Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Evanston, Illinois

If you’re moving to Evanston, Illinois, you probably have many questions about your soon-to-be new hometown. What’s the cost of living in Evanston, and what are the best things to do here? Does Evanston have good weather, and what about the food? Most importantly, is Evanston, IL, a safe place to live? Below we’ve put together everything you need to know before moving, including the cost of living in Evanston, IL. It’s the type of actionable, real-world information you need and will help you prepare for your arrival in this appealing American city.

cost of living in evanston IL

What’s the Cost of Living in Evanston, IL?

According to Best Places, the cost of living in Evanston, IL, is 20% more expensive than the average American city. They give Evanston an overall cost index of 120 / 100, which means you’ll be paying about 20% more to live here than average. The main reason Evanston is more expensive is housing, which is 45% higher than average. Transportation costs are also higher than usual in this Illinois city, with a cost index of 129 / 100. You’ll pay 30% more for gasoline, taxes, and other transportation-related services here, primarily due to our proximity to the Windy City, Chicago. Below is an overview of all the major cost indices n Evanston, IL, for your perusal. (Note that the US average is 100.)

  • Overall. 120 / 100
  • Housing. 145 / 100
  • Median home cost. $453,300
  • Transportation. 129 / 100
  • Miscellaneous. 109 / 100
  • Groceries. 10 1/100
  • Utilities. 95 / 100 

What is the Population of Evanston, Illinois? 

As of this writing, approximately 72,700 souls live in Evanston, Illinois. The median individual income in the city is just under $70,000, and the median age is 36 years old, making Evanston a relatively young town. The unemployment rate in Evanston is 5.8%, which puts the city almost equal to the US average of 6%. 

In what County is Evanston, Illinois?

Evanston sits on the shore of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago in Cook County, the most populous county in Illinois. Cook County, surprisingly, is also the second most populous in the country, right after Los Angeles County in California. Even more surprising is that nearly 40% of all the people who live in Illinois live somewhere in Cook County. 

Northwestern University Evanston IL
Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, IL.

What’s the Weather like in Evanston, Illinois?

Even though Chicago is the “Windy City,” Evanston’s weather is quite pleasant. The city gets a comfort index of 9.1 / 10, which is surprisingly good compared to the US average comfort index of 7.8 / 10. Yes, winter in Evanston, as in all of Illinois, can be brutal, cold, windy, and icy. However, from May through October, you’ll find temperatures during the day between 70℉ and 85℉ maximum while, at night, it’s rare for temps to drop below 50℉. One bit of wet news, though, is that Evanston gets a lot of rain, an average of 10 days per month.

How’s the Restaurant Scene in Evanston, Illinois?

Chicago is a known foodies paradise, and Evanston follows suit. A college town and home to Northwestern University, you’ll find an abundance of dining options in Evanston to please everyone in your family. Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza is on the menu, but you’ll also find excellent steakhouses, unique bakeries, and some of the best barbecue north of Louisiana. Below are several of Evanston’s best, highest-rated restaurants when your belly needs a little filling.

  • Alcove. An Evanston dining institution for years.
  • Cantuccio’s. Best. Pizza. Ever. 
  • The Graduate Homestead Room. A new and decadent addition to Evanston’s dining scene.
  • Oceanique. Serving fresh seafood in style for over 30 years.
  • Campagnolo. Classic Italian fare with a few delicious surprises!
  • Union Pizzeria. Great pizza in a hip, laid-back atmosphere? Yes, please!
  • The Barn Steakhouse- If magnificent meat is what you crave, there’s none better in Evanston. 

Things to Do in Evanston, Illinois.

As we mentioned earlier, being this close to Chicago, there are plenty of things to do in Evanston, IL. The 22 miles (35 km) of the city coastline on Lake Michigan has some of the nicest beaches in the Northeast. There’s plenty more, however, and you’ll undoubtedly find something everyone in the family enjoys. Some top attractions in Evanston include:

  • Grosse Pointe Lighthouse is one of the most historic in America.
  • The American Toby jug Museum with over 8,000 Toby and character jugs.
  • Bountiful beaches, including Lighthouse Beach, Lee Street Beach, Clark Street Beach,  Montrose Beach, and Greenwood Beach
  • The Valley Line Trail (AKA Skokie Line Trail) is a walker and runner’s utopia.
  • The Block Museum of Art.
  • Several public parks.
moving to evanston il

How Far is Evanston from Chicago?

Evanston has the luxury of being 12 miles north of downtown Chicago and a quintessential college town. We say “luxury” because Chicago is one of the top 10 cities in the United States, with world-class amenities and attractions. Many folks who live in Evanston commute to Chicago, but the short distance makes the commute more manageable and less stressful.

Is Evanston, IL, Safe?

While Chicago has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, crime in Evanston, Illinois, is at or below the US average. Violent crime, for example, is 15 / 100 compared to the US average of 23 / 100. Property crime is almost equal to the US average at 35.8 / 100 compared to 35.4 / 100. In other words, while it’s not the safest town in America, Evanston is a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

Final Thoughts 

We hope today’s article and information about the cost of living in Evanston, IL, has given you everything you need to know before moving to this attractive American city. If you need self-storage in Evanston, IL, when you arrive, iStorage is your best choice. Our self-storage facility in Evanston is at 2020 Greenwood Street in Evanston and offers safe, secure, and clean storage units where you can store practically anything. That goes for all your household goods, boats, automobiles, and RVs. You can visit our Evanston iStorage location online or call  847-512-3719 to speak to the onsite manager. Best of luck with your move to lovely Evanston, IL!

This article was originally published on 04/16/2021. It was refreshed on 09/15/2022.