Farmers markets are known for their colorful arrays of fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers, but there’s more to them than local produce and bunches of blooms: Chicago farmers markets are also culinary hotspots in their own right.
Markets around the Windy City offer a wide variety of deliciously prepared dishes, from gourmet grilled cheese creations to Filipino street food. And with so many spread out through the city, you’re never far from a quick bite or a picnic lunch to bring along to the beach or park.
As farmers markets begin to open in early May, here are the best food-serving spots in Chicago to explore this season. Since vendors often change from week to week, the cuisine is always a surprise, but one thing’s for sure: You should definitely come hungry.
Green City Market Lincoln Park
Photo: Erika Vernon Photography
Just a mile away from Ambassador Chicago, this farmers market is nestled on the south edge of Lincoln Park. It’s known as the farmers market for good eats — especially on Saturdays. You’ll often find yourself among more people hanging around noshing than are actually browsing the fresh ingredients. Visitors can choose from crêpes, grilled cheese sandwiches, smoothies, pizza, and more.
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7am to 1pm; greencitymarket.org
City Market at Daley Plaza
This is the longest-running farmers market in the city, and it’s the perfect place to swing by when you’re hitting the sites downtown. They haven’t announced their exact vendors for 2019, but chances are, Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese will be there serving up gooey sandwiches once again this year.
Thursdays, 7am to 2pm; chicago.gov
Andersonville Farmers Market
Photo: David Oakes
Come up to Andersonville for the unique shopping, and stay for dinner at the farmers market. Even though it opens a bit too late for lunch, it’s still worthy of a mention thanks to its seemingly endless options. Newcomers this year include Black Cat Kitchen (they make grain bowls and sandwiches), Lost Larson (a new Swedish bakery in the neighborhood), and Downstate Donuts (the perfect dessert to cBlacap off your visit). There are also returning favorites, such as Pecking Order, which serves up Filipino street food.
Wednesdays, 3pm to 8pm; andersonville.org
Logan Square Farmers Market
With so many amazing restaurants in Logan Square, it makes sense that their farmers market is packed with equally exciting culinary offerings. Can’t-miss eats include snow cones from Jo Snow, German-inspired fare from The Radler, and baked treats from Letizia’s Natural Bakery. And don’t forget to grab some dog treats from Mushyface Cookie Company — they’re the perfect edible souvenir for your four-legged BFF.
Sundays, 10am to 3pm; logansquarefarmersmarket.org
SOAR Farmers Market
Photo: Madeline Obrzut, Streeterville Organization of Active Residents
Tucked in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Streeterville, a trip to this farmers market is the perfect addition to a museum visit. While this year’s vendors have yet to be announced, last year, visitors could find food by popular restaurants like Marisol and Bennison’s Bakery.
Tuesdays, 7am to 2pm; soarchicago.org
Lincoln Square Farmers Market
Not to be confused with Green City Market Lincoln Park, this farmers market is another excellent stop not far from Ambassador Chicago. Come for the authentic tamales or fresh-baked pizza, and finish the meal with pie from Bang Bang or piping hot mini donuts. If you come on a Thursday evening, head into the square for adult beverages and free live music.
Tuesdays, 7am to 1pm, and Thursdays, 4pm to 8pm; lincolnsquare.org
Featured photo: the regeneration via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY
- Story by Alice Oglethorpe