top of page

City Provides Update on Outdoor Recreation, Summer Programming

As Evanston and Illinois make progress towards controlling the spread of COVID-19, the City of Evanston’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, in coordination with the City’s Health and Human Services Department, will be adjusting operations to provide community members with additional opportunities to exercise and spend time outdoors safely while following the guidance of local and state health officials.

Outdoor exercise is permitted under Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order, which is in effect until May 29. Community members should practice strict physical distancing when in public, and must wear a cloth face covering when in a public place where a six-foot distance from others is difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings slow the spread of the virus and help prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Updates to services and operations are determined in coordination with guidance from the City’s Health and Human Services Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health, and are subject to change based on current guidelines and recommendations.

Tennis Courts

Beginning Friday, May 22, outdoor tennis courts will reopen to the public. Tennis courts will reopen at half capacity (every other court), and will be limited to singles play only. Signage will be posted with court guidelines.

Basketball courts remain closed at this time, as basketball does not allow for physical distancing in accordance with current public health guidelines.

Beaches and boating facilities

The Church Street Boat Ramp will open for public use on Friday, May 22, and the Dempster Street Launch Facility will open on Monday, June 1. Permits and guidelines are available here. Equipment rentals are not available at this time.

Evanston beaches are currently closed for swimming, and are tentatively scheduled to reopen in July.

Beach tokens will not be available for purchase until opening plans are finalized. More information will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fountain Square

The Fountain Square fountain will remain off until Evanston reaches Phase 4 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois recovery framework, which would allow for gatherings of up to 50 people. Permanent seating areas in the north plaza are open for public use, and staff are investigating adding additional seating options to the south plaza to facilitate physical distancing.

Parks and playgrounds

City parks and trails remain open for public use. Community members are encouraged to practice strict physical distancing while using these spaces. Playgrounds remain closed, as these high-touch surfaces do not allow for safe use at this time.

Open streets

The City is currently exploring options for closing sections of streets to vehicular traffic during certain hours to create more dedicated space for walking, biking, dining and other activities.

On May 20, Governor Pritzker announced that Illinois restaurants will be allowed to open for outdoor seating in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois recovery plan, which could begin as early as May 29.

Evanston businesses are encouraged to complete the Evanston Business COVID-19 Task Force Survey to provide information about their needs and concerns as the city and state make progress towards reopening businesses safely.

Summer Camps

Evanston summer camp programs are anticipated to open in a significantly reduced capacity on Monday, July 6, in accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines. The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department is evaluating how to best operate camp programs within these health and safety guidelines, and will be reaching out to those who have registered to communicate updates related to each specific camp program. Those who have registered for camps should be prepared for the possibility that alternate arrangements may need to be made should their camp be canceled or capacity reduced.


The June 2, 9 and 23 Starlight Concerts have been canceled. Parks, Recreation and Community Services staff are evaluating plans for remaining Starlight concerts and movies. Updates will be posted here.

The Evanston Fourth of July Association has canceled Independence Day activities, including playground activities, roller skating, fun run, parade, live concert and fireworks. The association is working with City and community partners to plan alternative ways to celebrate this year.


bottom of page