Where is Northwestern Located?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University.

Where is Northwestern Located?

Have you ever thought about what makes Northwestern University’s location so beneficial for students? Located in Evanston, Illinois, close to Chicago, Northwestern combines a peaceful lakeside setting with access to urban opportunities. This blog explores the unique advantages of Northwestern University’s location and its impact on student life and opportunities. Read on to learn more!

Where is Northwestern located?

Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, offers students both urban opportunities and a serene academic setting by Lake Michigan. Evanston combines historic and modern elements with Victorian homes and contemporary buildings. Restaurants, shops, and cultural venues provide local experiences.

Chicago’s proximity offers architecture, museums, and music scenes, enriching students’ educational journeys with internships and cultural experiences. Being near Chicago also allows Northwestern to engage in academic and research collaborations, enhancing its educational offerings and involving students in projects and real-world challenges. Lake Michigan offers a peaceful retreat for relaxation and recreation.

The campus’s diversity mirrors Evanston and Chicago’s, offering students cultural learning opportunities through festivals, culinary experiences, and community events. Evanston and Chicago are centers for arts, encouraging students to contribute to the artistic scene with their creativity.

Northwestern’s location is advantageous for professional development, with industry connections in Chicago providing internships and job opportunities. Networking events connect students with industry leaders, facilitating career growth.

A Northwestern University gate

Is Northwestern private or public?

Northwestern University showcases the benefits of private education in promoting academic excellence and pioneering research. As a private university, Northwestern creates a selective admissions process that attracts students who excel academically and contribute varied perspectives and talents to the university community.

Selective Admissions and Community Diversity

The admissions process at Northwestern is competitive, focusing on more than just academic achievements. The university looks for individuals passionate about making a difference, demonstrating leadership, and participating in community service. This approach builds a vibrant community where each student contributes unique insights and experiences.

Contributing to Global Research

Northwestern provides opportunities to engage in research that addresses global challenges. Students can work on projects ranging from new medical treatments to sustainable technologies, fostering a collaborative and innovative environment. This research experience enhances your academic journey and prepares you for a career focused on making significant contributions.

Exceptional Education and Student Success

Northwestern’s commitment to top-tier education is evident through its support and resources for students. From advising to career services, the university ensures students have what they need to succeed. Financial aid and scholarships make education accessible to a broader range of students, emphasizing inclusivity and success.

A Brief History of Northwestern

Founded in 1851, Northwestern University aimed to serve the Northwest Territory’s educational needs, including those of states like Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Starting with humble beginnings, it has become a top university known for innovative research, excellent faculty, and a global alumni network influencing various sectors.


Northwestern began focusing on classical education and expanded its programs to include engineering, law, and medicine to meet societal needs. It’s now a research leader with facilities like the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub, promoting discoveries and collaboration.

Notable Faculty and Alumni

Northwestern’s faculty includes Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and national academy members, attracting ambitious students. Alumni like Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, economist George Akerlof, and actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus show the university’s impact. They demonstrate how Northwestern prepares students to excel and contribute to society.

Global Reach

Northwestern has partnerships around the world, offering exchange programs and research projects. Its campuses in Qatar and Chicago provide global learning opportunities in journalism and communication to students from over 50 countries. This network offers collaboration and career opportunities.

Societal Contributions

Northwestern’s research advances healthcare, technology, and public policy. Students and faculty address healthcare disparities and environmental sustainability challenges through volunteer programs and community partnerships. The university’s arts scene enriches culture, showcasing its commitment to creativity and interdisciplinary learning.

How big is the Northwestern campus?

Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, spans 231 acres. This space shows Northwestern’s growth from 1851 founding to a top research university. Here, you’ll find a mix of historic and modern elements designed to enrich your educational experience.

northwestern university


The Campus Through Time

Northwestern began with a small plot by Lake Michigan. As it added programs and students, the university expanded. Now, the 231-acre campus is a testament to its history and future, offering a dynamic environment for learning.

Your Daily Life on Campus

The campus layout promotes community and easy access to resources. Academic buildings, residences, and recreational spots are all close by. This design enhances your academic journey and makes daily life convenient. Living here means joining a tight-knit community where learning goes beyond the classroom.

Academic and Research Excellence

Northwestern provides top academic facilities and research centers in various fields. These spaces encourage innovative teaching and research, supporting your quest for knowledge. Whether in a lab, classroom, or lecture hall, you’re part of a community pushing discovery boundaries.

Stay Active and Engaged

Your well-being is important here. The campus has sports fields, fitness centers, and pools, encouraging you to stay active. These facilities support Northwestern’s NCAA Division I teams and offer many options to compete or have fun. Sports or fitness activities balance your academic life.

Commitment to Sustainability and Community

Northwestern’s campus models environmental stewardship and community engagement. Sustainability initiatives and partnerships with local organizations show the university’s impact. Green practices and community projects offer chances to contribute.

Why Northwestern’s Campus

Northwestern’s 231-acre campus enriches your educational experience. You’re part of a vibrant community with everything needed to succeed academically, socially, and personally. As Northwestern evolves, its campus remains central to its mission, inviting you to learn, grow, and make a difference.

What are the available facilities inside Northwestern?

Northwestern University, located along Lake Michigan, combines academic excellence with a strong community. This institution is a place for learning and growth, where students, faculty, and researchers work together to advance knowledge and self-development. Let’s explore some of Northwestern’s facilities that support a holistic educational experience.

  • Henry Crown Sports Pavilion: Your fitness hub, equipped with modern equipment, indoor tracks, and courts.
  • Norris Aquatics Center: Excellence in water sports, from competitive swimming to beginner lessons.
  • Blomquist Recreation Center: Hosts basketball, volleyball, and more for fun and friendship.
  • Ryan Fieldhouse and Wilson Field: For events, practices, and showcasing talent.
  • Combe and Vandy Christie Tennis Centers: Indoor and outdoor courts for tennis players of all levels.
  • Sailing Center: Learn to sail with Lake Michigan as your backdrop.
  • Outdoor Fields: For activities, relaxation, and socializing.
  • ANTEC: Nano-scale research impacting healthcare and engineering.
  • Behavioral Phenotyping Core Facility: Tools for understanding genetic and neurological disorders.
  • Biological Imaging Facility: Microscopy support for cellular-level exploration.
  • Center for Advanced Microscopy: Electron and super-resolution microscopy for biological studies.
  • Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging: Enables research from tiny structures to whole animals.
  • Center for Translational Imaging: MRI and nuclear imaging for medical advancements.
  • ChemCore: Supports pharmaceutical innovations with chemistry services.
  • BioCryo Facility: Cryogenic electron microscopy for exploring biological materials.
  • CLaMMP: Tests the mechanical behavior of development materials.
  • CHiMad Metals Processing Facility: Focuses on new materials in science and engineering.

What is Northwestern known for?

Northwestern University excels in academic excellence, innovation, and community engagement. This school has built its reputation on challenging norms, advancing knowledge, and preparing you for leadership roles. With a personalized learning experience and a curriculum that encourages exploration from multiple perspectives, Northwestern ensures you explore your interests deeply.

Front building of Northwestern University

Academic Excellence

Northwestern’s commitment to interdisciplinary learning sets it apart. Its academic programs, spread across 12 schools and colleges, encourage critical thinking and leadership preparation—a notable student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1 guarantees personalized attention, making you a valued community member.

Research and Innovation

At Northwestern, located in a region known for advanced research, you’ll be actively involved in fields like nanotechnology and biotechnology. The university’s research centers support groundbreaking projects that contribute significantly to science, healthcare, and environmental solutions. This dedication to innovation enhances the academic community and offers solutions to global challenges.

Inclusivity and Community Engagement

Diversity and inclusion are central to Northwestern. Programs aim to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone. Engaging with local communities through partnerships enriches your educational journey, applying learning in real-world settings.

Global Engagement

Northwestern’s international programs add a global dimension to your experience. Study abroad opportunities and global research partnerships offer new perspectives that enhance academic and personal growth. The vast network of successful alumni demonstrates the global impact of a Northwestern education.

Athletic Spirit

Northwestern’s athletic programs are vital to university spirit. As a member of the Big Ten Conference, you’ll experience competition and camaraderie. These experiences build resilience and teamwork across the community.

What is outside the Northwestern campus?

Stepping off campus offers refreshing experiences, and Evanston is filled with local favorites waiting to be discovered. From cozy cafes to scenic parks, this guide is your passport to the best of Evanston.

  • Coffee Lab: On Noyes Street, Coffee Lab offers great coffee and freshly baked goods like the turkey melt. The cozy ambiance is perfect for studying, hanging out, or relaxing.
  • Dave’s New Kitchen: Also on Noyes Street, Dave’s New Kitchen serves mouth-watering Italian dishes. Pasta, pizza, or gluten-free options are available. The firecracker chicken and pasta diavolo are top picks for take-out in Evanston.
  • Evanston Public Library: A short walk from campus, the Evanston Public Library offers a quiet study spot. It’s spacious and provides a change of scenery from campus spots.
  • Hecky’s Barbecue: Hecky’s Barbecue, known for ribs, fried chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches, is a must-visit. It’s on the corner of Green Bay Road and Emerson Street.
  • Public Parks: Evanston has over 75 parks, offering places to relax or have fun with friends. Lakefront parks near the South Campus and parks near the North Campus are great for outdoor activities.
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company & Dollop Coffee and Tea Company: The 30-minute walk from campus to Hoosier Mama Pie Company is worth it for the best pies. Pairing a slice with coffee from Dollop Coffee and Tea Company makes for a perfect treat.
  • Squeezebox Books and Music: Squeezebox offers used books, LPs, and CDs. It’s the place to find mainstream hits or rare finds to enhance your indie collection.
  • Tech Green Area/Atrium: The Tech Green Area and the Atrium in the Technological Institute offer quiet corners for reading or napping, away from the academic hustle.
  • Peckish Pig: Peckish Pig, near the Chicago-Evanston border, shines with its unique menu. The dining experience is unforgettable, with fried chicken sandwiches, duck confit mac, and cheese.
  • Comix Revolution: Comix Revolution has a vast selection of comics, perfect for expanding your reading list or finding unique dorm decorations.

Northwestern Dorms and Other Housing Options

Northwestern University’s residence halls are central to your college life, both academically and socially. Explore how each hall contributes to an enriching college experience.

two students moving in to their new dorm room

  • 584 Lincoln: At the campus’s northern end, 584 Lincoln hosts students of all academic levels. It features multiple lounges on the first, lower, and fourth floors. It is conveniently located near Northwestern’s Elder Dining Hall, Schapiro, Elder Hall’s North Area amenities, and the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion.
  • 636 Emerson & 640 Emerson: These small houses in the South Area are known for their unique room layouts and proximity to the South Area Engagement Center, Downtown Evanston, and the Allison Dining Commons. Both buildings have ample lounge spaces for both social and academic purposes.
  • 710 Emerson: This small house in the Southwest Area is close to Fran’s Café and the Foster Walker West and East Dining Commons. It’s recognized for its unique architectural features.
  • 720 Emerson St.: Distinct for its historical charm and gothic bricks, this building offers extensive lounge areas and is home to Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women.
  • 1838 Chicago Ave.: A medium-sized community that stands out for its conveniences, like laundry machines on every floor, a communal kitchen, and a fitness room, located next to a southbound bus stop.
  • 1856 Orrington Ave.: Although it’s the smallest residence hall, its prime location and cozy amenities make it popular among students.
  • 1871 Orrington & 2307 Sheridan: These small houses are close to dining and engagement centers, with 2307 Sheridan near the Sargent Dining Commons and Lisa’s Cafe.
  • 2313 Sheridan: This house, near the same amenities as 2307, features a fireplace lounge, a study room, and recreational spaces.
  • 2347 & 2349 Sheridan Rd.: Both are known for their unique room sizes and shapes, with communal spaces for entertainment and study.
  • Allison Hall: A social hub for South Area residents, providing various entertainment options and an in-building dining commons.
  • Bobb Hall: Offers a rich history and communal spaces for student engagement.
  • Elder Hall: This is known for its dining commons and numerous lounges located near Northwestern athletic facilities.
  • Foster-Walker Complex: Includes a package center, convenience store, and dining commons, popular for its abundance of single rooms.
  • Goodrich House: Maintains its charm with a spacious kitchen and lounge area, being one of the oldest halls.
  • Jones Hall: Likely provides its own unique living experience and amenities for its residents.
  • Kemper Hall: Houses the mail and package center for the North and Northeast Areas, offering suite-style living and a communal lounge equipped with a TV, pool table, and ping-pong.
  • Lindgren House: Accommodates 37 students in single rooms, preserving historical architectural details, especially in its lounge.
  • McCulloch Hall: Features an expansive first-floor lounge with comfortable study pods and collaborative spaces, fostering a communal and studious environment.
  • Rogers House: Its small, engaged community frequently hosts social events. The building’s gothic architecture and location enhance its appeal.
  • Sargent Hall: Known for its exterior and social second-floor main lounge, it also has a dining hall on the first floor for convenience.
  • Schapiro Hall: Offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and is known for its two-story lounges and full kitchens that encourage community building.
  • Shepard Hall: Boasts a vibrant community with numerous lounges, study spaces, and a communal kitchen in the South Area’s heart.

What is Northwestern’s impact on Chicago?

Let’s take a closer look at Northwestern University’s influence on Chicago, focusing on how it drives the city’s economy, leads research and innovation, enhances healthcare, and engages in the community.

Northwestern’s Economic Impact on Chicago

Northwestern University significantly boosts Chicago’s economy. It’s one of the city’s largest employers and injects millions into the local economy through spending on goods, services, and construction. Many of Northwestern’s graduates start their careers in Illinois, mainly Chicago, enriching the local job market.

The university’s community of students, faculty, and visitors also contributes economically through spending on housing, food, entertainment, and transport. Furthermore, Northwestern supports entrepreneurship among students and alumni, leading to new business ventures and job creation.

Innovation and Research

Northwestern leads in research, housing over 40 institutes and centers that drive innovation. Its contributions to technology and knowledge position it as a key player in Chicago’s economic and industrial growth. Ranked 13th worldwide for innovation, Northwestern fuels Chicago’s status as a center for new ideas and industries.

Advancements in Healthcare

The Feinberg School of Medicine is necessary to Chicago’s healthcare system. With approximately 3,500 faculty members in Chicago, it plays a key role in medical research and patient care. The school’s work has led to breakthroughs in medicine, improved healthcare services in the city, and attracted funding and professionals to the area.

Community Engagement

Located near Chicago, Northwestern actively engages with the local community through various programs aimed at making a positive difference. Roughly 32% of its undergraduates participate in study abroad programs, bringing global insights back to Chicago. The university’s efforts address social challenges, enhance cultural life, and promote civic responsibility.

Famous Landmarks Inside the Northwestern Campus

Discover Northwestern University’s iconic landmarks, each with its unique story. Let’s look at the history and significance of places like the Deering Library, the Technological Institute, the Norris University Center, and Ryan Hall.

Campus of Northwestern University, with the library building

1. Deering Library

Charles Deering’s gift in 1933 founded the Deering Library. Inspired by Gothic architecture, it served as the main library and now hosts special collections. Its design, featuring spires and carvings, connects students to academic traditions. It’s a place for history and scholarship.

2. The Technological Institute

Founded in 1942 through Walter P. Murphy’s donation, the Technological Institute is a hub for engineering students and faculty. Its collaborative design fosters innovation, making it ideal for new ideas and technological breakthroughs.

3. Norris University Center

Named for Lester J. Norris and opened in 1972, the Norris University Center is central to student life. It supports student organizations and cultural events, offering a place for engagement, relaxation, and learning.

4. Ryan Hall

Since 2007, Ryan Hall has housed the International Institute for Nanotechnology. Named after the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Family, it encourages interdisciplinary research on global challenges. Its modern design promotes collaboration, leading to scientific advancements.

These landmarks tell Northwestern University’s story, highlighting its academic excellence and global innovation role. Walking through these places connects students to the university’s history and legacy of knowledge and discovery.


Northwestern University offers many academic and extracurricular opportunities located in one of America’s most vibrant regions. Its combination of tradition and innovation, community engagement, and global impact makes it a unique and compelling destination for students worldwide. Join the Northwestern community and shape the future, one discovery at a time.


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