This June marks 53 years since the first stone was thrown at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and sparked the beginning of the Stonewall Riots—what many consider to be the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Since that fateful day on 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, and after a long COVID pause, LGBTQ celebrations are back in major cities all around the world. Pride festivities usually take place during the month of June in honor of Stonewall, but some international events occur during other months, such as February and October. Every 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 10 of the liveliest Pride parades around the world.
1. Los AngelesJune 12
It’s no exaggeration to say that Pride month is a big deal in L.A. The annual L.A. Pride Festival and Parade features citywide events throughout the month of June, including Pride in the Park, an outdoor concert that Christina Aguilera will be headlining this year. But the star of the show, of course, is the L.A. Pride Parade, which became the very first permitted gay pride parade in the world in 1970. Taking place on Sunday, June 12, this year, festivities will begin at Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga and will end at Highland South and Sunset Boulevard. Since they missed celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2020 because of COVID, L.A. Pride is going all out this year—the parade will feature dancers, twirlers, and over 130 parade floats. Best of all? The parade is completely free to attend.
2. Tel AvivJune 10
Since its inception in 1979, Tel Aviv Pride has grown to become one of the largest events of the year in the city—they don’t call it the Gay Capital of the Middle East for nothing. Every year during Pride Week, pride flags fill the Mediterranean city, fun events (including the drag festival “Wigstock”) can be found throughout Tel Aviv, and there’s even a week-long, nonstop dance party planned to take place at Hilton Beach. This year, festivities will kick off with Matinee’s Pervert Party at Haoman 17 on June 8, and the big event, the Pride Parade, is planned for June 10. Last year, over 250,000 people marched from Ben Tsiyo and Melchet to Charles Clore Park, and even more are expected to attend this year. Once participants reach the park, the famous after-Pride party will commence, with music and dancing planned to go all night long.
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3. São PauloJune 19
Travelers to Brazil often visit Rio de Janeiro during Pride Month, but São Paulo’s festival is actually the world’s largest Pride parade and is one of the most popular events in the city, second only to Carnival. The tradition dates back to 1997, when the event kicked off with just 2,000 participants—today, roughly 3 to 5 million people join every year. 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 19 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.
4. New York City June 26
Home to the legendary Stonewall Inn, a federally recognized national monument and landmark in LGBTQ history, New York City has long been the site of massive Pride marches, as well as a perennial favorite destination for LGBTQ travelers. In 2019, Manhattan became the first city in the United States to host WorldPride, a special celebration that brings a packed, month-long schedule of organized events and activities to one global city every few years.
This year, the annual NYC Pride March kicks off on June 26 at 12 p.m. on 26th Street and Fifth Avenue. Notable grand marshals this year include reality television star Ts Madison Hinton, comedian Punkie Johnson, and professional swimmer and activist Schuyler Bailar. Keep an eye out for other Pride events in the city during the entire month of June, including Pride Presents, a celebration of gay cinema, and Rainbows on the Hudson, an event where ships will fly pride flags all across the water.
5. San FranciscoJune 26
San Francisco’s place in LGBTQ history makes its annual Pride march the oldest and one of the largest in the country. Run by volunteers since 1970, nearly 1 million people come to experience San Francisco Pride’s 200 parade contingents and exhibitors, as well as the many community-run venues and stages that pop up throughout the city. The parade itself runs down Market Street through the heart of downtown and will begin on June 26 at 10:30 a.m. The groups that participate in the event are undoubtedly very colorful—keep an eye out for organizations like Dykes on Bikes, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the *gulp* leather contingent. This year’s event is unfortunately dealing with a bit of controversy: The parade’s organizers banned police in uniform from attending after a police brutality incident in 2019. Mayor London Breed has stated that she will not attend in response.
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6. MadridJuly 9
Spain was the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, so you could say Pride is a big deal for the European nation’s capital. Madrid’s annual Pride festival 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 go 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 neighorhood”) throughout the week, though things to do related to Pride can be found throughout the city. Concert stages will be set up in Plaza de Pedro Zerolo, Plaza del Rey, Plaza de Callao, and Plaza de España. 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 June 9 and will feature 50 different floats from LGBTQ+ organizations around Madrid. Over 2 million people are expected to attend this year.
7. Berlin July 23
Berlin has long held a reputation as the Gay Capital 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. It begins on Leipziger Street on July 23 at 11:30 a.m. and will end in front of the Brandenburg Gate around 4:30 p.m. with a closing rally and music festival.
CSD Berlin usually marks the conclusion of weeks filled with LGBTQ community events across the city, such as CSD on the Spree, which sees people celebrating on boats on the river, and Stadtfest Berlin, a separate gay and lesbian festival (house music included) that is the largest of its kind in Europe.
8. AmsterdamAugust 6
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage and Amsterdam is one of the country’s most progressive cities. For example, in 1987, Amsterdam unveiled a monument 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 30 through August 7, Amsterdam Pride boasts a packed schedule filled with over 300 events, including a “gay tour” of the city’s LGBTQ history, a musical production of Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and plenty of dance parties. This year’s theme is centered around the slogan “My Gender, My Pride” in support of people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Unlike other Pride parades, Amsterdam’s takes place in the city’s iconic canals and is the only gay canal parade in the world. This year, the event will begin on August 6 at 12:00 p.m. and begin at Oosterdok. With over 80 floats planned to be on the water, it’s an event not to be missed.
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9. Taipei October 29
Taiwan has been known as a haven for LGBTQ people for years, but in 2019, the small island country made things official by becoming the first in Asia to legalize gay marriage. Among the largest Pride events in Asia (and the biggest of its kind in East Asia), Taiwan’s annual Pride parade takes place in Taipei on the last Saturday of October. The event began as a political rally in 2003 but has since evolved into a fun, dynamic festival. In addition to the Pride parade, which falls on October 29 this year, the celebration also features a host of parties at Taipei’s top gay bars and LGBTQ-welcoming hotels throughout the weekend. It’s unclear when Taiwan will drop its mandatory, week-long quarantine for arriving international visitors, so be sure to plan accordingly.
10. SydneyJune 2–June 30
Pride isn’t just a day or week in Sydney—it’s practically a whole month! Beginning on June 2, attendees can enjoy four weeks jam-packed with all sorts of LGBTQ events this year including appearances by RuPaul’s Drag Race stars like Alaska, drag bingo, and A Night of Cher. And in addition to the Sydney Pride Festival, the city also hosts the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras each February. The parade and party, which travels down Oxford Street through the heart of Sydney’s main LGBTQ district, features spectacular floats and attracts thousands of visitors. The tradition of the event 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 Australia’s most popular events in the nation.
This article was originally published in May 2019. It was updated in May 2022 with new information. Mae Hamilton contributed reporting.
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