• Shop Evanston for the Holidays

    Support Evanston's independent businesses this holiday season!


    The City of Evanston will again offer free evening and weekend parking in public parking garages for the holiday shopping season beginning on Thanksgiving Day and running through January 1. Parking at meter spaces and garages is free every Sunday. Learn more. 

  • Small Business Saturday, November 25

    Shop Small. Shop Local. Shop Evanston!

    Be a part of Small Business Saturday on November 25 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

    Thursday, December 7

    Sip and shop your way throughout Downtown Evanston and the Main-Dempster Mile during the 3rdd Annual Evanston Warm Bevvy Walk on Thursday, December 7 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 Warm Bevvy Walkers.

    RSVP online.

    Downtown Evanston Tree Lighting

    Friday, December 9

    This year's holiday tree lighting will take place at Church Street Plaza due to construction at Fountain Square. There will be special activities and great opportunities to "Show Local!"

    Updates will be posted at DowntownEvanston.org.

    Evanston Symphony Holiday Concert

    Saturday, December 10, 2017

    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!

    The Nutcracker on Ice at Robert Crown Center

    December 15-17;
    1701 Main St.

    "The Nutcracker on Ice," Robert Crown Community Center's beloved winter ice show, will celebrate its 43rd year entertaining families with four performances this holiday season.



    CTA Holiday Train on the Purple Line

    December 13, 15, 16, and 21

    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.

    A Magical Visit with Santa @ Little Beans Cafe

    December 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16

    430 Asbury Ave.​

    Join us this December for 50 minutes of wonderful family entertainment. Enjoy a show with Santa that includes songs and games with the elves, cookies & cocoa with Mrs. Claus and a magical visit with Santa at his workshop. Ticket price also includes a picture with Santa and admission to Little Beans to play! The Magical Visit with Santa will be at Little Beans Evanston on Friday’s and Saturday’s in December. Skip the lines and hassle of other photo with Santa locations. Enjoy a fun and engaging experience, play and family fun while making memories, without the line! Register for your time slot today. $40 per child (adults are fee)- Includes Santa

    Learn more & order tickets at www.littlebeanscafe.com

    Purple Line Adventure Play Winter Stick Pop-Up

    Sunday, December 16, 1-4 pm

    Baker Park (corner of Keeney St. and Forest Ave.)

    Dare the winter and celebrate this holiday season frolicking outside and building forts and dens out of sticks and (maybe) snow! At this 3rd annual pop-up adventure playground we’ll have a truckload of sticks, as well as other interesting stuff for folks of all ages, abilities, and interests to play with. Bring your kids to experience the special excitement of vigorous winter play and don’t leave behind that inner child of yours! Warm clothes required! To make the day cozier, we’ll have hot cocoa and tea as well as cookies!

    More info.

    Dinner with Santa at Little Beans Cafe

    Sunday, December 17

    430 Asbury Ave.

    Join Little Beans for a holiday celebration with Chicago’s Best Santa. Enjoy an evening of holiday fun including a photo with Santa (digital and emailed), live holiday carols, play and a yummy catered dinner. Psychobaby will be making adorable customized take-home placemats for each child so include your child's name. Registration is required for this event as it has sold out every year. Registration is required - register online.

    Grand Chanukah Menorah Lighting

    Thursday, December 14 5-6pm

    Location TBA

    Community members are invited to come together to light the 10' Menorah.


    The ceremony will celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and freedom of conscience over oppression. Musical entertainment will be provided and refreshments will be served.

    Tuesday, 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, featuring 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 call 847-866-5914.

    Admission: Free

    First Night Evanston

    Sunday, December 31, 2017

    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 7 - December 11, 2017

    To ensure every Evanston family gets to celebrate this holiday season, Mayor Steve Hagerty encourages all community members to participate in the ninth annual Holiday Food & Toy Drive. Community members can help local families in need by providing food, toys, and financial donations through Friday, December 11.

    Donate Food & Toys

    Donate toys & food items at locations throughout the community

    The City is currently 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. Community members can drop off items at various City locations, including:

    • Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. 
    • Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., 2026 Central St., and 900 Chicago Ave. 
    • Robert Crown Community Center, 1701 Main St. 
    • Chandler-Newberger Community Center, 1028 Central St.
    • Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. 
    • Fleetwood Jourdain Commuinty 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.
    • All Evanston Fire Stations

    To increase community outreach, the City has partnered with Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that aims to collect and distribute new, unwrapped toys to less fortunate children in local communities across the U.S. Toys donated at any of the Evanston Toys for Tots locations will be donated to the Mayor’s Holiday Food & Toy Drive. To learn more about Toys for Tots and to search for toy drop-off locations, visit fort-sheridan-il.toysfortots.org.

    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. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards are accepted.


    For mail-in donations, checks should be made payable to “City of Evanston Holiday Giving,” and mailed to Parks, Recreation and Community Services Dept., 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201.


    Help pack and distribute gift baskets on December 15

    On Friday, December 15, 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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