Walking Tours

The Evanston History Center offers lively docent-led walking tours of Evanston neighborhoods, downtown, and the lakefront. The tours provide fun and fascinating insights into the history of Evanston, its architecture, and the cultural landscape.

2022 brings three NEW tours exploring Evanston’s Prairie School architecture!

Evanston’s collection of noteworthy Prairie School houses exceeds the limits of a single walking tour, so we are offering three distinct tours in three areas on three different dates. Purchase the package of all three for a special price.


Most tours, unless otherwise stated, meet at the Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston. Please be sure to confirm the location of the start of the tour.


Tours vary and are occasionally repeated.

Tours begin at 11:00 AM and last for 90 minutes.


The cost is $20 per person/$15 for members unless otherwise stated. Contactless payment is required when registering for a tour.

Prairie School package: $50, $40 for members.

Reservations and payments must be made in advance. RSVP to Kris Hartzell, or 847-475-3410.

There is a limit of 20 guests per tour. We do reserve the right to cancel due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.


Free street parking is available on Greenwood Street.

Types of Tours and tour dates

Prairie School #1 – Lakeshore Historic District – June 4, 2022
The first Prairie School tour will take place in the south-central area of the Lakeshore Historic District. Tour begins at the Evanston History Center and goes south to Lee Street and back. Highlights include the iconic Carter House by Walter Burley Griffin, the Linthicum House by Tallmadge & Watson, and the Ballard House by John Van Bergen.

Architectural Evanston – June 18, 2022

Trace the growth of Evanston through its architecture, from early Greek Revival farmhouses, through Gothic cottages, Colonial and Tudor Revivals, to contemporary updates of historic designs. Learn about the builders, the architects, and the homeowners who shaped today’s built environment.

Historic Apartment Buildings – July 9, 2022
This tour meets on the northwest corner of Hinman Avenue and Main Street

This tour through southeast Evanston will explore how different architectural styles popular for Evanston’s houses were also applied to its apartment buildings. Discover how multi-family housing emerged in Evanston and adapted to changes in taste and technology.

Burnham in EvanstonJuly 23 & August 20, 2022

Daniel Burnham, Chicago’s most well-known architect, chose to live in what he called “bucolic Evanston.” Learn about his life and his relationship to the community while viewing the work he did in his neighborhood. Discover why he also called Evanston “the most beautiful city in the world.”

Prairie School #2 – North Evanston – August 6, 2022
This tour meets at Quinlan Park – the Intersection of Lincoln Street, Elm Street and Pioneer

Beginning in the park across from Dwight Perkins’ own home and Robert Spencer’s “dollhouses,” the tour also includes examples of Frank Lloyd Wright and Evanston native son Thomas Tallmadge. View their avant-garde designs and learn about their relationships to Evanston.

Evanston’s Lakefront – September 3, 2022

Stroll along Evanston’s lakefront and explore how the natural environment of Evanston affected the development of the community and the University. See how the lake provided scenic beauty and economic opportunities, along with environmental risks.

Evanston Women’s History – September 17, 2022
This tour meets at Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

Discover why so many Evanston women became leaders in the fight for women’s rights. Explore how Evanston’s environment fostered women’s independence and ability to succeed despite societal constraints. Tour begins at Willard House and travels through southeast Evanston.

Prairie School #3 – Ridge Historic District – October 1, 2022
This tour begins in front of Dewey School at Wesley Avenue and Elinor Place

The Ridge Historic District contains a rich concentration of Prairie School designs, making this a more geographically compact tour than the other two. Discover how one family fostered the growth of the movement and created this collection of treasures.

Downtown Evanston – October 15, 2022
This tour begins at Fountain Square

Evanston’s Fountain Square was planned as the central commercial district. Discover how the fountain and the square have transformed over time, reflecting changing urban norms. Explore the variety of buildings and architectural styles in the downtown area and discover the history of civic and commercial life, including the early and prolific history of Evanston’s Black professional community.

Group walking tours can be scheduled by appointment. To get more information on group walking tour options, please contact us at (847) 475-3410 or e-mail Kris Hartzell.