Doing Business in Downtown Evanston
  • 75.5k
  • $95k
    Avg. Household Income
  • 51k
    from 3,000+ Businesses
  • $1.1 Billion
    Total Retail
Downtown Evanston is the commercial center for Chicago’s North Shore, with one-of-a kind shops, diverse entertainment, incredible restaurants, offices and condominiums. The area has experienced unprecedented development and redevelopment within the last decade. New developments have included residential and retail components, resulting in the construction of nearly 4,317 condo units since 2000 and over 500 rental units.

In addition the downtown remains a workforce center, employing over 10,000 people and housing the World Headquarters of Rotary International and home to Accuity, Acquirent, ZS Associates, Magnetar Capital, UL Research Institutes and UL Standards & Engagement, and other major companies.In addition, Evanston Labs is a new private Class-A office & laboratory building opening in summer 2024. 

Easily accessible via Purple line and Metra, many of the daily commuters use these systems as their main form of transportation to and from Evanston. Evanston is also conveniently located just 30 minutes from O’hare International Airport and 45 minutes from Midway International Airport, making Evanston attractive to regional and international travelers.

Businesses are provided support by Downtown Evanston, which manages and markets the downtown district of Evanston. In addition, City of Evanston’s Economic Development staff has created an economic development work plan that focuses on arts & entertainment, entrepreneurship development and growth oriented startups, as well as retail attraction and retention. These entities work together to ensure Evanston provides the infrastructure and vibrant economic environment businesses need to succeed.

Visit to learn more.

  • Current on street parking spaces in the downtown area is about 1200.
  • There are four public use parking lots downtown including underneath the Chase Bank (Orrington/Davis), 500 Davis St., Benson/Clark and the Rotary Building.
  • There are 3300 parking spaces in the three City-owned parking decks.
  • Per hour meter rates in the CBD is $2 per hour with some 30 minute meters scattered throughout.
  • There are long term meters for commuters and employees at $.50 for 1 hour (12 hr. max). Click here to view a map of parking zones.
  • The new parking box technology allows for payment with coin, credit card and by mobile app from Passport Parking. 

Northwestern University
  • 12 schools and colleges
  • 21,000 total enrollment
  • 8,000 Full-time undergrad
  • 8,000 Full-time graduate
  • 6,000+ Full-time staff
  • 3,820 Full-time Faculty

Medical Facilities
  • Evanston Hospital
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem
  • Northwestern Medicine

Cultural and Arts
Evanston boasts one of the largest and most diverse arts communities in the state, among the multitude of galleries, museums, organization and live theaters. 
  • 12-screen movie theater 
  • Music Institute of Chicago
  • Halim Time & Glass Museum
  • Evanston Public Library
  • Northlight Theatre - coming soon
  • Evanston SPACE
  • Northwestern University Block Museum of Art, Wirtz Center for Performing Arts, and Cahn Auditorium
  • Noyes Cultural Arts Center
  • Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre
  • Evanston Arts Center

Evanston Facts
  • Borders Chicago on North
  • Population 75,000 (as of April 2022)
  • Total retail expenditure $1,123,030,872 
  • Home to Northwestern University, purchasing more than $13.5 Million of goods and services