Chicago is an amazing place to visit, and you can come here for all kinds of cultural experiences as well as amazing museums and more. You will probably also have planned a lot of fine dining experiences for your stay. If you were unaware, Chicago is also a great place to find delicious street food vendors on nearly every corner. Most places in the city offer access to food trucks and street vendor dining if you know where to look. These locations offer some of the best food around, and you can mix them into your daily plans alongside your plans for fine dining restaurants.
The first thing that you should do when you land in Chicago is make sure that you have your luggage taken care of. Your bags can be a big burden to you during your travels, and you will want to be sure that you are not lugging around your suitcases while you try to visit food trucks and street food stalls. Leave your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Chicago, and you will have so much more fun in town if you are not worried about your bags or personal items.
Once your bags are safe and secure, you will be able to have lots more fun as you find the perfect street food for any taste preference!
The best street food vendors in Chicago
If you have arrived via Union Station or have been dropped off at your hotel after flying in, you might already be hungry. There are many great street food options not far from these locations, but you might also want to look at the types of food that you can get and make the choice to head a bit farther away for your street food experience. With so many distinct neighborhoods here, it can get a little confusing, so check out our Chicago neighborhood guide to learn more about these areas.
Quesabirria Jalisco Tacos
Located on Pershing Road or parked somewhere in a nearby area, this food truck offers you access to some of the best tacos in the city. This is one of the best food trucks around, and you will be glad that you walked around a little bit to find this location. This is one of the friendliest street vendors in the city as well, which is a nice benefit.
JJ Thai Street Food
This is one of the most delicious Thai trucks in the city, and you will love everything that is on the menu here. The crispy pork belly with basil rice is a really great choice here, and the portions for all the meals are excellent value for the money. This cart is usually located on Chicago Ave, which is a great spot for shopping as well as food.
The Happy Lobster
If you love lobster or a lobster roll, this is the right place to visit. This truck is located on Clinton Street, and you will enjoy everything on the menu here. This is one of the only fast food trucks that sells Lobster-based foods in the city. For those who love these classic dishes, this is an excellent place to get a meal.
Revival Food Hall
This location is really unique and the perfect place to head to if you are not sure what kind of food you are looking for. The Furious Spoon Ramen is a great choice here as well as a gelato place and some barbeque trucks. This is a downtown location, which makes it a good stop on your way to lots of other adventures and museums. The Revival Food Hall is a really iconic and fun place to check out if you love street food.
If you love a varied menu, you will love this food truck. It is located on Belmont, and it is clustered near some other Chicago-style hot dog stands and different Italian beef stands. This is a great place for a breaded steak sandwich, a Doner Box, and even Poutine. For some German flair, try the currywurst. If you have never given German food a try, there is no reason to wait! This Chicago, IL location will offer you an authentic meal experience, and if you're a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, the truck decor will blow you away.
Bricks on Wheels
Chicago-style pizza and deep-dish pizza are steps away when you are in most of the street food hot spots in the city. Bricks on Wheels are a chain of regular brick-and-mortar stores that also have branched out to food trucks. The menu here is extensive, and you will find that this is one of the most noticeable and interesting-looking food trucks in the city. You will love the authentic and wood-fired pizza as well as the deep-dish pizza that you can get here.
If you love hot dogs and sandwiches, you need to head to Relish. This is one of the best locations for a meatball sandwich, Italian beef sandwich, and everyone's favorite Chicago-style hot dog. This truck is located in Millenium Park due to new rules that hot dog stands can't be parked on the corner anymore. This is a great place for fast food that doesn't feel like fast food. Choose from various hot dog styles here that are just as special as the traditional Chicago-style hot dog.
Elotes in the park
Elotes are traditional Mexican street food, and you can get these yummy corn cobs in almost all the parks in the city. These spots might also offer fried plantains or even fried chicken in some cases. There are spots to try this delicious meal in Albany Park, Irving Park, Lincoln Park, along California Ave, and sometimes along Michigan Avenue. The street vendors who offer this treat can be quite mobile, so you might need to wander around Lincoln Park or other areas where they are usually parked to find them. Any of these parks offer some of the best hiking in Chicago if you want to burn off some calories.
Monkey King Jianbing
This unique location offers fast food of various kinds. You can get crepes, waffles, fried chicken, and traditional Chinese food here, all on the same menu. This truck is usually located right outside Chinatown, which is one of the most fun areas to hang out in Chicago, IL. This is fast food that is made with love, and all of the offerings on the menu are delicious.
Where to find the best Chicago street food spots
The Loop Area
On the weekend, you will want to head to The Loop area. This is a place where various street food trucks will congregate offering you access to yummy donuts, delicious breaded steak sandwich options, and more. You will love this location on a sunny day because the area around The Loop is really picturesque, and the atmosphere is always lively.
Maxwell Street Market
The Maxwell Street Market is an ideal place to find all kinds of street food vendors. You will want to check out the food that this market is best known for: the Maxwell Street Polish sausage complete with grilled onions. These Polish sausages and grilled onions are definitely famous. It's exceedingly good and puts a new spin on the iconic Chicago-style hot dog.
Humboldt Park is a great place to enjoy Puerto Rican food. This is a Puerto Rican neighborhood, so you will be getting food that is made with love, and that is truly delicious. The entire experience of eating in this area is really enjoyable and you will want to make sure that you put this stop on your list of things to do when you are enjoying street food in Chicago.
Randolph Street is a great choice if you want Chicago-style donuts, burgers, coffees, and more. This is also a great place to find trucks that offer authentic Italian beef sandwiches. Randolph Street is one of the best locations for street food that is all made with classic Chicago-style foods.
Clark St is the right place to look for the Big Bomb Sandwiches that are offered at a truck here as well as some of the best empanadas around. The Malbec Beef Empanadas are the best you will find anywhere, and you will love having so many trucks clustered in the Clark Street area for your perusal.
Street food festivals in Chicago
These food festivals are very fun, and you will get to see a lot of trucks all in one place. You will not have to wander from Ohio St to Clark St to Humboldt Park and can just walk to one area to try out lots of delicious food in one place! These events usually go on for a few days at a time as well.
Taste of Lincoln Avenue
This event takes place in July. You will enjoy access to a trade show as well as local favorites who have set up stalls at the event. Get access to Maxwell Street Polish sausages as well as Mexican street food and much more. If you have been looking for that classic Italian beef sandwich, a really good hot dog, or some delicious Puerto Rican roast pork, this is the festival for you.
Tacos y Tamales Festival
Also taking place in July, this event is all about Mexican street food. There is also an art show at the same time as this event. The festival takes place on Peoria Street, and there is good parking nearby if you have a rental car or are driving into the city. Make sure to try the fried plantains with your tacos!
Big Greek Food Fest
Another summer food event, this is a must-visit if you love Greek food of all kinds. This is a large and boisterous cultural event that takes place each year at Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church. While you won't find Maxwell Street Polish sausages here or Italian beef sandwiches, you will be able to try all kinds of Greek food that you would normally have to head to Greece to sample.
Saturday Night Food Truck - Stadium Street Eats
This event takes place in nearby Lonville, IL. The event is in August, and you can count on lots of delicious food trucks showing up here as well as fun events that take place alongside the street food offerings. It's a family-friendly event, so make sure to bring everyone.
Taylor Street Festa Italiana
Also an August event, this food festival happens in downtown Chicago. There is music, arts, crafts, and more to enjoy here as you try the finest street food in Chicago. Eat a hot dog, an Italian beef sandwich, or some delicious roast pork at this festival as you shop for art or listen to local musicians.
If you love to eat out and try new foods, you will need to head to Chicago. The food trucks in this city offer food from many cultures and locations, and you will be able to try out so many foods that you probably have never had before. There is something for everyone on offer in nearly every park location as well, so if you are not sure what you want to eat, you can head to the park to find lots of options all in one spot.
The first order of business before you start looking for food trucks is to make sure that you get your luggage into secure storage. You will feel so much better once you have your bags stored safely, and you will be able to have so much more fun as you wander the city trying new food options and finding all the various food trucks that you were hoping to eat at. Chicago, IL offers so much to see and do that you will want to have your hands free while you enjoy your trip.