Just north of Chicago, Evanston merges the best of city and suburban living with a quaint-yet-thriving downtown, ample access to public transportation, the Northwestern University campus and a prime lakeside location. The site of high-rise buildings downtown, beautiful historic houses on tree-lined streets, and several Optima condominiums (Optima Towers, Optima Views, Optima Horizons, 840 Michigan, North Pointe), today we’re diving into what makes Evanston a great place to call home.

Bahai Temple. Credit: Teemu008 on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Arts & Culture

While Chicago’s iconic museums are only a purple-line train ride away, Evanston is home to its own thriving local art scene. The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University hosts dynamic and global art exhibits, while institutions such as the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian and the Halim Time & Glass Museum showcase unique exhibits of their own. Right next to Evanston, the Wilmette neighborhood is home to the Bahai Temple, a stunningly architected house of worship that’s worth a visit just for a summertime stroll through its gardens alone.

Shopping and Dining

Evanston’s downtown core is the proud home to hyperlocal boutiques and restaurants that range from traditional staples to niche experiences. For more adventurous shoppers, The Spice House is a global fresh-ground store going sixteen years strong, while Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop is a rock/jewelry/bead shop with a basement fossil museum. Meanwhile, Vintage Garage Chicago is a monthly flea market that takes place in the lot just next door to Optima Views. 

It’s also never hard to find a good bite to eat in Evanston, with fan-favorites like Found, a hot spot offering seasonal farm-to-table fare, and Dinkel’s Bakery, the only place to be on Fat Tuesday.

Urban Nature Experiences

With a prime lakeside location, naturally Evanston has an abundance of lush parks, beaches and lakefront trails perfect for strolling, jogging and biking. Evanston’s lakeshore is also home to the historic Grosse Pointe Lighthouse, an iconic landmark bordered by the beautiful Harley Clarke Mansion and Lighthouse beach. And closer to downtown, the Merrick Rose Garden offers temporary reprieve from streets and storefronts for those who want to stop and smell the roses.

Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities.