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Northwestern University

Evanston and Chicago

College town meets global city.

With so many sights just a train ride away, where will you start?

Regardless of the direction you choose, you’ll find almost endless opportunities to enhance your college experience academically, culturally and socially. And, of course, to have some fun.


Consistently ranked as one of America’s top college towns, Evanston has beaches, shops and restaurants to explore.

Downtown Evanston at dusk
Downtown Evanston at dusk
Students hanging out by the lake
Students hanging out by Lake Michigan
Students in a local coffee shop
Students in a local coffee shop
Students eating at Andy's Frozen Custard
Students eating at Andy's Frozen Custard
The rock painted with the Northwestern Athletic's logo
Students paint The Rock on campus regularly
Students hanging out at the Block Museum
Students at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art
View of the painted rocks by the lake
Painted lakefront rocks
Students roasting marshmallows down by the beach
Students roasting marshmallows at a bonfire
Students hanging out on the beach
Students hanging out on the beach
Picture of downtown Evanston
A view of Evanston at dusk

My favorite spot is the farmers market. I live just around the corner and rarely miss a Saturday.”

Maria Massucco, ’16

The perfect combination of a college town and bustling small city, Evanston offers everything you could need or want, and all just steps away.

Visit to discover the many unique shops, coffeehouses, restaurants, art galleries and theaters that are just down the street or around the corner from campus. For more information please visit the City of Evanston website, or to check out student favorites, visit The Daily Northwestern's Best of Evanston feature story.


Some people only have a weekend to explore Chicago. You'll have a few years. Start now.

Students at the park
Students at Millennium Park's Pritzker Music Pavilion
Photo of Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Gene Siskel Film Center
The Gene Siskel Film Center shows vintage and art-house films. Photo courtesy of the Gene Siskel Film Center.
Aerial view of Chicago
Aerial view of Chicago
Old Town School - front of building
The Old Town School of Folk Music
Northwestern Gate
Gate at Northwestern's Chicago campus
Chicago Transit Authority
A Chicago Transit Authority "El" train on an elevated track
Photo of Devon Avenue near Western Avenue, a multicultural place to eat and shop
Devon Avenue near Western Avenue, a multicultural spot to eat and shop
Photo of the Music Box Theatre
The Music Box Theatre, a venue for independent and foreign films
An image of Facets Multimedia
Facets Multimedia presents children's, international and classic films
A photo of the Chicago Water Taxi
Chicago Water Taxi, one option for commuting along the Chicago River
A Chicago Bridge
The Chicago River at night
Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
Navy Pier's signature Ferris Wheel
Students at the park
Entering first-year students explore downtown Chicago
Shedd aquarium
The Shedd Aquarium's front entrance
Chicago theater sign
The Chicago Theater's iconic sign
Front of Museum
Lion statues flanking the Art Institute of Chicago's entrance
Lakeshore Drive
Lakeshore Drive at night
Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
Photo of the inside of Lula Cafe
Lula Cafe, a boheme bistro of the unclassifiable kind offers a one of a kind dining experience. © Anthony Tahlie
Picture of the interior of Logan theatre
Built in 1915, the Logan Theater includes a full bar & lounge for moviegoers.

My favorite spot in Chicago also happens to be my favorite activity: dancing at Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park.”

Carter Sherman, '16

Just one trip to the city, and you’ll discover there’s nowhere quite like Chicago. For a quick trip into the city, simply board the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)'s Purple Line or cruise down Lakeshore Drive; you’ll be there in about the same amount of time it takes to walk the length of our Evanston campus. There’s also our Intercampus Shuttle that runs students between the Evanston campus and our downtown Chicago campus. To enjoy a more leisurely ride, take the bike path that runs from campus to downtown. Either way, you’ll find yourself in the heart of one of America’s best and biggest cities, enjoying all that it has to offer, from world-class museums, shopping, concerts and shows to internship opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.

Ready to visit?

You can learn more about Northwestern's campus and the surrounding area by heading over to our Visit and Engage page. If you can't make it in person, check out our virtual tour to imagine a day in the life of a Wildcat!

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