In addition to an ice skating arena, public golf course, tennis facilities, and fine arts center, the city maintains lakefront parkland that includes:
two public beaches
a fitness course
and a scenic bike path that continues for 20 miles into Chicago and beyond
Visitors to campus often remark that it's difficult to tell where Northwestern ends and the city of Evanston begins. One of the oldest and most beautiful communities in the metropolitan Chicago area, Evanston shares the residential feel of the campus. In the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the campus, stately historic homes and apartments alternate with public parks and gardens.
Downtown Evanston blends cosmopolitan convenience with small town charm. Fine restaurants, specialty shops, and hotels share prominence with the public library, post office, and farmer's market. The city's three shopping districts are within easy walking distance of campus; each has laundromats, dry cleaners, pharmacies, markets, and grocery stores. Affordable restaurants and cafes offer courtyard and sidewalk dining, and public plazas cater to brown bag lunchers and people watchers.
Evanston's public school district is widely regarded as one of the best in the nation, and the city's park district offers a variety of moderately priced recreational programs. Northwestern University families are provided special benefits through an agreement between the University and the McGaw YMCA Children's Center. In the past, Northwestern University has provided support for numerous McGaw YMCA educational and mentoring programs-- including Project SOAR, Children’s Center, Teen MetaMedia, and Y Achievers.
Affordable apartments are found within three miles of the University and public transportation is readily available. This means that you can live close to campus and still enjoy the benefits of a large metropolitan area as well as a pleasant community.