Evanston is a city in Illinois, north of Chicago, along the shores of Lake Michigan. Evanston has many identities: college town, dining destination, cultural center and gateway to the wealthy North Shore, although the city itself is anything but homogeneous in regards to economic status, culture and race.
The nearest airport is Chicago's O'Hare Airport. If you're heading directly to Evanston from the airport, ask your hotel if they can arrange an airport shuttle. Otherwise, you'll have to take a taxi. American Taxi offers reasonable flat rates between O'Hare and Evanston (and many other North Shore towns), but a pick-up must be arranged by phone. Another alternative is to take the CTA Blue Line to the Clark/Lake station, then transfer to the Purple Line express (during rush hour) or transfer to the Red Line at Jackson and then go north to Howard station where you can take the Purple Line the rest of the way to Evanston. A cheap way of going to Evanston is by Pace bus 250, which runs directly from O'Hare Kiss-and-Fly to Evanston Davis Street.
Interstate I-90/94, known locally as the Edens Expressway, runs about 5 miles to the west of Evanston.
- The Metra Union Pacific North Line  runs from downtown Chicago, with stops in Evanston at Main and Davis (Both right next to the Purple Line) and Central (a few blocks further west).
- The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)  runs the Purple Line from Chicago. It can be accessed during morning and evening rush hours from most elevated train stops in the Loop. It runs express from Belmont on Chicago's North Side to the Howard station in Rogers Park, at the northern border of Chicago. Then, it becomes an all-stops train for Evanston. When the Purple Line Express is not running (mid-day and late evening), take the Red Line north to Howard and then transfer to the Purple Line. The Davis station is in the midst of the downtown business and shopping area and is accessible.
- Pace & CTA  runs buses from neighboring suburbs such as Wilmette and Skokie. Many routes connect at the Davis CTA station.
The CTA Purple Line makes stops at South Blvd., Main, Dempster, Davis, Foster, Noyes, and Central: after Central, the CTA Purple Line continues one more stop to Wilmette. The N201 CTA bus operates overnight between Howard and Central when the Purple Line is not running at half hour intervals. Pace & CTA buses connect at many of these stations, especially Davis. Evanston is also a very bike friendly city. 
Travelers may note that in the springtime, local birds, especially pigeons, are so used to the CTA line (which has been in operation for more than fifty years), that the birds will often walk on to the train at Davis Street, ride the train south to South Boulevard, and walk off the train! Apparently, these birds have learned that the train is an efficient way to get from the center of town to feeding areas in the cemetery next to South Boulevard.
CTA Bus Routes
- 93 California/Dodge
- 97 Skokie
- 201 Central/Ridge
- N201 Central/Sherman Night Bus 
- 205 Chicago/Golf
- 206 Evanston Circulator 
Pace Bus Routes
- Northwestern University
Tours are available from the Office of Undergraduate Admission at 1801 Hinman Avenue - One of the premier universities in the US, Northwestern maintains a parklike campus situated along the shore of Lake Michigan. In the 1960s, the university decided to expand the campus by filling in part of the lake with sand from the Indiana Dunes, creating an idyllic, tree-lined 84-acre area surrounding a lagoon. The campus also features an outdoor sculpture garden, indoor art galleries, multiple theaters, and an eclectic collection of architecture ranging from neo-Gothic to modernist. At the north end of the college campus is a working lighthouse, open to the public, with scenic views of the shore.
- Shakespeare Garden
Created by the Garden Club of Evanston in 1917, Shakespeare Garden on Northwestern's campus was designed by Jens Jensen.
- Grosse Point Lighthouse (address: intersection of Central Street and Sheridan Road on Lake Michigan)
Built in 1873. Learn about the Fresnel lens in the tower and the ships that wrecked in the nearby shallow waters on a tour of the museum in the former keepers’ quarters (June through September on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2, 3, and 4PM).
- Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (address: 3001 Central St) +1 847 475-1030
price: $5 adults, $2.50 children/students/teachers/seniors
open: Tu-W,F-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Su noon-4PM
- Next Theatre Company (address: 927 Noyes St)
price: $25-$40 adults, $12.50-$20 young adults and students
open: Box office open Tu-Sa noon-6PM and two hours prior to each show
Located on the first floor of the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.
The central shopping district is off Davis Street, in downtown Evanston, but Dempster Street, just a few blocks south, is also a great place to shop. It has several small, fashionable yet unpretentious boutiques. The Central Street shopping area in northern Evanston, which runs 2 blocks from Green Bay Road to Hartrey Avenue, has a number of high-end boutiques, cafes, and bakeries, including The Spice House, Table Manners, Ritzlin Antique Maps, Urban Totem (chandeliers and furniture) and Tag's Bakery. Main Street in southern Evanston is in the process of gentrifying, and is currently worth a visit for Ten Thousand Villages, Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop, and Vogue Fabrics. Several upscale restaurants have recently opened in this area as well.
Evanston has an improbably large number of Oriental rug stores.
- Apple the Second (address: 745 Howard St) +1 847 424-0786
open: M-Sa 12-7PM
The apple represents temptation, which in this case is upscale, European-influenced fashion for women at reasonable prices. The Polish-Mexican couple who run the store have unique items and enjoy being here.
- Bookman's Alley (address: 1712 Sherman Ave) (directions: entrance in rear) +1 847 869-6999
open: Tu-Th noon-8PM, F noon-6PM, Sa 10:30AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM
- Buffalo Joe's (address: 812 Clark St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 328-5525
open: 11AM-midnight daily
- Gigio's (address: 1001 Davis St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 328-0990
open: M-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 2PM-10PM
An Evanston favorite for many years, Gigio's offers up thin-crust pizza by the (huge) slice, as well as other fare, at reasonable prices.
- Rollin' To Go (address: 910 Noyes St) (directions: Noyes CTA stop) +1 847 332-1000
open: M-Sa 10:30AM-7PM, Su 11AM-4PM
Regarded by many as the best sandwiches in Evanston. Pizza, soups and salads compliment the famous sandwiches. Catering to Northwestern students, the eatery offers excellent food fast, and has plenty of cute seating in their store to stop and enjoy a meal. Beware: on gamedays (Northwestern Football games), lines may stretch down the street; its a good idea to call ahead and pick up your order.
- Al's Deli (address: 914 Noyes St) (directions: Noyes CTA stop) +1 847 475-9400
price: Sandwiches are between $6 and $9; soup between $3 and $4; cookies between $1 and $2 - and they accept euros
open: Th-Tu 11AM-4PM
This tiny, French-inspired cafe near the Noyes Arts Center is a favorite of locals. Bob Pottinger and his brother, aided by a succession of Northwestern students, serve homemade soups (one per day) and hand-crafted sandwiches, along with cookies voted Chicago's best. The baguettes are provided by a local bakery, made with a recipe developed by Mr. Pottinger based on his travels in France. The soup/sandwich combo is almost enough food for two, but save room for the luscious, vanilla-rich buttercream cookies or the new and delicious Belgian chocolate cookies.
- Carmen's (address: 1012 Church St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 328-0031
open: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10PM
Try the stuffed spinach pizza.
- Dave's Italian Kitchen (address: 1635 Chicago Ave) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 864-6000
open: Su-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM
Warm atmosphere and hearty food at a local favorite, in Evanston for more than 35 years. Enter in a hurry and you'll leave relaxed.
- Hecky's (address: 1902 Green Bay Rd) +1 847 492-1182
open: M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM
Another local favorite: Creole barbecue since 1983.
- Le Peep (address: 827 Church St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 328-4880
open: M-F 6:30AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su 7AM-2:30PM
Eggs in a variety of ways.
- Mt. Everest (address: 630 Church St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 491-1069
open: Lunch buffet: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su noon-3PM; Dinner: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM
Indian, Tibetan, and Vegetarian.
- Lou Malnati's (address: 1850 Sherman Ave) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 328-5400
open: M-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM
Outlet of the Chicago deep-dish pizza dynasty.
- Tapas Barcelona (address: 1615 Chicago Ave) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 866-9900
open: M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM
Spanish tapas cuisine with a big menu, including a long list of imported booze.
- Davis Street Fishmarket (address: 501 Davis St) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 869-3474
open: Breakfast Sa-Su 11:30AM-2PM; Lunch Tu-Sa 11:30AM-2PM, Su 11:30AM-4:30PM; Dinner M-Th 4:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 4:30PM-12AM, Su 4:30PM-9PM
Popular, long-standing restaurant with fresh, flown-in seafood, including the Raw Bar.
- Pensiero Ristorante (address: 1566 Oak Ave) +1 847 475-7779
open: Reservations taken Tu-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-10PM, Su 5PM-9PM
Fine Italian cuisine and a renowned wine cellar in the historic Margarita European Inn.
- Oceanique (address: 505 Main Street) +1 847 864-3435
open: M-Sa 5:30PM-
Great restaurant for high-end cuisine, especially seafood, with an amazing tasting menu and incredible wine pairings. Outdoor seating is available during the summer.
Thanks to the hordes of Northwestern students, downtown Evanston has plenty of good, non-chain coffee shops.
- Kafein (address: 1621 Chicago Ave) (directions: Davis CTA stop) +1 847 491-1621
open: Su-Th 11AM-2AM, F-Sa 11AM-3AM
One of the original grunge-wave coffee shops, Kafein has more of a lazy bohemian vibe these days, and serves terrific desserts.
- Linz and Vail (address: 2012 Central St) (directions: Central Street Metra stop) +1 847 475-1381
open: M-Sa 6AM-9PM, Su 7AM-9PM
Linz and Vail has two location in Evanston - 922 Noyes Street just east of the El stop and a newer one at 2012 Central Street (one mile west of purple line). Both are open, airy coffee shops that also serve an array of gelato. They brew Intelligentsia coffee and offer a fourth shot of espresso free with any drink, for serious caffiene junkies. The staff is very friendly and helpful, and all seem to have liberally sampled their products.
- Brothers K (address: 500 Main St) +1 847 328-7940
open: M-F 6:30AM-8PM, Sa-Su 7AM-7PM
- Best Western University Plaza (address: 1501 Sherman Ave) +1 847 491-6400 email@example.com
Wireless internet, fitness room.
- Hilton Garden Inn (address: 1818 Maple Ave) (directions: Accross from the Century movie theatres) +1 847 475-6400
Opened in the late 1990s, otherwise just like any other Hilton Garden Inn outlet.
- Hotel Orrington (address: 1710 Orrington Ave) (directions: Downtown, 2 blocks from the Davis CTA station) +1 847 866-8700
The fanciest hotel in Evanston, it underwent a major remodel in 2004.
- There is the small matter of Chicago right next door.
- The Purple Line ends in the affluent suburb of Wilmette, walking distance from the Baha'i Temple, a cultural and architectural sight to see.