Ready, set, PRIDE! June 1 officially kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month, with many joyous festivals and parades celebrating inclusion across the country. As an event planner, you may find yourself in one or more of these cities at the same time as the party. Here’s what you can do to join in on the fun in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, the Twin Cities and more.
The seeds of NYC Pride were sown in 1969 during the Stonewall Riots, considered the spark that ignited the modern gay rights movement. This year, NYC Pride will feature 18 events, June 14–24. These include a Human Rights Conference, a brunch with LGBTQ-friendly business leaders, dance concerts and movie nights.
The City by the Bay expects more than 2 million people for its ever-growing bash. Events will take place June 23–24. The festival will host a main stage and “community stages” around the city (a deaf and hard-of-hearing gathering space, for example). More than 100,000 spectators are expected to watch the historic march on Market Street on June 24. Musical performances and a drag cabaret will also be part of the fun at the Civic Center Plaza, with catering by Whole Foods and a hosted bar.
The nation’s third-largest free pride festival, the 2018 Twin Cities Pride Festival brings an estimated 400,000 attendees to Minneapolis-St. Paul to celebrate the LGBTQ community in Loring Park June 23–24. The celebrations have been ongoing since June 1, with the annual Pride Yacht Party boasting a selfie-encouraging sky deck, two fully stocked bars and all-star DJs on the largest yacht in the Upper Midwest, the Majestic Star, and later that week, on June 5, a town hall-like discussion with celebrity comedian Chelsea Handler.
History refuses to be forgotten in this sprawling city. The “One City, One Pride” LGBTQ arts festival will take place every day throughout the month of June. This year’s theme is “I Remember.” The series will present musicals, documentaries and literary readings. But the main event is the music festival, June 9–10, where artists such as Kehlani and Tove Lo will headline. There will also be stages for specific music genres, such as Latin and Hip Hop.
Prepare to be blown away with the Windy City’s pride celebration, as it partners with Milwaukee to produce a variety of events throughout June. PrideFest takes place June 16–17 with a fashion show, musical festival and odd events happening throughout the city. The parade will roll on June 24, with an anticipated 400,000 onlookers.
Earth, Wind, Glitter and Fire: the festival starts with this flashy celebration at sunset on June 8. Entertainment includes bars, photo booths and a glitter beard station. The parade will dominate Saturday, June 9, showcasing marchers, floats and vehicles. The main festival and concert on Sunday is free and open to the public, with award-winning performing artists such as Troye Sivan, Alessia Cara and Keri Hilson. Donations are welcome, and the proceeds will go to LGBTQ partner organizations.
Get actively involved in this Midwest town’s pride celebration June 15–17. Stonewall Columbus Pride will organize a Run for Pride 5K trek, a scenic bicycle ride through German Village and a poker tournament offering cash prizes. Tickets to either of the three come with complementary food, treats and entrance into the festival. DJs, drag shows and a parade will continue in the city.
This celebration will occur a little later in the year, but just in time for National Coming Out Day. On Friday, October 13, Hamburger Mary’s will host, for free, an array of performances for one of the biggest block parties in the city. Gear up for the big event with Big Gay Brunch, complete with food, bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. Sunday’s free, all-day Come Out with Pride festival will welcome more than 100 vendors and offer a parade and live performances. If you’re still in town, Come Out with Pride’s sister organization, MBA Orlando, will commend central Florida business leaders that have made notable contributions to the LGBTQ community. Tickets are available for the November 4 gala.
This story was updated on Monday June 11, 2018.