Chicago, IL - Starting point: Corner of Rush Street and State Street
Typically begins at 11:00am.
April - Mid-May, 7 days a week.
Mid-May - August, Sunday - Friday.
August - November, 7 days a week.
- Tour locations: Gold Coast and Old Town
- 7 food tastings, rich history, treasured architecture and neighborhood stories
- Award winning pizzeria, gourmet chocolate and cheese shops, and more tasty stops
- This unique food tour will have you leave feeling like a native Chicagoan
Enjoy this unique food tasting and cultural walking tour through Chicago's most delicious and historic neighborhoods.
Suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, you will have a true "locals" experience and will feel like a native Chicagoan.
Your guided and fully narrated tour includes mouth-watering food tastings from one-of-a-kind specialty food shops and ethnic eateries as well as an insider's view of Chicago -- the rich history, treasured architecture, dazzling entertainment offerings, and neighborhood restaurants.
Gain a unique glimpse into hidden parks, historic mansions, offbeat venues, and majestic row houses while traversing Chicago's famous tree-lined streets.
After the tour, explore Chicago with confidence and take advantage of its full spectrum of cuisine, entertainment, and cultural offerings on and off-the-beaten-path.
Delicious food specialties served on the Tour may include:
- Award-winning Chicago-stuffed pizzeria (est. 1971)
- America's top spice & herb specialty shop (est. 1957)
- An authentic European bakery & pastry shop (est. 1998)
- An aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil specialty store (est. 2007)
- A high-end specialty loose tea and tisanes merchant (est. 1978)
- A chocolate confectioner and fudge shop (est. 1963)
- Chicago's first Japanese-style restaurant (est. 1967)
This Near North Tour visits Gold Coast and Old Town neighborhoods! (approx. 1.5 miles) All tastings are included in the price. Please notify us of any food concerns prior to the tour so accommodations can be made. You will visit 7 different locations that will happily fill most stomachs. There are meat tastings on the tour, but vegetarian alternatives are provided as long as we are notified at the time of booking.
What to Bring:
- Participants are urged to bring cameras and recorders. There are plenty of photo opportunities during the tour.
- Participants are urged to bring sun glasses, sun screen, and/or a hat during the summer months.
- We love pets too, but because the tour visits food establishments, you'll need to leave your pets at home/hotel.
The tour does not finish at the same starting point. Map and return instructions are provided.
Up to 20 people on the tour
This experience is only for those on the tour.
This experience is not weather dependent.
What to Wear:
You will be on your feet and outdoors for most of the 3 hours, so please wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Flip-flops, high heels, and dress-shoes are not recommended. Umbrellas on rainy days, warm layers on cold days, and cool clothing on hot days will make your experience much more enjoyable.
For this experience, it is recommended to request bookings at least 14 days in advance of intended date of use.
Prior to scheduling/booking a date for this experience, Cloud 9's standard return and exchange policy shall apply. Once you have scheduled a date and received a booking confirmation, all bookings for this experience are final.
How much food is served on the food tour?
The tour serves enough food that for most participants, lunch afterward is not necessary. With the combination of drink and food tastings combined with breaks for architectural, cultural, and historical insight, most participants are comfortably full after our food tours. Please understand our food tours are not intended to replace breakfast and lunch combined, so please consider eating breakfast before the tour.
How much walking is involved? Is it a fast-paced tour?
Tours generally last between 3 and 3.5 hours and participants can expect to be standing or walking for a majority of the time. We walk at a moderate pace and also provide at least two resting locations for at least 45 minutes total.
Do your tours have anything to offer a native Chicagoan?
A majority of attendees live right here in Chicago. Chicago locals participate to learn about the neighborhoods and the city in which they live in as well as take advantage of knowing the best specialty food store locations and local restaurants in Chicago's tastiest neighborhoods, away from Downtown and traditional tourists.
Does the tour leader accept gratuities?
Gratuities are greatly appreciated, although not mandatory. The standard gratuity in the service industry is 15%.
What if I have dietary restrictions or allergies?
Please be sure and let us know if you (or anyone in your group) has a dietary restriction (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic, allergy, etc.) when you book your experience. As long as we know in advance, we can accommodate your needs.
Can I shop during the tour?
We ask that you please wait to shop until after the tour so that we can stay on our food-tasting schedule and continue with the informative tour and food tastings in a timely manner. We ask you allow time at the end of the tour to return to your favorite locations and/or stores. The tours are on a schedule to arrive at each tasting location so its important to stay on schedule so the food is freshly prepared for the participants.
Is the tour wheelchair and baby stroller accessible?
Yes, routes and tasting establishments are wheelchair and baby stroller friendly and accessible.
Are there vegetarian options on the tour?
Yes, both tours offer alternative tasting options for vegetarians.
Are any beverages served on the tour?
There is a drink tasting included in the tour. You can however purchase water and/or beverages at the beginning of both tours at the specified meeting locations. Additionally, most of the tasting locations sell water and/or beverages during the tour.
Is wine tasting included on the tour?
Currently, there are not wine tastings on this food tour.
Does the tour end at the same place we meet?
No, the tour does not finish at the same meeting point. However, detailed instructions are provided once you are booked with starting and ending point locations, and all participants receive a map with return directions included at the beginning of the tour. Return trips can be accomplished by walking, taking a Chicago taxi, or taking the CTA "L" trains or bus.
Do we only walk around and sample food?
Absolutely not! This tour combines architectural commentary, historical facts, local culture and culinary insight into a unique 3-hour experience. Imagine walking through Chicago eating our local artisans most delicious foods while learning the neighborhoods from real locals.
What restaurants will we visit on the tour?
We do not sample food from any sit-down restaurants during our food tours. Most food tasting are done on the go, and the food is provided by ethnic eateries and specialty food shops and stores. However, insights to Chicago's best restaurants off-the-beaten-path are shared by the tour guide during the tour, and we provide a list of all the restaurants that we highlight so you can revisit or contact them after the tour.
What happens if it rains or snows?
The tours are held rain, shine, or snow. In the event of inclement weather, we will be able to go inside many of the establishments on the tour. We also provide ponchos in case of sudden weather changes or if you do not have your own umbrella. However, we advise to check the weather conditions for your days event and dress appropriately.
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 near the tour meeting point?
Yes, there is both private and public parking located near the meeting point of the Tour. Specific parking details are included in the meeting location directions found in your booking confirmation email.
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"Loved the combination of the city's buildings with the guidance."
"Interesting tour of the area and I learned new information about some foods. Disappointing for the price and the amount of tastings. Did not walk away with a great feel for the food specialties of Chicago."
"My husband and I received a gift certifictate for the tour. We were expecting to be the only Chicagoans, but, to our suprise, the majority of the tour was filled with locals. Especially compared to other tours that we have been on in Chicago, we found our tour guide (Angie?) to be very knowledgable and excited to share the tidbits of historical info. She kept the tour in line and organized without being pushy. Although we are from the area, we learned quite a bit about both the neighborhoods and the restaurants. Although we liked the tea shop and the gentleman who spoke to us there, we felt that stop was slightly unnecessary as it's not really food and we don't associate it with Chicago or the neighborhood. My husband was slightly disappointed with the level of food, but I was pleasantly full. The level of walking was perfect. Overall, we had a great time, and I would recommend the tour to others."