Unlike many other Chicago suburbs, Evanston keeps some of that big-city atmosphere and unique character.
What to Expect: Because of its prominent history, Evanston is full of old houses and historic architecture, such as the old mansions that line parts of the lakefront. Like much of the Chicago area, what’s available for rent is a mix of funky vintage apartment buildings and more modern complexes, plus a little bit of everything in between. The majority of available apartments are updated units in older courtyard buildings and small complexes. Rental houses are not uncommon, but may be a little more difficult to come by.
Extra Fees: As with many places, an old apartment building with a steam radiator system will often come with heat included, which can sometimes help justify the hefty rental price tag on some of these places. Depending on the type of apartment you’re looking for, you may be able to find other utilities included, as well, but this isn’t common with houses.
Evanston has its share of smaller neighborhoods and areas that all vary in price and atmosphere from urban stacks of dwellings to cozy communities and abodes. Here’s a general overview of the sections of the city.
Downtown: While there are many commercial areas in Evanston with shopping, dining, parks and recreational activities, the downtown area is by far the largest. Downtown has some high-rise office and residential buildings as well, and a lot of the housing in the immediate downtown area is newer, or vintage and updated.
North: Neighborhoods begin to feel very suburban the further west you go, and the closer you get to the border with nearby Wilmette, the more the two will seem to blend together. It has a few smaller shopping and recreational areas.
South: Up and coming neighborhood with tree-lined streets.
East: The lakefront and surrounding areas on the far north and south sides have older, larger houses. Along the lakeshore there are many small parks and running paths, as well as beaches and such for the outdoorsy types. The southeastern portion of Evanston looks and feels a lot like the neighborhoods of Northern Chicago.
West: The west side of Evanston is considered a little more suburban than the rest of the city. It’s certainly more “neighborhoody”. The west side is nice and home-y, full of housing. The further west you go, the more the area feels like next door Skokie.
Due to its ease of living and gorgeous scenery, Evanston is often nicknamed “Heavenston” by locals. Here are a few more fun facts and tips for those thinking about relocating to the City of Homes:
Sustainability One of Evanston’s big claims to fame lately is their efforts at creating a greener, more sustainable city. Through legislation and charity, its government and its institutions are currently working on numerous projects to lower their carbon emissions and preserve the lakefront. Evanston’s environmentally-friendly attitude is a large part of its appeal to some.
Public Transit: Much of the city’s growth and popularity is due to its proximity and accessibility to Chicago. The two are often synonymous at times.
By Train: The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)’s purple line train runs regularly from Howard Street station, on the north edge of the city, making multiple stops in Evanston and terminating in southern Wilmette. Howard Street is the terminating point for the red line (which runs through most of the city of Chicago), as well as a few bus lines that run along the city, making for easy transfers. During rush hour in the morning and evening, the purple line runs express from Evanston to downtown Chicago.
By Bus: Evanston is served by multiple CTA and Pace (suburban transit) bus lines that go to and through the city.
By Foot: If you’d rather go au naturel, Evanston is also a very walkable place (depending on where you live and where you’re going, of course). It’s also very bike friendly, with many paths and lanes for our pedaled friends.
No matter who you talk to, everyone seems to agree that Evanston is a great place. So whether you’re looking to commute to Chicago for work, or just looking for an urban-feeling suburb with a lot of character, Evanston is definitely worth looking into.