Things to do in Chicago

Restaurants, musical lineups and more: What to know as Taste of Chicago returns to Grant Park

The annual Taste of Chicago, which typically occurs in July, will take place in September this year

One the city's most beloved events is back at Grant Park this weekend.

The annual Taste of Chicago, typically held over the Fourth of July weekend, kicks off at 12 p.m. Friday in Grant Park. The new date was set because of the NASCAR Street Race earlier this summer, organizers said.

The festival will continue in its longtime home near Buckingham Fountain, bringing more than 35 vendors and 15 food trucks along with three stages for musical performances, dance classes and more, officials announced. There will also be a beer hall, wine garden, cocktail lounge and a new frozen adult beverage station.

For families, there will be bounce houses and a number of games offered up.

“Since 1980, Taste of Chicago has been a beloved tradition showcasing our city’s incredible culinary and cultural offerings,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to invite Chicagoans and visitors alike to Grant Park once again to enjoy familiar Taste of Chicago favorites, new vendor additions and exciting entertainment for everyone to enjoy."

As the event gets underway, here's a breakdown of restaurants, musical acts, hours and more.

Taste of Chicago Hours

Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission is free. However, no tickets will be available, organizers said. "Cash and credit are accepted by all food vendors," according to organizers

Food vendors

  • Cumin Club Indian Kitchen
  • Sapori Trattoria
  • Arun’s Thai Restaurant
  • The Original Rainbow Cone
  • Healthy Substance Kitchen
  • LC Pho Restaurant
  • Yum Dum, Churro Factory (Xurro)
  • African Food Palace
  • Porkchop
  • The Eli’s Cheesecake Company
  • Esperanza
  • Robinson No. 1 Ribs
  • Classic Cobbler
  • Baked Goods Company
  • Tacotlan
  • JJ Thai Street Food
  • Doom Street Eats
  • Badou
  • Senegalese Cuisine
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
  • Billy Goat Tavern
  • Chicago Eats
  • Gaby’s
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Frannie’s Café
  • Prime Tacos
  • The Sole Ingredient Catering
  • BJ’s
  • Market & Bakery
  • Connie’s Pizza
  • Seoul Taco Chicago
  • Chicago’s Doghouse
  • Tandoor Char House
  • Pies of London
  • Banato
  • Mr. E Chef Catering
  • Josephine’s Cooking
  • Yvolina’s Tamales

There will also be a "wide variety of food trucks."

How to get free cheesecake

In 1980, Eli Schulman debut Eli's Cheesecake at the first ever taste of Chicago. And in 1987, he brought a humongous one to the event, doling out free slices to hungry festival goers.

Dessert lovers gobbled them up, of course. And that's when the 1,000-pound Eli's Cheesecake to celebrate the Taste of Chicago was born.

"It's really a great weekend in Chicago, so we're really excited to be back," Eli's Cheesecake president Marc Schulman said.

And so will their massive cheesecake.

According to Eli's officials, cows will be "working overtime" to produce the six-foot high cheesecakes, topped with baseball-sized cherries.

According to officials, the giant pie will be cut at this year's Taste of Chicago at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Slices will be handed out free to the crowd, while supplies last.

Taste of Chicago Main Stage Schedule

Friday, September 8
DJ for the evening: Selah Say
5pm Slique Jay Adams and Mamii, both presented by Chicago Made
6pm Meagan McNeal
7pm Masters of the Mic: Hip Hop 50
featuring Doug E. Fresh, EPMD, KRS-One and Slick Rick

Saturday, September 9
DJ for the evening: DJ Janesita
5pm ÉSSO, presented by Chicago Made
6pm Lupita Infante with Mariachi Sirenas
7pm Proyecto Uno

Sunday, September 10
DJ for the evening: DJ Mike P
5pm Nola Adé and Cloud Farmers, both presented by Chicago Made
6pm White Mystery
7:15pm Whitney

Chicago SummerDance

Friday, September 8, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
11 a.m. DJ and Open Dancing
12 p.m. Line Dancing / Fre2Dance
1 p.m. Peruvian Folk Dance / Center of Peruvian Arts
2 p.m. Balboa (Swing) / Desiree Roffers
3 p.m. Reggaeton / Latin Street
4 p.m. DJ and Open Dancing

Saturday, September 9, 1 – 4:45 p.m.
1 p.m. Salsa / Latin Rhythms
2 p.m. Country Two-Step / Second City Country Dance Association
3 p.m. Zouk / Urbanity Dance Chicago
4 p.m. Dabke / Phaedra Darwish

Sunday, September 10, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
11 a.m. DJ and Open Dancing
12 p.m. Steppin’ / Majestic Gents
1 p.m. Eastern European Folk Dance / Ethnic Dance Chicago
2 p.m. Bollywood / Meher Dance Company
3 p.m. Bachata / Desueño Dance
4 p.m. DJ and Open Dancing

Road Closures

The following Chicago streets will close for "the Taste" starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday and reopen by 4 p.m. on Sept. 11:

  • Columbus from Balbo to Monroe
  • Ida B Wells from Michigan to Columbus. 
  • Jackson from Michigan to Lake Shore.
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