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8 Things to Do in Evanston, IL

There’s more to Evanston than Northwestern—though this historic campus is reason enough for a visit. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Evanston has adventures to love for travelers and Northwestern alums alike. Relive your glory days or discover new traditions in this charming midwestern town.

Take on Evanston by way of our eight favorite things to do, see, and eat, all just steps from Graduate Evanston.

1

FEW Spirits

Step back into a pre-prohibition-style bar where spirits flow freely and good times are around every corner. FEW Spirits prides itself on bringing back the golden age of spirits through their small-batch whiskey and enchanting atmosphere. 

Swing by for a one-hour tour of their working distillery, where you’ll get a peek into Evanston’s prohibition history. Then stay to taste their whiskeys, which they call grain to glass. They even sell their whiskey online in case you need your FEW Spirits fix at home.

Insider Tip

Check out FEW Fridays – live music, food trucks, and tasty cocktails.

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2

Edzo’s Burger Shop

Sink your teeth into an Edzo’s burger, the uncontested best burger in Evanston. This old-school burger bar keeps it simple, which is the secret being their fresh fries and juicy burgers. Keep it classic or top yours with cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, and bacon, then pair it with a creamy milkshake or crazy fries. 

Not in the mood for a burger? Opt for beer-battered cheese curds, an oozy patty melt, and even a Chicago dog, true to Edzo’s midwestern roots. They even offer a veggie burger and a Beyond Burger so even vegetarians and vegans can get their Edzo’s fix.

Insider Tip

In addition to char-broiled burgers, the menu also offers classic Vienna beef hot dogs, chili dogs, Maxwell-style Polish sandwiches, Sheboygan brats, patty melts, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

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3

Five & Dime

The Five & Dime may be just one bar, but it houses three unique experiences within. Nestled above Davis Street sits The Terrace, The Bar, and The Shed, which include a game room and a rooftop patio. Take the stairs up from the street and choose the experience that suits you—there’s no going wrong, whichever space you choose. 

Though the surroundings are inspiring, the food and drink are even more so. Sip Froze Rose, the OG margarita, and more, paired with shareable plates like chips and guac and burrata or more hearty meals like grilled salmon with charred lemon and herb butter.

Insider Tip

Sister restaurants Taco Diabloe and Lulu’s are located on the first floor.

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4

Bennison’s Bakery

Bennison’s may be known for their cakes, but you’ll find so much more in their bakery cases than that. Since 1938, Bennison’s Bakery has wowed Evanston with its full-line bakery and European-style approach to pastries, cookies, and custom cakes. 

Pick up a savory loaf of bread or satisfy your sweet tooth with selections like macarons, donuts, danishes, and cupcakes. Head into the store to see what they’re baking that day or order ahead to pick up your pastries on the go.

Insider Tip

Get your fix for pastries at the Evanston and Green City Farmers Markets.

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5

Lucky Platter

Step back into the days of made-from-scratch diners at Lucky Platter, an Evanston institution. Since 1991, Lucky Platter has served up comfort classics with a twist. Dig into their signature Chicken Pot Pie, which features a flavorful ratatouille wrapped in a flaky crust. 

Though their dinners are to die for, Lucky Platter is actually open all day long. Start your day the Lucky Platter way with build your own scrambles, soft Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, or Evanston-favorite chilaquiles with red or green salsa and housemade chips.

Insider Tip

Check out Platter Pantry next door – a smartly curated neighborhood bodega filled with Lucky Platter favorites, as well as outside brands.

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6

Halim Time & Glass Museum

Discover the power of collecting at the Halim Time & Glass Museum. The museum houses the carefully-curated collection of Cameel Halim, a family man with a passion for timepieces and stained glass works of art. Whether you’re a clock and glass aficionado yourself or simply find inspiration in collections, you’re sure to find something to love at this one-of-a-kind museum. 

Get up close to clocks from around the world. Admire stained glass windows from the American School of Stained Glass Art. Or simply peruse the paintings of rural places lining the museum cafe.

Insider Tip

More than 30 masterpiece windows tell the story of the American School of Stained Glass. Tiffany, Tillinghast, Lamb, Sperry – these are only a few of the masters on display.

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7

Bahá’í House of Worship

Get in touch with your spiritual side at Evanston’s Bahá’í House of Worship. The Bahá’í writings say that this temple is a place for deep contemplation surrounding life’s biggest questions. 

Though the temple does encourage visitors to connect with their creator, it doesn’t espouse a certain religion. No matter what you believe, stop by the temple for some peace, quiet, and introspection. 

Insider Tip

The auditorium is open to everyone every day from 6AM to 8PM for private prayer and meditation. Admission is free.

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8

Grosse Point Lighthouse

Climb high above the Chicago River and Lake Michigan at the Grosse Point Lighthouse. Though you might not think of the midwest when you think lighthouses, Grosse Point was actually built in 1873 as part of the inland trade network to help sailors safely navigate into the harbor. 

Peruse the grounds, which feature scenic views and interpretive signs scattered throughout the property. But don’t leave before climbing the iron steps all the way to the top!

Insider Tip

FOLLOWING A SERIES OF SHIPWRECKS off Evanston, Illinois, including one of the greatest maritime disasters on the Great Lakes, the wreck of the steamer Lady Elgin, local residents petitioned Congress for a lighthouse. Their requests were granted, but then the Civil War put everything on hold. Finally, in 1874, the light went on in Grosse Point Lighthouse.

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