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Chicago’s Top Food Festivals

Don’t forget to bring your appetite when you visit Chicago this summer. Plan your trip around the city’s biggest foodie events like Taste of Chicago in July and Chicago Gourmet in September, or immerse yourself in the cultural delights of the city's unique neighborhoods, which host tasty street festivals nearly every weekend in the warm weather months.

Taste of Chicago-2016-3

Taste of Chicago

HEADLINE EVENTS

TASTE OF CHICAGO

July 11-15, 2018
Grant Park, Jackson St & Columbus Dr (Loop)

Chicago's biggest food festival and one of the premier outdoor food events in the country, Taste of Chicago is an epic five-day eating extravaganza downtown in the Loop. Food booths set up along the lakefront daily, together with rotating pop-up restaurants, local food trucks, and Celebrity Chef du Jour dining tents.

WINDY CITY SMOKEOUT

July 13-15, 2018
560 W. Grand Ave (River North)

Expect mega country stars and a whole lotta smoked meat at Chicago's annual Windy City Smokeout. This rockin' summer event along the river does three things extremely well: BBQ, country music, and craft beer. In fact, Rolling Stone commented that this event shines “a light on the next generation of Nashville heavyweights," while Forbes called it, “One of the best BBQ events anywhere.”

CHICAGO GOURMET

September 28-30, 2018
Millennium Park (Loop)

This five-star culinary fete is the quintessential fine-dining festival. Chicago Gourmet celebrates great food and wine, showcasing more than 150 of the finest restaurants in the city. Stunning Millennium Park and the downtown skyline set the scene, while visitors mix and mingle among top chefs, TV food personalities, master sommeliers, and winemakers.

Sam Adams' Lakeview Taco Fest

Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest

WORLD FOODS

MOLE DE MAYO

May 25-27, 2018
18th St & Ashland Ave (Pilsen)

The 9th annual Mole de Mayo festival in Chicago's historic Pilsen neighborhood features mole, pitting local chefs and restaurants against one another to discover whose version of the Mexican staple is the best. This outdoor festival also features a number of the city's finest food vendors, and an open-air Mercado/Market brimming with the wares of local Pilsen businesses and crafters. Take a break from eating and watch a ‘professional' wrestling exhibition at the lucha libre wrestling ring while you’re there.

LINCOLN PARK GREEK FEST

June 1-3, 2018
Sheffield between Diversey & Schubert (Lincoln Park)

You don’t have to travel all the way to the Mediterranean to find authentic Hellenic cuisine. Experience live music, dance performances and authentic dishes – like zippy hummus, tasty gyros, and baklava galore — at this annual neighborhood event. Opa!

TASTE OF LITTLE VILLAGE: FLAVORS OF MEXICO

June 1-3, 2018 
26th & Sacramento (Little Village)

Taste of Little Village: Flavors of Mexico hosts what promises to become one of the Midwest's premier culinary and cultural events. Perhaps because of the city’s huge Mexican population, Mexican cuisine ranks high on the list of Zagat Chicago favorites. No matter how you slice it, the fact remains: Chicagoans are absolutely crazy about Mexican food.

UNIFEST ON THE RIVER

July 13 - August 17, 2018
The Jetty at the Riverwalk (River North)

Running along Chicago's magnificent, multi-award-winning Riverwalk, this summer event series is presented by Chicago Sister Cities International, and celebrates the cultures of Chicago's 28 sister cities with food, drink, and music. Among Chicago’s sister cities are Durban, South Africa; Warsaw, Poland; Shanghai, China; and Kyiv, Ukraine.

LINCOLN SQUARE GREEK FEST

July 27-29, 2018
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2727 W Winona (Lincoln Square)

For its 69th year, expect plenty of "philoxenia" (Greek hospitality and generosity of spirit) at this family-friendly happening on the grounds of 89-year-old St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. Highlights include classic Greek dishes prepared by parishioners, dancing, and an entertainment stage featuring a mix of both pop/rock tribute bands and Greek music and dance troupes. There's also beer, wine and other beverages, activities for kids (inflatables and kiddie rides), and arts & crafts.

GINZA HOLIDAY FESTIVAL

August 10-12, 2018
Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Menomonee St (Old Town)

The 63rd annual Ginza Holiday Festival celebrates all things Japanese with delicious food and spectacular cultural arts performances, including Japanese Folk dance and Taiko drumming. A truly special feature of Ginza is the Waza, an organization of Japanese artisans who have mastered traditional crafts handed down through the centuries, from Japan's Edo period.

TACOS Y TAMALES FESTIVALE 

August 18-20, 2018
18th St & Peoria (Pilsen)

Chow down at the Tacos y Tamales Festival – a street affair based on a traditional Mexican market known as the Tianguis. Festival-goers are immersed in the sights and aromas of the Tianguis, with local vendors selling their food, artwork, wares and an array of items. The two performance stages feature live music throughout the weekend, with traditional acts during the day, interactive dance performances, and higher-energy Latin rock into the night. 

TAYLOR STREET FESTA ITALIANA

August 2018 dates to be announced
Taylor St & Ashland Ave (Little Italy)

The 12th annual Taylor Street Festa Italiana is all about la dolce vita. Longtime family-owned restaurants and neighborhood newcomers serve up some of the best Italian food in the city. Not only that, but fest-goers can play Italian card games, compete in meatball and cannoli eating competitions (of course, not at the same time), and buy Italian-themed art, Christmas ornaments, and other merchandise.

CHICAGO HOT SAUCE FEST

August 2018 dates to be announced
W Belmont Ave & N Elston Ave (Avondale)

Experience the height of spiciness at the Chicago Hot Sauce Fest in Avondale. Take your taste buds on a tour of the neighborhood's fiery food scene, and don't worry, drinks are provided! Stay tuned for more details.

TASTE OF GREEKTOWN

August 26-28, 2018
400 S Halsted St (West Loop)

Taste of Greektown blends old world traditions with modern food trends. Delectable Hellenic cuisine from neighborhood eateries takes center stage at this acclaimed festival. Combined with an array of spirits, dancing, live music, and family-friendly games, the fun spills out onto Halsted Street, the heart of Chicago's Greek community in the West Loop. 

TASTE OF POLONIA

August 31 – September 3, 2018
Copernicus Center, 5216 W Lawrence Ave (Jefferson Park)

Gorge on all things Polish - polska kielbasa, pierogies, potato pancakes, cabbage rolls, blintzes, and more! This annual festival takes over the grounds of the massive civic center in Jefferson Park, with not only authentic eats, but also a great selection of specialty beers, over 30 live bands on four stages, and traditional folk dancing and cultural performances. This is the oldest Polish festival in Chicago, and the largest Polish festival in the United States. 

FIESTAS PATRIAS (LITTLE VILLAGE FEST)

September 2018 dates to be announced
26th St & Kostner Ave (Little Village)

The 29th annual Fiestas Patrias (aka Little Village Fest) is part of the Fiestas Patrias family of patriotic holidays held each year in Mexico. This fest specifically celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule in September 1810. It’s also a celebration of families. Festival de La Villita offers something for everyone: top local and regional musical entertainment, food, carnival rides, and more. The fest culminates with the popular annual 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade.

SAM ADAMS LAKEVIEW TACO FEST

September 15-16, 2018
On Southport between Addison & Roscoe (Lakeview)

Back for tis 5th year, the glorious taco again gains the spotlight. Whether you prefer yours with a hard or soft shell, and filled with meat, poultry, guacamole, fish or some imaginative ingredient, Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest in the bustling Southport Corridor is a mega-hot addition to Chicago’s food fest scene. You’ll also enjoy special beer and taco pairings, crowd-pleasing Mexican wrestlers, and a vote for Chicago's "Best Taco."

Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout

MEAT LOVERS

WINGOUT CHICAGO 

June 2-3, 2018
St. Michael's Parking Lot, 1633 N Cleveland Ave (Old Town)

Celebrate (and feast on) the top chicken wings in town! Wingout Chicago in Old Town gives you the opportunity to taste what the best restaurants are serving up in the wing department. Discover your favorite flavor from sweet BBQ to spicy habanero, while enjoying adult beverages and live reggae music.

Ribfest Chicago 

June 8-10, 2018
Lincoln Ave. at Irving Park Rd and Damen Ave (North Center)

Ribfest attracts thousands of attendees every year, and features pound upon pound of fall-off-the-bone, mouthwatering ribs. Throw in some awesome indie music and you're in store for three days of nonstop summer fun.

6 CORNERS BBQ FEST

June 2018 dates to be announced
4000 N. Milwaukee Ave (Portage Park)

Meat lovers just love this event. An assortment of backyard BBQ takes the spotlight, from pulled pork and beef brisket, to gigantic turkey legs and huge racks of baby back ribs. Come out to the three-way intersection of the Portage Park neighborhood historically known as "Six Corners" to take in cool tunes, arts & crafts, a kids' activity area, and fun wrestling shows. 

WINDY CITY RIBFEST

June 29 - July 1, 2018
4700 N Broadway Ave (Uptown)

Dig into some of the best BBQ from top local and national rib pros at the annual Windy City RibFest in Chicago's Uptown. Chow down and compare rib nuances - sweet or smoky, tender or charred, dry rubbed or dripping in sauce - while bands provide the soundtrack for all your finger lickin' and lip smackin'.

ROSCOE VILLAGE BURGER FEST

July 14-15, 2018
2000 W. Belmont (Roscoe Village)

Savory patties and a rockin' musical lineup are in the spotlight for the 11th annual Roscoe Village Burger Fest. In addition to flippin' good food and playing great music, arts & crafts and a "Kids' Zone" are on the weekend menu in Roscoe Village.

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

August 10-12, 2018
Chicago History Museum (Lincoln Park)

The fabulous frankfurter is celebrated at this annual event, sponsored by the Chicago History Museum. Held outdoors on the Museum grounds and overlooking the beautiful gardens of Lincoln Park, the Chicago Hot Dog Fest also features a music stage, kids' activity area, and multiple vendors selling their specialty encased meats. 

CHICAGO BOURBON & BARBEQUE FEST

September 9, 2018 
2800 N Clybourn Ave (Lincoln Park)

Perhaps we should call it a little bit of country in the city! Last year, Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Fest made its debut as Chicago’s newest street happening, with barrel-aged Southern bourbon whiskeys and finger lickin’ meats to entice visitors.

OKTOBERFEST CHICAGO

September 28-30, 2018
St. Alphonsus Church, corner of Lincoln, Wellington and Southport (Lakeview)

“Celebrate Chicago heritage, German style.” One of Chicago's most popular celebrations of fall and all things Bavarian, Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus returns for its 16th year. It takes place both in and outside the iconic St. Alphonsus Church. Indulge your taste buds with traditional German brats, pretzels and, of course, beer.

The Great American Lobster FestGreat American Lobster Fest

SEAFOOD LOVERS

GREAT AMERICAN LOBSTER FEST

August 31 - September 2, 2018 
Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave (Downtown)

Live lobster (flown in fresh from the East Coast), live music and libations define the Great American Lobster Fest, the Midwest's largest seafood festival now in its 4th year. And you get to enjoy it all right there at Navy Pier! What's not to love?

SHAW'S OYSTER FEST 

September 22, 2018 
Rush St & Hubbard St (River North)

Shaw's Oyster Fest returns to River North in 2018, featuring shell upon shell of gloriously fresh oysters! What else is on the menu? Crowds of over 3,000 seafood lovers come for festival favorites like King Crab Bites, Lobster Rolls, Clam Chowder and Fish Tacos. This annual food festival also features live music from four local bands and Midwestern craft beer from Founder's Brewering Co. in Michigan. 

Food Truck Social - ImagePilsen Food Truck Social

FOOD TRUCKS

PILSEN FOOD TRUCK SOCIAL

June 16-17, 2018
18th St & Allport St (Pilsen)

Rolling into Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood for a third consecutive year, the Pilsen Food Truck Social opened to rave reviews and big crowds back in 2015. Up to 35 Illinois Food Truck Owner Association-affiliated food trucks congregate, offering mobile delicacies and treats - everything from tamales to Kobe beef and mac n' cheese to cupcakes. Purchase the Sampler Ticket to try sample-sized portions from any food truck or Pilsen area restaurant onsite, and also sample sponsor Revolution Brewing beer, wine or spirits. 

CHICAGO FOOD TRUCK FEST

June 23, 2018 
South Loop Green Space, 2400 S Dearborn St (South Loop)

This family-friendly food festival highlights Chicagoans' obsession with food trucks. Expect to see in excess of 50 trucks catering to every cuisine wish, want and love. This is undoubtedly the most diverse food truck lineup in Chicago.

Taste of River NorthTaste of River North

NEIGHBORHOOD HAPPENINGS

TASTE OF RANDOLPH STREET 

June 15-17, 2018
900 W Randolph St, Randolph at Peoria (West Loop)

Located in the hip culinary destination known as "Restaurant Row" in the West Loop, the six-block stretch features some of the city's best-known chefs and top-rated restaurants, including Girl and the Goat, Publican Quality Meats, La Sirena Clandestina, City Winery, and many more. This is a truly epic weekend of food and music.

TASTE OF RIVER NORTH

July 20-22, 2018
Ward Park, 630 N Kingbury St (River North)

Line up along the banks of the Chicago River to enjoy this alfresco event in a neighborhood known for outstanding dining options. Along with an extensive list of renowned restaurant vendors offering sizable tasting portions, this event features non-stop live music highlighted by electrifying party and tribute bands, kitchen demos, local artisans and plenty of cold Goose Island beer.

TASTE OF LINCOLN AVENUE

July 28-29, 2018 
Lincoln Ave & Fullerton Pkwy (Lincoln Park)

One of the city's largest and most popular summer celebrations, this trailblazing fest celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2018. Taste of Lincoln Avenue features the neighborhood's top restaurants, as well as more than 30 music acts on three stages, and activities for the kids.

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