Downtown Evanston is gearing up for a vibrant and community-centered holiday season. Residents and visitors are invited downtown to explore the charming shops and restaurants that make this community so unique. Get into the holiday spirit at our annual holiday events and enjoy the heartwarming experience of discovering hidden gems and supporting your community by choosing to shop and dine local.
Plus, new this year, community members and visitors to Evanston’s business districts will enjoy up to two hours of free parking daily from November 22, 2023, through January 1, 2024. Download the Park Evanston app and enter the code “Holiday2023” to receive free parking for up to two hours during the holiday season. This offer is valid for Park Evanston app users once per day per account/license plate.
Small Business Saturday | November 25
Come downtown to support your local retailers and restaurants on this nationwide celebration of independent businesses. On Saturday, November 25, pick up a Downtown Shopping Passport to use as a guide to local shopping. Spend $100 at local businesses and receive a $25 Evanston Gift Card and enter a raffle to win one free night at Hyatt House Chicago/Evanston.
Pick up a passport at any participating business and collect signatures with the amount spent. When you spend $100 or more at one or a combination of local shops, bring your passport to Madison Grace (612 Davis Street) on November 25 between 11am – 5pm, to redeem your gift. Limit one gift card per person. While you shop, fuel up with brunch or lunch at a restaurant offering a Small Business Saturday special. View shopping and dining specials here.
Downtown Evanston and Main-Dempster Mile are excited to announce a special free holiday trolley between the two business districts! Take your kids or yourself on a festive ride from Main Street to Davis & Church Streets and back, making stops along the way so you can get out to shop and dine. The trolley will run on November 25 from 11am to 3pm. Thanks to Northwestern University for sponsoring the Small Business Holiday Trolley and supporting Evanston’s local businesses. Click here to view the trolley schedule.
Holiday Light Celebration | December 2
Bring your family to the annual Holiday Light Celebration at Fountain Square on Saturday, December 2, 4:30pm. Join Mayor Daniel Biss, City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza, Santa and other special guests to light the tree at 5pm sharp. Music will kick-off at 4:30pm with Evanston Children’s Choir and continue after the tree lighting with Evanston Own It Evanston Sings, Northwestern University Community Singers and Soul4Real acapella. Throughout the evening, look out for festive holiday performers from The Actors Gymnasium at Fountain Square.
After the tree lighting, walk to The Merion (1611 Chicago Ave.) for photo ops with Santa and holiday treats in The Crystal Ballroom along with additional holiday music. Santa will be available until 7:30pm so make sure to get those wish lists ready!
Thanks to our sponsors Valli Produce, Goldfish Swim School and Top Tier Lessons for supporting the Holiday Light Celebration.
Warm Bevvy Walk | December 14, 4-7pm
Show your love for local businesses at our annual Warm Bevvy Walk on Thursday, December 14, 4-7pm. Check in at Evanston Made Pop Up Shop (1631 Chicago Ave.) or Artem Pop Up Gallery (1627 Sherman Ave.) to pick up a map of bevvy stops, custom reusable mug and a wristband. Stroll through downtown stopping at participating businesses for a bevvy and local shopping! Tickets are $10, a portion of which will benefit Evanston Made. Learn more and purchase tickets here.