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Graduation at Northwestern: A Visitor’s Guide to Evanston

Commencement Weekend at Northwestern is right around the corner (June 15-17), so it’s time to start planning your trip to Evanston. Chances are you’ll have some free time as you wait for your graduate’s ceremony, and they’ll probably want to show you around what was their home for the past four years too. Here are just a few of the places to eat and things to do in Evanston. You’ll find even more throughout the CNSCVB website.
And congratulations to the Class of 2017!
Where to Eat


It's the middle of a short week, so just focus on pok?, rainbows, and unicorns. You know, magical ish. ?????

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Aloha Poke Co.
630 Davis St., Evanston
Whether you’ve tried this trendy dish before or not, stop by Aloha Poke Co. for some of the best poke (a Hawaiian sushi bowl) around. Choose your base (white rice, brown rice or mixed greens), poke (ahi tuna, salmon or tofu, all of which can be marinated if you prefer) and sauce (maybe spicy aioli or sesame vinaigrette?), or pick from one of their house bowls.
Found Kitchen and Social House
1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Whether you’re making lunch or dinner plans, or simply want to order a couple cocktails to toast your favorite graduate, you can’t go wrong at Found. This farm-to-table restaurant only uses the freshest ingredients from local farmers in dishes like Crispy Chicken Thighs, Smoked Tomato & Quark Flatbread and Lamb Meatballs.
La Principal
700 Main St., Evanston
If you’re craving Mexican food, don’t miss out on lunch or dinner at La Principal. Start with Chicharrones (crispy pork rinds with chile seasoning and lime) or classic chips ’n salsa before trying Short Rib Tortas or Sweet Potato Tacos. And don’t forget a churro at the end of the night!
NaKorn Kitchen
1622 Orrington Ave., Evanston
This new restaurant is serving up authentic Thai cuisine like Coconut-Tamarind Sauce Saunteed Rice Noodle and Roasted Curry Chicken at lunch and Tofu Steak and Pan Roasted White Fish Filet at dinner. For dessert, try the Fresh Mango and Coconut-Sweet Rice or Coconut Cream Pie Parfait.
Whiskey Thief Tavern
616 Davis St., Evanston
This restaurant features “great American food” in a cozy setting with a cool design. Sip on a cocktail in the “library,” pull up a seat at the bar or grab a secluded booth for your entire group. Share the Poutine or order the Linguine Pomodoro or Roasted Octopus all for yourself.
Bangers and Lace
810 Grove St., Evanston
One of the best beer bars in the country (according to Draft Magazine and Thrillist), Bangers & Lace offers a wide variety of beverages as well as sausages like Duck BLT and Achiote Chicken. Stop by for brunch to try Corned Beef Hash or German Potato Pancake.

Find more Evanston restaurants here.
What to Do

Custer Fair, Evanston
Custer Fair
Chicago Avenue and Main Street to Washington Street, Evanston
Explore Evanston June 17-18 when more than 300 artists and vendors will set up shop to showcase their paintings, pottery, photographs, jewelry and more. Plus, there will be more than 30 food vendors, live music, theater, face painting, balloon sculptures and more.
Frances Willard House Museum Tour
1730 Chicago Ave., Evanston
The Willard House, located 1/2 block south of Northwestern, is open for tours on Sundays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. This house was the home of activist Frances E. Willard, “a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.” She lived here during her time as president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. This National Historic Landmark features original furniture, artwork, photographs and books.
And speaking of Willard, visit the tasting room (or schedule a tour) at FEW Spirits (918 Chicago Ave., Evanston), a distillery that opened in 2011 where the Temperance Movement once called home and was named using Willard’s initials.
Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
You won’t have to travel far to explore this free art museum — it’s on Northwestern’s campus. Current exhibits “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” “We Are Revolutionaries: The Wall of Respect and Chicago’s Mural Movement,” “Everything is Fine: Department of Art Theory and Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition” and “The Block Collects: Lovis Corinth” all close June 18.

This annual event, taking place throughout June, celebrates the creativity you can find in Evanston every day. From June 2-30, visit the Evanston Art Center (1717 Central St.) for the Evanston Made Art Exhibit or the Evanston Made Pop Up Shop by AnoMaly Productions. And on June 17, family friendly event Evanston Made Kids! will feature live music and storytelling.
225 Greenwood St., Evanston
Explore Evanston with a walking tour led by Evanston History Center docents. On June 17, the Burnham in Evanston tour, which starts at the history center, will showcase the work of architect Daniel Burnham. You can also tour the Charles Gates Dawes House, a National Historic Landmark that was the home of U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes. The house was built in 1894-95 and has 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms and 11 surviving fireplaces.

What a gorgeous day for celebrating #Friendship and #Family! #artparty #sundayfunday

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1016 Davis St., Evanston
Sign up today for Bottle & Bottega’s Northwestern Wednesday Happy Hour painting on June 14. You don’t have to be an experienced artist to create beautiful NU-themed art here, so grab a glass of wine, a paintbrush, and let your creativity flow!
Where to Stay
Still not sure where you’re going to stay during commencement weekend? The North Shore has plenty of hotel and bed & breakfast offerings both in Evanston and nearby.

Looking for more recommendations? Discover even more things to do on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

This entry was posted in Attractions, Dining, Museums, on June 1, 2017.

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