Northwestern University

Consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the country, Northwestern’s scenic campus is located on Lake Michigan in the city of Evanston. Many feel it’s the ideal combination of college town meets city living, but be warned it helps if you don’t mind some cold weather. Chicago is affectionately known as the Windy City, and the gusts coming off the Lake can be quite fierce. While Evanston has everything, you need right there, the city of Chicago is a mere 14 miles away—a short “L” ride or a 30-minute drive depending on the traffic.


Stay: Hotel Orrington |  Breakfast: Cupitol

Lunch: Global Hub  | Dinner:  The Barn

Visitor Information: Tour Northwestern

Stay: Just a few blocks away from campus in downtown Evanston, there are three convenient options: the Hilton Orrington, the Hilton Garden Inn and the one-year-old Hyatt House Evanston. If you’re making a weekend out of your visit and want to explore the sites of Chicago, consider one of the hotels that are a straight shot down Lake Shore Drive (from Evanston) which include: The luxurious Peninsula or the more boutique properties of the Thompson, Hotel Lincoln, Soho House or Public Chicago.

Coffee:The place to see students waking up is at the Unicorn Café, a long time student favorite for their morning caffeine fix. Starbucks has a branch right on Sherman Street and another location on campus in the Norris Center. Better yet, grab a cold brew on your way to the tour at the student run mobile vendor Brew Bike (weather dependent) right by “the Rock” in front of Kresage hall. Brew Bike also has a permanent new storefront locale at Annenberg Hall. For a "coffee house" experience, go to Kafein.

Breakfast: A new (ish) addition to Evanston and already a Wildcat favorite is, Cupitol.  You’re going to love Prairie Joe's a 5-10 minute drive from campus on Central Street.  The menu offers American comfort food with a Mexican influence all served in a kitschy, funky room.   If you are visiting on the weekend, try the brunch at The Peckish Pig. Fans of fresh juice will want to try Peeled Juice Bar.

Lunch: On campus in the dazzling new Kellogg School of Management enjoy lunch at The Marketplace at Global Hub. This state of the art center is a student gathering space with beautiful lake views—it’s a must see during your visit. Chicago is famous for deep-dish pizza and Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s, two local chains, are represented in Evanston. A few Northeasterners we spoke to admit they’re not fans of deep dish and instead tell us to try Blaze. “At any time of day, you’ll see tons of Northwestern kids hanging-out inside.” Soulwich has crazy good Asian fusion sandwiches, but it’s more of a takeout with just a few tables. Rushing to the airport? Grab a smoked turkey sandwich and a homemade chocolate chip cookie to go at classic Al's Deli or a taco at Tomato Fresh. Over on Central Street, (about a 5 minute car ride) student’s eat healthy at Foodstuffs, a gourmet market with a few tables—pick your ingredients and a dressing from the extensive offerings on the salad bar and the staff will chop it for you. Heading north from campus, just a quick 5-minute drive, locals rave about the comfort food at Lucky Platter. In the middle of winter,  chicken pot pie, tuna melts, and Caribbean pumpkin soup are a welcome respite in addition to salads, pizzas, and burgers. (We hear the Yankee pot roast and fried chicken are popular at dinner.) If there’s a vegetarian in your group, they will be happy if you choose to dine at Blind Faith Café.



Casual: Union Pizzeria is the spot for great pizza and a cool atmosphere. Edzo's Burgers is everyone's favorite for burgers and shakes. The Celtic Knot is an Irish pub offering authentic Irish fare. The menu is extensive - try Shepherd's pie, corned beef, and cabbage or fish and chips. For authentic ramen, grab a seat at Table of Stix.


A Step Up: Restaurateur Amy Morton has quite the food pedigree; her dad founded famous steakhouse Morton’s, and she is following in his footsteps with two of the top restaurants in Evanston: Found Kitchen and Social House and The Barn. Found is a homey restaurant, designed to feel like you’re dining in your living room with a locally sourced menu of seasonal small plates. Make a reservation in advance as it is always busy, and go early to sit at the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail—too good to be missed! The Barn is a hip hideaway, nestled down a back alley inside a 19th century building that was once a horse stable. The menu is meat centric served in a bi-level space, also with excellent cocktails. Other great Evanston choices include Campagnola, Boltwood, The Stained Glass and its more affordable sibling The Cellar at the Stained Glass.

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Sweets: Everything is handmade in house at Hoosier Mama Pie Company; stop in for a slice of sweet pie and some coffee from Dollop Coffee Co.

Bring it Home: Over on Central Street stop in at The Spice House, where the staff is super friendly offering tons of suggestions and favorite cooking tips. After sampling quite a few blends we left with jars of different spices to jazz up our summer BBQ’s. The Spice House has wonderful gift boxes with blends, inspired and named after different Chicago ethnic neighborhoods-a great gift for your foodie friends! Chalk, a high-end fashion boutique, is around the corner and worth a quick browse. If you have time at the airport, get a bag of Chicago's famous Garrett popcorn. 

Local Attractions: The Block Museum is well worth a visit, the galleries change periodically and it’s always packed with students. It’s located near the student center, a good stop to get a sense of campus life. Weather permitting stroll the lakeside, checking out all the painted rocks with exclamations ranging from Class of '97 to Cathy-- marry me to Graduation Night '89.  Chicago is a world class city, and a big part of student life. 


— Live From Campus —

Tour Northwestern University with Daytripper University

— The Best Chicago Guides —

— Quotes From Campus —

Northwestern opened my mind and made me a much better person.
— Brooke
NU is THE BEST! It has everything you could possibly want - great town, Chicago nearby, passionate professors and an amazing school spirit!
— Russell
Academics are demanding. The school is on the quarter system so students take four classes, three quarters during the year and summer is counted as the fourth quarter. Christmas break is short and they finish in mid June. Alums frequently come to visit including Julia Louis Dreyfuss and Seth Myers.
— Current Parent





Willie the Wildcat

School Colors

White & Purple

Acceptance Rate

10.7% (2016)

Common Application


Supplement Essays


Early Action/Decision

Early Decision








Admissions Office

1801 Hinman Avenue PO Box 3060
Evanston, IL 60208-3060

(p) (847) 491-7271

Christopher Watson, Dean of Undergraduate Admission

Sports Divisions

NCAA Division I
Big 10

Greek Life


Noteworthy Alumni

Zach Braff
Stephen Colbert

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