June 29th – July 8th, in Grant Park.

 FOOD, FOOD, AND MORE FOOD! From all over the city!

In 1980 a group of restaurateurs approached the Mayor of Chicago with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July, and Taste of Chicago was born. Inspired by a “build it and they will come” attitude, a $150,000 budget, and confidence the event could attract 75,000 people, plans for the one-day food frenzy got under way. The festival was held in a three-block area of Michigan Avenue bordered by the Chicago River and the upscale stores and buildings that were then beginning to grace the Magnificent Mile; and between the architectural wonders of the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower.

It was a huge success, (250,000 attended the first “Taste,” and food and soda sales grossed $330,000) destined to change the way Chicago celebrates the Fourth of July.


The Taste of Chicago that evolved from that steamy July 4th in 1980 is the second largest tourist attraction in Illinois. For ten days, this free- admission festival, is the place to be, infusing the city with a holiday spirit and attracting lead stories each day in newspapers and on television.

It is an impressive scene. Colorfully decorated tents surround the outside kitchens of more than 70 restaurants from all over Chicagoland, which also includes a daily upscale restaurant serving in the Gourmet Pavilion. Exotic aromas permeate the air and no visitor leaves a food booth empty handed.

Last year’s “Taste” attracted more than 3.5 million visitors from all over the city, the suburbs, the midwest and the country.

For kids of all ages, the Taste stage is programmed with all Chicago talent. A wide variety of musical styles include folk, blues, Latin, country and more.

For festival goers who want to satisfy more than their appetites, a popular attraction is the Dominick’s Cooking Corner where local chefs and guest stars demonstrate their wares and confide the secrets of their culinary success. The delightful results are then shared with whomever in the audience can still find room for more to eat.

Another area added to Taste in the 90’s is the Living Pavilion. Now festival goers can not only feed their stomachs, but also their souls, learning flower and gardening techniques, feng shei and massage therapy.

But the star attraction of Taste, especially on July 3rd, is the line-up of big name, National and international stars who perform on the main stage at the Petrillo Music Shell.

Summer in Chicago is built around one event each year, Taste of Chicago.

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