Pride month – Top U.S. cities to celebrate this June

Tuesday 17th May 2022 |

June is World Pride month, and there are few more colourful and festive places to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community than the USA.

From Stonewall in NYC to LA’s rainbow parade, Pride is equal parts party and protest for the continued rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people around the world. In anticipation of next month’s festivities, Visit The USA rounds up ten of the most action-packed U.S. cities  to celebrate Pride this year.

1)           NYC Pride – NYC, New York – 26 June

Pride in New York City ripples through the whole city, which truly never sleeps on Pride day. The annual parade winds through the historic neighbourhood of Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall Riots first occurred in 1969 and kick-started the global gay rights movement. After the Parade, bars and clubs host blowout parties across Manhattan, many of which don’t require tickets or advance planning. When you’re not out until the early hours, take a stroll through the Village’s charming, narrow streets and venture into iconic LGBTQ+ venues; piano bars like Marie’s Crisis and the Duplex, dance and drag clubs like The Monster and Pieces, vintage taverns like Julius, and lesbian bars Henrietta Hudson and Cubby Hole.

2)           LA Pride – Los Angeles, California – 10-12 June

LA Pride is a three-day affair that takes place in West Hollywood, the heart of Southern California’s LGBTQ+ culture. The festival features musical performances, parties, exhibits and, of course, a rainbow-coloured parade. While in LA, you’ll find dedicated LGBTQ+ museums like June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and ONE Archives Gallery and Museum, which house a monumental collection of LGBTQ+ history. In the evening, stroll down Santa Monica Boulevard, a rainbow-lined stretch of bars and clubs including The Abbey, a long-standing gay bar since 1971 popular for its martinis, dancing and celebrity sightings.

3)          Philly Pride – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 2-5 June

One of the first things you may notice about The Gayborhood — the name Philadelphia gave its gay neighbourhood — are the rainbows adorning its street signs every day of the year. The flags are part of the legacy of this longtime LGBTQ+ area, where there’s no shortage of local LGBTQ+ haunts after the Pride parade, including Giovanni’s Room, a LGBTQ+ bookstore that’s also an AIDS-fundraising thrift store, the two-story U Bar, flirty hangouts Tabu and Woody’s, and drag venue ICandy.

4)          Chicago Pride Fest – Chicago, Illinois – 18-19 June

Chicago throws a major party each June, and everyone’s invited. The centrepiece event of the two-day Pride festival along Halsted Street is a 6.4km parade, with dazzling marching bands and performers atop floats. While you’re on Halsted Street, look out for the Legacy Walk, where 35 seven-metre-high Rainbow Pylons honour the legacies of important figures within the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond the parade, street fairs, concerts, drag shows, plays and dance parties bustle through the city, especially in Chicago’s two LGBTQ+ neighbourhoods: Boystown in East Lakeview and Girlstown in Andersonville. Two unmissable picks include LGBTQ+-friendly independent bookstore Women & Children First, and drag queen hangout, Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club.

5)           Twin Cities Pride – Minneapolis, Minnesota – 24-25 June

The Twin Cities Pride in Minnesota is a haven come summer for any sun-seeking traveller. As well as being a popular Pride event that draws crowds of almost 400,000, Minnesota also boasts 10,000 glistening lakes with postcard-perfect natural beauty. Pride celebrations last for a full week, with a family picnic at Como Park, a waterfront park in St. Paul, kicking things off, followed by a parade the following weekend around Minneapolis’ Loring Park. There are plenty of lively venues to experience the local LGBTQ+ scene if you’re making a week of it, especially 19 Bar, a low-key dive bar which has served the local gay community for over 60 years, and The Saloon for a livelier clubbing option.

6)           Austin Pride – Austin, Texas – 11-13 August

Austin devotes an entire week to Pride a bit later in the year with parades, festivals and, of course, concerts in August. Not to be missed include the Continental Club, Austin’s trademark live music hub, or The White Horse if you’d rather get up and dance. Austin’s evening parade begins downtown at the State Capitol and heads from Congress Avenue to the Warehouse District. Off the parade route there’s plenty more to experience; the South Congress neighbourhood is jam packed with local eateries, quirky shops and live music venues like costume-and-vintage emporium Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, and Oilcan Harry’s, Austin’s oldest LGBTQ+ bar.

7)           Charleston Pride – Charleston, South Carolina – 25 June

Charleston has all the charm of the South like colourful architecture and oak-shaded plazas, with the added bonus of tranquil beaches, which makes it a winning choice for a day of Pride festivities. Head to Folly Beach for dreamy days of surfing and sun, or hike at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, a nearly untouched wilderness with about 300 species of birds, if you’re feeling more adventurous. Back in the city, enjoy Southern comfort food and take 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.

8)          Tri-State Black Pride, Memphis, Tennessee – 16-19 June 

Tri-State Black Pride showcases the Memphis and Midsouth LGBTQ+ community and allies in all its stunning colour over a four day summer Pride celebration. Festivities include educational sessions, workshops and author chats, followed by a weekend of non-stop parties, including a drag brunch, comedy shows and a music festival at Midtown’s Overton Park Shell. While out in Memphis, also check out Atomic Rose nightclub and the friendly Dru’s Bar in Midtown. In the heart of the Crosstown neighbourhood, the Pumping Station is a local performance hub, and another favourite for the LGBTQ+ community.

9)           Denver PrideFest, Denver, Colorado – 25 – 26 June

Denver Pride is the largest Pride event in the Rocky Mountain Region that features a two-day weekend festival kicking off in a more fit-focused way with a 5K run. Civic Centre Park comes alive with over 250 exhibitors, 30 food vendors, and live performances all weekend long. You’ll have to get up early though for the Pride parade; it starts at 9:30am with colourful floats, marchers and music, where over 100,000 cheering locals and travellers line 14 blocks of Colfax Avenue from Cheesman Park to Civic Centre. This year’s star-studded line-up includes Australian pop queen Betty Who, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Silky Nutmeg Ganache and rapper Yvie Oddly.

10)           Seattle Gay Pride, Seattle, Washington – 25-26 June

Seattle Pride is one of the oldest of its kind in the country and has been colouring the city streets each summer since 1974. Just east of downtown, the Capitol Hill neighbourhood is the city’s LGBTQ+ epicentre, with rainbow-painted crosswalks and many ways to dive into the LGBTQ+ scene. Aside from Capitol Hill, there are gay-owned establishments just about everywhere in town, including Seattle Eagle – a leather and kink-friendly bar known for its racy themed parties, The Wildrose Bar – Seattle’s oldest bar that is woman owned and operated, and C. C. Attle’s laid-back, local gay bar serving pub food with a regular open-mic night.