Taste of Chicago Festival – Smile, It’s a Party in Your Mouth!

The taste of Chicago festival is a great event where people from all over the world come to taste the variety of treats from around Chicago. It is among the famous festivals around the world and millions come to sample the absolutely delicious food at the taste of Chicago.

Summer marks the return of one of USA’s greatest loves, the food festival. And there is no other better known gathering of delicious cuisine than the Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest outdoor food fest. This nationally known taste event draws over 3 million visitors from across the country to Grant Park in the Windy City to see the sights and of course, sample the food.


Recap of the Taste of Chicago

Flashing back to 1980, a group of restaurateurs approached the Mayor of Chicago with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July. It was the birth of Taste of Chicago. Confidence was high that the one-day event could attract 75,000 people. Instead, the event drew nearly 250,000 attendees and forever changed the way Chicago celebrates the Fourth of July.

Due to the overwhelming response from the people of Chicago, the event was moved the next year to Grant Park, considered the city’s “front yard.” The park’s central location with convenient access via public transportation is easily identifiable to citizens and visitors alike. The park is also the center of the Grant Park cultural community which includes the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Oceanarium, Field Museum, Cultural Center, as well as Michigan Avenue and State Street shopping.

For ten days, this free-admission festival infuses the city with a holiday spirit thanks to its impressive festive scene. Colorfully decorated tents surround the outside kitchens of more than 70 restaurants from all over Chicagoland. Exotic aromas permeate the air and no visitor leaves a food booth empty handed.


What To Expect At The Taste Of Chicago

Chicago is a city full of delicious food and even when you live there it’s impossible to know exactly all the spots where you can enjoy the fantastic food in Chicago.

The competitive food culture in Chicago is absolutely dynamic, and when I say competitive I mean like an Olympic event. The restaurant spots in Chicago are so envied that typically there’s a line of other restaurant ideas just waiting to take your spot.

So if a restaurant not so great then people will just go to another one down the street which is and then the restaurant goes out of business and another one pops up in its place in a fairly short amount of time.

Thus with all of this competition there may be some new delicious spots in the city that would serve food you’d absolutely love but you may not be aware of all of the changes, but then at the Taste of Chicago festival you can see a lot of these all in one spot so you can discover new ones.

For Tourists this is always a great time to see what the Chicago food culture is all about or revisit some of your favorites spots in the city.

And in addition to excellent food there is always amazing music playing on several stages throughout the festival. Live music delicious food, amazing fun it’s definitely a great summer party!


How The Taste Of Chicago Works

Admission is FREE, but to get food you purchase blocks of tickets, and use these tickets to purchase the food, much like you would at a carnival.

As you approach each restaurant there is a sign telling you what they have and how many tickets they have. If you’re looking to sample lots of different dishes then go for the sample size and enjoy lots of different foods. For those who prefer the traditional portion just ask. Most booths have both available.


The Food During The Taste Of Chicago

The variety ranges to suite lots of taste preferences so this is a fantastic place to bring friends and family for a great summer day out.

Although dining also involves savoring the ambiance, a Chicago dining experience like most Southern cooking will boil down to just one evaluation point: full taste. Before, Southern food, which Chicago has always made use of, has always been dubbed as one of the richest in flavor, but also has some of the most basic cuisines in cooking. Since then, all of Chicago’s dining areas have evolved into one of the most exciting gastronomic experiences which aren’t only visited by locals and tourists but by food critics as well.

There are several restaurants sprucing through the neighborhoods of Chicago and each one boasts of specialty cuisines, whether it be Italian, Mexican, Asian, Japanese, Steakhouses, Seafood and Dessert. Pizza is a culinary favorite and has a special place in the heart of Chicago. It has been pinnacled to a higher level of cooking with pizza legends such as Giordano’s Pizza, Gino’s East, and Pizzeria Uno respected establishments and visited by locals and tourists alike.

Alinea, found in North Halstad, is the dining hotspot of the moment thanks to owner and Chef Grant Achatz’s unique presentation and contemporary cooking. His menu includes the venison, caramel popcorn, trout roe, coconut, chocolate, apple, duck, squab, tuna and blackberry. They may sound like the most simplest of meals but everything in the menu not only a culinary treat but a visual display of an artist’s work.

Before Alinea though, Charlie Trotter was the first established chef in Chicago dining and his restaurant, even today, continues to thrive with his work. It has been mystified as one of the finest restaurants not only in the whole town but in the whole United States. His grand menu includes Tempura at Nantucket Bay Scallops with Togarashi and Fuyu Persimmon, Arkansas Rabbit Loin with Curried Tortellini and Wilted Mustard Greens and Honey Crisp Apples with Yogurt and Caramelized White Chocolate.

If you’re looking for a taste of Italian Cuisine, Spiaggia is one of the great places to go in Chicago dining. It offers a romantic view of Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan. Wine selection is also top rate, as well as its cheeses. But for those looking for heavier cooking, reminiscent of the old Chicago, try the different steakhouses that have become prime fixtures in the Windy City. Establishment like Morton’s, Gene and Georgetti,Gibson’s Steakhouse and Chicago Chop House which offer T-bone steaks, sirloins, and other meat cuts are almost always packed.

The sweet tooth should also be indulged with some of Chicago’s finest pastry shops and coffee houses such as Lutz Café, Margie’s Candies, Julius Meinl, Sweet Mandy B’s and Café Jumping Bean.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria – locals would oblige tourists to never leave Chicago without having a huge bite off of Lou Malnati’s famous deep-dish pizzas. Its buttery, flaky crust topped with fresh sweet tomatoes, premium meat, gooey mozzarella and assorted toppings is simply mouth-wateringly tempting to anyone who craves for a great pizza. Not to mention it’s named as Chicago’s best deep dish pizza by many food critics around the world.

One Sixtyblue – Chicago is also known for its variety on fine dining and a posh restaurant located at 140 west Randolph Street is on top of the list. Showcasing the exquisite French cuisine, an open kitchen that’s headed by chef Martial Noguier presents an appetizing show for all of its guests. A fun fact, this restaurant that’s dubbed as one of Chicago’s most elegant restaurants is co-owned by Michael Jordan.

Carnivale – eat as if it’s a Brazilian fiesta. Situated at W. Fulton Market, this colourful and vibrant restaurant offers the best of Latin food with a twist. Just like a carnival, Carnivale’s interiors are surrounded with fiesta paraphernalia such as lanterns, lights and banderitas. Indulge into the house specialties, roast pork in rum glaze, skirt steak that’s revved up with chimichurri and paella.

Even if you’re not planning a vacation in the near future but are craving for some of the best restaurants in the area, fly off to Chicago for a day or two. It’s now entirely possible with several of Chicago’s Cheap Flights to and from the Windy City anytime of the year. A leisurely food trip without the pressures of overspending on transportation will make for a more exciting experience for the palate.

A meal in Chicago is definitely worth the trip, and should not be underestimated as a primary tourist ‘attraction’. The food tells the history of the place as much as architecture or visual art can, so when off to Chicago, don’t forget to try its top restaurants. Not only are you biting into a culinary delight, but you’re also biting into a piece of how Chicago evolved as well.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with the types of delicious food, don’t wait discover more about the Taste of Chicago festival and other food festivals in Chicago during the summer time. Bring an appetite and prepare to be wowed!!

That said, Chicago loves to party in the summer time, if your not quite a foodie then be sure to check out other things and here is a quick guide that will probably come handy:


Chicago’s multicultural heritage is reflected in its neighbourhoods, which now attract thousands of visitors each year. It is home to nearly three million people from all over the world. People of African, Chinese, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian and Scandinavian descent are among those who have made Chicago their home. After Warsaw, Chicago has the second largest population of Polish people in the world.


Chicago is the birthplace of modern architecture. From historic landmark buildings to contemporary masterpieces, Chicago is home to unique and innovative designs that have shaped American architecture. Chicago is a living museum of architecture, thanks to geniuses such as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn, Frank Gehry and many others.


Chicago is world-renowned for its diverse collection of museums, which explore a variety of subjects, including Chicago history, art, African American culture, astronomy, natural history and more. The Museum Campus, located in Grant Park, features the John G. Schedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. Other famous Chicago museums include the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the DuSable Museum of African-American History. Various ethnic groups, including the Mexican, Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Greek, Ukrainian and Jewish population, have their own museums, showcasing their history, art and costumes. The Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Museum of Holography will appeal to individuals with an interest in visual arts.


Chicago can be explored by foot, bus, bike, boat or plane and its famous landmarks can be discovered on land, river, lake or in the sky. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers guided walking and river tours to explore the city’s unique architecture.


Chicago has thousands of restaurants serving a variety of culinary delights to suit every taste, every budget and every mood. Taste of Chicago is an annual festival featuring house specialties from dozens of the city’s restaurants. It is held during the last week of June and first week of July and attracts hundreds of thousands of culinary fans.


Shopping in Chicago began on State Street, the center of the Loop. The original and flagship Marshall Field’s department store opened in 1852 on State Street. The famed “Magnificent Mile” that runs along Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street offers hundreds of specialty shops and boutiques presenting top-of-the-line goods from around the world. Oak Street features designs from Paris, Milan and Manhattan.

Family Entertainment

Navy Pier offers more than 50 acres of shops, restaurants, gardens and entertainment attractions. It holds a 15-story Ferris wheel, an IMAX theatre as well as the Chicago Children’s Museum. Kids on the Fly is a “satellite” Chicago Children’s Museum located at O’Hare International Airport that entertains and educates children during layovers or waiting times at the airport. The Children’s Zoo at the free admission Lincoln Park Zoo includes live animal presentations, a petting zoom, a zoo nursery and a hands-on learning center for kids.


Chicago is one of the hot beds for jazz and blues. Jazz began to spread from the South between 1910 and 1920 and Chicago became the nation’s jazz center in the 1920s. “Chicago style” jazz also originated in the 1920s and during the 1930s, Benny Goodman, a one time child prodigy from a poor Chicago family, was established as the “King of Swing”. In the 1930s and 1940s blues eventually came north to Chicago and has remained a popular music genre ever since. Today the city features many jazz and blues venues and hosts a variety of music festivals throughout the year, including the the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Gospel Festival, the Chicago Country Music Festival, the “Viva Chicago” Latin Music Festival and the World Music Festival.

Chicago features 7300 acres of parkland, including 552 parks, 33 beaches, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens. Historic Grant Park and newly created Millennium Park are among the most well-known of Chicago’s green spaces. Chicago also features 6 golf courses, 9 lakefront harbours, and a multitude of tennis courts for outdoor recreation. The waterfront trail along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is a mecca for joggers, bikers and in-line skaters.

Chicago is a big sports town and home to several professional sports teams, including the Chicago Bulls (basketball), the Chicago Bears (football), the Chicago Cubs (baseball), the Chicago White Sox (baseball), the Chicago Blackhawks (hockey) and the Chicago Wolves (semi-pro hockey). It holds historic sports venues such as Wrigley Field, Comisky Park – now known as US. Cellular Field, and Soldier Field.

Enjoy your holidays at the Taste of Chicago this year!

Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!