Your Guide to the Top 10 LGBTQ events in America

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) celebrations that take place during gay pride month each June attract people of many sexual orientations, religions, and ethnicities, with participants waving rainbow flags and celebrating equal love and gay rights.

From a parade that files past the bar credited with being the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement in the US to dogs dressed in drag, here are ten significant gay pride events around the country.

1- San Francisco Gay Pride

If there’s one gay pride event in the US you need to attend at least once, San Francisco Gay Pride is the largest gay pride celebration in the country and one of the most celebrated in the world. During late June, San Francisco Pride draws more than 1 million people to events like a parade and a festival that overtakes the Civic Center and city streets.

San Francisco‘s Pride celebration embodies the freedom of expression, human rights, and love, all things the California city embraces. The strength of San Francisco Gay Pride increases with over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the USA. Taking place where Harvey Milk once stood and addressed Pride-goers more than thirty years ago, the current San Francisco Gay Pride ceremonies are now said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that truly are a rite of passage.” Celebrations start on Saturday in Civic Center Plaza in downtown, San Francisco in the last full weekend of June each year. The Parade, which takes place the Sunday morning of the event, kicks off from Beale Street along Market and ends at Market and 8th St. in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is a non-profit membership organization founded to produce the San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade. Aims of SF Pride are to education, to the commemoration of LGBT heritage and the celebration of LGBT culture and liberation.

2- New York City Pride March

While at first glance, it might look like just a typical New York City street party, NYC Pride’s roots are deeply embedded in history. The modern gay rights movement began here in 1969 when riots followed a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, an LGBT bar. Now participants commemorate those protestors in the city’s annual Pride Week celebration, one of New York‘s most beloved festivals. The late June events include a rally and Parade, with more than 350 contingents who march through Manhattan.

One popular place to watch the Parade is in front of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. Culminating the week of Gay Pride, celebrating the freedom and rights of the gay community achieved since the Stonewall Riots with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender events, New York City completes the week of celebrations with the famous NYC Pride March down Fifth Avenue with more than a million spectators lining the route. This event, one of the top 10 gay pride events in the USA, is one of the world’s best Gay Pride celebrations.

Heritage Pride organizes this Parade and claims to work towards a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. Heritage Pride does do this by producing LGBTQIA+ Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate, and celebrate the diverse community.

3- Chicago Gay Pride

The Chicago Pride Parade, the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, or Pride Chicago is the annual pride parade held on the last Sunday of June in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It happens as the culmination of the more massive Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, as promulgated by the Chicago City Council and Mayor of Chicago. Chicago’s Pride Parade is one of the largest, by attendance, in the world.

This event takes place outside and celebrates equal rights for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, and Queers, etc. It attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and straight people, to revel in the fun of things a touch bawdy but principally joyful and harmless.

An important part of the year for the gay community for more than 40 years, the Chicago Gay Pride Parade features more than 250 colorful floats, partakers in flamboyant and somewhat crazy costumes. The magic of the event is that although it has an important message promoting rights and acceptance, it is principally a fun event, and everyone is welcome to attend. The first Parade happened on Saturday, June 27, 1970, as a march from Washington Square Park (“Bughouse Square”) to the Water Tower, but then many of the participants spontaneously marched on to the Civic Center (now Richard J. Daley) Plaza.

For many years, the Parade took place only in Lake View East, a neighborhood enclave of the Lakeview community area. Recent parades have expanded their outreach (and ability to handle crowds) by extending the route into the Uptown neighborhood, beginning at the corner of Broadway and Montrose. The Parade then proceeds south on Broadway to Halsted, continues south on Halsted to Belmont, then east on Belmont to Broadway and finally south again on Broadway to Cannon Drive and Lincoln Park.

4- Capital Pride

The fourth-largest gay pride event in the country, Capital Pride events and the Capital Pride Festival is a nine-day celebration of diversity, cultural achievement, civil rights issues and entertainment by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, families, and friends. Capital Pride celebrates the uniqueness of all who participate in the annual celebration. The event drew 2,000 people in its first year and grew to 10,000 people covering 3 blocks in 1979. By 1984, it had expanded to a week-long event, and by 1987 an estimated 28,000 attendees came to the street festival and Parade. Attendance began fluctuating in the late 1980s but stabilized in the 1990s.

The festival was the fourth-largest gay pride event in the United States in 2007. Capital Pride saw record attendance for its 35th-anniversary celebration in 2010. An estimated 100,000 people turned out for the Parade and another 250,000 for the street festival in 2012. Now, it attracts hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe. Capital Pride in Washington, DC, sometimes takes on a political vibe, especially when the government is making rulings on issues surrounding gay rights. While many of the festivities span for one weekend in early June, Capital Pride events span more than a week then followed by D.C. Black Pride. If you start your Pride partying in Washington, DC, plan a trip up the East Coast to New York City for its pride festivities.

5- Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade

Famous for a long and large festival celebrating Pride and attracting over 100,000 people each year, the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade, one of the main Gay events taking place in the USA and a popular event now for over 5 years, showcases the amazing and hitherto unheralded beauty, strength, unity, talent, and creativity of the gay community in Miami. Miami Beach Pride is a nine-day celebration with special events, social mixers, dance events, a VIP gala, an incredible 2-day festival, and Parade. The mission of Miami Beach Pride is to bring together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, their friends, allies, and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBTQ community.

Miami Beach Pride organizes free, safe, quality, mass-appeal events that are open to all, including the annual Parade and festival, which features community booths and expo areas, stages with entertainment, food and drink vendors, and family-safe play areas. Additionally, Miami Beach Pride produces educational, cultural, and entertainment events and activities throughout the year and sanctions official Pride-related events to create a truly celebratory experience for the whole community.

Miami Beach Pride brings together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, their friends, allies, and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBTQ+ community. Established by former Miami Beach Mayor, Matti Bower, as an initiative of the Miami Beach Business Development Council, Miami Beach Pride is a not-for-profit organization that produces free, safe, fun, entertaining and quality mass-appeal events that are open to all and that include the Parade, Festival, VIP Gala, and various sanctioned Miami Beach Pride events.

Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an event on the global stage with A-list celebrities such as Gus Kenworthy, Betty Who, Ross Mathews, Bebe Rexha, Mario Lopez, Elvis Duran, Iggy Azalea, Jordin Sparks, Gloria Estefan, and Adam Lambert. Attendance has grown as well. An estimated 15,000 spectators turned out for the first Pride parade in 2009; an estimated 145,000 attended the event in 2018. In addition to Parade spectators, last April’s event included more than 100 parade contingencies, 35 floats, and 4,000 participants.

6- Houston Gay Pride

The Houston Gay Pride Parade (or often called the Houston Pride Parade) is the major feature of a gay pride festival held annually since 1979. The festival takes place in June to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies. This event commemorates the 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, which is generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.

The festivities take place all day on the 4th Saturday of June. The highlight of the event is the Parade, which has been happening in the evening after sunset since 1997. The necessary revision in a Houston parade ordinance to allow a nighttime parade as facilitated by then-Houston City Council member Annise Parker. With the event after dark, the various units can be creatively illuminated. Until 2015, it took place in Houston’s most gay-friendly neighborhood, Montrose. The route of the Parade usually had been along Westheimer Road, from Dunlavy Street to Crocker Street. Owing partially to concerns over increasing congestion over the years in the nearby neighborhoods, and to accommodate a larger,  the 2015 parade happened in downtown Houston. It is currently the most attended and largest gay pride event in Texas, the Southwest region of the United States, and the second-largest Houston-organized event in the city behind Houston Rodeo. 

The 2015 Houston Pride Festival attracted 700,000 attendees, which set a new record. It happens to be one of the largest and most visible gay communities in the country, even though Texas is being very conservative, Houston offers a Gay Pride event that has been a success for over 35 years.


7- Boston Gay Pride

June is Pride Month, which means cities across the country hold celebrations for LGBTQ communities. Famous as a large festival celebrating gay Pride and attracting over 50,000 people each year, one of the top 15 Gay Pride events in the USA, an event that has lasted for more than 43 years; the Boston Gay Pride Parade entertains a host of revelers enjoying a whole banquet of fun from food to politics. Before the parade starts, there is a Pride Festival at Boston City Hall Plaza. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a concert stage, food court, and over 120 vendors. The festival will feature local and national LGBTQ non-profit organizations, grassroots queer organizations that promote visibility and connections within the community, and local queer-owned and operated small businesses selling rainbow march. Boston’s pride parade kicks off at noon.

The route starts at Copley Square and runs down Clarendon Street into the South End, through the Boston Common area, up Beacon Street, and ending at Boston City Hall Plaza. Along the route, banners commemorating the 50th anniversary of the police raid on New York City’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that became a rallying point for LGBTQ rights after patrons resisted police and launched several days of protest, will recognize historic places and locations in Boston’s queer history. Rain or shine, there will be thousands of people marching in the Parade and even more watching. In 2018, more than 55,000 people marched in the Parade, while 750,000 spectators attended. Organizers expect more than 300 organizations to participate in the Parade, including high school groups, churches, and other community groups. Since the Parade takes place outdoors on a warm, sunny day, organizers recommend coming prepared with sunscreen and bottled water.

8- St Pete Pride

It happens in St Petersburg, California, amidst late June. The main purpose of St Pete Pride is to promote unity, visibility, self-esteem and a positive image of and among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of Tampa Bay and throughout the State of Florida by way of cultural and educational programs and activities in Petersburg’s Historic Grand Central District, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy the area’s clubs and beaches. The Parade takes place in night time rather than its usual mid-day launch, giving attendees a relief from the heat and giving visitors more time to relax at BBQs, tailgates, and parties during the day. Taste of Pride is an event for the foodie, the beer connoisseur, and the art enthusiast. This isn’t your standard Taste event, with a wide variety of options to overjoy your palate. Friends and supporters will gather to the gorgeous Coliseum to celebrate Pride through a unique culinary experience that offers something for everyone. Guests will also enjoy live entertainment and can get groovy on the dance floor. The LGBTI area of the St Petersburg Municipal Beach on Sunset Beaches an essential. The long, pristine stretch of white sand is particularly popular on weekend afternoons as clubbers recover with a sunbathe and a refreshing dip. The city’s facilities include showers and toilets. The St Pete Pride, Trans Pride March hope is to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where we are safe, loved, and empowered. 

9- Key West Pride

Key West Pride takes place on the Island of Key West in Florida. The Key West Pride event is one of the largest and most popular LGBTQ celebrations in the United States. Full of vibrant energy, spectacular events, and fun Key West activities, this is an event not to miss whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, a friend, or simply looking to support the event’s One Human Family philosophy. Key West’s gay community dates back to the 1940s when Tennessee Williams arrived on the little island with his longtime partner, Frank Merlo. Williams is famous for establishing Key West as an official gay vacation destination, and the Key West Business Guild, which has been promoting LGBTQ Travel to Key West Every day, Key West feels like other cities might during their pride celebrations: the South Florida island is famous for its “anything goes” atmosphere and gay-friendly community. But during the early June Key West Pride celebrations, there are more LGBT-friendly events and a parade. What sets this celebration apart from those in big cities like Miami and New York City is its laid-back vibe. This is pride done island style, not too crowded, tropical, and easy to join the festivities. Established since 1978, it is a testament to his legacy. During your participation in Key West Pride, you’ll get to enjoy the following activities: Land Activities: Key West Food Tours, Southernmost Escape Room, Up the Keys Eco Tour, Fort Zachary State Park, West Martello Tower, KW Tropical Forest, and Botanical Garden, Key West Cemetery, Key West Adventures, Papa Scooters, Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery, Ghost Hunt, Old Town Trolley Tours, Conch Tour Train, Haunted Key West, Ghosts and Mysteries, Ghosts and Gravestones, Key West Helicopter Tour, Effusion Gallery, Divine Wine Gallery, Key West Fine Wine Water Activities: Danger Charters, Mellow Ventures, Fury, Sunset Watersports, Java Cat, Schooner America, Sunset Sail Key West, Classic Harbor Lines, Fish N Chicks, Nice Guy Charters, Fish Andy, Jolly Rover II Museums: Earnest Hemingway, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West Butterfly Conservatory, Little White House, Key West Aquarium, Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, Key West Firehouse Museum, Key West Light House, Key West Ship Wreck Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Oldest House and Garden Museum, USCGC Ingham Museum, Tennessee Williams Exhibit.

10- Denver Pride Fest

Pride Fest is an annual Gay pride event held each June in Denver, honoring the culture and heritage of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the State of Colorado. The first Denver PrideFest occurred in 1976, the same year the local community center, now known as the Center on Colfax. The Center organizes and produces the festival and Parade each year. The event currently consists of a two-day festival at Civic Center Park, the Pride 5K, and culminates with a parade along Colfax Avenue. Denver PrideFest now draws 525,000 guests annually, making it the third-largest pride festival and seventh largest pride parade in the United States. The festivities include parties, concerts, a parade, a 5-kilometer walk/run, and activities like face painting for kids. Denver’s celebrations are the most family-friendly gay pride event in the U.S. Denver is also a dog-loving city, and the Dogs in Drag parade is one of PrideFest’s most popular events. PrideFest generally occurs on the third weekend of June. Celebrations at local establishments begin the week of PrideFest, with a conclusion of the entire celebration the following Sunday. A stretch of Colfax Avenue is reserved for the Sunday parade, from Franklin Street west to Broadway. After the Parade, the roads surrounding Civic Center Park remain closed during the rally and street fair. Vendors sell a variety of products such as homemade jewelry, stained glass, apparel, food, and services. Several companies and organizations also rent booths to show their support for Denver’s and Colorado’s LGBT community. Local and nationally recognized performers entertain multiple stages during the event. The festival comes to a close in the early evening. Roads open in about an hour after cleanup.