10 Things to Do While You’re in Chicago for GFTC

10 Things to Do While You’re in Chicago for GFTC

Next month we’re holding the first Global Food Tourism Conference in Chicago, and if you’re one of the many marketers, business owners and operators, or vendors headed to Chicago for the event, you may be looking for additional fun activities to do while you’re in town. Below are some of our favorite ideas for you to consider, along with some special deals just for you!

1. Take a Chicago Food Tour and Beer Tour


After all, you are in Chicago to celebrate Food Tourism, might as well partake in some foodie travel & food while you’re here!

Top among our picks for food and drink related tours of some of the off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods in the city are Chicago Food Planet Tours and Chicago Beer Experience Tours. Chicago Food Planet Food Tours is the original, local food tour company operated by Food Tour Pros President Shane Kost and Chicago Beer Experience was founded and run by GFTC Panelist Christopher “Bruce” White.

Both tours offer walks, tastes, sights and flavors in historic, savory neighborhoods within Chicago providing you a local’s foodie and drink experience.

PLUS: All tours are 25% off for GFTC attendees. Simply enter or mention the code GFTCFOODIE when purchasing your tickets online or over the phone from either tour websites listed below.

For more info on Chicago Food Planet Tours, visit:

For more info on Chicago Beer Experience Tours, visit:

2. Take an Architecture Tour


Get on a boat or get on your feet and explore some of the most iconic buildings in the city. A number of Chicago Architecture Boat Cruises will take you on a tour with spectacular views from the river, while others will take you walking down the street. For more information on Chicago architecture tours visit the Chicago Architecture Foundation website!

3. See a Show


Chicago is ripe for theater, comedy and more with a huge variety of venues throughout the city including The Apollo Theater, Steppenwolf, Royal George Theatre and The Second City to name a few. Below are links to some of the calendars of popular shows and venues in the area.

Steppenwolf »

The Second City »

Royal George Theatre »

The Apollo Theater »

Chicago Shakespeare Theater »

Goodman Theatre »

Blue Man Group »

The Neo-Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind »

4. Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo


Check out one of the oldest, and few FREE zoos in the country, just a short couple-block walk from the Old Town neighborhood and Hotel Lincoln.

5. Rent a Divvy Bike


Divvy bike stations, the official shared bike program in Chicago, are located all throughout the Chicago area in neighborhoods big and small. Why not pick up a bike and explore the city on wheels? We especially recommend a lovely ride along the Lake Michigan Bike Path!

6. Enjoy the Blues


Chicago is known for Blues music, and if you’re looking to catch some great musicians then you’re in luck! Be sure to check out some of the legendary Blues bars around town including Rosa’s Lounge, B.L.U.E.S., Kingston Mines and Buddy Guy’s Legends. As an added bonus, if you’re looking to get the historical angle on Blues in Chicago, visit and tour Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation settled in one of the most famous Chess Records studios at 2120 S. Michigan Ave.

7. Walk / Bike The 606 Trail


Got that Divvy? Or got some feet? The weather should still be great for a walk along one of the newest parks and trails in the city— The 606. Called The 606 because all Chicago zip codes start with 606, the trail spans the Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Logan Square neighborhoods connecting all the great restaurants, bars and shops along the way. For a few ideas of what to do off the trail check out The 606 Picks from Chicago Food Planet’s blog or Time-Out Chicago’s Intensive Guide!

8. Visit One of The Many Museums


It’s no secret that Chicago is home to some great museums from the Art Institute and the Field Museum, to the Chicago History Museum and the Adler Planetarium. Visit some of the museum sites below to check for touring or special exhibits in October!

Field Museum of Natural History »

Museum of Science and Industry »

Art Institute of Chicago »

Museum of Contemporary Art »

Adler Planetarium »

Chicago History Museum »

Museum of Contemporary Photography »

9. Relax With A Movie

If you find yourself ready to relax you could always take in a movie, and there’s no better time because the Chicago International Film Festival will be taking place at AMC River East. The 51st annual festival will be in mid-swing by the time you’re in town and with over 130 films to choose from, you’re sure to find something unique to enjoy (there may even be a Q&A with the director!). Or check out what’s playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center downtown or the Music Box Theatre nestled in Lakeview.

10. Explore Old Town & Gold Coast Neighborhoods

​Finally, we say just go for a walk through the Old Town & Gold Coast neighborhoods where you’ll already be since the Global Food Tourism Conference is being held at The Second City in Old Town, adjacent to the Gold Coast. There are tons of shops, restaurants, iconic buildings and more. And if you’d like a more structured tour of the area through food, don’t forget that Chicago Food Planet Tours offers events in the area everyday.

We hope this list will help some of you plan some extra entertainment around traveling for GFTC. We can’t wait to see you there!


Photo Credits:

The Windy City‘ by Kevin Dinkel via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lincoln Park Zoo‘ by Wildcat Dunny via Flickr under CC BY 2.0

Chicago Divvy Bike Sharing (Clinton/Madison)‘ by Tony Webster via Flickr under CC BY 2.0

Buddy Guy‘ by Mararie via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

The 606 Park / Bloomingdale Trail – Chicago, IL‘ by John Zacherle via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Chicago Field Museum‘ by a2gemma via Flickr under CC BY 2.0

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