Dust off your rainbow attire and get ready to twirl. Pride month 2022 will bring parades, parties, and protests commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. While the 53rd anniversary might not seem as sparkly as the 50th, you should still prepare for an exhilarating season across the US.
“What excites me most is that we’re back in person for the first time in three years,” says Dan Dimant, media director of NYC Pride. Like so many cities worldwide, New York pivoted to virtual events in June 2020 to keep people safe. But Pride wasn’t the same. “So much gets lost when you’re behind a screen and you can’t interact with like-minded people,” he says.
The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent tidal wave of legislation targeting transgender youth, LGBTQ+ families, and women are forcing queer communities to reevaluate how they celebrate Pride. Accordingly, Dan says NYC’s events will look different than they did before 2020. New York isn’t alone.
Organizations across the country are reimagining leadership and programming to create more diverse and inclusive queer spaces.
Organizations from New York to San Francisco are reimagining leadership and programming to create more diverse and inclusive queer spaces. In 2016, San Francisco Pride created the “Resistance Contingent” — a protest-style group that begins the city’s annual march. “This year, our focus is going to be the anti-LGBTQ+ laws affecting our community,” says Carolyn Wysinger, SF Pride’s board president. “Some communities where this legislation is made don’t have a large Pride like San Francisco. It’s our responsibility to speak out and say something,” she says.
Organizations unwilling to adapt are facing the consequences. In 2021, Boston Pride dissolved after community members accused the all-white board of directors of ignoring racial minorities and transgender people. The controversy led to the cancellation of this year’s parade. (Those looking to celebrate should check out the Dyke March and the 3rd annual Trans Resistance March and Festival instead.)
But Boston is an anomaly. Most Pride organizers understand the importance of creating a welcoming, shame-free environment for all LGBTQ+ individuals.
“A lot of times, [queer people] grow up feeling like we’re different, like we don’t belong — and that can be toxic,” Dimant says. “But when you experience Pride — or any space that is affirming — it can make you feel you matter and that you are worthy because you’re surrounded by people with similar experiences. You can meet people who will be part of your life for years to come.”
No matter where you are in the United States, there’s likely a Pride event within driving distance. From big city shindigs to small-town get-togethers, here are the most noteworthy events celebrating the alphabet mafia this June.
New York, New York
In 2019, roughly five million people attended NYC Pride — one of the world’s largest LGBTQ+ gatherings ever recorded. Now, after a two-year hiatus, Pride is coming out of the virtual closet with a flurry of in-person events sure to draw massive crowds.
On June 15, NYC Pride’s Family Movie Night invites folx to watch a kid-friendly blockbuster under starry skies. Disclosure, the Netflix documentary about transgender characters depicted in popular media, will make its festival debut on June 17 at Pride Presents. The Brunch — a decadent culinary experience — returns on June 19 with plans to celebrate Black LGBTQ+ community leaders in honor of Juneteenth.
Between June 24, and June 26, there are Pride options of all styles. The Rally, a tradition stretching back to 1969, ignites on June 24 to inspire education and activism. Youth Pride, a free event for queer teens, returns on June 25. Pride Island, a popular three-day music festival, heads to Governors Island from the June 24 to 26. Kim Petras makes waves as the festival’s first trans-identifying headliner. She’ll be joined by a record number of women, including Lil’ Kim and recent Drag Race All Stars winner Kylie Sonique Love.
If you have trouble choosing between events, take advice from an expert: “I will not miss the March obviously,” says Dan Dimant, “but I’m also not going to miss PrideFest.” Both events, which take place on June 26, are free and open to the public. Dimant notes that PrideFest, a Greenwich Village street fair, is a great way to engage with local businesses, buy unique goods, and sample tasty food. The best part? You don’t need a ticket to attend.
Smaller Pride festivals take place in NYC’s outer boroughs as well. The New Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival take over Jackson Heights on June 5, and Brooklyn Pride is on June 11.
For an antidote to corporate Pride celebrations, consider joining the Queer Liberation March hosted by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, scheduled for the morning of June 26. Unlike city-sponsored events, RPC’s march honors Pride’s gritty origins. Marching may seem like a party, but at its heart, it’s a protest.
Check NYC Pride’s website for virtual alternatives to major events like the Rally and the March.
San Francisco, California
After years of pandemic-induced isolation, queer love is bringing crowds back to the Golden Gate City. It’s only fitting that San Francisco Pride chose a famous Captain and Tennille bop as its theme: “Love will keep us together.”
Pride events occur throughout June, but visitors should clear their social calendars on June 25 to 26 when a theme park-style celebration takes over Civic Center Plaza with performances, food vendors, artists, and a rally.
Festivities climax on Sunday morning as rainbow-clad marchers skip down Market Street in one of America’s biggest Pride parades. The event usually attracts around one million attendees. If you work in a building on Market Street or know someone with a rooftop, Carolyn Wysinger recommends calling in a favor — those locations are prime real estate for parade watching. “If you can’t get to a rooftop, make sure you arrive early — we step off at 9:00 AM,” she says.
The annual Trans March and Dyke March take place on the Friday and Saturday preceding Sunday’s parade, respectively. Both marches recall the anti-establishment ethos of the city’s first Stonewall observance in 1970 — a welcome reprieve from corporate-sponsored events.
Wysinger also recommends attending the Pink Triangle ceremony — a tradition where locals light an enormous pink triangle on the side of Twin Peaks to commemorate LGBTQ+ victims of the Holocaust. The lighting will take place on Wednesday, June 1. The triangle will remain illuminated all month, as will City Hall.
To stay abreast of Pride specifics, sign up for the new SF Pride app. The app will offer guests access to an event map and information about vendors and performances.
Chicago’s Pride season is back in full swing, with street festivals, concerts, and a parade that usually attracts over one million attendees. The celebration heats up on June 18 and 19 for Chicago Pride Fest, a two-day block party featuring headliner Alaska Thunderfuck. Come for the performances, stay for the food and drink, and if you’re a fan of furry friends, don’t miss the Pet Parade on Sunday at noon.
Make sure you get plenty of beauty rest after Pride Fest because the last weekend in June is a non-stop celebration. Pride in the Park, a two-day music festival featuring big-name performers including Drag Race winner Shea Couleé and Grammy-nominated DJ Alesso, will hit the stage at Grant Park. Back Lot Bash, a women-centered music fest, takes over uber-cool Andersonville all weekend. For a family friendly hangout, head to Navy Pier Pride on Saturday, June 26, for Storytime with Drag Queens and Queer the Pier — a fashion-and-music show.
The city’s rainbow riot peaks on June 26 with the annual Chicago Pride Parade, which marches four miles from Northalsted to Lincoln Park. This year’s parade is dedicated to the late Richard Pfeiffer, who coordinated the event from 1974 until his death in 2019. In a testament to queer love and commitment, his husband, Tim Frye, will organize this year’s festivities.
Los Angeles, California
If you don’t hear Christina Aguilera belting “Beautiful” during LA’s Pride weekend, you’re missing out. The sultry songstress will headline LA Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 11 — a ticketed event returning to 32-acre LA State Historic Park after a two-year hiatus.
“We’re thrilled to have women, the majority of them are LGBTQIA+ artists of color, lead our main stage event to celebrate our return to Pride,” says Gerald Garth, vice president of community programming and initiatives, in a statement. Other performers include comedian Bob the Drag Queen, Youtube star Rebecca Black, actress, and trans rights activist MJ Rodriguez, and Brazilian pop sensation Anitta. A free Community Day will also take place at the park on Friday, June 10, with details soon to be announced.
On Sunday, June 12, watch as the LA Pride Parade halts Hollywood traffic. The route, which traces the world’s first officially permitted gay march in 1970, starts at Hollywood and Vine and ends at Sunset at Ivar. For those who prefer to avoid crowds, they will broadcast the event live on local ABC7.
If one Pride weekend doesn’t sound like enough, don’t fret. Angelinos get three. WeHo Pride turns the city’s premier gayborhood into a rainbow fiesta from June 3 to 5 with a street fair, music festival, and Sunday parade. Downtown LA gets the ROY-G-BIV treatment from August 3 to 5 for DTLA Proud — a grassroots festival celebrating the local queer community.
Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota
Loring Park is the epicenter of the 50th annual Twin Cities Pride — a two-day festival honoring queer communities in Minneapolis and neighboring Saint Paul. Head to the park on June 25 and 26, when about 400,000 queer folx and their allies will gather to enjoy music and food featuring BIPOC and LGBTQ+ vendors.
Official Pride activities kick off on May 21 with the Rainbow Run 5K, when runners compete for winning times and best-dressed awards. Post-run, Boom Island Park hosts OUT Venture — a recent addition to the Pride festivities with a beer garden, DJ, and drag shows. From June 3 to 8, the Inez Greenberg Gallery will hold a queer-centric visual art exhibition called Come As You Are!, and on June 19, people of all ages will gather at the Como Park East Pavilions for Pride Family Fun Day. A handful of other programs happen throughout the month, but the highlight is the LGBTQ+ Pride March on Sunday, June 26. Follow the parade from 7th and Hennepin to Loring Park, where the proper party begins.
Dallas Pride is only a few weeks away, and it can’t come soon enough. After a recent rash of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation directed at queer youth and their support systems, honoring LGBTQ+ Texans will be equal parts party and protest. “We are so appreciative for the love and support shown to our community,” says Jaron Turnbow Dallas Pride executive director in a statement. “And now it’s time to be out and proud together!”
The celebration starts in Fair Park on Saturday, June 4, with the Dallas Pride Music Festival. Entertainment will occur both indoors and outdoors, with over 200 vendors setting up shops and displays to ogle throughout the day. Watch out for performances by America’s Got Talent’s Kameron Ross and drag celebrities, A’keria C. Davenport and Shangela. A Family Pride Zone will offer youngsters activities like face painting and bounce houses. Teen Pride, created for folx from 13 to 19, gives LGBTQ+ youth a safe space to enjoy performances and dancing. Tickets start at $10 for adults and $5 for teens. Children 12 and under can join for free.
On June 5, the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade takes over the Cotton Bowl Stadium with boisterous acts, decked-out floats, and bedazzled attendees. The one-mile march begins at 2:00 PM. Attendance is free for all.
“We’re Still Here,” the theme for Seattle PrideFest’s 16th annual celebration, underscores this year’s festivities with deep meaning. After two years of virtual Pride events we are still here. We’re still here after a year marked by disheartening anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. And although gentrification might be pushing queer folx out of Capitol Hill, Seattle’s LGBTQ+ folx aren’t going anywhere.
The city’s 48th annual Pride month kicks into high gear on Saturday, June 4, with Seattle Pride in the Park, in Capitol Hill. Expect a lineup of queer-centric performers curated in partnership with Taking B(l)ack Pride, along with food trucks, drinking stations, and other community booths.
On Saturday, June 25, Capitol Hill will transform into a street festival with beer gardens, performances, and separate parties for Family Pride and Queer Youth Pride. The Seattle Pride Parade will hit the streets on the June 26 with roughly 500,00 parade-goers. After the event, revelers should b-line for the Seattle Center, where HBO’s Legendary showstoppers and Drag Race alums Monét X Change and Aja will entertain.
Seattle Pride recently made headlines for cutting ties with Amazon for this year’s festivities — a reaction to the company’s continued support for anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers and establishments.
“It’s critical Amazon and other corporate partners of Seattle Pride — and other Pride events nationally — do not allow their platforms to be used by organizations which are actively working against the rights of LGBTQIA+ people,” the organization says in a statement. “Pride cannot be bought by corporate partners, it must be earned.”
To help keep Seattle Pride programs free and accessible for all, consider donating.
Pride in the Mile High City is so action-packed it’ll leave you winded. About 525,000 attendees joined the festivities in 2019 — making it the Rocky Mountains’ biggest Pride festival. This year, enormous crowds will flood the city once more thanks to the return of in-person events.
The party begins on June 25 with the Pride 5K, followed by two full days of all-things queer at Civic Center Park. Expect food, drinks, and live performances through Sunday night. Local drag star Yvie Oddly, beloved pop icon Betty Who, and gay rapper Cazwell are a few of the noteworthy headliners. The Dyke March will take place from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM as a counter to what often becomes male-dominated Pride activities.
Don’t stay out too late on Saturday because on Sunday, June 26, the early bird gets the best view. Line up along Colfax Avenue between Cheesman Park and the Civic Center for the annual Coors Light PrideFest Parade. Floats and marchers will take to the streets at 9:30 AM, then head over to the Civic Center, where party-goers will continue celebrating Denver’s most colorful weekend.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Pride weekend runs from June 9 to 12, but the pièce de résistance is the Pride Parade, which fills the historic French Quarter with floats and rainbow flags on Sunday, June 11, from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The party continues at bars and clubs throughout town when the parade ends. Queer women should check out Grrl Spot, a Sapphic pop-up party. Guard your balls if you end up at Rawhide — the classic gay dive will host jockstrap pool (no stripping required). Expect a queer crowd of all stripes at Thots and Prayers, a dance fête at Betty’s Bar. If you’re still raring for more on June 12, stop by Lafitte’s in Exile for a closing night salute at 4:00 PM.
Families with children can find their tribe at Longview House and Gardens on Sunday, June 12. Drag Queen Storytime and a children’s parade will make this an indelible memory in any youngster’s development.
In true NOLA tradition, the end of Pride month doesn’t mean the end of the party. Black Pride brings rainbow decadence back to the Big Easy from June 30 to July 4. Visitors can look forward to themed parties throughout the weekend, including the first annual Black and Excellence LGBTQ Award Show and Sneaker Ball — a formal event where guests should come red-carpet ready.
Small City Celebrations
Pride in the US isn’t all about massive urban festivals. Visit parades and fairs in these smaller cities for a comprehensive look at queer American life.
Charleston, South Carolina
Historic King Street in Charleston, South Carolina, receives a queer makeover on June 25 for its 11th annual Pride parade. Sign up to volunteer, march, ride along in a vehicle, or create a colorful float. If the 25th seems too far away, get into the Stonewall spirit on Saturday, June 4, at the Charleston Queer Adult Prom. This year’s theme, “A Garden in Outer Space,” promises to be the LGBTQ+ dance you wish you had in high school.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Bring your sandals to Jersey Pride — the Garden State marches its rainbow parade right by the beach. New Jersey’s 30th annual Pride celebration will take place on June 5 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM in Asbury Park — the queer Jersey Shore enclave 60 miles south of NYC. The day-long event will feature live performances, food, and over 150 artisans.
Sacramento might get overlooked as San Francisco’s scruffy inland sister, but don’t sleep on the dynamic queer community in California’s capital city. This is the town that gave us the likes of Lady Camden, after all. Join the city’s Pride festivities on June 11 and 12, when Sacramento Pride Festival drags up Capitol Mall as an LGBTQ+ village with music, food trucks, performances, and more. End the day by strolling through Lavender Heights — Sacramento’s gayborhood — to support local LGBTQ+ businesses.
Cinema Systers — America’s only all-lesbian film festival — takes over the silver screen in Paducah, Kentucky, from May 26 to May 29. This tiny western Kentucky town might seem like an odd place for a queer cinema meet-up, but it’s the rural region’s arty epicenter and a haven for LGBTQ+ residents. The four-day festival features writing workshops, evening get-togethers, a poetry slam, over 40 film screenings, and more.
Providence, Rhode Island
A vibrant queer community in Providence keeps gay-favored watering holes like Miramar, Alley Cat, EGO, and the Providence Eagle bumping throughout the year — but on June 18, the Rhode Island PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade turns the entire city into an LGBTQ+ club. Head to South Water Street for a full day of performances, food, and networking with local nonprofits. There’s a reason 100,000-plus people regularly attend.
Nashua, Manchester and North Conway, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s White Mountains get to taste the rainbow all June long. Nashua Pride revs up its queer engine on June 5 with a parade and festival from 2:00 to 6:00 PM, Queen City Pride takes Manchester by storm with its first-ever Pride parade on June 18, and North Conway caps out the festivities with the White Mountains Pride on June 25.
Louisville, a liberal bastion in conservative Kentucky, goes all out for its LGBTQ+ community. The city’s annual celebration, Kentuckiana Pride, parades through the streets on June 18 and ends with an all-day festival at Waterfront Park. Food trucks, live music, and family-friendly activities make this event a must-do. Attending the parade is free and the festival costs $5.
Des Moines, Iowa
Silent discos, a pet parade, a drag king show, and a flag celebration: if you can dream it, it’s likely a part of Des Moines Pride. The Hartford of the West crams so many events into 30 days it’ll make skittles pop out of your head. Whatever you do, don’t miss Pride Fest from June 10 to 12. The all-day hang will feature entertainer Todrick Hall and folksy duo Matt & Kim.