As we head into fall, it’s easy to feel like the best outdoor food festivals are already behind us. Taste of Chicago is over, street festivals are winding down, and opportunities to munch on funnel cakes are becoming increasingly scarce. But fall in Chicago still has some awesome food events to keep on your radar. Here are three of my favorites.
Chicago Tribune Food Bowl (August 14 to September 1)
The Food Bowl brings together an incredible array of events, including special dinners, cooking classes, author readings, and guest appearances by visiting chefs. You can Instagram your way through a West Loop dessert crawl, take a tour of a farmers market, learn how to turn Spanish canned fish (conservas) into an amazing meal, and join a luau at The Duck Inn. You especially won’t want to miss this weekend’s Night Market, a huge party along the Riverwalk with DJs, food, and special drinks.
The Food Bowl is actually already underway, but since it lasts for half a month, you still have time to check it out. Find the whole schedule here.
Chicago Gourmet (September 27 to 29)
The most prominent of all of the Chicago foodie events, Chicago Gourmet brings in chefs and celebrities from all over to host demos, seminars, and tastings in Millennium Park. The tickets are undeniably pricey (they start at about $200 for a day pass), but consider this: The entire park basically becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet, and if you’re a wine lover, you can go nuts and taste until your liver cries for mercy. Be sure to attend a few of the special events; my favorite is the annual Hamburger Hop, a giant burger-making competition for which guests can taste every entry. Tickets are available online.
Chicago Pizza Summit (October 6)
This event isn’t quite as epic in scale as Chicago Gourmet or the Food Bowl, but if you’re a pizza lover, you can’t miss this one. For one day only, a ton of Chicago’s best pizza spots will be taking over the Theater on the Lake for a day of cheesy insanity. There’s obviously a ton of pizza, but also lots of other pizza-themed offerings (think pizza shots, for example). Expect a pop-up exhibit from the U.S. Pizza Museum, a silent auction, art, a marketplace, and more. The lineup of restaurants hasn’t been released yet, but if you’re even vaguely interested, I’d suggest buying tickets now — they’re going to sell out.