Pride Month Events: Where to Travel for Pride Celebrations
The beauty of Pride Month is that it gives widespread visibility to the marginalized LGBTQ+ community and allows its members to express themselves at events that are supportive of their lifestyle. It’s significant to note that Pride events are about more than having a good time. These events help raise millions of dollars so that LGBTQ+ businesses can survive and thrive, all the while commemorating and giving respect to the Stonewall Riots — the demonstrations that sparked the LGBTQ+ movement in 1969.
With Pride Month in our midst, it’s a great time to start planning a trip to a destination that celebrates equal rights and LGBTQ+ love. We surveyed travelers on VacationRenter to find out where they thought the safest and friendliest destinations are for LGBTQ+ travel. Read on to learn more!
7 U.S. Cities to Visit for Pride Month
Because Pride events were mostly virtual these last two years due to the pandemic, there’s all the more excitement this year, and these cities are already setting plans in motion for the entire month of June.
1. New York City, New York
We have to kick off LGTBQ+ celebrations in New York City, because this is where the Stonewall Riots instigated the very movement. The City’s Pride theme this year is called “Unapologetically Us” where Lil’ Kim and Kim Petras will be performing at NYC Pride’s Pride Island. Tickets are available for a variety of packages and access. On June 26, there will also be the annual march: a tradition that has since become a civil rights demonstration.
One of the best hotspots for dive bars and dance clubs in the area is Avant Gardener in East Williamsburg. Of course, the Stonewall Inn will always be the best place to salute the movement, so here’s hoping you can get in! There will also be some drag shows and cabaret performances in the city, so keep your eyes peeled.
2. Denver, Colorado
Three years after the Stonewall riots, Jane Dundee, Gerald Gerash, Terry Mangan, Mary Sassatelli, and Lynn Tamlin set out to create a grassroots movement in Denver to expose the unjust treatment of gay men by police. At the time, gays were being singled out for arrest for simply dancing or kissing. The five colleagues formed the Gay Coalition of Denver (GCD). Denver is also home to the First Unitarian Church that hosted one of the world’s first same-sex weddings in 1975.
This year Denver Pride — which is proudly produced by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community center of Colorado — will be celebrating its 47th anniversary. It’s the third-largest Pride Festival in the country and returns this year for the first time since the pandemic. There will be lots of celebrations in store including a parade, Dyke March, Pride Rally, and even a Pride 5K Run. More than 200 vendors will be on tap, as well as three sound stages. The festivities seek to fundraise for the LGBTQ+ center, which helps to provide service for the community.
Tracks Nightclub professes itself to be “Denver’s premiere LGBTQIA+ nightclub,” and is considered to be one of the city’s most popular dance spots in the animated Rino District.
It’s also important to patron the beautiful Blush & Blu — one of the few lesbian bars left in the city that’s still operation even after the pandemic due to such a large amount of support throughout the community.
3. San Francisco, California
San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community first came together in the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, the area of North Beach was the most well-known area for the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, Mona’s on Union Street was the city’s most popular lesbian bar — established in 1934 during the end of prohibition, and remaining open until the 1950s — with a host of cross-dressing waitresses, not to mention entertainer Gladys Bentley.
Today, one of the best neighborhoods to celebrate Pride all year-round is the Castro District — which is considered to be one of the country’s most prominent LGBTQ+ destinations. This acclaimed neighborhood also happens to be the home of prominent LGBTQ+ rights and social activist Cleve Jones. The Mix on 18th Street is considered one of the most diverse bars in the Castro.
The Twin Peaks Cavern — also known as “The Glass Coffin” — is one of the first gay bars in the United States. This bar was also the first in the Bay Area to have large-paned windows that face the street, as a way of signaling to the world that patrons refused to hide from anyone.
4. Los Angeles, California
LGTBQ+ life in Los Angeles was lived on the down-low from the 1820s all the way to the 1970s, primarily existing as a subculture on the fringes. Bars and private residences housed meetings for LGBTQ+ communities to socialize. The entertainment industry collaborated to bring forth a safe and open working environment for performers and those who worked behind the scenes.
When it comes to painting the town red, A Club Called Rhonda is the longest-running Black gay club and is one of the first Black disco clubs in the country. There’s also The New Jalisco Bar — a Latinx dive bar haven that offers drinks, dancing, and a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community.
5. Phoenix, Arizona
Back in 1981, a group of LGBTQ+ activists in Phoenix put together the first Pride March from the downtown streets of the city to the state Capitol building. The march was a political one, in hopes of bringing awareness to gay rights in the city. Almost a decade later, a group of volunteers joined forces to create and collaborate on the annual Pride Festival, this year taking place on on October 15 & 16.
At the same time, the Phoenix Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee helped to establish the non-profit organization known as Phoenix Pride, hosting a pride event on June 12th of this year.
Charlie’s in the Melrose District is hailed for its award-winning drag shows, cheap drinks, and plenty of outdoor lounging. Bar1 on 16th Street is famed for its specialty cocktails including the Bourbon Berry Lemonade.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Pride — previously known as the Atlanta Gay Pride Festival — was established in 1971 and, while it may seem surprising, is one of the oldest and even largest pride festivals in the country. The Atlanta Pride Committee prides itself on being Georgia’s oldest non-profit agency that serves the state’s LGBTQ+ community.
For the first time since the pandemic, Pride is back to in-person festivities in Atlanta and will be in full swing later this year, from October 7 to 9 at Piedmont Park! This particular Pride celebration boasts as being the biggest gathering of LGBTQ+ people in the Southeast and this two-day festival has music, art, food, and merchandise basically on tap. There will also be a lot of educational and social events happening over the course of Pride that make it an interactive and inclusive experience.
7. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City held its very first Gay and Lesbian Pride March in 1990 on the 21st anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. This year, Pride is coming back with a bang in Salt Lake City. The city wants to make up for the lost pandemic years so during the week of May 29th to June 5th, it is adding more festival space, food vendors, and a longer parade route to boot.
There will be over a dozen activities to keep you excited and entertained, including the Pride Festival, the parade, and the Rainbow Rally & Glow March as the main attractions. Additional events on tap include:
The Drag Queen Sunday Brunch
The Retro Sun-Day Dance Party
The 5K Family Fun Run
Memorial Day Pride Picnic
But that’s not all — there will also be a LGTBQ+ Film Screening including Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael Barnett’s very important sports documentary, Changing the Game. The film highlights one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time: the need for transgender inclusion in sports.
5 International Destinations to Visit for Pride Month
Our survey took an international turn as we asked travelers what countries they believed were the safest for LGBTQ+ travel. Here’s what they ranked as the top five LGBTQ-friendly regions outside the United States.
1. The Netherlands
The Amsterdam Gay Pride celebration will be coming on to the scene from July 30th to August 7th. Of course, Amsterdam always boasts on throwing one of the greatest Pride events in the entire world. Main events will include huge circuit parties as well as the famous Canal Parade through the historic Amsterdam Unesco canals.
The Pride Park opening party will be in full swing, in addition to highlights like the Milkshake Festival and a two-day outdoor dance party. To close out the week, all are welcome to end it with a bang with two final nights at Funhouse at the Gashouder Complex for some nightlife fun.
Canada is considered one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the entire world. In fact, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in the Great North are known to be the most extensive. Same-sex relationships and marriages are honored in the same way that heterosexual relationships and marriages are: they get the same benefits and the same pension. Same-sex and LGBTQ+ couples can also adopt children if they wish.
Vancouver is considered the most LGBTQ-friendly city in Canada. Davie Village — nicknamed the “gayborhood” — is home to the chic Opus Hotel, a top choice for accommodations celebrating gay weddings, located within close quarters to gay bars and clubs.
England is one of the most welcoming and entertaining countries for LGBTQ+ visitors. There are lots of loud and proud Pride festivals happening all over, with hundreds of queer pubs and establishments as well as gay-friendly hotels and accommodations.
London is considered the most rainbow-loving city in the UK, with a vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife and social circuit. Anyone visiting this world-class city needs to go to Heaven — the city’s first gay superclub — at least once. You might even happen to spot the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus living it up at this London hotspot in Charing Cross. The Soho district is so the way to go for London’s LGBTQ scene where you will find a splash of restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs galore.
The London Pride Parade will be happening this June with free festivities in the capital city’s famous Trafalgar Square, the West End, as well as throughout the city.
Helsinki Pride Week is happening from June 27 to July 3. The capital city of Finland curates the largest cultural and human rights event for the country’s gender and sexual minorities. The whole city gets involved and there will be a week-long series of cultural events, exhibitions, demonstrations, and parties to partake and participate in that will make for a profound experience.
Some exciting events include:
The parade which starts off at the city’s Senate Square
The after party
Concerts and artists
The closing party
All will be happening close to the downtown core, so stay close to this area to ensure you won’t miss out on anything!
Party it up at Kaivopuisto Park where there will be live stages, food trucks, DJs, dancing and drag shows galore. There will also be lectures and discussions on current and significant topics as well as Youth Pride which caters to participants who are between the ages of 13 and 25.
Spain prides itself on being one of the first countries in the world to legalize gay marriage all the way back in 2005, with Madrid remaining at the forefront of LGBTQ+ life in the country.
Pride will be in full swing at a plethora of places throughout the vibrant, vivacious country of Spain this year. Some local Pride events to pursue include:
Madrid Pride gets the title for being Europe’s largest gay pride every year, and it’s also considered as one of the biggest in the world. In addition to the street celebrations, the statewide demonstration is the main event — not to mention outdoor concerts that will be jiving on six different stages, expositions, parties, and plenty of culture as well as sports. You can get in on all the activities which will be celebrated in and around the Chueca neighborhood in downtown Madrid.
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