Any food enthusiast has undoubtedly heard of Tastes of Chicago, dubbed by many as the largest food festival in the country. Notable for its Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs, and Polish sausages, Tastes of Chicago offers a wide array of succulent eats that can make even the most hardened palates salivate. But when and where does it take place?
Tastes of Chicago typically takes place over five days in early July in Grant Park, located in the central business district of Chicago’s Loop Community area.
The 2021 Tastes of Chicago featured a modified to-go format in response to continued COVID-19 concerns. It took place in Grant Park from July 7-11, 2021. The 2022 Tastes of Chicago is tentatively scheduled to resume a normal format, although no official dates or schedules have been announced yet. Read on to learn more about attending Tastes of Chicago, including scheduled events and how to get there!
Tastes of Chicago takes place in early July, typically concluding with the Sunday following the Fourth of July holiday. The modified Tastes of Chicago To-Go took place from July 7-11, 2021.
As the name points out, Tastes of Chicago is in, well, Chicago. Specifically, it takes place in Grant Park, which is a 313-acre public park located in Chicago’s central business district, with its focal point being the intersection of Jackson and Columbus Drives.
Located at 337 E Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601, the entire layout of Grant Park encompasses well-known landmarks such as Millenium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus. Commonly referred to as “Chicago’s front yard,” Grant Park features stunning views of Lake Michigan and lies next to Chicago’s downtown loop.
Although Tastes of Chicago is specifically located at the above address in Grant Park, it is not as simple as typing it into your smartphone and driving up to the event. Traffic in downtown Chicago can be intense during the summer, taking many minutes to travel just a few miles. In addition, parking prices can be prohibitive.
As a result, driving to Tastes of Chicago is not recommended. The following breakdown will look at the various ways to access the event.
The 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 26, 28, 143, 147 buses all make stops near the entrance of Tastes of Chicago at the Jackson and Columbus intersection. Use the Moovit App to access a more detailed bus schedule and see when the various bus lines will be picking up and dropping off at a location near you.
The Chicago Transit Authority’s train system, known as the L, has over 140 stations throughout Chicago and the nearby suburbs. This serves as one of the most convenient means of getting to Tastes of Chicago. There are three L dropoff stations that are within walking distance of the festival:
- Adams/Wabash (Brown, Purple, Green, Orange, Pink) – walk east toward the Art Institute and Michigan Avenue on Adams Street. Once you hit Michigan Avenue, take a right on Michigan Avenue and then a left on Jackson Boulevard. Once you turn on Jackson, you will see and smell the festival.
- Jackson (Red) – walk east along Jackson Boulevard toward Michigan Avenue/Lake Michigan until you hit the festival’s entrance.
- Jackson (Blue) – same walking directions as Jackson Red.
If you insist on driving to Tastes of Chicago, the nearest parking garage is Millenium Garages’ South Grant Park garage, located at 325 S Michigan Avenue. However, the price for parking in this garage is steep, with a $20 charge for 0-90 minutes up to $34 per day for anything over 8 hours.
More affordable, but less conveniently located, parking can be found at the garage on Wabash Avenue between Congress Boulevard and Harrison Street. Street parking is difficult to find, very expensive, and subject to strict towing enforcement.
There is not a cover charge to enter Tastes of Chicago. It is free to enter the park, listen to music, and enjoy the smells of the hundreds of different food vendors.
To try the food, tickets can be purchased in strips of 14 for $10. Guests can then either use their tickets to sample food or buy entire portions. Generally, samples, or “tastes,” can be had for 1-6 tickets, giving guests the chance to try a little bit of everything for less than $3 a sample.
Tastes of Chicago is the country’s largest annual food festival. Held over five days in early July (usually concluding with the Sunday following the Fourth of July) in downtown Chicago’s central business district, this one-of-a-kind food and music festival allows guests to experience the bustle of Chicago’s “front yard” and pristine views of Lake Michigan while enjoying some of the most mouth-watering cuisine money can buy.