7 Best Chicago Food Tours To Explore The Hidden Gems [2023]

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From deep-dish pizza to tangy hot dogs and beyond, Chicago is known for being a food lover’s paradise. With so much delectable cuisine on offer, it can be hard to know where to start when exploring the city’s culinary offerings. A great way to get acquitted with the Windy City’s best eats is through one of the many fun Chicago food tours.

Regardless if you are exploring a bunch of iconic favorites or diving deep into a specific famous Chicago dish, the culinary scene will be a tasty introduction to one of America’s great eating cities.

These are some of the best Chicago food tours to experience the vibrancy of Chicago’s food scene.

Best Chicago Food Tour [πŸ…Top Pick]

Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour (Bobby’s Bike Hike)

best-chicago-food-tour
Photo Credit: Bobby’s Bike Hike, Viator

🌟 5/5 stars (600+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 3.5 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

Join the Walking Food Tour of Chicago if you want to embark on a 3.5-hour walking adventure led by an expert who knows all the best spots for history and good food!

Begin at the legendary Lou Malnati’s to kick off your taste bud adventure. This tour will hit up some of Chicago’s most iconic spots on a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) loop through downtown, as you take in the scenery, history, and culture of all the important and stunning landmarks in the districts.

During the tour, you’ll get to taste some quintessential Chicago eats like deep-dish pizza, mouth-watering sweets, and classic hot dogs. And if you’re feeling adventurous (and thirsty), you can even add tastings of locally brewed craft beer for an extra charge.

Fantastic food walking tour of Chicago. Sometimes the tour guide can make a difference and in this case she did. Lively and friendly and gave us some great recommendations for restaurants. The food on the tour was great… also had a city walking tour. Great introduction to Chicago.

Christine (More Reviews)

The tour is good for anyone who is fit enough for an easy walk around town. They adapt the routes based on the seasons to make it most comfortable for guests. Tunnel networks in the winter to keep you cozy, and promenade walks in the warmer months to enjoy the views.

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food Tour:

  • Food tastings of famous Chicago Foods, including Deep-Dish Pizza, Italian Beef Sandwiches, Hotdogs, and more.
  • Fun and knowledgeable guide
  • Visit iconic Chicago landmarks including Millennium Park and Cloud Gate, all with interesting histories and stories.
  • A great introduction to Downtown Chicago and the history of the city.

Popular Chicago Food Tour For First-Time Visitors

Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Walking Tour (Intrepid Urban Adventures)

popular-food-tour-of-chicago
Photo Credit: Intrepid Urban Adventures, Viator

🌟 5/5 stars (400+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 5 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

If you are looking for a more comprehensive tour that packs the best of Chicago’s food, history, and architecture, then this extended walking tour that lasts around 5 hours is a good option.

Ran by an eco-certified operator, this tour takes you on a journey to learn about the city’s rich history and amazing architecture. You’ll discover the towering skyscrapers and historic landmarks along the Chicago Riverwalk and Magnificent Mile, and gain insights into Chicago’s vibrant past.

Of course, the tour also includes a dive into Chicago’s food scene, where you’ll get to taste some of the city’s most beloved dishes, like Chicago-style hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and Italian beef.

The historical buildings and hotels were interesting and fascinating. Also riding on the EL was a wonderful experience. The guide was very knowledgeable and knew a lot of fun facts. I would definitely recommend this tour and I might even go again during my stay. Wear some good walking shoes.

Deborah (More Reviews)

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Food, History, Architecture Tour:

  • Visit classic attractions and little-known sites
  • 5 food tastings including local specialties and favorites
  • Small tour groups limited to 12 pax, which makes it more intimate
  • Eco-friendly tour offered by B-Corp certified company

Specialty Chicago Food Tours

Chicago Donut Tour (Underground Donut Tour)

chicago-food-old-fashioned-donuts

🌟 5/5 stars (600+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 2 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

Are you a Donut fan? This fun and interactive Chicago Donut Tour is great for anyone with a sweet tooth and a sense of adventure.

You’ll visit some of the city’s most beloved donut shops and sample a variety of delicious and creative flavors. From classic glazed donuts to more exotic flavors. They even cater to other dietary preferences with vegan, gluten, or nut-free options

But this donut-themed tour is not just about donuts, you’ll also get a chance to learn about Chicago and its culture. Get fascinating stories about the city’s past and present, as well as tips for finding the best donuts in town.

Loved the tour. Had a fun day out tasting all the different donuts at 4 different shops. Our guide was great and a fun guy. Recommend it to visitors to explore Chicago and get their sugar rush on.

Deborah (More Reviews)

One of the best things about this tour is that you’ll get to meet other travelers and share your love of donuts while exploring different neighborhoods and landmarks. Suitable for all ages and different fitness levels.

πŸ‘ Highlights Of This Chicago Donut Tour:

  • Sample a variety of delicious and creative donut flavors at some of the best donut places.
  • Visit neighborhoods, and learn about the city’s history and its food culture
  • Meet other donut aficionados and share your common sugary obsessions

Chicago Pizza Tour

famous-foods-from-chicago

🌟 5/5 stars (300+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 3.5 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

Everyone knows Chicago is famous for their deep-dish pizza, but if you want to truly dive deep into Chicago’s pizza scene and discover some of the city’s best-kept pizza secrets, this is the tour for it.

The tour takes you behind the scenes of four different pizzerias, giving you an exclusive look at how some of the city’s most delicious pizzas are made. You’ll get to sample the iconic deep-dish pizza, but that is not all. This tour will also exposure you to other pizza styles that Chicago is known for. You will have the opportunity to learn about the baking process, ingredients, and the history and culture of pizza in Chicago.

Fantastic tour guide (he was hilarious and full of fun Chicago facts) and delicious pizza! It was a great afternoon getting to know Chicago and its food, as well as traveling the city by private bus and seeing some extra sites!

Joan (More Reviews)

This is a bus tour that shutters you from place to place, which means it is less affected by weather and suitable for almost anyone.

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Pizza Tour:

  • An up-close look at the unique baking processes that make each pizzeria’s pizza so special
  • Indulge in some of the city’s most famous pizzas, including deep-dish pizza
  • Experience the best of Chicago’s pizza scene and learn about the city’s history and culture through its food.

Chicago Food Tours On Bike

Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago’s Signature Dishes Bike Tour (Bobby’s Bike Hike)

chicago-food-tour-bike
Photo Credit: Bobby’s Bike Hike, Viator

🌟 5/5 stars (400+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 4 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

For relatively fit travelers who want to cover more ground of the city and burn some calories while tasting the yummy food of Chicago, a food bike tour is a great combination.

Hop on a bike and ride through the Windy City’s neighborhoods while stopping at iconic food spots along the way. Satisfy your cravings for classic Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs, and baked treats while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the city. You’ll also get to enjoy some refreshing pints at local breweries.

The bike tour covers approximately 13 miles of the city. It’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying delicious food and the company of fellow foodies. The tour includes all necessary equipment, such as bikes, helmets, and locks, so all you need to bring is your appetite and a sense of adventure.

Absolute most amazing experience!!! Loved the food, loved the bike ride, loved the views and stops, loved the tour guide… just loved the whole experience!!! One thousand percent recommend. Very unique experience

Stephanie (More Reviews)

As you walk around the market, learn about its history, culture, and impact on Seattle’s food scene. This is suitable for seafood lovers and anyone curious to explore the market’s culinary traditions.

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Food Tour On Bike:

  • Explore some of the city’s most famous landmarks and attractions on a bike like Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and even Lakefront Trail
  • Learn about the most iconic neighborhoods in the city with an experienced guide
  • Get a taste of local flavors from some of the top food places including a bakery and breweries.
  • Day and night tour options covering slightly different routes.

Other Chicago Walking Food Tours

Chicago Walking Tasting Tour  (Secret Food Tours)

secret-chicago-food-tour
Photo Credit: Secret Food Tours, Viator

🌟 5/5 stars (300+ reviews) | ⏳ Tour Duration: 3 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

Join a knowledgeable guide on a journey through Chicago’s downtown area, stopping at some of the best food spots the city has to offer.

During the tour, you’ll get to taste some of the city’s iconic dishes, including Chicago-style hot dogs and deep-dish pizza. As you eat your way through the Loop, the guide will share interesting facts about Chicago’s history, architecture, and culture, making this tour not just a food experience, but a cultural one as well.

Eddie was a wonderful tour guide! He was very educated on Chicago’s architectural history as well as the history behind the food (gyros, hotdogs, brownies, etc). Definitely bring your appetite – the “samples” were large and delicious! Definitely a “must do” in Chicago.

Elise (More Reviews)

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Walking Tasting Tour:

  • Explore the Loop neighborhood in downtown Chicago with insights into the history, architecture, and culture
  • Taste some of the city’s classic dishes in substantial portions
  • Small tour groups so more attention from the guide

Chicago’s Chinatown Food and Walking Tour  (Bobby’s Bike Hike)

chinatown-food-tour-in-chicago
Photo Credit: Bobby’s Bike Hike, Viator

🌟 5/5 stars | ⏳ Tour Duration: 3 Hours | πŸ˜‹ BOOK NOW

Had your fill of classic Chicago food? For a different side of Chicago’s culinary scene, try some of the unique cultural cuisines that reflect the diversity in the city’s history and food traditions.

This tour will take you on an exploration of the famous Chinatown, where you will have the chance to sample the most delicious Chinese cuisine and experience the bustling energy of the neighborhood.

You will walk through the colorful streets of Chinatown, stop at different restaurants and food stalls to sample popular Asian dishes, such as dim sum, duck, custard tarts, and other Chinese specialties that come from different regions.

As you indulge in all the gastronomic delights, the guide will provide you with insights into the Chinese culinary traditions, culture, and history of the neighborhood.

Jeff was an amazing guide! It was so fun exploring Chinatown with someone who obviously loves the culture. We went to spots I would have never thought to go. The food was extremely filling and most importantly, delicious!

Patricia (More Reviews)

πŸ‘ Highlights Of Chicago Chinatown Food Tour:

  • Explore the beautiful Chinatown Square and learn about the history and culture of the district.
  • Sample a variety of delicious Chinese dishes from local restaurants and specialty shops.
  • Discover the hidden gems of Chinatown, including tea traditions, baked goods and restaurants
  • Experience the unique blend of Chinese and American culture through food and local experiences.

What To Expect On Chicago Food Tours

If you’re joining a food tour for the first time, it’s common to be wondering how these things run. Here are some general things to expect, but of course, anything can change depending on the tour and the weather as well.

A typical Chicago food tour will start off at a designated meeting point, usually an obvious landmark near the district it is covering (e.g. Chinatown, or Downtown). It could also be at the tour operator’s storefront if you need to collect certain equipment like bikes.

Make sure to take note of the location, and also what the guide will be wearing. This will usually be in the form of a colored uniform or a colored umbrella for easy identification. Before commencing the tour, your guide will provide you with a brief introduction and outline of what to expect during the food tour.

Enjoy The Food: Once everyone is ready, the tour will begin! Your guide will lead the way as you explore the local food scene and taste some of the best dishes in the area. Throughout the tour, you’ll stop at several different vendors and food stands to sample a variety of dishes.

The stops can vary across different tours, and sometimes routes can change due to seasonality, weather, or some vendors might not be open for the day. But you can generally trust that your guide will take care of you and find replacements if need be.

Explore The City: Food tours are seldom just about food, most of the time they are very much about the city as well. Most Chicago food tours are also city tours that will cover some popular landmarks, where the guide will share insights about the place and history.

Regardless if you are walking, biking, or taking a bus, soak in the sights and appreciate the stories behind each place.

On some tours, you may also learn about the ingredients and cooking techniques involved in preparing the dish. You will find that these typically happen more on food tours specializing in specific dishes.

Social Elements: You know how people say it’s easier to bond over food? That’s true; so compared to many other tours, food tours tend to be a more social experience. While you are enjoying yourself, take some time to chat with your fellow foodies! It’s easy to strike up a conversation using the food as a foundation and you’ll likely meet people from all over the world who share your love of food and adventure.

The Close: After having some jolly good fun and food, the tour will usually end at a designated location. If you’re unsure where it will be, check with the tour operator beforehand so you can plan your itinerary ahead of time. There might be places around the endpoint that you want to explore.

The end of the tour is also where you also want to take advantage of your guide’s local knowledge to get any other recommendations or tips for continuing on your Chicago food adventure.

navy-pier-ferris-wheel-chicago-illinois

FAQ About Chicago Food Tours

Are Chicago Food Tours worth it?

There are many options available so you can see this is a foodie destination. You can always go hunt down good food and eat by yourself as well.

A food tour is a convenient way to tap into the local knowledge and find hidden gems. It also allows you to learn more about the city, and the food culture which is hard to get when you go around by yourself.

In addition, I find that you can sample more stuff on a food tour and go back for a full meal if you really enjoyed a certain place. You also get to meet other travelers as well which is always fun.

Should I go hungry?

You should leave some room for food, but don’t deliberately starve yourself before going either. A food tour is not a buffet, and you can’t really know the amount/portion of food provided during the tour. The type of food will also satisfy you differently.

Typically, food tours will not leave you hungry but they are not meant to stuff you up either. Plus if you are walking or cycling, you can be working up an appetite.

So don’t overthink it, just go with some appetite to eat. Most of the time, you can also purchase more food at a certain food place if you are really hungry.

Are all the food tastings included in the price?

Check the details of this for each tour, but most of the time, yes. The tour will consist of a number of standard tastings that are already included in the price of the tour.

Sometimes there are options for special add-ons at extra cost (e.g. extra beer tastings etc), these will usually be stated in the tour details or during the tour.

Beyond the standard portions offered, you can usually purchase more food at your own cost if you really like the food.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

Some tours do cater to certain common dietary preferences, but there are so many variations when it comes to dietary requirements; it is best to check with the tour operator before booking.

Typically you should also notify them beforehand if there are any specific dietary requests so they can set it up in advance with the food vendors. Food tours don’t just involve the tour operator but also the partnering food places, so factor in time for their communications and arrangements as well.

What food is famous in Chicago?

Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. These are almost like the big 3. However, you can also find a variety of other local favorites like popcorn, rainbow cone, tons of baked pastries, and cultural dishes. There are many delicious foods from Chicago that make it worth exploring.


PIN THESE CHICAGO FOOD TOURS FOR LATER!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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