The World’s Best LGBTQ Pride Celebrations Worth Traveling For

From New York City to Sydney, these Pride events attract millions in support of equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

This June marks 55 years since the first stone was thrown at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, sparking the beginning of the Stonewall Riots. The overnight demonstration is considered the starting point of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Since that fateful night of June 28, 1969, various strides have been made for the liberation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States and other parts of the world. But the fight for equal rights still continues, especially as trans rights are threatened in many states across the nation and the possibility that the right to marry whomever you love, regardless of gender, could be overturned by current Supreme Court justices. Events like Pride feel more important now than ever before.

Pride has always been a time to celebrate identity and love, with festivities often taking place around the world during the month of June in honor of Stonewall. But some international events occur at other points throughout the year. Pride marches attract millions of participants, and nowadays they’re more often celebrated with glitter, house music, and pride flags rather than stones and chants of protest. Here are nine of the liveliest Pride festivals around the world.

The Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village is widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

The Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village is widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

Photo by Massimo Salesi/Shutterstock

1. New York City

June 1–30

One of the most iconic celebrations on the New York City festival calendar is NYC Pride, which takes place every June. And it’s no surprise that it’s a big deal, considering that The Stonewall Inn is where the modern gay rights movement began. In 2016, President Barack Obama designated the Greenwich Village bar a federally recognized national monument, the country’s first to be dedicated to an LGBTQ historic site, and this June, the landmark is even getting its own visitor center at 51 Christopher Street.

Pride festivities include Yankees Pride Nights (which comes with a pride-flag-logo baseball cap) and The Stonewall Jukebox: A Documentary Concert at City Winery (June 28), which will pair musical performances with oral history from the days of the uprising, complete with special celebrity guests. The centerpiece event however is the always star-studded NYC Pride March, which departs from 25th Street and 5th Avenue on June 30 at 11 a.m. Among the grand marshals to grace the parade route this year are transgender activist Miss Major, writer Raquel Willis, and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.

Los Angeles Pride Parade with Pride spelled out in balloons in the colors of the rainbow flag

LA Pride includes a festive parade and plenty of other celebrations, such as screenings and theme park nights.

Photo by GrandAve/Shutterstock

2. Los Angeles

June 8–9

It’s no exaggeration to say that Pride month is a big deal in Los Angeles. The annual L.A. Pride Festival & Parade features citywide events, including L.A. Pride in the Park (June 8), an outdoor concert that Ricky Martin will headline this year alongside MUNA, Tokischa, and JoJo Siwa. But the main event, of course, is the L.A. Pride Parade (June 9), which became the very first permitted gay pride parade in the world in 1970 and attracted 148,000 revelers last year. Kicking off at Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard at 11 a.m., the parade will include three grand marshals: actor and activist George Takei; professional wrestler Cassandro, El Exótico; and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley, the first woman and openly queer person to hold the LAFD’s highest position.

Beyond the main weekend, festivities continue throughout the month, including LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium (June 14), Pride Is Universal at Universal Studios Hollywood (June 15), and Pride Night at Cinespia (June 22), which will include a screening of the lesbian cult classic D.E.B.S. at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Sydney hosts an annual Pride parade each June as well as a Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras every February.

Sydney hosts an annual Pride parade each June as well as a Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras every February.

Photo by Jeffrey Feng

3. Sydney

June 1–30

Pride isn’t just a day or week in Sydney—here it lasts the entire month. Beginning on June 1, attendees can enjoy four weeks jam-packed with film screenings, gallery exhibitions, cabaret performances, drag revues, trivia nights, and dance parties. If you want to learn more about Sydney’s queer history, be sure to book a tour with veteran drag queen The Fabulous Wonder Mama; offered most Tuesdays and Saturdays during Pride Month, the walks are a campy, informative introduction to the city’s LGBT hub, Oxford Street, with stops at famous locations like the Stonewall Hotel, the Oxford Hotel, and the Darlinghurst Bookshop.

In addition to the wintertime Pride festivities (remember, it’s the Southern Hemisphere), the city also hosts the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras each February. The parade and party, which travels down Oxford Street, features spectacular floats and attracts thousands of visitors. The tradition began in 1978, when a small group of protestors gathered in Sydney’s Darlinghurst neighborhood and were met with police violence and arrests, since homosexuality was still illegal at the time. Today, Mardi Gras is one of the nation’s most popular events for Sydneysiders of all sexual orientations.

Boats float down Amsterdam’s canals as part of the Amsterdam Canal Parade in 2018.

Boats float down Amsterdam’s canals as part of the Amsterdam Canal Parade in 2018.

Photo by Daniel Bartos/Shutterstock

4. Amsterdam

July 27–August 4

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001, and Amsterdam is one of the most progressive cities on the planet. All the way back in 1987 the city unveiled a first-of-its-kind Homonument dedicated to the LGBTQ people who were persecuted during World War II and those who still live under oppressive government regimes today.

Scheduled to take place from July 27 through August 4, Amsterdam Pride boasts a schedule of open-air screenings, street parties, and sporting events. This year’s theme is “Together” to reinforce the ideas of diversity and allyship at a time of increased political polarization. That theme will carry into the festival’s most iconic event, the world’s only gay canal parade, which will take place on August 3 at noon and begin at Oosterdok. Of the 80 participating boats, many will be designed with an eye toward accessibility, with a focus on mental and physical challenges within the community.

San Francisco hosts one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ parades in the nation.

San Francisco hosts one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ parades in the nation.

Photo by Vicki Thompson

5. San Francisco

May 31–June 30

Going strong since 1970, San Francisco Pride is one of the oldest and largest such celebrations in the country, with nearly 1 million attendees coming to enjoy the festivities. There are events throughout the month, culminating in the final weekend, which includes both the SF Pride Parade (June 30 at 10:30 a.m.) and the Beacon of Love City Hall Party (June 30 at 1 p.m.); Emmy-, Grammy-, and Tony-winning artist Billy Porter will be serving as the grand marshal of the former and the mainstage headliner at the latter.

On June 8, volunteers will also install an enormous pink triangle on Twin Peaks, in what organizers call “a visible yet mute reminder of man’s inhumanity to man” that has been going strong since 1996. The temporary monument, which takes the form of the badge Nazis used to identify queer concentration camp prisoners, is almost 200 feet wide, covers almost an acre, and can be seen from up to 20 miles away.

An enormous pride flag stretching down the center of a crowded street as seen from overhead

São Paulo’s record-breaking Pride parade attracts millions of revelers each year.

Photo by Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

6. São Paulo

May 29–June 2

Travelers to Brazil often visit Rio de Janeiro during Pride Month, but São Paulo’s festival is even more impressive: The megacity is home to the world’s largest Pride parade—it attracted an estimated 3 million partiers last year—and is one of the most popular events of the year, second only to Carnival. The event usually takes place the Sunday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, and this year participants will meet at 12 p.m. on June 2 outside the São Paulo Museum of Art before making their way down Avenida Paulista with flags, floats, costumes, and music. While the main event is the parade, Pride celebrations start as early as the week before in neighborhoods such as Frei Caneca, Jardin, and Largo do Arouche.

Rainbow lights on an elaborate fountain with a figure in a chariot pulled by lions in front of a grand castle-like building

Madrid’s grand Cibeles Fountain gets in the Pride spirit with a rainbow light display.

Photo by nat_g/Shutterstock

7. Madrid

June 28–July 7
Spain was the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, so Pride is, unsurprisingly, a big deal for the European nation’s capital. Madrid’s annual Pride festival, MADO, is the largest Pride celebration in Europe, and draws nearly 2 million participants to the city each year. The city’s history of public Pride events goes back to 1978, when 7,000 people attended the first gay rights celebration in Madrid.
Activities and events are usually centered in the cosmopolitan Chueca neighborhood (affectionately known as the “gay neighborhood”), but the itinerary spreads throughout the city, and a stage will be set up in Plaza del Rey for the Muestra•t cultural festival, which features theater, film, literature, and fine arts. Madrid’s Pride parade is a little different than other cities’—it’s framed as a demonstration, rather than a pure celebration. The event will take place on Saturday, July 6, and will feature different floats from LGBTQ organizations around Madrid.

Berlin's Pride Parade is called “Christopher Street Day” in honor of the Stonewall Riots.

Berlin’s Pride Parade is called “Christopher Street Day” in honor of the Stonewall Riots.

Courtesy of visitBerlin, photo by Pedro Becerra /

8. Berlin

June 28–July 28

Berlin has long held a reputation as one of the gay capitals of Europe and is a must-visit destination for clubbers all around the world, so it only makes sense that Germany’s largest city would combine Pride with its love for techno music and rave. Berlin’s annual Pride march, which attracts nearly a million participants annually, is often called “Berlin CSD” or “Berlin Christopher Street Day,” after the street where the Stonewall Riots began in 1969. In true Berlin style, the Pride parade feels like an open-air street festival and features a variety of DJs, ravers, and performers, and it will be held this year on July 27.

This year marks the third time the city is hosting an extended Pride Month, which includes panels, meetings, parties, and workshops. Topics for 2024 include queerness in old age, Islam and queer identity, and the intersection of sports and sexuality.

A street painted with the colors of the rainbow with buildings lining the busy street behind it

Taiwan became the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019.

Photo by Chansak Joe/Shutterstock

9. Taipei

October 24–27
Taiwan has been known as a haven for LGBTQ people for years, but in 2019, it made things official by becoming the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage. Last year, its Pride parade attracted almost 180,000 revelers, making it the largest event of its kind to ever be held in East Asia. The annual festival, which takes place each October, has come a long way since the first march in 2003, which was more of a political rally and attracted about 1,000 people. These days, the celebration also features a host of parties at Taipei’s top gay bars and LGBTQ-welcoming hotels throughout the weekend.

This article was originally published in 2019; it was updated on June 1, 2024, with new information. Mae Hamilton contributed reporting.

Adam Groffman is a Brooklyn-based journalist and blogger. His site, Travels of Adam, is among the largest LGBTQ travel sites, with useful travel tips and personal essays from around the world. When he’s not out exploring, you’ll find him on Twitter or Instagram.
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