Discover Chicago's Cultural Gems While Tasting Delicious Food
On this guided walking tour, you'll learn about Chicago's rich history and treasured architecture while sampling delicious tastings from classic specialty food shops and ethnic eateries. After the tour, explore Chicago with confidence and take advantage of our full spectrum of cuisine, entertainment, and cultural offerings off-the-beaten-path.
Your journey includes tastings from:
- Award-winning Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizzeria (est. 1978)
- A Spice and Herb Specialty Shop (est. 1957)
- A Chocolate and Fudge Specialty Shop (est. 1963)
- A Polish-Europeans Bakery (est. 1998)
- A Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar (est. 1967)
- A Tea Merchant (est. 1978)
- An Aged Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil Store (est. 2007)
Join us as we bring to life the local artisans and their foods that are revered throughout Chicago as we emphasize the histories of backdoor venues, hidden parks, and historic homes off-the-beaten-path while sharing insight on local entertainment and restaurants.
All Tastings Are Included In The Price
Enough food is served that for most participants, lunch afterwards is not needed. Tasting locations subject to change.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance? Can I pay cash?
- Tickets must be purchased in advance as tours usually sell out quickly ahead of time. To maximize your chances of getting the day, time, and number of tickets you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, AMEX, or Mastercard from this site or over the phone. Cash is not accepted.
- If a tour is sold out, can I get on a waiting list?
- We do not provide a waiting list. If a date is sold out, there is always a chance that we will add an additional tour. Please contact us by clicking “Contact ChicagoFoods” to let us know what date you are interested in as we usually add additional tours once a tour is close to Sold Out. The maximum number of persons per group is normally kept to 16 for the Gold Coast & Old Town Food Tour.
- What about taking children/adolescents on the tour?
- While we offer both adolescent and children tickets, the tour is three hours long and some children have a limited attention span and therefore the tour may not be appropriate for some of them. Parents, who know their children best, should assess the situation individually. Since there is a lot of standing and walking, please carefully consider this when deciding whether the tour is appropriate for your child and as a courtesy to other participants on the tour.
- Can I shop on the tour?
- We ask that you wait to shop until after the tour so that we can stay on schedule and continue with the informative tour and food tastings in a timely manner. Hopefully, you will allow time at the end of the tour to return to your favorite locations and/or stores.
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
- Please be sure and let us know if you (or anyone in your group) has a dietary restriction (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic, etc.) when you purchase your tickets. As long as we know well in advance, we can often accommodate your needs. If we do not find out about the special needs until the day of the tour, it is difficult for us to adjust in time to accommodate and we ask you refrain from those particular tastings.
- How much food is served on the tour?
- There are about 8 stops for tastings on the tour. Enough food is served that, for most people, lunch is not necessary afterwards.
- Does the tour leader accept gratuities?
- Gratuities are greatly appreciated, although not mandatory.
- Are there vegetarian options on the tour?
- Yes, there are vegetarian options served on Gold Coast & Old Town Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour. Please be sure to indicate if you are a vegetarian when purchasing tickets and Chicago Food Planet will accommodate your request.
- Are there any beverages served on the tour?
- Water is provided during the tour at various tasting locations.
- Where does the tour finish?
- The tour does not finish at the same starting point. However, each participant is provide the exact starting point and ending point location addresses after completing your ticket purchase. Additionally, each participant will receive specific direction details and a map at the beginning of the tour.
- Is wine tasting included on the tour?
- Currently, we do not participate in wine tasting during the tour.
- What types of foods are served on the tour?
- We taste foods from a sushi and sake restaurant, a fudge and confectionary specialty shop, a European / Polish deli, a tea specialty store, a spice and herb specialty shop, a Chicago deep-dish pizza restaurant, and an oil and vinegar store. Food-tasting locations can change without notice.
- Do we only walk around and sample food?
- Absolutely not! Aside from sampling delicious food, you will also experience life in Chicago's downtown, Gold Coast and Old Town neighborhoods. The tour is fully narrated by your guide, who will discuss the history, culture, architecture, entertainment offerings, and both on and off-course off-the-beaten-path establishments.
- What restaurants will we visit on the tour?
- We visit a combination of sit-down restaurants, specialty foods stores and ethnic eateries.
- How much walking is involved? Is it a fast-paced tour?
- We are on our feet for approximately 3 hours and cover 1.5 miles. We cover a lot of information and ground, so we walk at a moderate pace. We sit down at least once during the tour, and twice during the warmer months. Please wear comfortable shoes.
- Are tours offered only in English?
- Yes, we only offer tours in English at this time. If you would like to make arrangements for your own interpreter to join the tour, please contact Chicago Food Planet by clicking “Contact ChicagoFoods”.
- What happens if it rains?
- The tours are held rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, we will be able to go inside many of the establishments on the tour. You should still dress appropriately for the day's weather conditions.
- May I bring my dog on the tour?
- Due to the various food establishments we visit, pets of any kind are not allowed on this tour.
- Does this tour have anything to offer a native Chicagoan?
- Definitely! Many of our attendees live right here in Chicago. Locals often attend to learn about the neighborhoods and the city in which they live.
- If I am bringing an infant/very young child, do I need to purchase a ticket for them?
- If you are bringing an infant, or a child below the age of 7, and they will not be participating in the tastings, you do not need to purchase a ticket for them. However, please do let us know if you will be attending with an infant or young child when you purchase tickets.
- Are bathrooms available during the tour?
- Yes, bathrooms are available during the tour at selected food-tasting locations.
- Are cameras allowed on the tour?
- Yes. Cameras and filming are allowed during the tour. We strongly encourage participants to take photos during the tour.
- Is there parking nearby the tour meeting point?
- Yes, there is parking located near the meeting point. Specific parking details are included in the meeting location directions after purchasing ticket(s).
- Is the tour stroller and/or wheelchair accessible?
- The Gold Coast & Old Town Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour is stoller and wheelchair friendly. One tasting does not have a wheelchair ramp, however your tour guide will deliver the tasting to the participant(s) unable to enter along with the tasting information in front of the food store.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, gift certificates are available for any of Chicago Food Planet's Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tours and they make perfect gifts for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! To purchase a gift certificate please click on the "Gift certificates: Purchase" link in the box above.
- Can I book a private tour?
- Yes, private tours are available. To learn more about booking a Private Group Tour, please click on our other Activity "Chicago Food Planet - Private Group Tours". All Private Group Tours are handled directly with the Seller. To inquire about a private tour, please contact us by clicking “Contact ChicagoFoods.”
Chicago Food Planet Food Tours
Our tours have been featured in Bon Appétit, CNN Travel, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and many more publications.
Our adventure truly began 8 years ago when we started exploring Chicago's neighborhoods, investigating alleyways, engaging with residents, sampling cuisine, and shopping local merchants in search of the true Chicago pulse.
Our goal is to tease your taste buds and entice your mind with the sights, flavors, and way of life in Chicago. Our friendly and passionate tour leaders are proud to share our knowledge and discoveries with you. We recommend taking our tour at the beginning of your stay so you can return and enjoy these wonderful neighborhoods at your leisure.