Summer is on the horizon — and with it Pride season and a packed calendar of LGBT celebrations across the continent. Read on for the Pride festivals you absolutely must not miss.
1. Los Angeles Gay Pride
Fri, June 6–Sun, June 8
Since its debut in 1971, LA’s Pride has grown bigger and bolder by the year. Held in the super gay West Hollywood — or WeHo — neighbourhood, the celebration features events such as the Dyke March and subsequent Sapphic street party, Saturday’s Santa Monica Boulevard street party and Sunday’s Pride parade.
Stay: The Andaz West Hollywood is an especially stylish address if you want to stay right on the strip.
2. Boston Pride
Fri, June 6–Sun, June 15
The Massachusetts Pride calendar is crammed with good stuff, from Pride Day at Faneuil Hall and Pride Night at Fenway Park to the parade and festival, plus exuberant parties like the Jamaica Plains Block Party and Back Bay Block Party.
Fri, June 20—Sun, June 29
North America’s first ever WorldPride takes over Canada’s largest city for 10 days this June with a huge calendar, including a human rights conference, the Trans March and the Dyke March. Pride Toronto’s hot bookings include a three-day street fair and arts-and-culture festival (Church Street and Wellesley Street East) and the vast and flamboyant parade on June 29, with 1.2 million spectators predicted.
Stay: Toronto’s Courtyard by Marriott is right on the parade route, on Yonge Street, and is less than a block from the Church Street fair. It’s ideal whether you’re coming into town for the weekend or just need the best address for pre-parade cocktails and all those essential wardrobe changes.
4. New York Pride Week
Sat, June 21–Sun, June 29
Don’t miss the Teaze dance party, Dance on the Pier, Pridefest and the 45th annual NYC Pride March as it struts from Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street to Christopher and Greenwich streets. In addition to the Mother of all Prides in Manhattan, if you’re really bursting with Pride, check out the other four boroughs’ celebrations: Brooklyn Pride (Mon, June 9–Sat, June 14, brooklynpride.org), Long Island Pride (Sat, June 14; liprideparade.com), Queens Pride (Sun, June 1; queenspride.org) and Staten Island Pride (Sat, July 12; silgbtcenter.org).
Stay: When you want to keep that killer outfit under wraps until the last minute, Kimpton’s gorgeous 70 Park Ave is only a few blocks from the start of the parade route.
5. Chicago Pride
Sat, June 21, Sun, June 22 & Sun, June 29
The 45th Chicago Pride has a crammed and varied calendar, boasting burlesque, brunches, book clubs, comedy, karaoke, theatre, Pride runs, Gay Idol, the Dyke March, the mega parade, Pridefest along the gay Halsted strip and a ton of other events.
Stay: Stay gay in Boystown, as the Lakeview neighbourhood is known, or Andersonville, or find accommodations amid the soaring skyscrapers and incredible architecture downtown.
6. San Francisco Pride
Sat, June 28 & Sun, June 29
The theme of the 44th annual San Francisco Pride celebration is Color Our World with Pride. The parade starts at 10:30am on June 29 at Market and Beale streets and ends at Market and 8th streets; 200 contingents are expected to take part. San Fran Pride features more than 300 exhibitors, more than 20 stages and venues, and up to half a million people at the city’s Civic Center, where Harvey Milk once addressed the crowds.
Stay: San Francisco is the home of uber-LGBT-friendly Kimpton Hotels, which offers some delicious accommodations, including the Triton, the Palomar and the Argonaut.
7. Montreal Pride
Mon, Aug 11–Sun, Aug 17
It’s apropos that one of Canada’s most vibrant and sexiest Pride parades is presented (officially) by Viagra. Montreal’s Pride festival will feature more than 70 events between Mon, August 11 and Sun, August 17. Info kiosks will line Ste Catherine St on Sat, August 16 for the festival’s signature Community Day event. The Pride parade will start at Guy St at 1pm on Sun August 17 and travel east on Rene Lesvesque about 2.5 km to the village. A poignant moment during Montreal’s Parade is at 2:30 when the entire parade route falls silent for one minute in memory of those lost to AIDS. Check out main stage entertainment at Place Émilie-Gamelin. Kicking off the main weekend and a first for Montreal Pride, a Pride Day celebration will take place at La Ronde amusement park on Fri, August 15.
Stay: Stay close to the heart of the action at the four-star Hôtel Gouverneur, a relatively nondescript downtown address that holds the trump card of a great location beside the très gay Sainte Catherine strip.
8. San Diego Pride
Fri, July 18–Sun, July 20
San Diego’s Pride is the nation’s fourth largest, and it gets better every year — this year is the 40th. Highlights include the parade, which attracts 300,000 spectators; the Circuit Daze dance party; the Music Festival; the infamous Zoo Party, the Pride Ball and a pool party.
Stay: Balboa Park Inn is a boutique hotel on the edge of the cultural park of the same name. It’s partly gay-owned and draws many LGBT folks. Each of the 26 rooms has a different, often over-the-top, theme, ranging from The Jungle Nook to 1930s Paris. While catering mainly to straight clientele, the inn’s camp enough to make any queen feel at home.
9. Atlanta Pride
Sat, Oct 11 & Sun, Oct 12
Atlanta Pride boasts three major marches: Saturday’s Trans and Dyke marches and the main parade on Sunday. The other big draw is the marketplace in lush, leafy Piedmont Park.
Stay: Situated in the arts district, the stylish 1924 Artmore Hotel, on the main thoroughfare of West Peachtree, has a Spanish-Mediterranean feel and oodles of amenities.
Fri, Nov 7–Sun, Nov 9
This desert Pride kicks off with a downtown block party and ends with a sizzling-hot parade along Palm Canyon Drive. The festival spans two days and offers cabaret, country, a main stage, fetish and literary areas, and a bevy of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly companies and booths.
Stay: The Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism has an extensive list of gay stays on its LGBT-specific website.