If you’re planning a gathering in a City of Evanston park, please call the Evanston Recreation Division at 847-448-8237 and we’ll let you know which parks can accommodate your group. Policies and procedures for picnics at the lakefront are different and are listed separately.
Processing of Park Permits for non-lakefront parks and the lighthouse picnic shelter only takes place between 8:30-4pm, M-F at the Recreation Office located in the Morton Civic CenterPark Permit Application - for non-lakefront parks & the lighthouse beach picnic shelter
- Gathering (99 or fewer people): In order to reserve a section of the park for four hours, the fee is $65 resident/$85 non-resident and no insurance is required. To reserve the park all day, the fee is $125 resident/$150 non-resident and no insurance is required.
- Large gathering (100-249 people): In order to reserve a section of the park for four hours, the fee is $65 resident/$85 non-resident. To reserve the park all day, the fee is $125 resident/$150 non-resident. For groups of 100 or more, a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 naming the City of Evanston as an additional insured is required. Proof of liability insurance is due three weeks prior to the rental date.
- 250 or more: Non-lakefront park events of 250 participants or more and Lakefront park events of 100 participants or more are considered special events and require a Special Event Permit in addition to the Park Permit. Special Event Permit Applications can be obtained through the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department or online. A special event permit is $150. Park permit fee for special events at non-lakefront parks is $125. Park permit fee for special events at lakefront parks is $250.
Lighthouse Beach Picnic Shelter
Permits are issued from the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Avenue, not the Dempster St. Beach Office. In order to reserve a section of the park for four hours, the fee is $65 resident/$85 non-resident and to reserve the park all day, the fee is $125 resident/$150 non-resident. Insurance is always required at the Lighthouse Beach Shelter, regardless of the number of people. A certificate of insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 naming City of Evanston and Lighthouse Park District of Evanston for Lighthouse “Beach” Picnic Shelter as additional insured is necessary.
Lakefront Picnic Permits
Garden Park at Keeney St.
Elliott Park at Dempster St.
Dawes Park - Greenwood St. to Church St.
Centennial Park - Church St. to Clark St.
Any table not posted as reserved may be used by any person on a first-come, first-served basis. Evanston residents can reserve picnic tables and grills for 2 hours for a $50 fee and for 4 hours for $70. The nonresident fee is $65 for two hours and $85 for four hours. Lakefront picnics are limited to 99 or fewer people. Permits must be purchased before the day of your picnic so the reservations can be posted. Questions? Call 847-866-4167.
- From March 19 - May 18, you can mail-in the application, along with full payment, to the Morton Civic Center (2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201 Attn: Ray Doerner)
- From May 19 - September 3, you can walk-in and purchase a permit at the Dempster St. Beach Office (1251 Lakeshore Blvd.)
Click here for beach office hours.
- If you wish to have a picnic at the lakefront with 31 or more people before or after the picnic season, a permit will be issued from staff at the Civic Center. You may download the Park Permit Application posted above on this page and drop it off at the Civic Center.
Arrington Lagoon Picnic Shelter
The Arrington Lagoon Picnic Shelter is located at 1631 Sheridan Rd., at the north end of Dawes Park. The shelter has lovely views of the park, indoor picnic tables, public washrooms, and an outdoor BBQ grill and can hold up to 30 people. You and your guests may enjoy the adjacent public brick patio, but the patio area is not included in your reservation. Questions? Call 847-866-4167.
Evanston residents and non-residents may rent the shelter between 11am and 8pm, May 1 - October 31 with a 4-hour minimum. Reservations will follow the same process as the Lakefront Picnic Permits.