Why Evanston, IL Is One of the Best College Towns in the Country

by Ben SanfordOctober 2, 2017

City Spotlight: Evanston Illinois Is the Best College Town You Haven’t Heard Of

When most people think of Chicago, they think Cubs, Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, hipster hoods, and more. But one place most visitors won’t mention: Evanston. In just under 30 minutes, you can leave the city of Chicago and reach Evanston, one of the best college towns anywhere in the country.

So what exactly makes Evanston stand out? Students at Northwestern experience top-notch cuisine, unparalleled access to nature, and a thriving community, among other important city attributes. Read on to learn why Evanston is one college town that’s truly worth visiting.
Evanston Street, Chicago, IL

Eating Well in Evanston, IL

People in Evanston don’t have to journey to Chicago for great eats, as there are a lot of fantastic food options in Evanston, and they come in a wide variety. In Evanston, you’ll find everything from American to Italian to Mexican to Indian to Mediterranean and then some.

As an added benefit for the college crowd, you’ll find all of these diverse options in downtown Evanston, which is within walking distance of Northwestern’s campus. A couple of local favorites include what Zagat called “quite the find” (Found Kitchen and Social House), and another that they referred to as “uniformly delicious” (The Stained Glass). Need we say more?

Explore Nature in Evanston

A major perk of living in Evanston? The town, more specifically Northwestern’s college campus, is located right on Lake Michigan. In the summer, residents flock to the town’s five amazing swimming beaches.

Less populated than Chicago’s city shores, Evanston’s lakefront offers tubing parties, kayak tours, and ample space for summer activities – all without the crowds. Year round, residents can stay active with Evanston’s endless biking and jogging paths.
Northwestern in Evanston, IL

A Year-Round College Town

While many college towns may seem to be seasonal in nature (basically shutting down when school isn’t in session) Evanston thrives all year round. Meghan McCandless, a graduate of Northwestern, shares her perspective: “What I really appreciated about Evanston is the fact that it doesn’t feel like a college town, or, more specifically, it isn’t just about the college. There are families, working adults, older generations, all kinds of people.”

As local activities and the city’s population stays strong throughout the summer, Evanston rises above other college towns that fall silent, waiting for school to start up again in the fall.
Evanston, Illinois

Plan Your Visit to Evanston, IL

Whether you’re looking at colleges or searching for a reprieve from city life in Chicago or elsewhere, Evanston is certainly worthy of a visit. Next time you’re in Chicago, travel just a bit far to the north to visit this quaint town – you won’t be disappointed.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.