Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taste of Chicago Survival Guide

I can't believe it's already time for the Taste of Chicago! This year the Taste has kicked it up a notch with new vendors and programs, but a festival that attracts millions of people every year can still be a bit intimidating. Even more so if you're not a city person.

Photo from Wee Windy City

Now, here are some of Chicago Quirk's helpful suggestions when attending the Taste of Chicago. I'd like to preface this with the fact that I love the Taste, and you'll have a great time!

Try to avoid going to the Taste on the weekend. Last year, 700,000 people were at the Taste on July 3, and that's actually down from the over one million people that came the year before. The most ideal time to go is during your lunch hour or for a weekday dinner.

Bring the smallest purse/backpack you can find. The crowds are massive and a big bag will smack you and everyone else in the face. You also want to make sure it zips closed and can't be easily taken off of your shoulder. Chicago doesn't have a huge pick-pocketing problem, but the Taste always gets hit.

Make driving your absolutely last resort. You won't be able to find decent parking, and the sheer amount of people will make it impossible for you to get down the block. If you're coming from the suburbs, try to park at an outlying EL station and take the subway in. If you're taking the Metra, the stations are nowhere near the festival so either plan on walking or taking a cab. I'd recommend hopping on a bus, but there are going to be so many re-routes it probably isn't the best idea.

Instead of waiting in the loooonnnnngggg line to get your food tickets, you can buy tickets in advance at Dominick's when you show your Frest Values Card. Tickets will be sold in strips of 12 for $8, but if you buy them at Dominick's from June 16 - 23 they're $6 per strip. Definitely worth it.

Leave your maxi skirt or dress at home. The city trys to keep the festival clean, but it's pretty impossible. Any long clothing will become a magnet for ice cream and sauce puddles. And it will probably get stepped on.

Via Taste of Chicaog photo gallery

And since you know I love my funfacts, here's a few tidbits about the Taste of Chicago:

The festival started in 1980 when a group of restaurants received a $150,000 budget from the city to host a Forth of July food festival. Around 250,000 people attended this one-day festival.

The first Taste of Chicago was held on Michigan Avenue, but due to large attendance the festival was moved to Grant Park the next year.

The Taste of Chicago is the second largest tourist attraction in the state of Illinois. It attracts more than 2.5 million visitors every year from all over the world.

Happy Tasting!


  1. nice post....u have a lovely blog

  2. 700,000!!! Holy cow! I mean, I bet the food is amazing, but dealing with that crowd, unreal :) If you head there this weekend, have a taste for me!