From New York City to Berlin, these Pride events attract millions in support of equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
This June marks 50 years since the first stone was thrown at The Stonewall Inn in New York City, signaling the start 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.
To commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, LGBTQ Pride celebrations have since taken place annually in cities around the globe, normally during the month of June. (Some occur during different months, such as February and October.) Every year, Pride marches attract millions of participants, although today they’re often celebrated with glitter and pride flags rather than stones and chants of protest. These are some of the liveliest Pride parades around the world.
The annual LA Pride Festival and Parade feature citywide events throughout late May and early June, including a dedicated night at Universal Studios Hollywood and a special kick-off party with a comedy show and documentary screening. On June 9 in West Hollywood, the LA Pride Parade takes place along Santa Monica Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Throughout the weekend, the LA Pride Festival features LGBTQ and allied performers at West Hollywood Park. This year, Meghan Trainor and British pop trio Years & Years are headlining the festival. The parade is free to attend, but tickets must be purchased for entry to the festival. ($30 for advance, single-day tickets)
Every year during Pride Week in Tel Aviv, pride flags fill the Mediterranean city, where lively celebrations take place at various establishments. On June 14 at 10 a.m., the annual event begins with speeches and live performances before the official march kicks off at 12 p.m. Colorful crowds parade through the city toward Charles Clore Park, where an all-night party rages on along the beach, attracting thousands.
Travelers to Brazil often visit Rio de Janeiro during Pride Month, but the event in São Paulo is actually the world’s largest Pride parade. This year’s march (which has only taken place in the city since 1997) honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It starts at 12 p.m. outside of the São Paulo Museum of Art and will feature various headlining artists as part of its entertainment program. While the main event in São Paulo takes place on June 23, Pride celebrations start as early as the week before in neighborhoods such as Frei Caneca and Largo do Arouche.
New York City
Home to The 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 will become 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. The annual NYC Pride March kicks off on June 30 at 12 p.m. on 26th Street and Fifth Avenue, but various LGBTQ Pride events will take place in New York City throughout the month.
San Francisco’s place in LGBTQ history makes its annual Pride march one of the oldest (and largest) in the country. Run by volunteers since 1970, San Francisco Pride will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, although the city has its own important history of LGBTQ advocacy that dates back decades and includes storied activists such as politician Harvey Milk. The parade itself runs down Market Street through the city center, beginning on June 30 at 10 a.m. But San Francisco celebrates LGBTQ Pride throughout the weekend, with two days full of musical performances, rallies, and other community-focused events at the Civic Center Plaza.
Madrid’s annual Pride festival is among the largest in the world, drawing nearly two million participants to the city at the end of June through the beginning of July each year. Starting June 28, free, open-air parties (as well as exclusive events) take place across the city, most of which are concentrated in its LGBTQ neighborhoods of Malasaña, Lavapiés, and Chueca. Madrid’s official Pride parade takes place on July 6. Floats travel through the city’s main streets, departing from the Paseo del Prado at 5:30 p.m. and ending at the Plaza de Colón, where live music performances and parties take place throughout the night.
Berlin’s annual Pride march, which attracts nearly a million participants each year, is named “Christopher Street Day” after the street where the Stonewall Riots began in 1969. In true Berlin style, the march is similar to an open-air street festival that features a variety of DJs and performers. CSD Berlin marks the culmination of weeks filled with LGBTQ community events across the city. It begins on Kurfürstendamm (one of Berlin’s most famous avenues) on July 27 at 12 p.m. and ends in front of the Brandenburg Gate with a closing rally and music festival.
Amsterdam is one of the world’s more progressive cities (as an example, it was the first city to dedicate a monument commemorating LGBTQ people who have been persecuted by government regimes). Each year from the last Saturday in July through the first Sunday in August, Amsterdam Pride boasts a packed schedule filled with more than 170 events that include festivals and other activities directed toward communities across the spectrum of LGBTQ identities. On August 4, the annual Canal Parade sees nearly 100 boats filled with revelers pass through the city’s historic canals, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
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 lively commemoration of LGBTQ culture. In addition to a parade, which falls on October 26 this year, the celebration features a host of parties at Taipei’s top gay bars and LGBTQ-welcoming hotels throughout the weekend. [Editor’s Note: On May 17, 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.]
Although Sydney hosts an annual Pride Festival during June each year, more people flock to the New South Wales city for the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras each February. The parade and party, running down Oxford Street in the heart of Sydney’s main LGBTQ district, features spectacular floats and attracts thousands of visitors. The next Sydney Gay and Lesbian Parade and Party is scheduled for February 29, 2020.
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.