Sharing Chicago's northern border along Lake Michigan is the pleasant suburb of Evanston, home to Northwestern University. Northwestern was founded in the 1850s by Methodists on land purchased by John Evans, for whom the surrounding town is named. Today it's one of America's most prestigious universities and a member of the Big Ten Conference.
The main campus covers 240 acres along Lake Michigan. The oldest part is to the south, entered through the Arch. University Hall was built in 1869. Out front is the Rock, a solid quartzite boulder which students paint advertisements on. The Deering Library is lovingly referred to as Hogwarts by students. The ivy-covered Gothic building was built in 1894 and features cavernous vaulted ceilings.
The Block Art Museum is one of the country's best collegiate museums of art. The collection, numbering about 4,000 pieces, includes paintings dating back to the 14th century. It's most famous for its excellent collection of prints. One third of the museum's space is dedicated to temporary exhibitions.
Northwestern's campus is beautiful. It may be compact, but the architecture is interesting and the atmosphere is pleasant. The lake really brings it to another level. There's even a beach, which offers a spectacular view of Chicago's skyline. If you're up near Evanston, definitely check it out.
Train: Davis, Evanston-Davis (Metra)
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Address: 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois 60208
Telephone: (847) 491 4000
Hours: Open daily 10:00-17:00; closed Mondays.