Taste of Chicago Survival Guide 2018. There are 72 eateries including 25 NEW vendors. 37 five-day vendors, 22 pop-up restaurants and 13 food trucks. ***7/12/18 See updates below.***
When: July 11-15, 2018, Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 11am-9pm, Saturday & Sunday: 10am-9pm. Food and beverage sales end at 9:00PM.
Where: Grant Park, Columbus from Jackson to Balbo. For info 312-744-3316. 2018 Map. Admission FREE.
When to go
Mid-week when it opens or between 3PM-6PM. Try to sneak out of the office early or take a late lunch.
- Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 14 tickets for $10 (includes $3 charge for Taste amenities).
- If you’re planning to go on the weekend, when it’s crowded, the line to buy tickets can be very long.
- If you work in the area try to run over and buy tickets during off times (mid-day).
- Ticket sales end at 8:30 pm each night.
- In order to use up your tickets, as you walk through you may want to take a picture of the prices of things you’re thinking about trying then you can go back later.
- Smaller “Taste of Portions” are available at each food vendor and are between 1-6 tickets. Use these to get rid of remaining tickets.
What to bring
Blanket or compact folding chair, sunscreen, bottled water. coolers with water and soft drinks (no glass containers). Moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, extra napkins, and extra disposable silverware. Umbrella or a rain coat with hood. You cannot set up a folding chair on the street. You will have to go into the grass areas of the park.
What not to bring
Alcoholic beverages of any kind. Glass containers. Backpacks, coolers, etc. are subject to search. They search backpacks, coolers etc.
Develop a plan of attack
Review all the restaurants ahead of time and decide where you want to go. You can pick up a map when you buy tickets and take a look. I skip all the usual suspects that I can eat anytime (or don’t care to eat at all) like wings, pizza, hot dogs, and restaurants I can eat at anytime. I hit the good restaurants that are located in areas of the city that I rarely or never venture in to.
So I saw this yesterday when I was walking through. It’s probably three stories high. I was told that the cost is either $14 or 14 tickets which cost $10. Check with the ticket agents. It’s located near the Illinois Lottery Booth at Van Buren.
SummerDance is located tot he east of Buckingham Fountain.
The Chicago Fire Department had a mister set up on the northwest corner of Columbus and Jackson.
Where are the restrooms?
There are two sets of restrooms. One each on the northwest and southwest sides of Buckingham Fountain. Don’t spread the word, if they become overwhelmed the Park District will close them.
- Goose Island Stage: south end of the Taste at Columbus and Balbo. Set up your chair or blanket. FREE
- Petrillo Music Shell, Reserved seats start at $19-50 each. The lawn is FREE.
- SummerDance (scroll down) July 11-15 at Buckingham Fountain
Taste Oasis $50
The Taste Oasis is a new, air conditioned lounge in Butler Field offering tasty bites, cold water, a private cash bar, executive washrooms, music and more. This replaces the Celebrity Chef du Jour events. Day passes for this exclusive area are $50.
Taste Oasis will be open before and after the Petrillo Music Shell concerts. You will not be able to see the concerts. Food samples will be served Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 3 to 6pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5pm. Children 2 years and under will be admitted at no charge; one child per adult.