DOWNTOWN — The Taste of Chicago is returning to Grant Park this week with dozens of familiar food stands and food trucks as well as 17 newcomers.
The big annual food festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Wednesday and runs through 9 p.m. Sunday in Chicago's front yard. Music headliners include pop star Alessia Cara and legendary R&B group the O'Jays.
Here's what to know if you go:
What's new this year?
For the first time, the Taste will feature a "street art and graffiti alley" with live paintings by local artists, a "Stomping Grounds" with dance performances, a "SummerDance" with live music and a "March of the Puppets" daily procession.
On Thursday the "Sabor de Chicago" will celebrate Chicago's Latino community with live music and other activities.
Where's all the stuff?
Per usual, the festival is in Grant Park, and most of the vendors are lined up along Columbus Drive. Food trucks are grouped near Columbus Drive and Harrison Street. Here's a map of the restaurants and festivities:
What else is there?
The festival will once again feature pop-up restaurants from local celebrity chefs such as Parachute's Beverly Kim and John Clark and Paul Fehribach of Big Jones. Tickets to the "Celebrity Chef du Jour" cost $45 ($30 for Saturday brunch) and are on sale via the Taste website.
Music acts include headliners at the Petrillo Music Shell as well as daily themed sets at the Bud Light Stage on Balbo Avenue. Lawn seats are free, but tickets for Petrillo seats are for sale here. Here's the full lineup:
5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Petrillo Music Shell: Alessia Cara with opener Eryn Allen Kane. General seats are $19, and premium seats are $32.
5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Petrillo: Café Tacvba with opener ¡Esso! Afrojam Funkbeat and Los Vicios de Papa. General seats are $22, and premium seats are $50.
5:30 p.m. Friday at the Petrillo: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals with opener Twin Peaks. General seats are $22, and premium seats are $50.
4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Petrillo: Passion Pit with opener The Kickback. General seats are $22, and premium seats are $50.
4:30 p.m. Sunday at Petrillo: The O'Jays with opener Maurice Jackson's Independents. General seats are $22, and premium seats are $50.
Bud Light Stage schedule:
Wednesday — R&B/Hip Hop Day:
Noon: Dej Monae
1:20 p.m.: Maurice Jackson's Independents
2:40 p.m.: ShowYouSuck
4 p.m.: Pinqy Ring
5:20 p.m.: The Boy Illinois
6:40 p.m.: Justin Ruff
Thursday — Latin Music Day:
Noon: Los Vicios de Papá
1:20 p.m.: Vivian Garcia
2:40 p.m.: The Luna Blues Machine
4 p.m.: Mariachi Monumental
5:20 p.m.: Contrabanda Live
6:40 p.m.: Afinca'o
Friday — Folk and Country Day:
Noon: Michael Riser Band
1:20 p.m.: Clique James
2:40 p.m.: Swingabilly Slim
4 p.m.: Jonas Friddle & The Majority
5:20 p.m.: The Railway Gamblers
6:40 p.m.: Jeff Givens & The Mugshot Saints
Saturday — Rock The Taste!
11 a.m.: Steve Ramone & The Pensioners
Noon: Blood Red Boots
1:20 p.m.: Oceans Over Airplanes
2:40 p.m.: Aeraco
4 p.m.: The Gold Web
5:20 p.m.: Bailiff
6:40 p.m.: Split Single
Sunday — Cornucopia of Music!
11 a.m.: Laura Doherty & The Heartbeats
Noon: Tovi Khali
1:20 p.m.: Aleph Beatz
2:40 p.m.: Shuba
4 p.m.: The Rad Trads
5:20 p.m.: Linsey Alexander
6:40 p.m.: The Waco Brothers
Is there booze?
There will be a pop-up "beer hall" and a "spirit lounge" led by CH Distillery near Buckingham Fountain.
How much are tickets?
Admission is free, but tickets for food and drinks are sold in strips of 14 for $10. Ticket sales end at 8:30 p.m. every day of the festival. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
How do I get there?
Public transportation is encouraged, but parking is available at the nearby Millennium Park garages on Columbus Drive.
Bikes can be parked at various locations along the perimeters of Grant and Millennium parks.
Why is traffic so terrible?
Columbus Drive is closed from Roosevelt Road to Monroe Street and Jackson Boulevard is closed from Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Avenue. Congress Parkway is also closed from Columbus to the Congress semi-circle off Michigan Ave. The closures will last until about 4 p.m. Monday.
The Nos. 2, 6, 10, J14, 26 and 28 buses have been rerouted to accommodate the Taste.
What can't I bring?
The following items are prohibited:
• Alcoholic beverages
• Barbecue grills with open flames
• Fireworks or explosives
• Illegal substances and weapons
• Pop-up tents or canopies
• Beach/picnic umbrellas
• Flag poles
• Pets — except service animals
Folding chairs are allowed on the lawn but not in the Petrillo seating area.