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Evanston Makes Top 10 List of 'Most Exciting Suburbs'

Evanston was the only Illinois suburb to make the list. Do you think it deserves the spot?

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
Agree or disagree: Evanston is an exciting place to live?

If you said "yes," then you're in line with the thinking at real estate blog Movoto, which named Evanston one of the country's 10 "most exciting" suburbs. It ranked No. 10, but was the only Illinois burb on the list.

Evanston's blurb reads: "One of Chicago’s suburbs, Evanston placed fifth overall in terms of youthful residents and in the top 25 for nightlife."

Cambridge, MA was the top choice. Berkeley and Santa Monica, CA made the list, as did Miami Beach, FL and Tempe, AZ. 

What do you think? Does Evanston deserve its spot on the list? Any other Chicago suburbs that you think got snubbed?
John Wagner January 30, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Did they see that Evanston had how many homicides last year? 6+ Exciting city I doubt it, and I'm a resident
Jordan S. Zoot January 30, 2014 at 03:51 PM
Didn't you hear...homicides, muggings, armed robberies, and gang shootings are the new entertainment.
elizabeth January 30, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Evanston is BY FAR the best Chicago burb!!!
John Wagner January 30, 2014 at 04:15 PM
Elizabeth you must be one of those blind Evanston liberals. High taxes, high crime, sounds exciting to me.
Jordan S. Zoot January 30, 2014 at 04:28 PM
John...I live in Downtown Evanston and there certainly some good aspects. I am also an NRA Firearms Instructor so I have a bit of a different take on the crime problem than some. I am truly hopeful that the new concealed carry law IS going to make a difference. My expectation is it will probably take a couple of the thugs that are behind the string of armed robberies in South Evanston to understand what happens when you attempt to rob someone and find out that they are carrying a legal firearm that they are properly trained to use.
John Wagner January 30, 2014 at 04:34 PM
I agree. But there are to many liberals in evanston that are blind to the crime problem
IgnorantA January 30, 2014 at 05:36 PM
@ John, the beautiful thing about this liberal city that has high taxes and crime is there are no gates keeping you here, however, the wonderful thing about Evanston is your view is always welcome and accepted.
Karen January 30, 2014 at 10:35 PM
Yes, it deserves this spot! Jennifer and Emily, really? So, our city has the honor of being recognized as one of the most exciting in the nation--in the top 10, and instead of reporting on this straight or touting this for the community, especially after your continued downer reporting (SO much more than the other local pubs) your angle on this good news is basically one of doubt..."does it deserve this? Didn't other suburbs get a snub?" You have proved my ongoing assertion that our own community local paper, Evanston Patch, prefers to report on our own city in a negative light whenever possible and is just a mouthpiece for pro-gun types (many who don't even live here but want local legislation passed thus have a strategy to hype up anything crime-related to justify concealed carry and semi-automatic weapons.) It is actually depressing that this is our local paper. Outside of Evanston, the Patches likes to live its mission of a touchy/feel-y neighborly, support your town . Not here. Negative and crime all the time. Be recognized for a top city in the nation? How can we bring it down? Meanwhile, yes, it is a great suburb...great restaurants, great events, great venues, great arts, culture, university, amazing lakefront, beaches, every sort of person as resident, a free "live and let live" attitude, commitment to diversity and community. Everyone I know loves living here and there is a shocking number of people who grew up here and came back to raise our children (there was a stat recently about very high percentage of ETHS alum here.) Can you ever be on board WITH our city? You obviously do not live here and write as if you are not very familiar...
Tom Fischl January 31, 2014 at 07:46 AM
Yes, Evanston was pretty exciting for me - I pulled a rapist off a woman on Noyes street, went through a plate glass window with someone trying to rob my store, and when I applied for a business license to reopen Ofischl Sports in a new location, I was denied for retaliatory reasons. I have had all the excitement I need from Evanston and that's why I moved to Michigan.
Jordan S. Zoot January 31, 2014 at 08:29 AM
Mr. Fischl.....thank you for posting your comment.....unfortunately...your experience highlights the precise type of point that I have been trying to make. There are some aspects to living in Evanston that really are quite appealing. Unfortunately, there are other aspects involving crime and other problems which SCREAM for attention.The notion that the ownership or desire to carry certain firearms which are protected by the 2A ARE LOCAL RESIDENTS AND HAVE EVERY BIT AS MUCH OF R RIGHT TO HAVE THEIR RIGHTS PROTECTED AS LIBRITARDS LIKE KAREN DO. Karen...are you advocating that a live and let live attitude be applied to rapists and armed robbers? Please start wearing a bright colored sign so that if someone sees you being attacked by a thug we can just ignore it. Choosing to live in a community DOESN'T mean that one has to accept everything as the way it is and not seek change. I note that more than a few people seem to have had recent issue with policies at the Animal Shelter. I certainly have NO intention of playing emporer's new clothes.
Carolyn Bok January 31, 2014 at 09:25 AM
While Evanston has many great resources, unfortunately, it doesn't have enough involved folks like yourselves at city hall meetings, etc, to ensure we deal with the serious problems that we have. While I'm not sure that many folks should have concealed weapons, I do believe that a "citizens" police- TRAINED anti-crime/violence force could be a good deterrent. Criminals should know that on any street, corner , alley or in any public place, there could be someone trained that could deal with them. Keeping criminals guessing and scared I believe is a good deterrent to crime. But untrained vigilantes or a hot-head with a gun, are not the answer. They just add to the problem.
Jim January 31, 2014 at 10:25 AM
A well run, secure, financially stable city does not have to brag about every rinky-dink restaurant which opens up and it's ranking on some stupid list which, by the way, change from year to year, so the money will keep flowing to the "ranking" organization. Has anyone noticed that Northwestern University has 7.8 billion dollars in it's endowment fund and the City of Evanston has 0. Evanston Hospital has 1.1 billion dollars cash on hand. City of Evanston has 0. Both Northwestern and Evanston Hospital are tax exempt organizations. Were it not for the first rate Evanston Police and Fire Departments, Evanston would be even more dangerous. In addition, Evanston is a "city", not really a suburb, contiguous with Mayor Emmanuel's paradise. In terms of concealed carry, the entire country is a dangerous place. There are many scholars who think that about 2% of persons are born without a conscience or a deficient one. That would be about 2000 people in Evanston. Add to that group the people who are living in dire circumstances with little or no resources who may feel the need to rob and there will be crime. Since the police have no constitutional duty to protect individuals, concealed carry will probably make Evanston somewhat safer. It seems to me that those who argue against concealed carry do so on a very visceral aversion to guns as being "not nice". Maybe so, but they are necessary.
Bill Arndt January 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Evanston may be among the better suburban scenes in Chicago but it isn't even close to being an exciting college town. It is has an elitist, hierarchical structure that pretends to be "liberal" after having partially desegregated in the Sixties. It's wonderful that there are some really good restaurants to serve the Northwestern community and wealthy North Shore residents. But high property taxes as a result of the parasitism of the University precludes a more vibrant arts and music scene as well as a more interesting commercial landscape.
Jordan S. Zoot January 31, 2014 at 11:05 AM
Mr. Arndt raises an excellent point..roughly 33% of the property in Evanston is off of the property tax rolls by the time you include the University, Northshore and St. Francis Hospitals and all of the churches located in Evanston. A simple comparison in the tax bases of Evanston and Skokie [which is helped in no small measure by sales taxes collected from Old Orchard] demonstrate that the same sized house less than a mile apart pays almost $1,400 less in property taxes in Skokie for vastly superior municipal services.
Bill Arndt January 31, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Mr. Zoot is correct. One of the big issues is the fact that all of these municipalities are not cost efficient and that the level of services and resources are disproportionate. Towns like Skokie and Niles have excellent commercial bases because of both industrial and retail properties. Many such businesses left Evanston, in part, because of the high property taxes caused by not only the nonpayment of taxes by Northwestern but their taking of city services like fire protection. Periodically, they through the city a bone but these in no way compensate the city and businesses for the costs that the University incurs. At the same time, the schools and municipal government passed budgets that hid the true costs of pensions and labor agreements that have lead to a massive liability. And yet, some of these same officials remain in office because of the one party nature of local government. When something of substance is to be decided, the City Council had, in the past, violated the open meetings act and acted in a manner that required citizens to seek help from the Attorney General and still disclosure was incomplete. As a result, the tax burden grows more onerous, commercial development is stifled and municipal services deteriorate. At basic level, water rate increases not only bleed the tax payers but hinder efforts of regular people to support landscaping efforts that would further beautify the town. fortunately for Skokie, they have the suckers in Evanston to subsidize their water so that they can plant medians and hanging flower baskets on their light polls.
John Brinkmann January 31, 2014 at 11:32 AM
the Movoto Real Estate Blog---well golly gee---that seals it---of course this proves Evanston is one of the most exciting suburbs in America...translated-->why bother to even report this meaningless drivel
Jim January 31, 2014 at 02:33 PM
Pointing out Evanston's problems and deficiencies is not to say that the city isn't a great place. It is just that it could be so much better with a few adjustments in attitude and in it's relationship with NU and the hospital system. Without those changes, it is a worry that the situation in Evanston could deteriorate over time as there is more and more stress on the local (and national ecinomy). Technology will continue to shrink jobs and if wage and price controls are tried or worse some form of socialism, we all know how that works.
Jordan S. Zoot January 31, 2014 at 02:38 PM
Jim...you hit on a good point....there are quite a number of positive attributes...changes to the university and the hospital are a good start. The crime also needs to be brought under control, if not it quickly becomes a cancer that just spreads.
Evanstonia January 31, 2014 at 06:08 PM
The bottom line to me is this ranking is about which suburbs are most "exciting," not which provide the greatest overall quality of life, which would take into account crime, taxes, etc. But there are many positive attributes here, and I know people of all political persuasions who swear by living here. Mr. Fischl, you had a great store, and I'm sorry to hear about the circumstances under which you left.
Tom Fischl February 01, 2014 at 06:26 AM
I was raised to believe in doing the right thing. When I learned the city of Evanston was going to build a risky development on the taxpayers dime and assume all the risk, I spoke out and was retaliated against for doing so. In recent weeks, the developer walked away with tens of millions of dollars and the taxpayers of Evanston are on the hook for 9-digit pension deficits. I love Evanston, but what the Political Machine did for its own self-serving purposes is unconscionable and no one has ever been held accountable. That's how the Machine works.
Bill Arndt February 01, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Yes. there are many fine attributes to be found in Evanston. I was born, raised and educated here. I lived in several other places as well in Illinois and elsewhere. Have been back for about ten years now. While the institutions still drain the city, there are some positives. However, It seems that somewhere along the line, the city government failed to take into account the structural deficiencies built in to municipal finance with the issue of the University as a tax taker. Rosy scenarios were taken to be assumptions and decisions were made to shield the fact that some obligatory pension payments were not being made. For some reason, elected officials thought it prudent to "kick the can down the road" and vote for budgets that relied on less than full disclosure. At the same time, taxing power in areas other than property, in other words fees and services, have not been levied on these large institutions in a manner that corresponds to costs. Why not? That is a topic that merits further discussion.

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