Chicago Food Tours: Which One is Best For Families & Kids
It is no wonder that Chicago is home to dozens of various Chicago Food Tours that feature it signature foods! After all, Chicago is frequently named as the No. 1 city in the world for both eating and drinking!
Delicacies such as the Chicago hot dog, deep dish pizza, and Garrett’s Popcorn, absolutely must be experienced during a visit to Chicago in order to truly experience the best of this foodie city!
If you’re traveling to Chicago with kids, don’t let that hold you back from enjoying a Chicago Food Tour! We’ve analyzed all of the Chicago Food Tours and found which one is best for families with children. Having had the chance to experience it first-hand, we’ll explain why you should go on our suggested Chicago Food Tour, and why its best for kids!
What are Chicago Food Tours?
Chicago Food Tours are professionally guided group tours that explore the local food and beverage scene. They involve being guided around an area or neighborhood, going into shops and restaurants to try various foods, and hearing both about the foods themselves and how they fit into the city’s culture.
Purchase tickets online prior to attending a food tour, after which you are given instructions on where to meet the day of your tour. Once everyone has gathered, a Chicago food tour typically starts off with group introductions as well as a bit of background information given about the city.
The food tour guide proceeds by leading you through a number of narrated stops (walking or riding, depending on the tour). These stops can be anything from a food truck, to the back room of a butcher shop, to a walk-up counter, or to a real sit down restaurant. This all depends on the type of food tour that you have selected.
At each stop you will try a specific kind of food or drink, and the guide will explain why this place or food was chosen and how it fits into the local culture. Every food tour is unique in that the different guides running the same tour can have a different spin on their conversations and teachings.
Additional planning tip: Chicago Food Tours are a combination of both trying different foods, and learning about the city and restaurant in which the tour is being hosted. This is why we think they’re so great!
Chicago Food Planet: Navy Pier Signature Food Tour
Though there are literally dozens of tours and food tour companies to choose from, our absolute favorite Chicago food tour for families is the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour hosted by Chicago Food Planet! Having had the chance to experience this food tour with our three kids, ages 8, 10, and 12, we all admit that this was one of the best things that we did during our 3 day Chicago itinerary!
Chicago Food Planet’s Navy Pier Signature Food Tour features iconic Chicago foods in an entirely family-friendly atmosphere! In addition, the commentary is entertaining for both kids and adults. The featured foods also appeal to children more than many of the other Chicago Food Tours.
General highlights of the Chicago Food Planet Navy Pier Signature Planet include:
- Chicago Food Planet is the exclusive food tour operator at Navy Pier!
- The Navy Pier Signature Food Tour is is a 2-hour, walking, guided food tour.
- It departs at various times throughout the day for added convenience.
- This tour is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and is wheelchair accessible.
- The Navy Pier Signature Food Tour features small groups of no more than 12 guests per guide.
- Tours happen rain, shine, or snow!
First stop: America’s Burger & Dog
The first stop on the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour is family-owned America’s Burger & Dog! Here you are given a iconic Chicago hot dog to enjoy. You and the kids are gonna love it!
If you’re not familiar with a Chicago-style hot dog, let me introduce you! An authentic Chicago-style hot dog includes:
- All-beef hot dog
- Poppy seed bun
- Yellow mustard
- Chopped white onions
- Sweet pickle relish
- A dill pickle spear
- Tomato slice
- Pickled sport peppers
- Celery salt
Each food tour guest gets 1 whole Chicago hot dog.
Second stop: Brown Sugar Bakery
The second stop is a walk-up counter of fabulous local artisan cupcakes! Opened by Chicago local Stephanie Hart in 2004, Brown Sugar Bakery gained a humongously strong fan base who love her delicious sweets. Brown Sugar Bakery was awarded America’s Best Bakery on Steve Harvey in 2013.
Each food tour guest gets 1 whole cupcake.
Third stop: Tiny Tavern
One of our favorite stops on the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour is local Chicago favorite, Tiny Tavern! The mouth watering fried Wisconsin cheese curds (with Chipolte Mayo dipping sauce), is the perfect combination with the optional beer that is an additional cost at this stop.
Each food tour guest gets five deep-friend cheese curds and their own dipping sauce.
Fourth stop: Giordano’s Pizza and Garrett’s Popcorn
Home to the now-famous traditional Chicago stuffed pizza, Giordano’s is the last stop on the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour!
You will feel like royalty walking into Giordano’s past all of the other people waiting in line for this every-popular restaurant. The pizza, which normally takes 45 minutes to bake, is perfectly timed to come out of the oven 5 minutes after the group’s arrival at your reserved table.
Finally, when given a fresh bag of iconic Garrett’s Popcorn as the last parting gift, you will wonder if life can get any better than this!
Each food tour guest get 1 or 2 slices of deep-dish pizza and a small bag of Garrett’s Mix flavored Garrett’s Popcorn.
Chicago Food Tours: Why This is Our Top Choice for Families
Along with several other things to do at Navy Pier Chicago with kids, I highly recommend the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour! Why? Because this is an exciting activity for both kids AND adults, and everyone deserves to have fun on vacation, right?
Here’s why we think that the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour out-does the dozens of other Chicago Food Tours in appealing to families with kids.
Kid-friendly foods and stops.
Hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, and cupcakes? Need I say more? Your kids will look forward to each and every stop without the worry of having to dodge any food that may be too fancy!
Welcoming and entertaining tour guides.
The Chicago Food Planet guides are amazing and family-friendly! Their welcoming attitude and the way that they enthusiastically converse with the group keeps everyone, including kids, engaged in the fun!
Shorter duration than other food tours.
Some Chicago food tours can last as long as 4 hours. We felt that this 2 hour food tour suited our family of young children perfectly! Likewise, the quick pace of the tour left no room for boredom or complaining.
Minimal walking required.
The Navy Pier Signature Food Pier takes place entirely on Navy Pier. Because of this, the food tour requires minimal walking, which may be appealing to families with young children. During my girls weekend in Austin, however, our food tour required us to walk several blocks.
Bathrooms are readily available.
Because there is minimal walking required, there is always a bathroom nearby. If you or your child needs to use the restroom, it is very easy to catch back up with the group.
Can be adapted to be completely indoors during inclement weather.
When the weather is nice, the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour guides leads the group outdoors for part of the commentary. If there is rain or snow, however, this tour can be adapted to stay completely indoors.
No wait-time at restaurants.
Chicago Food Planet works in conjunction with the Navy Pier restaurants in offering this tour. Each restaurant has seating set aside for the entire tour group and has the food readily available upon your arrival. No ordering. No waiting.
Bustling and noise-filled atmosphere.
Navy Pier is a bustling, family-friendly atmosphere that is filled with families and children. No one is judging if your child cries or acts out (nor should they ever be!).
Most often, family travel involves traveling on a budget. The price of a Chicago Food Planet tour includes the guide, the commentary, and all of the advertised food and beverage, plus taxes. Gratuity for the tour guide is the only thing that is extra.
We feel that the price is more than fair for the fun, entertainment, and food that is provided!
- Adult = $50 (no alcohol)
- Adult VIP = $55 (includes 1 drink)
- Youth = $35 (12 and under)
Does not involve a lot of alcohol.
Several Chicago Food Tours are advertised as Happy Hour hour tours and/or beer and wine tastings. They are specifically designed around incorporating cocktails into the food being offered.
There is only 1 stop on the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour where getting a beer is an option (Tiny Tavern). The fact that this tour does not involve a lot of alcohol adds to its family-friendly appeal.
Have you tried Chicago Food Tours before? Let us know in a comment below!
If you like our article on Chicago Food Tours: Which One is Best For Families, click here to check out our Related posts:
- Top 5 Kid-Friendly Downtown Chicago Restaurants that Your Family Will Love
- A Complete Chicago 3-Day Itinerary for Families
- Top 10 Things to do at Navy Pier Chicago with Kids
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