Summer is all about mouth-watering seasonal food and outdoor family fun. As usual, Chicago is turning up the heat with the Taste of Chicago, “A 4-Star Feastival of Food and Fun.” The famous Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest food festival, held every year in Grant Park. For 5 days this July, Chicagoland will turn into a vibrant hot spot that’s one of the best things to do in Chicago for foodies or fun-lovers.
The 32-year-old festival, which averages more than 2.5 millions visitors annually, is a celebration of Chicago’s diverse culinary community—every year the tradition is spiced up with new and exciting elements. Admission to the 2012 Taste of Chicago, which takes place on July 11-15, from 11 am – 9 pm, is free to the public. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8. Guests can expect to pay between 1-5 tickets for “taste of portions” at each food vendor.
This year’s line-up of 5-day restaurants include vendors like Eli’s Cheescake, Billy Goat Inn, Lou Malnati’s Pizzaria, Robinson’s #1 Ribs, and, newcomer to the scene, Pazzo’s. Other restaurants will make a special appearance for one day only, such as Inspiration Kitchen on July 12th and Café Trinidad on the 13th. Look for your favorite restaurant on the pop-up schedule.
Delicious cuisine isn’t all there is to look forward to (though that certainly seems like enough!). This year’s festival features musical performances from the likes of Jennifer Hudson and Death Cab for Cutie at the Petrillo Music Shell, plus dozens of free shows at the Bud Light Stage. From tribute bands to local performers to the best dance music, you can expect a little of everything from the performances at the Bud Light Stage.
Another special feature at this year’s Taste of Chicago is Dominick’s Cooking Corner, where each day guests can watch demonstrations from expert chefs…so the tasty food doesn’t stop when the festival does! Demonstrations take place every hour on the hour from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm each day of the festival. For an extra special culinary experience, buy a pre-paid ticket to the festival’s new highlight “Celebrity Chef du Jour.” Each day, a noted chef will prepare a three-course meal and then mingle with the guests in the new dining area. Celebrity chefs include Carlos Gaytan (Monday), Tony Mantuano (Tuesday), Graham Elliot (Wednesday), Stephanie Izard (Thursday), and Jimmy Bannos (Friday).
Finally, families have the chance to take part in either the Humana Race to Taste (a 5-mile run or 2-mile walk, depending on your determination and how much food you’ve already consumed). The evening race will take place on Thursday, July 12th. Kids can also take part with the Fleet Feet Kids’ Dash on July 14th.
While in Chicago for the 5-Day festival, make the most of your days with our Go Chicago Card, offering discounted admission into all of Chicago’s most popular attractions. With just one pass, skip the lines at the Shedd Aqurium, rise to the top of the Willis Tower (former Sears Tower), go for a wild ride at the Navy Pier, and much more.