It’s (finally) summer, which means it’s time for awesome summer food events in Chicago. So many events have been cancelled for the last two years that it feels great to be able to get out almost every weekend and find something fun to eat, drink, and do. There are plenty of obvious entries (Taste of Chicago and Chicago Gourmet, to name a couple) but also a lot of smaller events with unique offerings. Here are some of my favorites.
Chicago Food Truck Festival, June 25 and June 26
If you’re a lover of mobile eats, then this is the event for you. For two days in the South Loop, a huge collection of food trucks will gather from 11 in the morning until 7 at night. There’s live music, drinks and, obviously, tons of food options. Best of all, tickets are free (though you have to buy your own food and alcohol). There are also a few different VIP options that include some drinks. Tickets are available here.
James Beard Awards, June 13
Okay, so this isn’t quite as accessible as a food truck gathering, but if you’re a super food nerd, it might just be worth the dough for you. The biggest event in the food universe is now hosted in Chicago, and after two years off, it’s back to a live, in-person event. On June 13 at the Lyric Opera, you can join the luminaries of the culinary world for a serious awards celebration (and a pretty epic after party). Tickets aren’t cheap (entrance to the main event is $500), but they do include both the awards and the parties after, which always include some really good food and drink. Tickets are still available.
Chinatown Summer Fair, July 30 and 31
You already know Chinatown has a great food scene, and for two days in July, the neighborhood turns into a giant street festival, complete with food, drink, entertainment, parades, and more. The exact schedule hasn’t been released yet, but this is definitely one to put on your calendar.
Taste of Polonia Festival, September 2 through 5
If you haven’t experienced this event before, you need to — Chicago is the largest Polish city outside of Poland and this festival is pretty huge, with multiple music stages and tons of vendors. In addition to all of the food, you can watch a parade of traditionally dressed Polish Hussars, learn to cook Polish food, attend free vodka tastings, and watch Polish movies. This year’s schedule is not out yet, but more info is here.