• Shop Evanston for the Holidays

    Enjoy a full calendar of community events and support Evanston's independent businesses this holiday season!


    From Saturday, November 24 through Saturday, January 5, Evanston shoppers can have their parking validated at participating Evanston businesses with a qualifying purchase. Validation can be used for free two-hour parking at City meters, lots and garages on weekdays, from 5 p.m. to midnight, and all day on Saturdays. Shoppers parking at City meters and lots must use the Park Evanston mobile app in order to redeem validation. Parking is free at City meters, lots and garages on Sundays.

  • Small Business Saturday, November 24

    Shop Small. Shop Local. Shop Evanston!

    Be a part of Small Business Saturday on November 24 and shop at Evanston's small, local shops in various business districts, including Central Street, Downtown Evanston, and the Main-Dempster Mile.



  • Holiday Events in Evanston

    Celebrate the holidays in Evanston all season long

    Evanston Symphony Holiday Concert

    Sunday, December 2, 2018, 3pm

    Evanston Township High School - 1600 Dodge Ave.

    Don’t miss enjoying these favorite Yule festivities with your family and friends … and you can take advantage of our special rates for a package of 2 adult tickets and 3 children's tickets.

    The award-winning Evanston Symphony Orchestra is joined by:

    North Shore Choral Society [learn more]

    Evanston Dance Ensemble [learn more]

    The Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir

    Evanston Children’s Choir [learn more]

    ETHS A Cappella Choir

    Audience Sign-a-long

    And, a BIG bonus for all kids from 1 to 101 — a visit from Santa and his elves!


    Tickets & Info

    Sundays, December 2, 9, and 16, 1-4 pm

    Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Ave.

    Take a break from the busy holiday season and join us as we turn back the clock and revisit Christmas at the Willard House in 1887. At that time the house served as home to Willard and her mother, and as office space and a dormitory for women working in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Christmas day was an opportunity for the bustling household to take a break from work and enjoy a simple holiday celebration.


    The tours will take place on Sundays, December 2, 9 and 16, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and cost $10 for adults and $5 for students (FWHM members are free for all tours and programs). No RSVP necessary, just drop on by.


    Friday, December 5, 5:30pm

    Fountain Square

    Tannenbaum Chabad House invites you to join Mayor Stephen Hagerty and Evanston's civic, business and Jewish communities to Evanston's Public Chanukah Lighting and Celebration. The 10-foot Menorah will be lit at Fountain Square at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 5. There will be music featuring The Cheder Boys Choir and refreshments will be served.


    For more information, please call 847-869-8060.

    Thursday, December 6

    Downtown Evanston

    Sip and shop your way throughout downtown Evanston during the 4th Annual Evanston Warm Bevvy Walk on Thursday, December 6 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Enjoy an evening stroll with friends and family, stopping at stores to try tasty beverages and shop for the holidays. Throughout the evening, many of the shops will be offering special discounts and promotions to help you cross those gifts off the list!

    This event is FREE and open to all ages but please RSVP below so that we can best prepare for the event. There is a suggested donation of $5 for a "We Love Evanston" mug. All proceeds will benefit an Evanston nonprofit to be announced soon.

    Downtown Evanston Tree Lighting

    Saturday, December 8, 5pm

    Fountain Square

    Celebrate the holiday season at the annual tree lighting with Mayor Hagerty as he lights up the tree! Enjoy special guest performances and holiday treats.

    Hope for the Holidays

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    2000 Greenleaf St. Suite 5

    Create your own designer centerpiece with Random Acts of Flowers under the direction of award-winning floral designer Andy Zimmerman of Kiko’s Flowers in Park Ridge. Guests will also make additional bouquets for patients in area hospitals. Tickets are $75; refreshments and appetizers will be provided; BYOB.

    For details and tickets, visit



    Thursday, December 13, 2018

    On December 13th, stop at any participating business on the Main-Dempster Mile and enjoy a holiday treat, courtesy of that business owner. Tickets are free!

    CTA Holiday Train on the Purple Line

    December 12, 14, 15, & 20

    Santa will return to Evanston aboard the CTA Holiday Train, which will visit stops at the along the Purple Line. Then shop and eat downtown with your family! Holiday train timetables TBA. CTA typically announces them a few days in advance.

    The Nutcracker on Ice at Robert Crown Center

    December 14-16;
    Robert Crown Center - 1701 Main St.

    "The Nutcracker on Ice," Robert Crown Community Center's beloved winter ice show, will celebrate its 44th year entertaining families with four performances this holiday season.


    Tickets & Info

    Wednesday, December 26, 6-8 pm

    Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center

    Join your friends and neighbors in celebrating the first day of Kwanzaa at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center in a free celebration for all ages! There will be music, spoken word, and dancing. There will also be the traditional lighting of the Kinara and recitation of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.


    For more information, please call 847-866-5914.

    First Night Evanston

    Monday, December 31, 2018

    First Night Evanston is a family-friendly event featuring live music, poetry, dancing and more, at a variety of indoor Evanston venues surrounding Raymond Park, located at Chicago Ave. and Lake St.


  • Mayor's Annual Food & Toy Drive

    November 13 - December 14, 2018

    To ensure every Evanston family gets to celebrate this holiday season, Mayor Stephen Hagerty is encouraging all community members to participate in the 10th annual Mayor's Holiday Food, Book and Toy Drive.

    Through Friday, December 14, the City is collecting new, unwrapped toys that encourage physical and/or social activities, in addition to staple food items for holiday meals, including stuffing, green beans, yams, mac and cheese, corn and corn bread mix. New this year, the City is also collecting new and gently used children's books.

    Donate Food & Toys

    Donate toys & food items at locations throughout the community

    Items can be dropped off at locations throughout the city, including:

    • Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.
    • Main Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.
    • North Branch library, 2026 Central St.
    • Chicago Avenue/Main Street Branch library, 900 Chicago Ave., Suite 102
    • Robert Crown Community Center, 1701 Main St.
    • Chandler-Newberger Community Center, 1028 Central St.
    • Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd.
    • Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.
    • Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St.
    • Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave.
    • Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St.
    • Evanston Police Station, 1454 Elmwood Ave.
    • J.E.H. Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.
    • First Northern Credit Union, 1705 Sherman Ave.
    • Booked, 506 Main St.

    For more locations and drop-off hours, visit cityofevanston.org/holidaydonation or call/text 847-448-4311.

    Donate Cash

    Make a tax-deductible cash donation

    Tax-deductible financial donations can also be made online or by mail to purchase additional items. To submit your donation quickly and securely online, visit cityofevanston.org/holidaydonation.


    For mail-in donations, checks should be made payable to “Evanston Parks Foundation,” and mailed to

    Evanston Parks Foundation,

    2100 Ridge Ave., Suite 1100,

    Evanston, IL 60201.


    Community members can also support Mayor Hagerty's Holiday Food, Book and Toy Drive by purchasing holiday greeting cards featuring designs by Evanston students.


    Help pack and distribute gift baskets on December 19

    On Wednesday, December 19, community members can also donate their time by volunteering during the holiday basket giveaway event. To register online, visit VolunteerEvanston.org.

  • Social Feed

    Use the #12DaysofEvanston hashtag to help spread the word about your favorite local shops and events this holiday season!

  • Shop Small. Shop Evanston Videos

    Take a look and enjoy these videos from Small Business Saturday, 2015!

    Cultivate Urban Rainforest & Gallery

    Everyone loves plants! Stop by and few living art, exotic plants labeled for pet safety, artist-made gifts and more.

    Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony

    See Jane Sparkle

    Jan's Antiques

    Follow Your Nose

    Stop by for precious gifts for your four-legged friends.

    Squeezebox Books & Music

    Shoppers rejoice! Take advantage of 20% off the ENTIRE store. Please note: The sale excludes Black Friday Record Store Day titles. 

    Stumble & Relish

    Looking for something unique this holiday season? Stop by and enjoy 20% off ALL holiday greeting cards (Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, etc.). Shoppers that spend $30 or more will also receive a FREE tote bag while supplies last.

    Shop Local this Small Business Saturday

    Hear from Evanston's aldermen about shopping local!

    The Collage Cafe

    Happy Husky Bakery

    Allegro Dance Boutique

    Oliver's Trains & Toys


    The Spice House

    Stella's Boutique

    Trattoria D.O.C.

    Vogue Fabrics

    Guitar Works

    Ayla's Originals

    Looking for jewelry this holiday season? Stop by Ayla's Originals.

    Bottle & Bottega

    Have a fun night out painting and drinking. Stop by Bottle & Bottega!

    Smylie Brothers

    Hip Circle Studio

    Sketchbook Brewing Co.


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