10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Grant Park, intersection of Columbus and Congress
What to expect
Fun and games
Five inflatables from our favorite playtime guru, The Playground Games, including a 15-foot bounce house, 17-foot giant two-lane slide, Connect 3 Basketball, Hippo Chow Down and The Eliminator (a Warped Wall inflatable).
The Playground Games also will have Hula Hoops, run a Potato Sack Race, challenge kids (and their parents!) to a Tug of War and races with Butt Bouncers.
For the first two hours on Sunday, 10 a.m.-noon, Kids Eat Chicago goes sensory friendly thanks to Autism Home Support Services. A normally quieter time, the volume goes down for the entertainment and activities to create a safe, judgment-free environment more welcoming for families of kids with special needs.
“It’s really about helping our families enjoy as many social outings as they can,” says Shelly Andrews, marketing director for Autism Home Support Services.
Both Saturday and Sunday, Autism Home Support Services is also sponsoring a quiet tent for parents and kids who need to rest, relax and recoup.
Kids with sensory issues and their families want to go out and enjoy the same things as their peers without fearing a public meltdown, and Autism Home Support wants to help them do that, Andrews says.
10 a.m. DJ Set for Kids
10:30 a.m. Miss Jamie’s Farm
11:15 a.m. DJ Set for Kids
11:30 a.m. Belle & Cinderella from Royal Princess Parties
1:30 p.m. NY Kids Club
2:45 p.m. Sing and dance with Christina from The Playground Games
3:30 p.m. The Happiness Club
4:45 p.m. Snow Queen from Storybook Princess Parties
First two hours of entertainment sponsored by Autism Home Support Services
10 a.m. Joyful Bubbles (Sensory friendly)
11 a.m. Captain America & Spiderman from Royal Princess Parties (Sensory friendly)
12:15 p.m. Super Stolie (Sensory friendly)
1:10 p.m. Magic Mickey from Happy Kids Chicago (Sensory friendly)
2:15 p.m. The Stu Show
4:20 p.m. Ariel from Storybook Princess Parties
4:45 p.m. Sing and dance with Christina from The Playground Games
*Entertainment schedule subject to change
– Museum row, featuring some of our favorite museums: Shedd Aquarium, Kohl Children’s Museum, Lizzadro Museum, Morton Arboretum and Chicago History Museum.
– More than a dozen of our favorite advertisers who will host hands-on activities for families and provide great information.
– A family dining tent to enjoy your tasty eats from the Taste.
– A mystery ride for the full five days of Taste of Chicago for kids and adults. Paid tickets required and height restrictions will apply.
For your convenience
– A stroller parking area will be provided
– A Baby Changing Station will be available with products provided by Babyganics.
Wednesday-Friday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Grant Park, at Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive
Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 14 for $10. Smaller “Taste of” portions are available for 1-6 tickets.
Admission is free.
Free lawn seating at the Petrillo Music Shell concerts; seats at Petrillo start at $18.
What to expect
37 five-day restaurants
22 pop-up restaurants
13 food trucks
More than 300 menu items, including healthy selections, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
New this year: The Taste Oasis, an exclusive air-conditioned lounge in Butler Field, for $50 at tasteofchicago.us. “Taste bites,” prepared by Washburne Culinary Academy, will be served Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 3-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 2-5 p.m.
Arts and family programming: The Artist Garden features live painting by local artists, Chicago SummerDance offers live music and dancing on Buckingham Fountain Plaza, the March of the Puppets daily musical procession and pop-up performances by local artists.
Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen: Cooking demos by local and national chefs on Buckingham Fountain Plaza. On Sunday, July 15, Emmy-nominated Chef Jeff Mauro — our July cover dad — will host a Sandwich Smackdown Day featuring friendly sandwich showdowns with two chefs battling it out for sandwich supremacy.