Evanston Family Guide | Chicago North Shore Moms

Evanston Family Guide!




While it may not be as large as it’s Lake Michigan neighbor Chicago, this artsy city offers much more than you may think!
Evanston sits just North of Chicago and is home to Northwestern University, many theaters, art galleries, beaches, parks, and beautiful historic homes.  The Charles Gates Dawes House is a gorgeous mansion along the lake and host to Evanston History Center from whom you can actually take walking tours through to view the stunning homes in the area.  There are 4 distinct business districts here, Downtown Evanston, Northwestern University Campus (East Central Street), Main Dempster Mile and Central Street.

The beaches of Evanston are where it’s at for water lovers. I moved to the North Shore from Chicago and used to walk/run the lake path daily. It’s the thing I miss most about the city because here, houses line the water!  Evanston is closest to offering a path along Lake Michigan. You can stroll along the water from Clark Street Beach through Centennial Park, and Dawes Park, to Greenwood Street Beach until you reach Evanston Beach. There’s plenty of green space along the way to spread a blanket out & relax while the kids play on a sunny day!  (I also love walking my dog here.)

Northwestern University’s campus sits along the lake and has its own little neighborhood feel with coffee shops, restaurants, and stores stocked with campus gear, plus a Metra train stop that makes visiting for events easy.  We like to take the kids to football and basketball games on campus (especially when playing Michigan State, GO GREEN!) and they love a stop at Mustards Last Stand!



Main-Dempster Mile is a stretch I haven’t spent a lot of time on yet, but Bently’s Pet Stuff is a monthly stop for my pups treats and eats, Reprise Coffee Roasters has great coffee, and Booked has become my kids favorite book store with a fantastic selection for littles in a welcoming environment.  We love popping into women owned The Wine Goddesss to stock up & Sketchbook Brewing for events and brews- who is also women owned!

Brace yourself- I love this area, so there will be a full blown list!  Central Street is a quaint strip of shopping, bakeries and dining starting west of Greenbay, stretching east to the Wildcats Stadium at Northwestern University.  I have many favorites here and pop by often.

Patisserie Coralie is so pretty with delicious eats and sweets & perfect for a girls meet up.

Hewn is one of the best bakeries in all of Chicagoland and beyond!

DB3 donuts is one of the few actual donut shops in the North Shore, offering creative options daily, plus seasonal and custom.

Lush Wine & Spirits has a fantastic burger, along with create your own charcuterie & more (plus alllll the wine).

Beth’s Little Bake Shop is our go-to for the rainbow of macaroons, and my kids love the muffins.

Backlot Coffee has delish brews and a great atmosphere.

Desalvo’s has really good pizza, & even sandwiches and calzones!

Comida’s tacos are a favorite, as are the drinks!  We also love the cauliflower quest & guac.  I also like that we can visit with or without kids comfortably. 

My Bucktown sushi staple from the city, Coast, is dare I say even better here in Evanston?!

Hartigan’s Ice Cream is a longstanding, local summer go-to, with great ice cream on a great street!  We love stopping here after dinner on warm nights.

You can also find unique shopping on Central Street like Raven & Dove for cards, gifts and all kinds of knickknacks, one of our favorite toy shops, Beat Street Toys, has a 2nd location here as well as one in Winnetka, women owned bike shop Mack’s Bike and Goods can help with all biking needs, and I can’t resist a stop in Paper Source for all the things you don’t know you need- and there’s so much more!  Side note- summer on this street with all of the sweet patios with lights is SO cute!



Downtown Evanston is an actual city- and feels like it!  This area is fantastic to visit come summer & fall with many festivals, a large farmers market, and weekly happenings like music, family and art nights. While we don’t spend as much time in downtown Evanston as we should outside of festivals, a few favorites here are Found Kitchen for a pretty space with delish eats (with or without kids), Farmhouse for the super kid friendly atmosphere and Frio Gelato.  I have to admit that I love a stop in Urban Outfitters too when downtown for trendy looks that don’t break the bank!

There are so many businesses we’ve yet to explore here!  We’ll continue to add and let us know your favorites to check out!


The 2022 Neighborhood and Realtor Guide is sponsored by our featured agents.  We appreciate their support of local businesses and park districts!  In the spirit of providing stellar, tried and true content for our viewers, the businesses shared are by personal experience and our own opinions.  We love where we live and will continue to share as we continue to explore Chicago’s North Shore! Thank you for following along and your continued support!

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