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Northwestern Football: What to Do in Evanston on Game Day

With fall comes Northwestern football, and here on Chicago’s North Shore we have the opportunity to cheer on a Big Ten team right in Evanston. The Northwestern Wildcats, dubbed Chicago’s Big Ten Team (just look at the view from the team's practice field), are coming off of a 9-3 regular season record last year and looking to continue that momentum.

The Wildcats open their 2018 season on the road against Purdue but will end the season at home. Alumni (or local fans who simply bleed purple) should also mark Oct. 13 — homecoming — on their calendars.
Northwestern Wildcats

Here is Northwestern’s full 2018 football schedule (home games are in bold):


  • August 30: at Purdue

  • Sept. 8: versus Duke

  • Sept. 15: versus Akron

  • Sept. 29: versus Michigan

  • Oct. 6: at Michigan State

  • Oct. 13: vesus Nebraska

  • Oct. 20: at Rutgers

  • Oct. 27: versus Wisconsin

  • Nov. 3: versus Notre Dame

  • Nov. 10: at Iowa

  • Nov. 17: at Minnesota

  • Nov. 24: versus Illinois


What to Do Before and After the Game

As you plan your visit to Ryan Field, don’t forget to plan the rest of your day in Evanston.

Fuel up for the big game at one of Evanston’s many amazing restaurants. Stop for breakfast before a late-morning game at Bagel Art (615 Dempster St.) or visit favorites like Edzo’s Burger Shop (1571 Sherman Ave.), Peckish Pig (623 Howard St.) and Whiskey Thief Tavern (616 Davis St.) before an afternoon or evening game. Be the MVP of your tailgate by picking up some ribs and wings from Hecky’s Barbecue (1902 Green Bay Rd.), or, after the game, end your day with some deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s Evanston (1850 Sherman Ave.) or a pint at Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. (1615 Oak Ave.).

Edzo's Burger Shop

Fans can also explore all the shopping Evanston has to offer. Stop by Bookends and Beginnings (1712 Sherman Ave.) for that one book you’ve been meaning to read or the perfect gift. Shop clothing and accessories at Stella (2116 Central St.). Find beautiful antiques at Secret Treasures (605 Dempster St.), a Chicago Magazine Best of Chicago winner in 2011. And shop with your youngest Wildcats at Becky & Me Toys (620 Grove St.).

Bookends and Beginnings

If you have time, visit one of Evanston’s many attractions and museums, including the Halim Museum of Time and Glass (1560 Oak Ave.), Grosse Point Lighthouse (2600 Sheridan Rd.), the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (3001 Central St.) and the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art on Northwestern’s campus. Of course, don’t forget to walk around the beautiful campus to truly get in the game-day spirit.

And as you already know, Evanston has some fantastic beaches. While you might not associate college football with a day at the beach, soak up the last few warm days of the year before cheering on the Wildcats, or take a walk along the beach after the game to relax and unwind after the day’s victory.

As always, check out our lists of local hotels and bed and breakfasts if you’re coming to a game from out of town or want to enjoy a mini staycation.

Go Wildcats!

This entry was posted in Dining, Events, Outdoors, Shopping, Sports, on August 16, 2016.

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