A Taste of the Taste

| June 25, 2009 | 2 Comments


Chicago has a wonderful restaurant scene as you know, and at no time of the year is that more evident than now; June 26 begins The Taste of Chicago at Grant Park and you and your children will love it. Yes, it’s crowded and hot but it’s as Chicago as tomatoes on a hot dog. There is no finer way to sample the flavors of the Windy City; from the food to the music, it’s Chicago though-and-through.

The Taste starts tomorrow, June 26 and goes through Sunday July 5. Hardcore city-dwellers will dismiss the Taste as uninspired, chaotic and over-rated and occasionally, I agree. However, visiting at the beginning of the Taste, in the first few days and not over a weekend, and arriving early in the day will greatly improve your experience. My daughter and I have a great time and often we meet my husband for lunch and sneak in an hour of family time. Of course all she eats is the Eli’s Cheesecake, but she savors every bite. I make sure to always get the toasted ravioli, but try out some new flavors, too. The Taste portion is the perfect way to try something new without investing too much and they are a great size for the toddler-sized stomach.

Going to the Taste with children can seem daunting but with a small amount of planning, it’s worth it. Though entry is free, you will have to have tickets for food purchases. You can buy them ahead of time at any Dominicks at 12 for $6.00 through today, or at Domincks or on-site at $8.00 per strip from tomorrow on. (A percentage of the profits will go to the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.) There are free trolleys between Grant Park, Metra stations, the Museum Campus and other downtown CTA stations so you don’t have to worry about parking. (Plus what toddler doesn’t love riding the train?) You can bring in your own snacks (no alcohol) and find a spot on the lawn near the Family Pavilion (at the southwest corner of Columbus & Jackson) or the Taste Sports Pavilion and enjoy the events. The Family Pavilion offers daily events from nearly all the Chicagoland museums, green activities, Cheesecake-decorating contests, inflatable bouncers, performers, storytelling, robotics competitions, teddy bear clinics, crafts and so much more. At the Fun Time Stage in the Family Pavilion you can catch great children-friendly performances like the phenomenal Smarty Pants Big Balloon Show, the CircEsteem & The Chicago Youth Circus, a Battle of the Bands, magic shows, Irish dancers and Radio Disney Road Crew 4th of July Dance Party (with games, music and prizes). Your children can also join the Taste of Talent Contest for Kids, sing some karaoke or watch the Jesse White Tumblers.

Similar good times will be had at the Sports Pavillion where you and your children can join the World Sport Chicago/2016 Interactive Activities. Come watch and play badminton, volleyball, track and field events, archery, gymnastics, fencing, handball, soccer, rowing, kayaking, basketball, judo and boxing at Chicago’s grand salute to the 2016 Olympics. There will also be events for the Paralympics and some wheelchair sports and once again it’s all free!

Perhaps the biggest event at the Taste is the Independence Day Fireworks, held on Friday, July 3 at the Petrillo Music Shell where, beginning at 7:30 pm, the 85th Army Band will play for pre-fireworks entertainment. After the concert, the crowd will be treated to a 20 minute fireworks presentation, complete with musical accompaniment by 101.9 THE MIX.

For further questions about the Taste of Chicago, you can read their FAQs.

Photo Credit: Taste of Chicago via Flickr by Peter Fuchs

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Category: News & Events

About the Author ()

Cindy La Greca is a part-time children’s librarian and full-time mom. She writes to you from the Chicago’s northwest side.

Comments (2)

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  1. Miriam West says:

    Thanks for the notice about the Taste of Chicago today. My daughter and I caught the kids stage today – a fun game show and also Smarty Pants and his Bbig Balloon Show. I have to say the afternoon was so much fun – my daughter totally loved Smarty’s balloon show and I was very impressed with the talent that was on stage (for FREE!)

  2. Cindy says:

    I am really glad you went! And FREE is always best, I think.

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