Best Food Festivals in Chicago (All Your Favorite Foods)

Best food festivals in Chicago complete guide

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When it comes to food, Chicago is a city that knows how to do it right.

This city has something to offer everyone, from world-renowned deep-dish pizza to hot dogs and everything in between.

And the best part is you can often find these delicious dishes at some of the city’s amazing food festivals.

Top Ten Amazing Food Festivals in Chicago

If you’re a foodie, you’ll definitely want to check out these ten fantastic food festivals in Chicago.

Food festivals Chicago
List of the best food festivals in Chicago guide

The endless dining options suit every taste, from barbecue to tacos and everything in between.

Start planning your trip to Chicago today and experience the city’s top-rated food festivals.

Here are just a few of the best ones that you won’t want to miss:

1. Chicago Gourmet

As the name suggests, this one is for all foodies.

The annual event celebrates all things food and drink, and it’s a great way to sample some of the city’s best cuisines.

It is a four-day food extravaganza held in Millennium Park every September.

Chicago gourmet food festival
Chicago gourmet

This epic culinary event showcases the best of Chicago’s food scene featuring 250 best Chicago restaurants, including some of the top chefs in the city, breweries, and wineries, as well as nationally-renowned culinary talent.

Some popular foods that may be found at the Chicago Gourmet festival include:

  • Deep dish pizza
  • Chicago-style thin-crust pizza
  • Chicago-style hot dogs
  • Italian beef sandwiches 
  • Char-grilled burgers
  • Garrett Popcorn
  • Various types of ethnic cuisines

With so many delicious options on offer, it can be tough to know where to start – or how much to budget.

In general, the average cost of the main course is typically around $30.

Of course, cheaper and more expensive options are available, but this should give you a good starting point when budgeting for your visit.

Moreover, the festival is not just about food but celebrating life and good living. The event offers attendees the chance to enjoy live music and entertainment, cooking demos, educational seminars, beer, and wine tastings.

There are also a variety of vendor booths selling everything from cooking supplies and cookbooks to gourmet food items.

Tip – If you’re looking to get the most out of your Chicago Gourmet experience, purchase a ticket with access to the Grand Tasting Pavilion. 

2. Windy City Smokeout

If you’re a barbecue or country music fan, this is the event for you.

The four-day outdoor festival is held in July each year in the shadow of the iconic United Center in downtown Chicago.

It features over 25 nationally renowned barbecue joints like Salt Lick BBQ, Peg Leg Porker, and more! 

Windy city smokeout food festival
Windy city smokeout

You’ll find all your favorites, like ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and chicken, and some unique dishes that you won’t find anywhere else, all highlighting classic styles from Kentucky, Chicago, Nashville, and Missouri. 

While the cost of food varies depending on which vendor you visit, the average cost of food at the festival is $10-$15 per person.

This includes the main dish, side, and drink. There are also food sampler packages available for those looking to try a little bit of everything.

Of Course – No festival is complete without beer and music. Windy City Smokeout features over 50 different types of beer. From local favorites like Revolution Brewing and Goose Island to out-of-state breweries like New Belgium and Oskar Blues.

The festival also has an excellent musical program that includes over 20 of the biggest names in country music as well as up-and-coming talent.

In addition to great food, Windy City Smokeout also has a variety of vendors selling everything, including t-shirts, hats, souvenirs, and home goods.

If you want to have fun, check out our guide on things to do in Chicago.

3. Taste of Chicago

Experience the world’s largest outdoor food festival.

The Taste of Chicago festival is an annual event that celebrates the city’s diverse food culture.

Held in early July at Grant Park for five days, the festival features over 200 different vendors, food booths from some of the city’s best restaurants, and live music and entertainment.

Taste of Chicago food festival
Taste of Chicago

The festival is one of the most highly anticipated food festivals of the year, with an estimated attendance of more than three million people.

In addition to the food and live music, the festival also features celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, and family-friendly activities like games and concerts.

It is free to enter, but there are charges for food and drink, with an average cost of $8 per dish.

Luckily, there are also food and beverage tickets for approximately $10 for 14 slips.

Vegetarians should also not worry about finding something to eat at the festival.

There are a number of vendors that offer vegan options, including some of Chicago’s most popular vegetarian restaurants.

Food to expect:

  • Hot dogs
  • Burgers
  • Ice cream
  • Cheesecake
  • French fries
  • Pizza

If you’re planning on attending the festival, be sure to come with an empty stomach.

It’s a great way to sample some of the best food in the country.

4. Tacos and Tamales Festival

The Tacos and Tamales Festival is a can’t-miss event for anyone who loves Mexican cuisine.

The Festival is a three-day annual event in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood every June.

It features delicious tacos and tamales from some of the city’s best Mexican restaurants, as well as live music, art, interactive dance performances, a kids’ zone, and more.

Tacos and tamales festival in Chicago
Tacos and tamales festival

With over 30 vendors, there is no shortage of delicious tacos and tamales.

Tacos are made with various fillings, such as beef, chicken, or seafood, and are typically served with a variety of toppings, such as salsa, sour cream, or cheese.

Tamales are made with fillings, such as pork, chicken, or beef, and are typically served with various sauces, such as salsa, mole, or chili pepper.

The dishes are typically made with fresh ingredients and are low in fat and calories.

So, if you’re looking for delicious and healthy cuisine, Tacos and Tamales are great options.

What about the Cost – Enjoy some of the best Mexican and Latin American cuisine at the Festival, with an average cost of $5 per dish. There are also tickets available at approximately $10.

The Festival is a great way to learn about Mexican culture and cuisine and have fun.

Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or relax and soak up the festive atmosphere, the Chicago Tacos and Tamales festival is the perfect place festival.

5. Pizza City Fest Chicago

Every year in July, Pizza City Fest Chicago draws in pizza lovers from all over the country.

The event gathers 39 of the region’s greatest pizza makers for two days of pizza making and celebration at Plumber’s Union Hall in Chicago’s West Loop.

Some of the best pizzerias showcased at the event include New York’s Di Fara Pizza and Chicago’s Spacca Napoli.

Pizza City Fest Chicago food festival
Pizza City Fest Chicago

At the festival, attendees have the chance to watch their pizzas being made right in front of their eyes before they are served their pies.

The pizza makers hand-select the pizzas to be showcased at the festival, and they make sure to include a variety of styles and types of pizza that are outside the box.

This is an excellent opportunity to try new pizzas and find your favorite.

Pizza prices vary by the slice, but most slices are between $3 and $5.

For those looking to eat their weight in pizza, several all-you-can-eat options are available for an additional fee.

The ten popular pizza styles showcased include:

  • Deep dish pizza
  • Tavern
  • Roman
  • Artisan
  • Neapolitan
  • Sicilian
  • Detroit 
  • New York Slice
  • Stuffed

Also, you can enjoy live music from local and national acts and get pizza-themed art, merchandise, and a few special treats.

There are also a variety of drink vendors on site so you can grab a drink between pizza slices.

6. Rib Fest

This is for all rib lovers. Chicago Rib Fest is the perfect event for those who enjoy succulent, mouth-watering ribs.

The festival is a three-day annual event held in August that celebrates the city’s rich barbecue culture.

Held in the heart of the Northcenter Neighborhood, the festival features some of the best ribs in the city and other barbecue favorites like pulled pork and chicken.

Rib fest Chicago food festival
Rib fest Chicago

Visitors to the Rib Fest get the opportunity to enjoy ribs from different vendors and other food and drink options.

Apart from the food, the festival also features live music, carnival rides, and other family-friendly activities.

The Rib Fest also holds some of the most prestigious BBQ master competitions, such as Best Ribs and People’s Choice.

Every Year – The best BBQ chefs compete. Rib fans can enjoy all their favorite styles, from traditional to innovative, and vote for their favorite vendor to win the competition.

Ribs are incredibly flavorful and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Here is your chance to sample different styles and find your new favorite. The prices are very reasonable; therefore, you can enjoy plenty of ribs without breaking the bank.

Prices will vary, but you can expect to spend around $10–$15 per plate. Many vendors also accept credit cards.

7. Chicago Food Truck Festival

The Chicago Food Truck Festival is a two-day event celebrating the city’s vibrant food truck culture.

The Festival is held in August at Daley Plaza every year.

It features over 50 food trucks from all over the city, serving up a variety of cuisines, from cozy classics to mouthwatering fusion cuisine, all in one place.

Chicago Food Truck festival experience
Chicago Food Truck Festival

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there’s something for everyone.

Attendees can enjoy dishes from all over the world, including Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, and more.

There are also several dessert trucks, so you can indulge in some sweet treats after your meal.

In addition to the food, the Festival also features live music, face painting, interactive games, and other fun activities for the whole family.

Food to expect:

  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • French fries
  • Ice cream
  • Tacos
  • Pizza

With so many trucks to choose from, you’re sure to find something to your taste.

And with prices ranging from $3-$10 per item, you can afford to try a few different things.

8. Wingout Chicago

If you’re a fan of wings, this is the Festival for you.

The Wingout Chicago Festival is a two-day event celebrating the best of Chicago’s chicken wing cuisine.

Wingout Chicago food festival
Wingout Chicago

The Festival is held in October yearly at the Old Town parking lot.

It features dozens of local restaurants and vendors serving their signature wings, live music, games, and other activities.

Keep In Mind – This Festival is the perfect opportunity to try out new flavors and recipes and explore the many different ways wings can be prepared.

There are also plenty of opportunities to sample some of the best wings in the city and to meet the people who make them.

Prices may vary depending on the vendor, but the average cost of food at the Festival is $8 per person.

This cost includes a variety of food options, like wings, burgers, and hot dogs.

There are also a variety of beverages available for purchase, including water, soda, and beer.

Don’t miss out on the Wingout Chicago Festival; mark your calendar and come out to enjoy some wings.

9. Sangria Festival Chicago

Get a taste of some of the city’s most excellent sangria.

Sangria is a refreshing drink that is perfect for summer. And what better way to enjoy it than at a festival dedicated to it?

This annual event celebrates the Spanish drink of sangria.

Sangria Chicago food festival
Sangria festival in Chicago

Held in August at the city’s Humboldt Park, you can sample over 20 handcrafted sangria from local restaurants and vendors and vote for your favorite.

There is also live music to enjoy while you sip on your drink, and plenty of food options to soak up the alcohol.

You can find anything from: 

  • Traditional Spanish dishes 
  • American favorites
  • International dishes

Tickets to the Sangria Festival Chicago are $15 and include unlimited sangria tastings.

VIP ticket options are also available for $80, including access to a VIP area with private tastings and a unique Sangria Festival Chicago t-shirt.

10. Bacon Fest Chicago

Bacon fest Chicago is a nationally acclaimed and locally cherished event celebrating America’s favorite cured meat: bacon!

In April each year, thousands of bacon lovers from all over the world descend upon Chicago at the Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum for two days of bacon-centric fun.

At Bacon Fest – Passionate bacon lovers can expect to find over 50 top restaurants led by Chicago’s best chefs who concoct and serve creative bacon-centric dishes.

Attendees can enjoy everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs and bacon mac & cheese to more adventurous offerings like bacon ice cream and bacon-infused cocktails.

Bacon fest Chicago
Bacon fest Chicago

The cost of food at Bacon fest Chicago varies depending on your ticket.

General admission tickets go for approximately $85 and include three hours of bacon splendor and up to 7 drink tickets included.

VIP tickets cost around $160 and have all things offered for general admission tickets plus one hour of early access to Baconfest.

But Bacon fest is more than just eating delicious bacon-themed dishes. It’s also a celebration of bacon activities, and some include an award.

There are cooking demonstrations, bacon-eating contests, a bacon bikini contest, bacon-themed merchandise, and other bacon-themed games.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing quite like a food festival to get your taste buds tingling.

From savoring the city’s iconic deep-dish pizza and indulging in its famous hot dogs to ethnic cuisine and gourmet fare, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

And what’s even better is that you can try new foods that you’ve never had before.

So whether you’re a local or just visiting, be sure to check out one of these food festivals. You won’t be disappointed.

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