15 Top Pride Parades and Celebrations in the U.S.

On June 28, 1969, in the New York City neighborhood of Greenwich Village, police raided a popular gay bar: the Stonewall Inn. Fed up with the frequent raids and harassment from law enforcement, both patrons and local residents began to fight back, leading to six days of protests and clashes between LGBTQ people and police.

The world-famous Stonewall built on years of LGBTQ activism. Similar homophobic and transphobic persecution by police had previously sparked other uprisings in the U.S., such as nearly three years earlier in San Francisco at Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, or a decade before in Los Angeles’ Cooper Do-nuts.

On the anniversary of Stonewall in 1970, activists held a march known as Christopher Street Liberation Day in New York to commemorate the uprising on that very street a year before. This parade drew thousands of marchers and prompted other cities to hold Pride events, which evolved into annual celebrations in June.

With many people traveling again, most in-person events are resuming across the country. U.S. News has compiled a list of the top destinations to celebrate Pride nationwide.

(Note: Some of the following activities, attractions and locations may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions, reservation requirements or mask mandates. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month commemorates the triumphs and tribulations of LGBTQ people, whether through parades, marches, workshops, memorials, art and music, or the many other forms these Pride celebrations take. It also brings awareness to ongoing issues within all the different communities that make up the LGBTQ acronym.

When is Pride Month?

In June 1999, former President Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. In 2009, when former President Barack Obama was in office, it became known as LGBT Pride Month. Today the nationally recognized observance throughout the month of June is referred to as LGBTQ+ Pride Month by President Joe Biden.

New York City: June 26

Every year New York City throws one of the biggest Pride celebrations in the world. In 2019, the city was chosen to host WorldPride, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and bringing an estimated 5 million people to New York to partake in its Pride events.

The theme of this year’s Pride celebration is “Unapologetically Us,” in acknowledgement of the struggles and resilience of LGBTQ communities.

Join revelers on the streets of Manhattan at the city’s signature Pride March, then celebrate with the community at many other Pride events and experiences over the course of the weekend. Attend PrideFest, the annual street fair; take your youngster to Youth Pride; or dance at Pride Island, the yearly two-day music festival.

Check out NYC Pride’s website for more information.

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Provincetown, Massachusetts: June 4

Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown, Massachusetts, is rich in history. This seaside town is the site where the Mayflower first landed in 1620 and serves as one of the oldest continuous art colonies in the U.S.

For more than half a century, the city has been hailed as an LGBTQ-friendly destination. Provincetown boasts plenty of gay bars, beaches and year-round Pride events to welcome LGBTQ travelers. One of the city’s famed events is the annual Pride Rally — accompanied by the “Sashay” to Tea dance event — that takes place in the heart of town.

Looking for other ways to celebrate Pride around the area? Enjoy food and drinks at the town’s longest-running drag brunch at Pilgrim House, or take a run or walk at the Feet Over Front Street 5K event on June 5.

Check out the Provincetown Business Guild’s website for more information.

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Philadelphia: June 5

Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” is another destination brimming with incredible history, food and culture.

This year’s Pride march — which is called “PHL Pride 50: Our Community, Our Joy” — celebrates the 50th anniversary of the city’s first Gay Pride Day. The format of the 2022 celebration is switching from a parade to a march focusing on the roots of LGBTQ activism in Philadelphia.

The march begins at Constitution Center, where more than 50 years ago demonstrations known as Annual Reminders sought equal rights for gay people. Along the march route, there are three pivotal stops. The first features a land acknowledgment for the Lenni Lenape people, who are the Indigenous inhabitants of Philadelphia. The second stop spotlights people of color and transgender orators. The third stop honors LGBTQ youth and elders at the former site of an iconic mural that depicted activist leader Gloria Casarez, the city’s first director of LGBT affairs.

At the conclusion of the march, you can celebrate at the PHL Pride Festival. Enjoy music, food and dance at this block party for all.

Looking for a way to jump-start your Pride celebration? Join partygoers on the Delaware River for the Big Pride Boat Party at the start of the weekend on June 3, or hit the dance floor at the Motherload Queer Pride Dance Party on June 4.

Check out PHL Pride Collective’s website for more information.

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Washington, D.C.: June 11

Washington, D.C., in many ways constitutes a living historical destination. The U.S. capital is the place where laws are made, presidents reside and museums sit at almost every turn; D.C. is also a place filled with LGBTQ history.

Founded in 1971 as the Gay Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. — and later changing its name to the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance — GLAA is one of the oldest continuously active LGBTQ civil rights organizations in the U.S. Another historic milestone for LGBTQ activism, the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, was held on D.C.’s National Mall in 1979.

What started as a one-day block party in 1975 has grown into a massive celebration at the annual Capital Pride Parade and Pride Festival, with a turnout of more than 400,000 participants in 2019. The 1.5-mile parade takes attendees through the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, acknowledging the LGBTQ history and evolution of the so-called “gayborhoods” of Washington. The subsequent Pride Festival, set for June 12, provides partygoers with three stages for entertainment as well as food, beverages and more than 300 advocacy exhibitors.

Looking for more to do? Dance the night away at ReMIX!, the city’s official Saturday night Pride party.

Check out Capital Pride Alliance’s website for more information.

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St. Petersburg, Florida: June 25

The peninsular city of St. Petersburg is surrounded by 244 miles of shoreline, along with 2,300 acres of public land dedicated to parks and recreational activities. Florida’s “Sunshine City” also hosts the biggest Pride parade in the state and one of the largest nationwide.

In 2019, more than 250,000 people attended the parade. The number is expected to be higher in 2022, since St. Pete Pride is celebrating its 20th year. The parade takes place along the Bayshore Drive corridor in the downtown area.

The party continues the following day at the “Pride in Grand Central” Street Carnival, which promises tons of food and entertainment such as street formers and carnival games. Other events to explore during the city’s monthlong Pride festivities include the audience singalong Queer-E-Okee on June 11 and Transtastic, an evening at the Museum of Fine Arts on June 28 celebrating transgender and nonbinary people.

Check out St. Pete Pride’s website for more information.

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Minneapolis and St. Paul: June 26

The Minneapolis — St. Paul metropolitan region has its own share of LGBTQ history. In 1975, Minneapolis became the first U.S. city to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance; since then the area has cultivated a reputation as one of the friendliest places for LGBTQ people in the country — and even earned the distinction of being one of the “gayest” U.S. cities. The Twin Cities’ massive Pride parade is one of the biggest in the Midwest and nationwide.

This year’s Pride march marks the 50th anniversary of Twin Cities Pride, which held its first parade in 1972. The march starts on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis and ends in Loring Park. Afterward, the celebrations continue at the Twin Cities Pride Festival, which starts the day before on June 25 and features music performances, a variety of food and drink, and LGBTQ vendors.

Other events happening during Pride Month in the Twin Cities area include the House of Pride Day Dance Party on June 11 and Pride Family Fun Day on June 19, which celebrates LGBTQ families.

Check out Twin Cities Pride’s website for more information.

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Columbus, Ohio: June 18

Ohio’s capital and biggest city is one of the fastest-growing and also most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the country. As such, Columbus holds the second-largest Pride march in the Midwest. Second only to Chicago Pride in the region, Columbus’ 2019 parade and festival drew an estimated 750,000 attendees.

With the theme “The People’s Pride: Pride Belongs to the People,” this year’s Pride intends to celebrate and recognize the LGBTQ communities across central Ohio.

The Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival features more than 200 vendors, two performance stages, a wellness area and a dance area.

Check out Stonewall Columbus’ website for more information.

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Chicago: June 26

With stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife and plenty of places to grab a bite, Chicago is a traveler favorite year-round — and yet another destination full of LGBTQ history and culture.

The Windy City is where the first gay rights organization in the U.S. was established: The Society of Human Rights was founded by Henry Gerber in 1924. His former home, the Henry Gerber House, has become the second National Historic Landmark designated for its association with LGBTQ history — Stonewall was the first. Chicago is fittingly home to the biggest Pride parade in the Midwest.

The parade on average sees more than 1 million spectators in attendance; it runs through the Boystown neighborhood, which in 1997 Chicago declared the “official gay village.” Expect to see colorful floats, decorated vehicles and marching bands celebrating Pride.

You’ll also find several other events taking place around the city during Pride Month. The weekend before the parade, for example, brings the lively Chicago Pride Fest. You can also take in the energetic atmosphere at Pride in the Park, the annual outdoor music festival held at Grant Park on June 25 and 26, or visit the “Dancing for Life: Moving through HIV/AIDS” exhibit on June 23 at the Chicago History Museum through the OUT at CHM initiative.

Check out Chicago Pride’s website for more information.

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New Orleans: June 11

New Orleans is a year-round LGBTQ-friendly destination where art, culture, food, music and history collide. The city is home to Café Lafitte in Exile, one of the oldest gay bars in the U.S., and Fat Monday Luncheon, one of Louisiana’s oldest organized LGBTQ events. Visitors will find plenty of things to do for Pride Month in the “Crescent City” — or at any other time of year.

Before the Pride parade commences, spend the day at the New Orleans PrideFest, a block party where guests can partake in food and entertainment. Travelers may like that the NOLA Pride Parade is not a daytime celebration but rather one at night, taking you through the Marigny and French Quarter neighborhoods. See extravagant floats, dance troupes and musical ensembles parading the streets — not to mention all the rainbow flags.

Looking for more to do after the parade? Drop by GrrlSpot Pride for a queer woman-friendly dance party or attend Lafitte’s Hangover Brunch. You can also celebrate Black Pride NOLA at the end of June, coinciding with the Essence Festival, which honors Black culture with music performances and more.

Check out New Orleans Pride’s website for more information.

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Houston: June 25

Houston’s nicknames reflect many aspects of the city’s history. Whether you know it as the “Bayou City” for its multiple rivers, “Space City” for its role in space exploration, or just simply “H-Town” for its culture and entertainment, Houston has it all for travelers. Bigger is better in the Lone Star State, and Pride events are no exception: Houston Pride is one of the largest such celebrations in both Texas and the U.S.

In 2019, almost 700,000 revelers attended the Houston Pride Festival and Parade. The 2022 theme is “The Beat Goes On,” as this year’s events will honor Houston’s LGBTQ pioneers who have persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout history.

The parade takes place at night around the downtown area by the city hall. Enjoy tricked-out vehicles and floats, with flags in rainbow and various other color combinations to represent different LGBTQ communities. Before the parade, be sure to stop by the concerts, vendor booths and more at the annual Houston LGBT+ Pride Celebration Festival, or see the latest fashion styles at the official Pride fashion show, Rock the Runway.

Check out Houston Pride 365’s website for more information.

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Denver: June 26

When you think of Denver, what probably springs to mind is the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park or the urban atmosphere of the city with its numerous breweries and museums. But Denver also has an energetic LGBTQ scene with multiple gay-friendly bars, hotels and Pride events.

The annual Denver PrideFest weekend is the largest Pride event in the Rocky Mountain region, typically drawing more than 500,000 participants to its festivities. The Denver Pride Parade allows visitors to enjoy marchers, dancers and floats down Colfax Avenue, the longest commercial street in the U.S.

The city has numerous other events to help you celebrate Pride amid its two-day festival. The Denver Dyke March & Rally, for example, marches down Colfax Avenue the day before the Pride parade, or you can run the Denver Pride 5K to raise money for LGBTQ programming at The Center on Colfax.

Check out Denver Pride’s website for more information.

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Los Angeles: June 12

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest populations of LGBTQ people in the U.S., and the city has played a huge role in gay rights history. One of the first lesbian publications, Vice Versa, was published in the late 1940s in Los Angeles. The first Supreme Court case that dealt with homosexuality and First Amendment rights — One Inc. v. Olesen in 1958 — centered on the Los Angeles government’s attempt to censor a gay magazine. LA was also at the epicenter of one of the earliest organized LGBTQ protests, after the police raid at The Black Cat Tavern in the Silver Lake neighborhood. It’s only fitting that the city holds one of the largest Pride parades in the country.

After more than 40 years in West Hollywood, the 2022 parade is moving back to the event’s original location in Hollywood and promises an even greater variety of activities to represent the broad spectrum of LGBTQ people. The parade’s theme is #LoveYourPride, which you can do as you enjoy floats, twirlers and performers at the festivities.

Relish Pride with other attendees at the 32-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park during the LA Pride in the Park celebration on June 11. Enjoy activities, music performances and exhibitors at the daylong, festival-style event.

Check out LA Pride’s website for more information.

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San Francisco: June 26

In the 1960s Life magazine deemed San Francisco the “gay capital” of the U.S. because of its emerging LGBTQ communities. The city’s Castro neighborhood was one of the earlier “gayborhoods” in the U.S. and was home to Harvey Milk, who in 1977 was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as the first openly gay elected official in California history. Decades later, the city remains one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations.

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade includes one of the biggest Pride parades in the country, with nearly a million people in attendance. The parade is set to have more than 200 groups and exhibitors participating, and the accompanying two-day Pride celebration will have more than 20 stages and venues.

Among other Pride Month events in San Francisco, celebrate with LGBTQ locals and visitors alike at the Pride Bar Crawl on June 18 or dance at the Polyglamorous Pink Block party with food trucks, music and more on June 25.

Check out San Francisco Pride’s website for more information.

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Portland, Oregon: June 19

Portland, Oregon, is rich in LGBTQ history and activism. Portland was the first major city to elect an openly gay mayor in 2008, for example, and is home to the performer who in 2016 secured the Guinness World Record for oldest working drag queen. The “Rose City” celebrates Pride year-round with varied events and programming, as well as its bustling nightlife, but the biggest Pride festivities come in June.

The parade takes place in downtown Portland and ends at the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. The two-day festival boasts live music, food, drinks and exhibitors that range from local LGBTQ groups — including high school clubs — to international corporations.

Travelers should note the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival requires proof of vaccination to enter.

Looking for more Pride activities in the area? Attend Pride at the Museum for family-friendly entertainment at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on June 10 or dance the night away after the parade at the PDX Latinx Pride’s Queer Latinx Dance Party.

Check out Pride Northwest’s website for more information.

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Seattle: June 26

No list of Pride celebrations would be complete without Seattle, another one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country. Located east of downtown Seattle is Capitol Hill, considered the epicenter of the city’s LGBTQ scene. The neighborhood boasts lively nightlife with numerous gay bars and nightclubs — as well as rainbow-painted crosswalks to help you celebrate Pride year-round alongside the many events in the “Emerald City.”

June brings the main event in the form of the Seattle Pride Parade, which is the largest in the state of Washington and typically brings up to 500,000 participants and spectators. The parade marches down 4th Avenue in the downtown area with three stages along the route.

The celebrations continue at PrideFest, a weekend festival held in Capitol Hill on June 25 and at the Seattle Center the next day. Both locations provide beer gardens, food and activities for the family to enjoy. Seattle also hosts Pride in the Park on June 4 to kick off Pride Month with craft booths, food trucks and more.

Check out Seattle Pride’s website for more information.

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15 Top Pride Parades and Celebrations in the U.S. originally appeared on usnews.com

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