- New York
- South Carolina
Where to Celebrate Pride in the USA
The majority of Pride events in the U.S. take place in June and July, often on the same weekends, so you’ll need to choose your destination carefully. You could spend your time soaking up the sun on the beach or sipping wine at vineyards — or even both. You could experience Southern hospitality to its fullest or live large in the Big Apple. Read on for six ways to celebrate, from coast to coast.
If You Want to Go Big: NYC Pride
When Pride hits New York City, the celebration ripples through the whole city. As many as 400,000 people show up for the annual parade, which winds through the historic neighborhood of Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall Riots occurred in 1969. In 2016, the site of the riots, the Stonewall Inn, became a national monument and is considered by many to be the birthplace of the gay rights movement — and is still an active (and popular) bar to this day. During Pride, bars and clubs throughout the city host blowout parties, many of which don’t require tickets or advance planning. When you’re not out until the wee hours, take advantage of world-class shopping, food and, of course, Broadway musicals. If you’re up for more exploring, the neighborhood known as SoHo offers a concentrated grid of fashionable boutiques and memorable restaurants. And Brooklyn beckons with its own Pride events, tried-and-true pizzerias and some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline.
If You Want a Taste of the South: Charleston Pride Festival
A jewel of America’s East Coast, Charleston, South Carolina, has all the charm of the South — colorful architecture, oak-shaded plazas, history aplenty — plus tranquil beaches, making it a winning choice for Pride festivities. Free-spirited beachgoers head to Folly Beach for dreamy days of surfing — you can hop on a board with an instructor by booking a class with Shaka Surf School. Alternatively, Bulls Island features peaceful beaches and hiking at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, a nearly untouched wilderness with about 300 species of birds. Back in the city, enjoy Southern comfort food and make time to wander the shops and bars along King Street. This thoroughfare is the heart of the city — and, naturally, the parade route for the Pride festival.
In The Middle
If You Love the Great Outdoors: Twin Cities Pride
While it’s a bit off the beaten path, Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of those cities that gets rave reviews from anyone who has visited — particularly if they have vacationed here in the height of summer, during Pride. The weather is a dream, the days are long, and unique experiences await. The city alone has over 22 lakes. Lake Nokomis has a fine fishing pier, Lake Calhoun is made for kayaking, and Lake Harriet beckons for a relaxing day in the sun. At Lake Harriet, when you’re not enjoying the views, rent a bike, take a walk through the Lyndale Park Rose Garden or enjoy a movie or a live show at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. To experience the local gay life, try The Saloon, a lively club, or 19 Bar, a mellower local icon in operation for over 60 years.
If You Love Live Music: Austin Pride
Austin, Texas, devotes an entire week to Pride with parades, festivals and, of course, concerts. At the famous Continental Club, Austin’s trademark diverse live music — jazz, blues, rock, country, you name it — takes the stage and can be enjoyed from a seat at the bar. If you’d rather be on your feet dancing, there’s The White Horse, a bar that hosts live acts every night of the week, every night of the year. For shows that attract a mix of gay and straight crowds, try Cheer Up Charlies. The quirky venue hosts hip-hop and country shows alike. And no trip to Austin is complete without a meal or two of barbecue. Salt Lick BBQ is worth the wait to get in. Those who stick it out are rewarded with all-you-can-eat portions of their smoky brisket. By day, cool off at Barton Springs Pool, a large urban swimming hole that locals and visitors alike hit to soak up the Texan sun.
If You Like to Celebrate with a Side of Fine Wine: San Francisco Pride
San Francisco, California, is a natural choice for celebrating Pride, given its status as a historic capital of LGBTQ activism. The Pride march here dates back to 1972, and recent years have drawn hundreds of thousands of diverse, international revelers. Perhaps the greatest thing about this Northern California city, though, is the endless supply of things to do. San Francisco proper is home to the recently renovated SFMoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), one of the country’s most impressive museums for contemporary art. You’re also a short drive away from Sonoma and Napa, where hundreds of vineyards turn their harvest into wines that are celebrated around the world. Relax in the sun drinking crisp Chardonnays and complex Pinot Noirs before heading to one of the local three-Michelin-starred restaurants. Closer to the city, you can enjoy a day in the sun at picturesque Stinson Beach or an otherworldly hike among towering old-growth coastal redwood trees at Muir Woods.
If You Want to Play Beach Boy or California Girl: San Diego Pride
Pride is one of the biggest happenings of the year in San Diego, California. The biggest Pride events are held at Balboa Park, which includes a number of museums and attractions, including the Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the San Diego Zoo, one of America’s most famous and largest zoos. Locals go to the beach year-round but enjoy particularly enviable weather in summer. Try your hand at paragliding with a trip to Black’s Beach, a prime plot of gay-friendly sand. For scuba diving, you’re better off visiting La Jolla, a beach that attracts both families and sea lions. Much of the nightlife and best restaurants can be found in the neighborhood of Hillcrest — the fish tacos are hard to beat.