Summer Pride: Parades and Festivals 2011

Summer Pride © CarbonNYC

While many of our destinations have already hosted their big LGBT events this year, there’s still plenty of Pride to go round and fabulous festivities continue throughout the summer. So if you’re heading off on holiday soon, pack something splendid for the upcoming carnivals”¦


New York

Kicked off in response to the watershed events of 1969, New York Pride is the original Pride event and it remains one of the city’s summer must-sees/dos. Not that you’d be able to miss it, as a week’s worth of rainbow-coloured revelry takes over Manhattan, starting with a rousing rally of speeches and entertainment in Central Park this Saturday (18th). Throughout the week there are a ton of related events and this year also sees the second annual Harlem Pride uptown in Marcus Garvey Park on Friday 24th. The main march around 36th Street and Fifth Avenue on Sunday 26thexpects to have around 500, 000 participants this year. Now that’s what we call a street party.


When: 18th – 26th June (Parade: 26th)

Rainbow balloons at New York Pride by Gary718 at Dreamstime

Rainbow balloons at New York Pride © Gary718 |


San Francisco

San Francisco Pride has been running in some form or another since 1970, but no matter what it’s called, it will probably always be America’s largest LGBT celebration. While the festival takes up the whole weekend, we’d recommend taking it relatively easy on Saturday night in preparation for the parade, which kicks off at 10:30 on Sunday morning. Get down to Market St as early as you can as up to a million people will be lining the pavements to witness the 200-odd parade contingents passing through, including the famous Dykes On Bikes and many other leather clad groups.


When: 25th -26th June (Parade: 26th)

Women bikers at San Francisco Pride 2009

Women bikers at San Francisco Pride 2009 © brainchildvn




If you’re hitting the West Coast a little later in the season and think you’ve missed out, don’t worry – just cross the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and join in the fun at Oakland Pride. The successor to the 90s’ East Bay Pride takes place on Sunday 4thSeptember and though only in its second year, is already claiming to be the US’s most diverse Pride event. Entertainment promises to be top notch too; last year’s main stage headliner was Chaka Khan.


When: 4th September

Oakland Fire Department out at Pride 2010

Oakland fire department © Steven Damron




The whole of June is Pride Month in Chicago, making the Midwest the place to be for everything from gay art exhibitions to boat tours to movie screenings. Naturally, everything culminates in the Chicago Pride Parade which will welcome 250 registered entries of all shapes and sizes, including floats, performance groups, marching bands and more. Up to half a million attendees can be expected so get down early and try for a good spot on one of the streets adjacent to the main march on Halsted. And bring plenty of sunscreen.


When: Throughout June (Parade: 26th)

Circus Float at Chicago Pride

Circus Float at Chicago Pride © puroticorico 



Last year’s London Pride Parade was the UK’s largest outdoor event, with a million in attendance. This year, due to the closure of Oxford St, the route on 2nd July will be a little different, but wherever you happen to land in the West End, you’ll have a hard time not being swept up in the festivities. If you can though, do get down to Trafalgar Square in the afternoon for an unbeatable atmosphere around the main stage. For those who can’t make it this year, start planning your trip for 2012 as the city gets set to host World Pride, which will be massiveand, dare we say, every bit as exciting as the Olympics.


When: 24th June – 3rd July (Parade: 2nd July)

Giant rainbow flag in the rain at London Pride 2007

Giant rainbow flag in the rain at London Pride © Mister-E


Las Vegas

The last big one of the season, Las Vegas Pride is something of a moveable feast, having taken place in April or May in recent years. While September is a little bit cooler than preceding months this is still set to be a real summer sizzler. Like everything in the city, the parade itself kicks off after sundown on the Friday with (slightly) more sedate festivities following on Saturday afternoon. It all takes place downtown too, which gives revellers a nice break from the Strip which, let’s face it, is quite camp enough already.


When: 16th – 17th September

Las Vegas Pride lights at the Fremont St Experience

Las Vegas Pride lights at the Fremont St Experience © Forbidden Castle


Thanks to Flickr photographers Forbidden Castle, Mister-E, puroticorico, stevendamron, and brainchildvn. Header image of rainbow flag in San Francisco by CarbonNYC.

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