Evanston is known for its lush and verdant setting. In fact, it’s often referred to as a “city of trees.” And for most residents, the copious greenery and easy access to the lakefront was probably one of the things that most attracted them to the area. Luckily, the city’s parks provide over 300 acres of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. With 76 parks and 50 playgrounds, there are almost always multiple options within walking distance—no matter where in E-Town you may live. And we’ve made finding your local park even easier with our guide, which looks at 35 of Evanston’s top parks and some of the amenities and highlights that each provides.
Evanston Park Hours:
Playgrounds: 8am-9pm daily
All other parks (unless otherwise posted): 6am-11pm daily
Ackerman Park is located on Central St. between McDaniel and Elm. Ackerman is sometimes referred to as the “4th of July Park” by locals, due to its prime location for viewing Evanston’s annual Fourth of July Parade as it runs down Central. Visitors to the park will find an oasis of grass on which to lounge or picnic after visiting the area’s shops or restaurants. The park also contains a jungle gym with slides and four swings for kids of all ages. During the winter months, the park is home to one of the city’s four outdoor skating rinks.
Ackerman Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Alexander Park is a hidden gem. Located between Ridge and Asbury, many locals aren’t even aware it exists. This is probably because most assume it is a part of the neighboring Roycemore School’s campus (it’s not). For those that can tolerate some street noise, Alexander Park is both spacious and shady. There is plenty of room for ballgames on its sloping lawn, and the playground features a teetertotter and swing set that makes it ideal for younger children. Picnic tables make this park a great place for office workers to enjoy their lunch.
Alexander Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Arlington Lagoon at Dawes Park
Arlington Lagoon is a large, man-made pond that is the hub of Dawes Park on Evanston’s lakefront. The lagoon is great for all seasons, providing shade, sun, and benches for people-watching during the summer and another of Evanston’s outdoor skating rinks during the winter. The park is a quick walk south from Northwestern’s campus (between Greenwood and Clark Street Beaches) and provides a pier for those looking to stroll out on the lake. The Church St. boat ramp is nearby, which requires a permit for use.
Sheridan Rd & Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
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.
Baker Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
You might be familiar with Bent Park in northern Evanston from youth soccer games that are often held on its field, but if that’s all you think the park is good for, think again! Bent Park also boasts a large playground area, space for baseball or softball, and a basketball court. During the summer there are often fun events or food trucks that service the park. Best of all, the park has plenty of space on a hot day to relax with an ice cream cone from local favorite Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe (a ten-minute walk away).
2524 Cowper Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
This much-loved neighborhood park is perfect for parents with young ones in South Evanston looking for a place to play outdoors. The park features two separate playgrounds, one of which is of newer construction than the other. There is also plenty of space to play ball games, though no dedicated basketball court or baseball diamonds. You can also choose to just sunbathe on the well-maintained lawn and enjoy the neighborhood’s peaceful surroundings.
Brummel Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Burnham Shores Park
If you are looking for a playground or tennis court with a beachfront view, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better spot in Evanston than Burnham Shores Park. And besides views to die for, the park’s playground features an adorable nautical theme. Burnham Shores Park also lets you play tennis on the lakefront thanks to the park’s two tennis courts. The Dempster St. Beach Office is also located within the park. Burnham Shores is one of several “pesticide free parks” in town, which means that the park is maintained using alternative methods of weed control that promote sustainability and waterway health.
Burnham Shores Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Located on Grant St. in northwest Evanston (close to the border with Skokie), Cartwright Park is another great little park that has more to offer than you might think. There is a good-sized playground with multiple slides and swings for kids to play on. A nearby gazebo provides some protection from the sun and elements, but no picnic tables. The northeast corner of the park is dedicated to two tennis courts and a basketball court, proving that this little park is filled to the brim with things to do.
3324 Grant St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Just south of Northwestern’s campus along the lakefront, you’ll find Centennial Park. This is a great place to jog through and has public restrooms as part of the Clark Street Beach complex. There are many places to picnic or play ball games on the grass. Of course, if you just want to sit on a bench and take in the lake views, it is a great place for that as well!
Centennial Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
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.
Eiden Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
J. Seymour Currey Park
Often just referred to as Currey Park, this park is located between Greenwood St. and Dempster St. off of Hinman Ave. The park features two basketball hoops that are separated by benches at the center court. The playground is nearby and features a train motif that will drive young ones’ imagination wild. The park also has a baseball diamond, though the field’s surface can be rough to play on at times.
1315 Hinman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Located just north of the Evanston-Chicago border between two alleys is Dobson-Brummel Park. This is another little park that is filled with more than you might think. The playground is expansive for a park of its size, taking up an entire half with two different playsets and swings. The rest of the park is dedicated to a lawn that often has portable soccer goals available for use. In the center of the park is a single grill and shaded picnic bench that makes this park a wonderful place for a BBQ.
145 Ashland Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
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!
Elliott Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
This fireman-themed park is a sentimental favorite for the young (and the young at heart) mostly due to its incorporation of an old-school firetruck into its play space. The park has additional playgrounds and swing sets, but the highlight is the cherry red fire engine that allows children to use their imaginations as they climb and play on it to their hearts’ content. Multiple mature trees provide shade, and there are benches to sit on for those that wish to just observe the park or relax.
Fireman’s Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
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.
1033 Elmwood Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Harper Park is one of the smallest “pocket parks” Evanston has. The park is located right next to the elevated train tracks off of Lake St. and kitty-corner to the Holiday Inn. While it has no real facilities to speak of besides its park benches, it is nonetheless a great place to sit and enjoy lunch on a summer day thanks in large part to its downtown location.
Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
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!
641 Hinman Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Located on the grounds of the Evanston Civic Center just off of Ridge Ave. is Ingraham Park. Filled with trees and grass, the park is beautifully set and maintained. Despite its larger size, a lack of amenities means this park goes mostly unnoticed, even by locals. Nonetheless, Ingraham Park is a great place to walk the dog or toss around a baseball or frisbee. The park also often holds events such as community picnics thanks to its proximity to the Civic Center. A production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was staged here recently.
Ingraham Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
James Park is one of Evanston’s primary parks for athletic fields. The park is huge, taking up almost an entire corner of Dodge and Oakton, and is filled with soccer and baseball fields that are primarily used for youth sports on the weekends. The fields are well maintained, but be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, as shade can be sparse. James Park also has a playground and basketball court on its grounds in addition to a 0.75-mile running trail. The park abuts Dawes Elementary School and the Levy Senior Center, making it an always buzzing spot for young and old alike!
James Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Lawrence O Lawson Park
Just outside Lighthouse Beach and immediately to the north of the Harley Clarke Mansion, you’ll find Lawrence O Lawson Park. Lawson Park has one of the most beautiful settings of any Evanston park, thanks in large part to its many mature trees, well-maintained gardens, and secluded location. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the park for you. The park features a large playground with swing sets and multiple bridges and slides for children to play on. There is also a picnic shelter that not many people know about if you are looking for a place to eat that is away from the sand.
Lawrence O Lawson Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Leah Lomar Park
Leah Lomar Park is another great option for those looking for a neighborhood park in the southwest Evanston area. The park has plenty of room for relaxing under its fir trees or playing ball. The playground features plenty to do for elementary-aged children, including swings, slides, and a train for playing in and on. This park is ideal for those looking for some peace and quiet, as it is rarely busy—even on the weekends.
Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Evanston’s Lighthouse Landing is a unique park for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that its grounds contain the Grosse Point Lighthouse, one of 105 lighthouses found along the shores of Lake Michigan. The lighthouse was built in 1873 and was indispensable for mariners trying to avoid being stranded in the shallow water around the area as they approached Chicago. While not the largest park, Lighthouse Landing still has room for some beautiful gardens that are lovingly maintained by volunteers from the Garden Clubs of Evanston.
2603 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Lovelace Park is one of E-Town’s larger parks, and as such, there is almost always something to see or do there—no matter what time of year it is. Highlights include the pear trees (which bloom white flowers each spring), a decent-sized playground, lush fields for sports and sun-worshipping, and a large pond with water features. Lovelace also has a 0.5-mile park path that is great for running or a stroll. The covered picnic area has several tables, and if you need an excuse to use it, get carry-out from an Evanston favorite, Sarkis—which is just a short five-minute jaunt away.
Gross Point Rd &, Thayer St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Just a short walk from ETHS on Church St. you will find Mason Park, the only park in Evanston that has lighted basketball courts and a must-visit for any local hoop heads. For this reason, you can almost always find a pickup game going on, and thanks to the lights, they often extend far into the evening. Mason Park has three full-size courts and an additional three basketball hoops arranged in a circle configuration. There is more to the park than just basketball, however, as it also boasts two USTA-supported tennis courts, a baseball field, and a playground. There is plenty of room for picnicking at the provided tables or on the lawn. Most importantly, Mason Park also has a bathroom on its premises.
Mason Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Describing the wonder of Mt. Trashmore is a difficult task, as it holds a special spot in many an Evanstonian’s heart. Ask a child (or anyone who grew up in E-Town after the 1980s), about it and you’ll likely receive a dreamy smile in response. This is because Mt. Trashmore is Evanston’s premier sledding hill. The “mountain” rises to a peak of 65 feet—which in the famously flat Midwest does indeed qualify it as a mountain—and is located on the west end of James Park. Visit after a large snowstorm and you’ll find yourself surrounded by many children, teens, and families, all of whom seem to enjoy trudging up to the mountain’s summit just as much as they do sledding down it. The name Mt. Trashmore has a funny origin story, as the area was originally a landfill, which was closed in 1965 and converted into the park you see today.
James Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Penny Park is so named because it was originally built with fundraising provided by neighborhood children who collected funds largely made up of spare change over 30 years ago. In 2014, the city decided that the existing playground structures were becoming a safety hazard and would need to be replaced. And instead of having Penny Park’s jungle gyms swapped out for more modern structures, the community once again came together to insist that its unique wooden constructions were replaced as close to the original design as possible. This provides Penny Park with one of the most distinctive playgrounds around, largely forgoing plastic and other materials in favor of hulking wood monuments to play and imagination. Besides the playground, the park also has a nice lawn for relaxing or playing ball on.
1500 Lake St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Philbrick Park is located a few blocks west of Northwestern’s campus on the corner of Gaffield Pl. and Sherman Ave. A playground is set up on the far end of the park and features a large swing set suitable for all ages. The park is surprisingly spacious and is filled with several mature trees which make running around, sitting on a bench, or walking the dog much more enjoyable on a hot summer day.
Philbrick Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
If you spend any amount of time in downtown Evanston, you’ve almost certainly come across Raymond Park—even if you’ve never actually stepped foot in it. And you really should visit if you haven’t, as its downtown location makes the park feel alive with people almost any time of day. Raymond Park is recognizable for its large grassy lawn, zigzagging footpaths, and surprising sculptures. In the center of the park is a large playground complete with swings and a sandpit.
Raymond Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
This is another small neighborhood pocket park located on a quiet stretch of Reba Pl. Much of the park’s space is dedicated to its playground and swing sets. The highlight of the playground is a jungle gym fashioned to look like a firetruck. Beyond the playground equipment there is a basketball court. The park is well maintained and has a water fountain available for sweaty basketball players and thirsty visitors alike.
707 Reba Pl, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
Located off of Ashland Ave. between Emerson and Church, Smith Park is a wonderful neighborhood park for the whole family. The park is kept clean and is located on a quiet street. It has two separate playgrounds, one for toddlers and the other for older children. The playset for older kids has a small wall climbing section. Besides the playgrounds, there are also plenty of picnic tables, leafy green trees, and grass to relax or play upon.
Smith Park, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Stuck between the Purple Line and the Noyes Cultural Arts Center is where you will find Tallmadge Park. Though narrow in shape, Tallmadge Park is rather large as it stretches all the way from Colfax to Noyes, spanning several blocks’ worth of space. With all this latitude available, everything is much more spread out. The playground features a teetertotter, swing sets, a sandbox, and a miniature train. The park also boasts a small amphitheater space and three basketball hoops. Beyond all of this is a long field that is often used for playing soccer, baseball, or lacrosse. There is plenty of parking available, and the park is located just off of the Noyes station. Despite its proximity to the train, Tallmadge Park can offer a calming respite from the bustle of its surrounding neighborhood and is a great place to sit and read a book—thanks in large part to the canopy provided by its many beautiful shade trees.
931 Noyes St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
Located along the shore of Northwestern’s campus is a lush and beautiful area filled with ponds and trees that is the Northwestern University Lakefill. Visiting today, it can be hard to imagine that everything you see was originally underwater, but prior to the Lakefill’s construction in the early 1960s, everything was indeed a part of Lake Michigan. The Lakefill is the result of a campus expansion that added 74 additional acres to Northwestern’s footprint in Evanston. With jagged limestone blocks lining the lake, this isn’t a place for swimming, but instead, a great place filled with trails to walk or run along while enjoying the spectacular views and wildlife. While Northwestern’s Lakefill remains part of the university’s campus, it is still open for all to enjoy. And Evanston residents have made it their own, even turning a pair of beavers that live in the lagoon into local celebrities.
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
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.
Thomas E Snyder Park, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
William H. Twiggs Park
Adjacent to the Skokie Canal and some of Evanston’s community garden plots is Twiggs Park. The park has a basketball court and two separate playgrounds with slides and swing sets. There is also a covered picnic area with tables. A bike path transits Twiggs Park, which doubles as a 0.4-mile running path within its bounds. This is another park that frequently has events on such as outdoor movies during the summer. Tucked away down by the canal is an observation deck that is perfect for watching the water and wildlife.
1901 Simpson St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States