Taste of Chicago is back -- and bigger than ever

  • Fest-goers can enjoy unique bites during Chicago's annual Taste of Chicago July 11-14.

    Fest-goers can enjoy unique bites during Chicago's annual Taste of Chicago July 11-14. Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

  • Taste of Chicago vendors will be serving up a bounty of different tastes July 10-14 in Grant Park.

    Taste of Chicago vendors will be serving up a bounty of different tastes July 10-14 in Grant Park. Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

  • De La Soul will take the Petrillo stage Friday, July 12, during Taste of Chicago.

    De La Soul will take the Petrillo stage Friday, July 12, during Taste of Chicago. Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

  • Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett headlines the Petrillo Music Shell Wednesday, July 10.

    Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett headlines the Petrillo Music Shell Wednesday, July 10. Courtesy of Mia Mala McDonald

  • Alternative hitmakers lovelytheband will play the Petrillo Music Shell on Saturday, July 13.

    Alternative hitmakers lovelytheband will play the Petrillo Music Shell on Saturday, July 13. Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

 
 
Updated 7/11/2019 11:30 AM

It's touted as one of the largest outdoor food events in the U.S. -- and it's right in our backyard.

Taste of Chicago runs through Sunday, July 14, with a mix of food and music that annually draws about 1.5 million visitors to the lakefront, and Grant Park specifically.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Here's a look at this year's key details:

The food

Eighty-two eateries -- 41 four-day vendors, 24 pop-ups and 17 food trucks -- will dish out everything from Thai to tamales. There are 37 new vendor options this year, including Barangaroos Aussie Pies, The Slab Bar-B-Que, Kitchen 17, Luella's Gospel Bird, Madame VanderKloot's Weiner Emporium and Buscia's Bacon Buns.

"Taste of Chicago truly represents our city's culinary diversity," Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, said in a prepared statement. "Five-day vendors, pop-up restaurants and food trucks from Chicago's vibrant neighborhoods showcase their specialties. And along with chef-led cooking demos, festivalgoers are guaranteed a satisfied appetite and fun for the whole family."

Taste of Chicago is a good way to try a variety of fare from local restaurants. The food and music fest runs July 10-14 in Grant Park.
Taste of Chicago is a good way to try a variety of fare from local restaurants. The food and music fest runs July 10-14 in Grant Park. - Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

For those who enjoy watching cooking demonstrations, the Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen on the Buckingham Fountain Plaza is the place to be. Local and national chefs -- Chef Michael Sheerin of Taureaux Tavern, Chef Giancarlo Valera of Tanta Chicago and many more -- will be hosting demos each day featuring a different culinary theme, including "best of," city streets, healthy eating, spicy hot and Mac N Cheese Smackdown.

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And, of course, there will be drinks. Stop by the CH Vodka Cocktail Lounge for mixology specials, the Goose Island Backyard Brewery for craft beers and ciders and the Stella Rosa Wine Garden featuring the Riboli Family Wines.

Food and beverage tickets, which are sold in strips of 14 tickets for $10, can be purchased in advance at tasteofchicago.us and picked up on site.

The Petrillo Music Shell will host India.Arie, Courtney Barnett, De La Soul and more July 10-14.
The Petrillo Music Shell will host India.Arie, Courtney Barnett, De La Soul and more July 10-14. - Courtesy of Taste of Chicago
Petrillo Music Shell

This year's Taste lineup features national and local acts. Colombian dance band Bomba Estéreo and Puerto Rican Cultura Profética will co-headline at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11. At 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, rising hip-hop star Taylor Bennett (younger brother of Chance the Rapper) opens for De La Soul. Alternative hitmakers The Strumbellas and lovelytheband will co-headline at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13. To close out the fest, Meshell Ndegeocello will get things started at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14, before Grammy Award winner India.Arie brings her 2019 Worthy Tour to the stage.

Tickets cost $25 for general admission seating and $50 for premium seating. For prime concert viewing in a lounge setting, check into the Taste Oasis, which offers a private cash bar, complimentary bottled water, appetizers and more from 3 to 9 p.m. for $50. Buy tickets at tasteofchicago.us. Lawn seating is free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Grammy Award winner India.Arie closes out Taste of Chicago Sunday, July 14, with her 2019 Worthy Tour.
Grammy Award winner India.Arie closes out Taste of Chicago Sunday, July 14, with her 2019 Worthy Tour. - Courtesy of Taste of Chicago
Goose Island Stage

Want to hear some local music during the day? Head to the Goose Island Stage at Columbus and Balbo Streets to listen to some free music from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 11-12, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14. Local performers include DJ Mike P, The Feeders, Ivy Ford Band, The Right Now, Tatiana Hazel, Avantist, Karlye Lapetina and more.

What's new in 2019

• The Theatre Garden: See local theater talent from Second City, Porchlight Music Theatre, and other sketch and improv groups perform family-oriented shows early in the day. Plus, don't miss the interactive workshops and performances organized by Pocket Con, an annual convention for Chicago youth that highlights comics and illustration work.

• Silent Disco: All ages are invited to dance like no one is watching on the dance floor at Buckingham Fountain Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. What makes this unique is that participants will get a set of headphones that will play music from one of two DJs spinning different genres. The disco is sponsored by HUSHconcerts.

Take a break from the food and join in a game of bags at Taste of Chicago.
Take a break from the food and join in a game of bags at Taste of Chicago. - Courtesy of Taste of Chicago

• Taste Playground: Kids can burn off some energy at the playground located on the west side of Columbus Drive. Plus, there will be inflatables and a Ferris wheel. There is a charge for the rides.

SummerDance returns

If you love to dance, then head over to the Buckingham Fountain Plaza from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. each day of the fest to learn some new moves. SummerDance starts with a free, introductory one-hour dance lesson by professional instructors every night (except July 13) followed by live music and dancing. The lineup includes Motown with Lynne Jordan & The Shivers Thursday, July 11; Salsa with Willito Otero y su Orquesta Friday, July 12; House with DJ Chip E. July 13; and Country Two-step with The Lawrence Peters Outfit Sunday, July 14.

• • •

Taste of Chicago

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 11-12, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14

Where: Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus, Chicago

Admission and tickets: Free general admission and lawn seating. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 14 for $10. Tickets for the seating area at the Petrillo Music Shell start at $25. Premium seating is $50.

Info: tasteofchicago.us

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