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Hidden Gem: Lagoon Picnic Shelter

A beautiful setting, even on the rainiest of days.

I just attended a birthday party held at the Lagoon Picnic Shelter.  The sun poked through the clouds until the pouring rain doused the event, but it was still one of the loveliest settings I can imagine.

Why don’t more residents use the shelter?  Gorgeous lakefront views, a grill, and terrific parking make it a great location for just about any event, but it’s also shockingly reasonable. 

Here’s the description from the City of Evanston’s website:
The Lagoon Picnic Shelter is adjacent to Lake Michigan, at the north end of the lagoon at Dawes Park, Sheridan Rd. at Church St. The building has lovely views of the park, three indoor picnic tables, public washrooms, and an outdoor BBQ grill. You and your guests may enjoy the adjacent public brick patio, but the patio area is not included in your reservation.


Evanston residents may rent the shelter between 11am and 8pm, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The fee is $30 per hour (2-hour minimum).

When I told some of the guests at the party I planned to write a Patch article about the Lagoon Picnic Shelter, I caught a lot of heat. 

“You can’t tell everyone about this place!” 

“Give us a chance to make our own reservations!”

“It’s surprising more people don’t know about this place.”

“I’ve lived here over ten years and never thought to come here.”

It goes without saying that the hosts made the party the success it was.  Colorful table coverings and vibrant decorations transformed our gathering into a festive occasion.  Still, the sweeping lakefront views and park access made it a unique destination the guests won’t soon forget.

So, make your reservations quickly; my guess is, word will spread fast about what a wonderful, hidden gem it is.

According to the City of Evanston:

No reservations are accepted on Tuesdays when Starlight Concerts are held; the shelter also is reserved for a few days due to the Independence Day celebration and two arts festivals; please call 874/866-4167 for the exact dates. Reservations are taken in person at the Dempster Street Beach Office. Click here for beach office hours.

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