CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Trying to decided what to taste at the Taste?
The 39th annual Taste of Chicago kicked off Wednesday and continues through Sunday, July 14.
The five-day festival is known as "the world's largest, free-admission food festival" includes 82 eateries, with 37 of those being new participants, along with 24 pop-ups and 17 food trucks.
Here's a guide to help you decide where to eat and what to do at the Taste of Chicago 2019.
July 10–14; Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Grant Park (Jackson & Columbus)
Admission to the Taste is free. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 14 tickets for $10. Smaller "Taste of" portions" are available for 3-6 tickets. Ticket booths accept cash, credit and debit. Ticket sales end at 8:30 p.m.
Parking: There is parking available directly under the festival at the Millennium Garages. Garages include Garage locations are Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave., Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave., and Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage located at 5 S. Columbus Drive.
CTA - From the elevated lines: exit at Adams/Wabash. From the subway: exit at Jackson and walk several blocks east.
Metra - Metra is adding trains and making changes to the schedules on some lines this weekend to accommodate people. The commuter rail agency said there will be extra trains on the BNSF line starting Wednesday in downtown Chicago. Additional inbound trains will also be operating along the Union Pacific West Line on Saturday. The changes will remain in place throughout the five-day event.
Beverage tents are located throughout the event and feature Pepsi soft drinks, over 20 types of beers (including Goose Island, Budweiser and Stella Artois), wines and specialty drinks. Beverage purchases can be made with Taste tickets or credit cards.
Arts & Entertainment
If you want to take a break from tasting all the good eats, you can jam out and dance to some music. There will be a different artist performing each day of the Taste with daily concerts at the Goose Island Stage, and nighttime concerts at Petrillo Music Shell. Lawn seats are free or you can purchase tickets for seated sections. You can also enjoy the nighttime concerts at the Taste Oasis that offers a prime concert viewing experience in a lounge setting complete with private cash bar, complimentary bottled water, small bites and more for $50.
Goose Island Stage:
July 12–14, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Southwest corner of Jackson Blvd. & Columbus Dr. - Free Admission
As part of the Year of Chicago Theatre, the Theatre Garden at Taste of Chicago showcases local theater talent with performances of musical theatre, improv and sketch comedy.
Friday–Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
The Second City Totally Bonkers Improv Showdown
Friday–Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
A Taste of Porchlight Music Theatre
Saturday & Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.
Friday, 6 p.m.
Baby Wants Candy
Saturday, 6 p.m.
The Best of The Second City
Sunday, 7 p.m.
Improvised Shakespeare Chicago℠
The Mermaid Diva Show
July 10–14, 3 p.m. at the Buckingham Fountain - Free Admission
The divas of the Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club perform songs in the persona of well-known female singers in this daily 3 p.m. performance on the west side of Buckingham Fountain.
SummerDance at the Taste of Chicago
Chicago SummerDance, the largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the United States, will move to Buckingham Fountain Plaza during Taste of Chicago, each day of the festival from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The series typically offers a free, introductory one-hour dance lesson by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing.
Silent Disco Powered by HUSHconcerts
July 10–14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain - Free Admission
Get a set of headphones and dance along to tunes from one of two DJs spinning different genres.
Trying to entertain the kids at the Taste? The Taste Playground offers fun for all ages including the return of the Taste of Chicago Ferris Wheel and an inflatables area for children. Tickets for rides will be available for purchase on site.
And if the playground is not for you, check out the Farm to Festival. The Farm to Festival area offers horticulture fun and education for all ages from 811 Chicago and the Department of Planning. Daily highlights include instruction on planting pollinators, rain and raised-bed gardens, inspiring tips for small space and “she shed” designs and more.
For children, Illinois Master Gardeners hosts its Bug Zoo with rare species, such as the Rosie Haired Tarantula and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The Chicago Department of Transportations’ 811 Chicago offers a Dign' for Prizes garden, along with safety tips on what to know before digging.
New this year are a spectacular garden display, a nature play area presented by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and an exhibit of hydroponic grow towers from Southside Occupational Academy.
Eli's Cheesecake Birthday Celebration
Sing Happy Birthday to The Eli's Cheesecake Company with the cast of Hamilton and celebrate with a slice of complimentary cheesecake on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (while supplies last).
Police officers, private security, paramedics, and cameras are just part of the city’s plan to keep people safe at this year’s Taste of Chicago.
Rich Guidice, Executive Director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management said in Grant Park there are "eight or nine different entry ways into the festival itself. When you walk into the festival you are greeted by private security and then beyond that, the Chicago Police Department."
Due to the hot weather, cooling buses are on-site throughout the event and with Chicago’s weather sometimes unpredictable, Guidice recommends staying updated on weather conditions.
And if someone gets lost or sees something unusual – pole marker signage is attached to the lightpoles throughout Grant Park to help identify locations you might need a first responder to find you.