The 36th annual Taste of Chicago kicks off tomorrow. Every summer since 1980, Grant Park has been home to the world’s largest food festival. This year, the five-day event takes place July 6-10.
Here are five things you need to know if you plan to head to Grant Park.
July 6 – 8: 11am – 9pm
July 9 – 10: 10am – 9pm
Ticket sales end at 8:30pm.
Admission is free. You can buy food and beverage tickets to sample Chicago favorites from Eli’s Cheesecake to a Billy Goat double. Tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8.50.
If you want to get more bang for your buck, try smaller “Taste” portions at more than 30 restaurants. Your tickets will go further, and you’ll get a better variety.
Road closures and crowds bring more traffic and congestion than usual to the Grant Park area. If you’re driving to Taste of Chicago, plan ahead and save yourself some time. Use SpotHero to reserve parking and compare rates.
Be aware of street closures which begin Wednesday, July 6 and are in effect until Monday, July 11. The following streets are closed:
- Columbus from Monroe to Balbo and from Balbo to Roosevelt (Balbo is open to traffic)
- Jackson from Michigan Ave. to Lake Shore Drive
- Congress from Michigan Ave. to Columbus
A record 69 eateries are participating this year, with 17 pop-up restaurants and 18 food trucks rounding out the extensive list of five-day vendors. Six new food trucks will set up shop in Grant Park, including Auntie Vee’s, Da Lobsta, Firecakes Donuts, The Happy Lobster Truck, La Jefa and La Patrona.
Our top picks? Start off with Beavers Donuts, followed by a gourmet sausage at Chicago’s Dog House. Robinson’s Ribs and Eli’s Cheesecake are Taste of Chicago staples not to be missed. If you’ve saved room for dessert, Ricobene’s famous breaded steak sandwich, which USA Today named the “perfect sandwich“, turns 40 this year.
If you’re looking for a memorable culinary experience, check out Celebrity Chef Du Jour, a sit-down, three-course meal with one of Chicago’s food masters for just $45. Tickets for Graham Elliot and Kevin Hickey went fast, but you can still grab tickets for Chef Patrick Sheerin from Trencherman, Chef Chris Macchia from Nonnina, and Chef Abraham Conlin from Fat Rice.
If you come for the food, you’ll stay for the music. This year’s headliners at the Petrillo Music Shell include The Roots, The Decemberists, and Billy Idol. Lawn seating in Butler Field is free, and concert seating tickets are still available.
For more information, check out the full schedule of events here!