Sep 7, 2023 - Things to Do

4 things to check out at this year's Taste of Chicago

People walk under a blue banner that reads "Taste of Chicago"

Photo: Patrick L. Pyszka/Courtesy of City of Chicago

When Taste of Chicago was scooted from July to September to accommodate the NASCAR race, some grumbled about changing traditions.

Why it matters: Love it or hate it, Taste represents the one food festival that attempts to reflect the whole city — and it attracts thousands of tourists annually.

Unpopular opinion: This weekend's scaled-down version (after a summer of neighborhood Tastes) in comfortable 65-degree weather might be an improvement.

  • That is, if you can deal with traffic bound to clog downtown with Printer's Row Lit Fest all weekend and the Bears-Packers game on Sunday.

Here are four things we're looking forward to at this year's Taste.

New foods

Along with lots of pizza, hot dogs, cheesecake and tacos, Taste is debuting new dishes including:

  • Chicago's iconic Jim Shoe sandwich ($5) featuring gyro meat, roast beef and corned beef topped with giardiniera and tzatziki from the West Side's Chicago Eats Market Place.
  • Egusi fufu ($15) from African Food Palace featuring a traditional stew with a ball of dough for dipping.

Delicious drinks

Visitors can choose up to 10 Friday Night Flights beer samples from 25 local breweries for $25-$30 from 4-9pm tomorrow night.

  • Adults can sip Windy City Punch slushies and a new Malort-garita, featuring the local spirit with watermelon, citrus and orange.
  • Kids can drink free kefir at the Lifeway Foods Family Village.

Live music

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the Taste Main Stage will feature Masters of the Mic: Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, EPMD and KRS-One on Friday. Then, Proyecto Uno on Saturday and Whitney on Sunday.

  • On the Goose Island stage Chicago's Independent Venue League (CIVL) presents Kaina, DJ SImmy, Rich Robbin, Rae Chardonnay and more.

Participatory song and dance

Last year's Chicago Sings Karaoke resurfaces this weekend as a Taste event where you can sign up to impress the city with your best "I Will Survive" and maybe win $500.

  • A SummerDance stage will feature classes on reggaeton, steppin', Bollywood and more all weekend.
  • The city will remember the late DJ Casper with a festival-wide "Cha Cha Slide" Friday at 5:55pm.

Of note: Bye bye, Taste tickets. For the second year, booths will accept only cash or credit.

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