to learn about the lighthouse’s history and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Michigan from the top.
  8. Participate in Evanston Events: Keep an eye on Evanston’s event calendar, which is brimming with festivals, markets, and cultural events throughout the year. Whether it’s the Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival or the Custer Fair, these gatherings showcase the city’s vibrant community spirit.
  1. Evanston History Center: Delve into Evanston’s rich history by visiting the Evanston History Center. Housed in the historic Charles Gates Dawes House, the center offers exhibits, guided tours, and educational programs that provide insights into the city’s past, from its founding to its role in significant historical events.
  2. Evanston Farmers’ Market: If you happen to be in Evanston on a Saturday morning, don’t miss the Evanston Farmers’ Market. Located at the intersection of University Place and Oak Avenue, this market features fresh produce, artisanal products, and a vibrant community atmosphere. It’s a great place to connect with locals and sample delicious, locally sourced goods.
  3. Beaches along Lake Michigan: Enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Michigan by spending a day at one of Evanston’s sandy beaches. Clark Street Beach and Lighthouse Beach are popular choices, offering sandy shores, picnic areas, and stunning lakefront views. During the summer, you can indulge in water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.
  4. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian: Expand your cultural horizons at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. This unique museum showcases a comprehensive collection of Native American artifacts and contemporary artwork. Engage with exhibits that highlight the diverse cultures, histories, and artistry of indigenous peoples.
  5. Baha’i House of Worship: Marvel at the architectural splendor of the Baha’i House of Worship, also known as the “Jewel of Evanston.” Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, this spiritual sanctuary welcomes visitors of all backgrounds. Take a peaceful walk around the grounds and explore the serene interior of this architectural masterpiece.
  6. Evanston Space Observatory: Discover the wonders of the cosmos at the Dearborn Observatory, located on the Northwestern University campus. Check their schedule for public observing nights, where you can use telescopes to gaze at celestial bodies and learn from knowledgeable astronomers.
  7. Skokie Lagoons: Just a short drive from Evanston, the Skokie Lagoons offer a serene escape into nature. Explore the network of trails, rent a kayak, or simply enjoy a peaceful afternoon surrounded by lush greenery and the sounds of birdsong.
  8. Evanston Art Center: Immerse yourself in the local art scene at the Evanston Art Center. Featuring galleries, art classes, and workshops, the center provides a platform for both emerging and established artists. Check their exhibition schedule for a chance to appreciate a diverse range of artistic expressions.
  9. Evanston Brewery Scene: Craft beer enthusiasts will find delight in Evanston’s growing brewery scene. Visit local breweries such as Sketchbook Brewing Co. or Temperance Beer Company to savor unique, handcrafted brews in welcoming atmospheres.


Evanston, Illinois, is a treasure trove of experiences, blending academic allure, cultural richness, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend adventure or a traveler exploring the Midwest, Evanston promises a memorable journey filled with art, history, gastronomy, and outdoor delights. Embrace the city’s charm, and you’re sure to discover why Evanston is a destination worth revisiting.

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