Staying in Evanston for the summer? You aren’t alone. Every summer, a number of Northwestern students find themselves staying in the area over the break. But while you’re probably already aware of some of the cool entertainment available in Chicago, you may not know just how much Evanston has to offer. Keep reading to learn about some fun and affordable ways to fill your free time this summer.
The public parks in Evanston offer everything: paths for walking and biking, basketball and tennis courts, beautiful views, and more. According to a recent report produced by the city of Evanston, some of the locals' favorite parks include Currey Park, Torgerson Park, and Grandmother’s Park. If you want to get some artsy photos for Instagram, you can visit the scenic Merrick Rose Garden and pose by the historic Centennial Fountain. Have a dog, or missing your own from home? Stop by the Pooch Park and meet some furry, four-legged friends.
Nothing says “summer” like chilling at the beach. With Lake Michigan next door, Evanston has numerous beaches open between 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. every day until September 3. Daily admission is $8, but season tokens are also available if you’re committed to the beach lifestyle. Alternatively, a trek into Chicago will bring you free access to miles of lakeshore. For example, Loyola Beach, located just four miles from the south end of Northwestern’s Campus, is free and open for fifteen hours every day.
Kick off the first week of summer with Custer Fair, June 16-17. During this grand celebration, citizens peruse the work of local artists, indulge in over 30 food vendors, and appreciate live music and theatre performances. Later on, the World Arts and Music Festival from July 21-22 will feature cultural performances as well as vendors selling handmade crafts. There will also be plenty of food, so you’ll want to make sure you come hungry. Then August 17-19, Evanston Art and Big Fork Festival will bring high quality artists to downtown Evanston while showcasing the best of local dining. Throughout the weekend, there will also be musical guests.
Evanston Public Library:
The Evanston Public Library, just a short walk away from the south end of campus, contains a multitude of books, movies, magazines, and more available for public consumption. All Northwestern students are eligible to receive an Evanston library card upon presentation of either a NU Wildcard statement or a current class schedule. Additionally, the library supports a number of book clubs that are always free and open to anyone, so you can stay motivated to keep up with your summer reading.
Theatre and Visual Art:
The Noyes Cultural Arts Center located in downtown Evanston supports a number of local performance groups in addition to the many other local community theatre groups like Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and the Savoyaires. These theatres all have different missions, leading to a wide variety of art. One of the most unique results may come from Muse of Fire Theatre Company, which holds free performances of Shakespeare’s plays in both Ingraham Park and the Evanston Public Library. Come to one of their shows to enjoy the weather and maybe even learn about the British Monarchy!
Movies and Music:
Evanston’s Starlight Movies in the Park series, held throughout August, features free outdoor screenings of popular new films including Black Panther and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Additionally, Evanston hosts two separate concert series. On Tuesday nights, you can enjoy Starlight Concerts in the Park, a concert series featuring everything from reggae to retro rock and roll located in public parks across town. Then later in the week head downtown to the newly renovated Fountain Square for Thursday Night Live. All of these concerts are free and start at 7:00 PM.
We all love the new Target, but when it comes to fresh produce, the Evanston Farmer’s Market is the place to be. Set up in Central Square and featuring local vendors, the market is open 7:30 AM- 1:00 PM every Saturday from now through November 3. Want to feel like a tourist in your own town? Head to Grosse Point Lighthouse, a notable Evanston landmarks. The grounds are free and open to the public, and for just $6, adults can go on a guided tour inside the lighthouse. If you’re searching for a throwback to middle school, check out the roller skate rinks at either the Fleetwood-Jourdain or Chandler-Newberger community centers. Admission its $3, with the option to rent skates for $2. Information about additional Evanston summer events can be found on the Evanston city website.