1. McGaw YMCA youth programs
Evanston’s “Y” has shrewdly brought together generations of kids from all corners of this diverse suburb with its youth sports leagues, swimming classes, after-school programs and its crown jewel: Camp Echo, a rural Michigan summer camp. The “Y,” at 1000 Grove St. and open since 1885, is a community hub — and often the answer to why Evanston kids all seem to know each other.
2. Buffalo Joe’s
Everyone’s got their favorite wing joint nowadays, but if you haven’t tried Joe Prudden’s at 812 Clark Street in downtown Evanston, you should stay out of the discussion. God knows it’s not the decor, the ancient video games, the prices or the crowded waiting area that brings people back again and again — it’s the ridiculously good wings and the Cheddar-covered waffle fries. Nothing bad comes off the flaming grill there, but it’s in the deep fryers and the secret Buffalo sauce where the magic happens.
3. Lighthouse Beach
Each of Evanston’s six public beaches has its own character and draw, but nothing beats the backdrop provided by the 113-foot-tall Grosse Point lighthouse guarding the suburb’s northernmost beach. Completed just north of Central Street in 1873 in the wake of the Lady Elgin disaster (some 400 died when the steamer was rammed by a schooner in the middle of the night), the lighthouse still shines today.
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Tell us your three favorite things about Evanston!