Downtown Evanston - Business Resources
The Downtown Evanston SSA (Special Serice Area) provides marketing, programming, landscaping, holiday decor, and business retention/attraction services to the downtown business district. Below is a list of resources to help market and promote downtown businesses, and engage community members and visitors.

Special Events

Downtown Evanston hosts several events throughout the year to bring people together in our beautiful downtown. Most of these events take place at Fountain Square, which is a City of Evanston park. Downtown Evanston produces and organizes events that the staff and Board of Directors believe will support economic development and be beneficial to our goal of creating a fun and exciting place for residents and visitors. If you are interested in sponsoring any of our events, please review our 2024 Sponsorship Opportunities and contact us with any questions. 

Click here for a detailed description of the events.

S'Mores on the Square
| Saturday, February 10 & March 9
Join Downtown Evanston and City of Evanston Parks & Recreation from 5-7pm to get toasty while roasting marshmallows over fire pits and making delicious s'mores at Fountain Square! These events are free, and s'mores "kits" will be provided.

Earth Day Cleanup | April 21
In partnership with The Woman's Club of Evanston, Downtown Evanston is hosting a clean-up in downtown Evanston. Gather at Fountain Square for equipment and head out to pick up litter. 

Evanston Rides | May to October 
Downtown Evanston is partnering with Evanston Transit Alliance and Chicago Family Biking/Evanston Kidical Mass to organize two fantastic series of monthly bike rides that promise fun, fitness, and a whole lot of community spirit.

Thursday Night Markets | June to September
Now entering it’s 5th year, our Thursday Night Markets are an opportunity to show support for Downtown Evanston and the local artists, makers and retailers. Each market will feature 30+ vendors, live music, and other special activities. Save the dates: June 6, July 11, August 1 and September 5 from 4:30-7:30PM.

Downtown Summer Sounds | July 11 to September 26
Get ready for a vibrant and community-oriented music event featuring a variety of music genres and partnerships with local community organizations. Concerts are from 5-7pm at Fountain Square.

Sidewalk Sale & Chalk Art Contest | July 26-28
Prepare for a burst of color and an abundance of fantastic finds as Downtown Evanston presents its annual Sidewalk Sale & Chalk Art Contest! Join us for a vibrant weekend filled with shopping, art, and community spirit.

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Stroll | October 26
Bring the family downtown to trick or treat at local businesses and enjoy big games and photo ops at Fountain Square. 

Small Business Saturday | Saturday, November 23
Shopping and dining deals offered throughout downtown Evanston. Downtown Evanston organizes a Shopping Passport Program with giveaways for shoppers that spend a certain amount.

Holiday Light Celebration | Saturday, December 7
Annual lighting of the holiday tree at Fountain Square with Evanston Mayor, Santa and other special guests and musical performances.

Warm Bevvy Walk | Thursday, December 12
Enjoy warm beverages as you stroll throughout downtown stopping at local businesses to shop for holiday gifts!

If a business, organization or other entity is interested in hosting an event at Fountain Square or one that would require street closures, please reach out to the City of Evanston Parks & Recreation to apply for a special event permit. Click here to learn more about the process.

Contact Laura Brown at or 847-866-6319 if you have any questions.

Street Pole Banner Program

Downtown Evanston operates a Street Pole Banner Program to help create a sense of place for the downtown Evanston business district. The banners add color, excitement and character to the streetscape while also calling attention to the healthy mix of businesses and services as well as the overall district.

Downtown Evanston launched the current banners in November 2022. Staff will reach out to businesses with more information about the next banner program. In addition, if you are interested in placing banners for a special event in downtown, please contact Laura Brown at


Downtown Evanston sends a biweekly newsletter to approximately 8,500 plus opt-in subscribers, typically the first and third Thursday of the month. The newsletter features information about Downtown Evanston special events, business events and community events.

If you would like your event to be featured in the newsletter, please email a description with a weblink and photo or graphic (square format, jpg) to You can also tag @downtownevanston on Facebook and Instagram. 

Social Media

Downtown Evanston manages Facebook and Instagram accounts for the business district. Share your business photos with us tagging @downtownevanston and using the hashtags listed below. In addition, please feel free to add @downtownevanston as a collaborator on Instagram posts.

All posts: #downtownevanston #evanston #chicagonorthshore #evanstonillinois #visitevanston

Restaurants: #evanstoneats #eattheburbs #dineoutevanston

Shop: #shopevanston #shoplocal #smallbusinesslove #evanstonshops #golocal

Health/Fitness: #gethealthy #getfit 

Co-op Advertising

Snow Removal

In the event of snow, please remember that it is the responsibility of businesses, residents and landlords to remove snow and ice from sidewalks after a snow event. Below is a summary of the City of Evanston's ordinance.

• Sidewalks should be completely cleared to allow everyone, including people with disabilities, children walking to school and the elderly, to travel freely using the sidewalks instead of the street.

• Businesses are responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property; snow should be removed a minimum of 36” away from the building to avoid citation.

• Snow should be removed as to not block any public right of way (alleys, sidewalks, fire hydrants and streets).

Please note that Downtown Evanston does not provide snow removal service. The contract with our landscape vendor includes garbage removal 6 days a week, seasonal flower plantings, ground level plants and shrub maintenance and grass mowing, and an annual sidewalk power washing. 

If you need assistance finding a company to clear snow for you, please give us a call at 847-866-6319 or email Thank you!

Evanston Facts
  • The City of Evanston grew up around Northwestern University and was renamed for physician John Evans in 1857, who was one of Northwestern's founders.
  • Evanston is located 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago, bordered by Chicago to the south, Skokie to the west, Wilmette to the north, and Lake Michigan to the east.
  • The current population is about 75,000.
  • The largest Evanston racial/ethnic groups are White (58.4%) followed by Black (16.1%) and Hispanic (11.3%).
  • In 2022, the median household income of Evanston households was $93,188.
  • The median age for Evanston residents is 37.6 years young.