"Victoriana meets Helmut Jahn on the Lake" Top 5 Page for this destination Evanston by pedersdottir

Evanston Travel Guide: 97 reviews and 149 photos

How to get to heaven? Well, driving north from Chicago on Sheridan Road you know you're coming close as you pass the gates of Calvary Cemetery. The road swerves left. That's it. Welcome to Evanston!

Summertime and the color is green - in the leafy canopy of ancient elms and more recent maples lining Ridge Blvd - in the Victorian hosta gardens that burst through picket fences in the Historic Lakefront District - along the canals formed by the north branch of the Chicago River. Coupled with the white stone sepulchres at Calvary, the old lakefront whispers of antebellum New Orleans. Turn the kaleidoscope. A mere 4 blocks from shore, between Lake and Grove Streets, the vista becomes a New England village green: church steeples point into the sky as children play on the lawn below. Turn again. Trace periods of architectural history while walking north on Chicago Avenue. Classic Greek columns line the portico of the Music Center of the North Shore. Across the street notice the pretty commercial building done in the French fashion, slate-topped, Mansard-roofed and all. Catch glimpses along the way of classic Georgian style and beginning Bauhaus. Reach the wrought iron gates of Northwestern University and you have landed in a Cotswolds mirage: limestone and ivy lead up Sheridan Road all the way to the Shakespeare Garden. Remember the Rosemary? Pansies are for thoughts....

There's more. Go downtown. Enter the 21st century of glass and steel geometry. Arising like a phoenix from the gravel, this new area is bright with lights, alive with activity. Yes, you may have to dodge a few panhandlers, but the broad brick sidewalks are wide enough to share.

Indeed Evanston has a long history of sharing and caring. Civic responsibility nearly equates to religious duty in this Methodist-founded town. The Lions Club was based here. Rotary International HQ neighbors the Salvation Army. Several downtown churches sponsor weekly soup kitchens. Both Lekotek and Family Focus were launched here. Our 75,000 residents bear a heavy load -- maybe a cross even -- for the sake of NWU.

Art Festivals and Garden Walks in summer, social benevolence throughout the year- just sounds too Pollyanna to be true? Even the Garden of Eden had its 'down side'. Out west, literally along Dodge, there is a neighborhood where the only folks feeling safe at night are those packing six-shooters. Where trash lines the road and the police maintain regular patrols. So Heavenston has its share of fallen angels.... But we choose to stay.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The location, the greenery, the scenery
  • Cons:Death, taxes and downtown parking
  • In a nutshell:World ambience in a small package
  • Intro Updated Apr 13, 2004
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Reviews (30)

Comments (47)

  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    Used to live "just down the street" from you in Rogers Park....No white Christmases or Channukas here in Israel, nor Polar Bear Clubs ^O^ Martin

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    sounds like youve got everything here you need to make it a great place to live!even a Belgian chocolaterie! the shopping and eatery tips are really interesting. You never know you might see me here one day for a visit!

  • Jun 1, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    I lived in Evanston till 1966 as well. I tried to get up to the lighthouse last week when I was up and just ran out of time. My daughter has a thing for lighthouses and I thought I'd get a picture for her. Maybe next time.

  • johncudw's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2006 at 8:58 AM

    Was born in Evanston, lived there until 1965. Didn't know about all those neat spots. Nice pages. Greetings from John and Gail in NJ (new to VT in August)

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2006 at 7:42 AM

    Hi Katja! Lovely place on a place I had never herd of before. If I were nearby I would certainly visit it - thanks to you! Happy Birthday form Finland, Sini

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2005 at 1:29 PM

    Looks like a charming little town to wander through. Lakeside reminds me of Winnepesaukee!

  • Tugboatguy's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2005 at 10:27 PM

    Hi Katja, Great memories. Lived 5 yrs there Grad School at NU. Met a girl at Sheridan Shores YC; sailed wknds & eves with girls' seascout troop. Sundae was invented there by a pharmacist as Evanston a 'dry' town. Went to Skokie for our sixpacks!

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2005 at 10:44 AM

    Hi Katja, there was an article about Evanston in the Tribune's Friday section today, do you want to to save it for you?

  • tpal's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2005 at 3:42 PM

    Hi Katja, Evanston looks like a great all American town. I particularly enjoyed your summer photos...ahh summer, how I miss it. I had hoped, however, that the road to heaven might have actually been other than thru the gates of a cemetery ;-o ...Tom

  • Maline's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2005 at 5:45 AM

    I am so impressed with this page, full of very helpful information and lovely photos. It looks really beautiful where you live. And surely, this is a place I would've never learnt about if it weren't for VT :-) Cheers

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