Evanston’s many neighborhoods offer a wealth of diversity and opportunity that helps make the city so unique. We will be looking at all of Evanston’s neighborhoods in our series of guides, starting with Southeast Evanston. There are no hard and fast boundaries for many of Evanston’s neighborhoods, so we will use the parameters set out by the Southeast Evanston Association as a guide.
The Southeast Evanston Neighborhood is bounded roughly by Chicago Avenue to the west, Clark Street to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, and Calvary Cemetery to the south. It is home to three train stations, several parks and schools, and a wide variety of businesses and restaurants.
For more details on Southeast Evanston and all it has to offer, please read on below.
In addition to the local bus service that is provided by both the CTA and Pace, Southeast Evanston also has three dedicated train stations; two CTA ‘L’ stops and one Metra station. Details for each are listed below.
One of the greatest advantages of living in Evanston is the access that is provided to Chicago by way of the CTA’s Purple Line. The Purple Line Express can ferry riders to the heart of the Loop in approximately 45 minutes during the morning and evening commuting hours, skipping most Red Line stops along the way. The Purple Line schedule and hours of operation can be found here.
South Boulevard Station (CTA):
602 South Boulevard, Evanston, Illinois 60202
South Boulevard Station it is one of the lesser-used stations in the entire CTA train system—137th out of 143 stops. Yet it is still a vital part of the neighborhood that connects residents with the rest of the Purple Line and is just one stop away from Howard, which provides transfers to the Skokie Swift and the Red Line. The closest handicap-accessible station is Davis St. station to the north.
Main station (CTA):
836 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois 60202
The Main station was originally built in 1908 and provides Purple Line service as well as connections to the Metra and Pace buses. There are a variety of restaurants and businesses that are within easy walking distance of the station, as the Main St.-Dempster business corridor surrounds it. As noted above, there is no elevator access at this station. So, if stairs will impede your journey, the closest accessible station is the Davis St. one.
Evanston’s place on Metra’s UPN (Union Pacific / North) Line is another great way to get to the heart of Chicago and the line’s Ogilvie Transportation Center is its terminus. The UPN Line timetable can be found here.
Evanston Main Street station (Metra):
600 Main Street, Evanston, Illinois 60202
Of the three Metra stations within the city, E-Town’s furthest south Metra station is the Evanston Main Street station. The UPN Metra line provides easy access to Rogers Park, Ravenswood, and the Ogilvie Transportation Center to the south and the rest of the Northshore to the north all the way up to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The trip from Main St. to Ogilvie will take approximately 25 minutes and elapses 4 stops. Connections are available to CTA buses and trains and the station is handicap accessible.
Southeast Evanston is fortunate to have many public parks where residents and visitors can rest, relax, and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Below you will find details for all of the area’s major parks.
Stockham Place Park:
Named after Alice Bunker Stockham, this local park is often filled with families and dog walkers who enjoy the splendid boulevard of grass that is bounded by Burnham Pl. to the north and Hamilton St. to the south. On the weekends, neighborhood children have been known to organize pick-up games of football.
Clark Square Park:
Tucked between Sheridan and Lake Michigan is Clark Square Park, which, as the name suggests, is a square field that overlooks the lake. An ideal place for sunbathing in the summer, the park also has several benches and many mature trees that make it a tranquil spot for reflection and relaxation. A water fountain is available on the Sheridan side of the park.
Described by locals as a “hidden gem,” Garden Park is a great place for a picnic or walking the dog. Located at the elbow of Sheridan Sq. this park stretches along the lakefront and has ample room and beautiful views. There is a water fountain, picnic tables, benches, BBQ grills, a fire ring, and a playground that features padded hills which youngsters will love climbing on.
Also known as the Kelly Tot Lot, this park is connected to the larger Baker Park, which has basketball hoops and a large field for ball games. The tot lot itself has a playground with age-appropriate equipment for younger children and toddlers.
Bounded by Ridge Avenue, Maple Avenue, and Main Street, Grey Park is a nice place to watch the world pass by. Several paths crisscross the park and there is a circular area near its center that has benches. There is ample room for a game of catch and many beautiful trees to enjoy.
Larimer Park can be found between the dead-end of Oak Ave. and Crain St. Larimer Park is well-appointed and has a large field with a backstop for baseball or softball, a full basketball court, playground, and water fountain. There is a covered picnic shelter and the park is rarely busy, even on the weekends.
Located just south of the adjoining Burnham Shores Park, you’ll find Elliott Park. This park is a wonderful place to enjoy lakefront activities on its expansive grass fields. Elliott Park is a part of the lakefront trail, which makes it ideal for running or jogging while enjoying views of the lake and Chicago in the distance. Picnics are another favorite pastime here. Most importantly, Elliott Park has public restrooms for when the kids (or you) need to go but don’t want to leave the park!
THOMAS E. SNYDER PARK AND TOT LOT
Snyder Park is another pocket park that is located on a quiet leafy part of Judson Ave. off of Kedzie. This park is ideal for those with toddlers. The playground features equipment that is well suited for children ages 1-3, as well as swings for both younger and older kids and a sandbox. There is an informal understanding where neighborhood families leave old toy cars that their children have grown out of for others to use and enjoy when visiting the park.
Located between Keeney St. and Forest Ave., Baker Park has been recently renovated and is a great place for those in South Evanston that want space in their parks for activities such as baseball, softball, or basketball. Baker Park features amenities such as a full-length basketball court and a baseball diamond with a caged backstop. The park has plenty of space for the kids to run around in and has a playground on the premises as well. This is also another one of Evanston’s parks that features an outdoor skating rink during the colder winter months.
Squeezed between two apartment buildings off Hinman Ave. in South Evanston is where you will find Hinman Park. This neighborhood park features a surprisingly large lawn area for picnics or playing games and a playground suitable for smaller tots. There are multiple benches to sit on and relax or read a book. There is even a little free library located on the park’s edge in case you forgot to bring your own book!
CHARLES B. EIDEN PARK
If you don’t live in the neighborhood, or commute using the Main St. train stations, you may never have had reason to visit this little gem of a park. But for those that are local, it is well worth checking out. Eiden Park takes up most of a block between Custer Ave. and Sherman Ave. and has a nice lawn that is shaded in the summer months by its trees. The playground has separate areas for younger tikes and older kids and swing sets for both. A unique feature would have to be the artificial rock outcropping that most children will find irresistible for climbing and playing on.
Located just outside the grounds of Nichols Middle School, Fitzsimons Park is a great place for those looking for a play place for their children or a lighted tennis court near downtown Evanston. The playgrounds are modest but feature multiple slides and a swing set. The tennis courts feature lights for nighttime play. The Nichols fields are right there for soccer or other ball games, and the school’s basketball courts are nearby as well.
This area is served by two of E-Town’s six public beaches, South Boulevard Beach and Lee Street Beach. Information on beach access can be found here.
South Boulevard Beach
Right before Evanston turns into Chicago and Rogers Park, you’ll find this charming little beach. South Boulevard is probably the smallest beach in Evanston, and its footprint has only shrunken as lake levels have continued to rise in recent years. Still, what it lacks in size it makes up for with its tranquility, views, and lush surrounding parkland.
There is a small beach house just outside the entryway that provides seasonal access to bathrooms and water fountains.
Lee Street Beach
Lee Street Beach, one of the larger and busier sand beaches around town. Restrooms and water fountains are located just north of the beach in the adjoining Elliot Park. Even though Lee Street Beach is popular, it is almost never too crowded—even on busy holiday weekends.
Everyone already knows that Evanston is full of great restaurants, below we have listed six of the best that the Southeast neighborhood has to offer.
Ever want to eat in an old firehouse? Well, now you can! Located just off of Chicago Ave., Firehouse Grill is an Evanston institution that is known for its hearty American fare, which includes burgers, chili, fish n’ chips, salads, and pan pizzas. There is also a full bar that has an extensive beer menu. Seating is available indoors and outdoors thanks to the seasonal patio. There is a separate space that is available to rent for larger parties and events.
750 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
Just around the corner from the Main Street train stations, you will find this Italian outpost that serves authentic dishes and woodfired pizzas in a romantic yet unpretentious atmosphere. Serving the Evanston community for over 15 years, this restaurant’s time-honored recipes are popular with families, couples, and friends alike.
706 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
Siam Paragon is famous for its stir-fry and noodle dishes that span a wide range of cuisines and tastes. The pan-Asian menu has everything from Thai offerings to Japanese sushi and sashimi. The food is fresh and flavorful, and best of all cheap! All of which combine to make this a great spot for an affordable night out.
503 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
Self-billed as Southeast Evanston’s favorite spot for Mexican food, and though the competition for this title isn’t fierce, La Principal is truly one of Evanston’s gems. This is true whether you stop by the walkup coffee window (open weekdays from 6:30 AM) for some breakfast tacos, or a churro and coffee, or you prefer to stop by for tamales dinner, you really can’t go wrong.
700 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
Dishing out quality Greek food in a no-frills yet family-friendly atmosphere since 1984, Cross Rhodes is beloved in Evanston for its delicious Gyros and Greek-style wet fries. The restaurant is family-owned and operated in one of Evanston’s oldest commercial buildings. Portions are large and reasonably priced. Highlights of the menu include their large variety of salads, roast chicken, ribs, and Greek staples such as pastitsio and mousaka. The restaurant accepts cash only.
913 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
If you just looked at the items on Blind Faith’s globally inspired menu, you may never guess that it is a completely vegetarian restaurant. In fact, if no one told, you may never have guessed. But everything that Blind Faith Café serves is vegetarian with most items able to be served vegan as well. The attached bakery has gluten-free pastry options and coffee if you’re looking for a quick grab and go.
525 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60201
Looking for a quality cup of java? Evanston’s Southeast neighborhood has plenty of quality options to choose from, a few of our favorites are listed below.
The Brothers K was started by Brian and John Kim, the two titular brothers, in 2005 and is known for its quality coffee and amazing foam art. Espresso is a specialty and Brothers K also offers a wide range of Metropolis Coffee, many varieties of which are verified fair-trade organic. Pastries are provided by some of Evanston’s best local providers, including Bennison’s Bakery, Blind Faith Café, and the Lucky Platter.
500 Main Street, Evanston, IL 60202
This Evanston coffee shop offers ethically-sourced brews made with beans from Nicaragua’s Gold Mountain Region. The shop’s mission is to change the world, one delicious cup of coffee at a time. In fact, you can feel good about your morning ritual, as almost everyone involved in the farming, roasting, and making of your latte will have skin in the game thanks to ownership shares.
710 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
This local chain has 14 Chicago area cafes, the closest of which is located on Chicago Ave. All coffee is roasted in their central Diversy roasting facility, and all pastries and syrups are produced in-house. If you are curious about their dessert offerings, be sure to read about their Hoosier Mama Pie Co. in the section below.
749 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying every now and then? For those looking to get their sugar fix, the following options are sure to please.
With over 86 yogurt flavors available seasonally, and 10 daily froyo options, there is almost guaranteed to be something to fit anyone’s tastes. And you can have your dessert and feel good about it too, with a variety of sugar-free, kosher, dairy-free, non-fat, and sugar-free options available. There are even immune-boosting probiotics in the yogurts. And dessert isn’t the only thing on the menu, as the café also serves coffee, pizza, hot dogs, pastries, and fresh, made-to-order sandwiches.
635 Chicago Ave #7, Evanston, IL 60202
Can anything beat the flavor of fresh gelato? Not in our book! And at Frio Gelato, you will find some of the best gelatos around. Based in Chicago, this Argentinian-style Gelato chain has inventive and classic flavors. Located on the corner of Dempster and Chicago, the Evanston location is perfect for picking up a gelato or sorbet to stroll along the lake with.
1301 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Did you know that Evanston has its very own Creperie? Well, it does! And this Café serves up a variety of savory and sweet crepes, in addition to clafoutis, macarons, coffee, teas, and more. There are also a variety of croissant sandwiches on offer. A particular highlight is the chocolate-covered chouqeuttes.
517 Dempster St, Evanston Il 60201
This joint venture with Dollop Coffee and Tea Co. (highlighted above) is a great place for a piece of pie and a stiff shot of espresso. Everything they serve is made fresh, in-house, and includes lunch and dinner options in addition to the to-die-for pies.
Fun Places to Explore:
There are almost too many great local businesses in Southeast Evanston, below are just three of our favorites.
Started by a former special education teacher, Rachel Round, this store is a relative rarity, a bookstore that caters exclusively to young readers. The carefully curated selection includes both classic and new titles and anything you can’t find in-store can be easily ordered. Booked also often holds events and readings, a calendar of which can be found here.
506 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
A literal hidden gem, Dave’s Rock Shop is as fun to explore as a trip to the Field Museum, the only difference being that everything at Dave’s is for sale! Who wouldn’t want the chance to own their own fossilized fish or a piece of Native American artwork? The selection at Dave’s Rock Shop is truly eclectic and cool. Stop by for the Megalodon tooth, stay for the Tully Monster!
711 Main St. Evanston, IL 60202
This boutique offers much more than just your standard selection of music or books, though that wide variety is what Squeezebox Books & Music is best known for. The best part about this store? You can bring in your old CDs, LPs, or novels to trade or sell at fair value, which puts more money in your pocket to buy stuff!
Evanston’s Southeast neighborhood is serviced by several quality public schools which we have detailed below.
Lincoln Elementary School
910 Forest Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
Lincoln Elementary is the neighborhood school for a part of southeast Evanston that stretches from the lake to Sherman and Elmwood east-west and Hamilton to Calvary Cemetery north-south.
Lincoln uses Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), which is D65’s approach to intervention and prevention of behavioral problems and improving the learning environment while encouraging all students to be Lincoln Leaders!
The Lincoln Library provides all students with access to books and technology through a variety of programs and initiatives.
Lincoln engages parents and the community to help reinforce the educational community the school has created in hopes of fostering students who have a life-long love of learning.
Lincoln is a feeder for Nichols Middle School.
Oakton Elementary School
436 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
Oakton Elementary serves a portion of South Evanston roughly bounded by Asbury, Main, Sherman, and Howard.
Oakton is one of Evanston’s TWI program schools, meaning instruction can take place in a mixture of English and Spanish.
One unique feature Oakton boast is being home to District 65’s African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program which features lessons on African and African-American history and culture and emphasizes family engagement and small class sizes to gain a better understanding of these storied and varied cultures. You can watch a video about the program here.
Oakton graduates will be able to matriculate to Chute Middle School.
Extracurricular programs include Chess Club, Basketball, Chorus, Garden Club, and Flag Football. Learn more here.
828 Main Street
Evanston, IL 60202
Park School is a joint venture between ETHS’s District 202 and District 65 dedicated solely to special education.
The school caters to students ages 3-22 who may for whatever reason may benefit from its many unique resources and intensive therapeutic environment.
Students can learn job training skills as early as age 16.
Park School has a wealth of programs and is able to offer speech and physical therapists as well as occupational and physical therapy.
Feel free to learn more about Park School by visiting their website here.
Nichols Middle School
800 Greenleaf Street
Evanston, IL 60202
Nichols Middle School services graduates from Dewey. Lincoln, and Washington Elementary Schools.
Nichols students can enjoy going to school in a classically inspired school that features a bell tower and antique tiles throughout the building.
The school provides ample fields, a gymnasium, a computer lab, areas dedicated to the arts, and a library.
Nichols offers a variety of clubs and activities, including Geography Club, Art Club, Student Council, Rocket Club, Improv, and Climate Club.
In addition to the above clubs, Nichols also offers non-competitive intramural programs that are free of cost to every student and include sports such as ultimate frisbee, soccer, volleyball, and basketball.
The Final Word on Evanston’s Southeast Neighborhood
There you have it! Almost anything you could want to know about E-Town’s Southeast neighborhood. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the area and all of the parks, schools, restaurants, and stores it has to offer. Think we missed one of your favorite spots? Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know! And until our next neighborhood guide, thanks for reading!
The Evanston Family Neighborhood Guide is sponsored by The Malow Team – your Evanston Real Estate Experts.
Office: 1316 Sherman Avenue, Suite 208, Evanston, IL 60202