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Evanston has been named one of the best 20 towns in America by the ratings website Niche.com.

Evanston — ranked at number 19 — was the only town in Illinois to crack the top 20 list.

Five other Illinois towns ranked among the top 100:

  • Schaumburg at 37,
  • Skokie at 49,
  • Arlington Heights at 60,
  • Hoffman Estates at 79, and
  • Des Plaines at 85.

Evanston scored an “A+” rating in the categories of things to do, easiest commute, education and community involvement.

It got its lowest scores on measures of housing affordability, crime and weather.

The top 20 list was dominated by coastal cities in California, with a smattering of towns from eight other states. Besides Evanston, they were Park City and Orem, Utah; Redmond, Wash.; Newton, Mass.; Carmel, Indiana; White Plains, New York, State College, Pa.; and Estes Park and Durango, Col.

In Niche’s definition a “town” is a community with between 5,000 and 100,000 residents that may or may not be the principal city of an urbanized area. The classification appears to have considerable overlap with a separate Niche ranking for “suburbs” which can be any place with more than 1,000 residents that’s part of a larger urban area but is not the central city. Communities of over 100,000 people that are considered the principal city of an urbanized area fall into a separate “cities” category.

Naperville is the only Illinois community that makes Niche’s top 100 cities list. Glencoe, Clarendon Hills, Winnetka and Tower Lake are all on its top 100 suburbs list.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. Ranking without NU ?
    I have to wonder if we would be on the list without NU—as so many in the city would wish for ? Without NU, Evanston would probably tie Oak Park.
    Wilmette should have certainly been on the list. Others should also been ahead of Evanston—Winettka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest—except for their size and being further from Chicago but with Metra none should loose many points for that. And besides crime rates would be far behind Evanston and in education they would at least have to be equal to Evanston—which has a good high school if you are on a good track but weaker if not—these others have levels much closer together.

    1. NU what a joke

      Does the very minimum to help the Evanston community. It doesn't pay taxes, gives lip service to the local high school, and takes properties off the tax base.  Good try though… Without the university the town would still have lovely homes along the lakefront, it would still enjoy the beaches, and proximity to transportation and Chicago.  Please stop the NU propaganda… It's laughable.

      1. What NU GAVE back
        You wrote “takes properties off the tax base.”
        =====================
        The original grant to NU extended to Asbury and Central. I don’t know how far on the south.
        So it is NU that has GIVEN back land to the city–not taken it.
        Without NU Evanston would be just a commuter city. The Council and preservationist and other groups made sure industry left Evanston and taxes force many more out.

        1. NU EVANSTON
          Oh please. NU has been mooching off of Evanston forever. They give nothing back. Without NU, Evanston might have gotten a higher score because housing would be more affordable.

          1. Facts don’t support Debbie’s myth

            I thought people had matured and moved on from prior ignorant comments about the relationship between NU & Evanston.

            When you examine the many, many ways that NU and Evanston cooperate and coordinate in a mutually beneficial manner, you will realize that the town/gown relationship has improved significantly over the last decade. Yes, more progress can and should take place, but baseless claims that "NU has been mooching off of Evanston forever" and saying "they give nothing back" is not only incorrect, but it reflects poorly on the Evanston community.

            BTW i did not graduate from NU, but have lived in Evanston for well over 20 years.

          2. Facts?

            Both Debbie and Thomas make claims, but neither provides a single fact to support what they wrote. As a new resident, some supporting information, one way or the other, would be helpful.

  2. Evanston Landlocked ?
    While Metra service is excellent and the CTA will eventually get you to where you want to go, commuters and others who have to drive many times feel Evanston is landlocked. Driving north is pretty good, south to Chicago can be a real pain and going west to get to the tollway, western suburbs or even the Edens from south Evanston,at times can be a major pain.
    There is not much Evanston or Skokie can do about it, but neither Oakton, Golf, or Dempster [really the only alternatives] are far from ideal.

    1. Main works well for me

      @Guest   I usually take main to Skokie Blvd then North to Dempster. It works pretty well most times (just a thought).

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