Evanston nominated in Outside Magazine’s Best Town Ever contest

Tori Latham, City Editor

Evanston has been nominated for another national award, increasing the city’s visibility throughout the United States.

Outside Magazine, a publication that aims to inspire people to enjoy the outdoors, chose Evanston as one of its nominees for its fifth annual Best Town Ever contest. The city is up against 63 other cities in a bracket-style competition where the public will choose the winner.

Evanston’s recognition is a good reminder of the benefits the city receives from its surrounding nature, said Mark Muenzer, the city’s director of community development.

“We have been on so many lists that are focused on restaurants or housing,” Muenzer said. “This highlights that we have a great natural setting, as well.”

According to Outside Magazine’s website, locations were chosen based on factors including access to public land and successful dining scenes.

Currently, Evanston is ranked seventh in the Midwest bracket and is battling Eau Claire, Wisconsin to move to the next round. Voting for the first round closes May 8.

Uncle Dan’s, a Chicago-based outdoor equipment store, is promoting the event as it aligns well with their business, said Stephanie Weiss, the store’s marketing coordinator.

Weiss said the store learned about the competition shortly before the cities nominated were announced because one of its vendors is also working to promote the event and was excited to spread the word.

“I think Evanston was picked based on its access to hiking and biking, and it’s also so close to Lake Michigan,” Weiss said. “It’s also just such a friendly community where people love the outdoors.”

Evanston’s nomination for the Best Town Ever comes shortly after the city was named the U.S. Earth Hour City Capital by the World Wildlife Fund, honoring Evanston’s commitment to sustainability and renewable energy.

“Evanston has gained a lot of recognition because people are taking a lot of effort to be environmentally friendly,” Weiss said. “They’re making it a place people want to visit.”

If Evanston makes it through the first round of voting, the city will be written about in an Outside Magazine article detailing what to do in the city if you only have 36 hours, Weiss said. If the city wins the whole competition, it will be featured on the front cover of the magazine’s September issue and receive a full-page write-up.

“This is a reflection of the work the city has done to promote its advantages,” Muenzer said. “Through all of this word of mouth, people have been relocating appreciation to Evanston.”

The winner of the entire Best Town Ever contest will be the city with the most votes by June 5.

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Twitter: @latham_tori