WorldPride Is Here! Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate in New York City

If you haven’t heard yet, it’s Pride Month! And cities around the world have been celebrating with energetic parades, streets lined with rainbow flags, drag performances, and memorials and tributes to activists, heroes, and the everyday people who have made a difference in the LGBTQIA+ community.

And no city is celebrating in 2019 like New York, where two massive events — WorldPride and NYC Pride — are merging into one from June 26–30 to celebrate “Millions of Moments of Pride” and Stonewall50, the 50th anniversary of the raid and riots at the Stonewall Inn that set into motion the modern gay rights movement.

With millions of people expected to participate in events over the course of this weekend, we’ve created a handy guide to spill the tea on the beautiful madness that will be taking over New York and adorning the city with plenty of glitter.

The Major Events

Like the Olympics, there are seriously hundreds of events planned around the city over the course of Pride. But there are a handful of main attractions, as we’ll call them, that require special attention and planning for. Make sure to add the following events to your must-see list.

WorldPride Opening Ceremony, June 26

Join host Whoopi Goldberg with a power-packed line of celebrities to kick of Stonewall50 and WorldPride to raise money for the Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality, and Sage. Held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 26, performers include Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Chaka Khan, Ciara, Daya, Todrick Hall, and Drag Superstars Alyssa Edwards, Alaska Thunderfuck, Shangela, Yvie Oddly, and Bob the Drag Queen. Tickets are available starting at $45.

NYC Pride March, June 30

One of the most colorful parades in the country, the NYC Pride March features over 550 “marching contingents” and over 100 floats that make the trek across Manhattan on the last day of Pride, June 30. This year’s parade route starts near Madison Square Park before heading down 5th Avenue, past the Stonewall National Monument and the NYC Aids Memorial Park, then back up 7th Avenue. This year’s parade Grand Marshals include cast members of the show “Pose,” Phyll Opoku-Gyimah from UK Black Pride, The Trevor Project, and transgender activist Monica Helms.

Be sure to arrive early to find a spot on the Parade route as it can get very crowded in certain areas. Bring water to stay hydrated, sunglasses and sunscreen, and extra battery chargers to keep your phone charged. It’s New York City, so it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand, as well.

In addition to rolling out Pride-themed subway trains and Metrocards, the MTA is providing extra service on the 1, C, and W trains and entry- and exit-only staircases at stations that are expected to be extra busy. Stay current on subway time and information by visiting the MTA site.

Closing Ceremony, June 30

WorldPride will say goodnight on Sunday, June 30, from 7 to 10 p.m. in Times Square, with performances by Melissa Etheridge, Margaret Cho, Jake Shears, MENK, Deborah Cox, and the cast of Broadway’s “The Prom.” The closing ceremony is free, but guests are required to register for the event ahead of time. According to the official WorldPride website, attendees will be required to go through security and bag inspection before the event, and bathrooms will not be provided.

Pride Island, June 29-30

An inclusive two day festival that “creates a central hub for the LGBTQ community to celebrate Pride,” Pride Island brings some of the world’s top performers together for an unforgettable concert. This year’s Pride Island will take place at Hudson River Park’s Pier 97 (59th St. & West Side Highway) and feature performance by Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor, Kim Petras, Amara La Negra, DJ Johnny Dynell, Abel, Morabito, and a special performance by Madonna. Ticket packages are available online.

OutCinema, June 27-29

Celebrating the “diversity of voices and perspectives within the LGBTQIA+ community,” OutCinema is three night showcase of films at the SVA Theater followed by Q&As and after parties. Information about the films and events can be found here.

PrideFest, June 30

Hosted by E.J. Johnson, PrideFest is a free, all-day event full of exhibitors, entertainers, and activities. Located on 4th Avenue between Union Square and Astor Place, PrideFest is the place to stop for some food, shop for Pride merchandise, and performances from Princess Nokia, Lauren Jauregui, The Veronicas, Melanie C and Sink the Pink. Visitors will also find a special kid’s area with sing-alongs, drag queen story hour, and meet and greets with children’s book authors.

Stonewall50 Commemoration, June 28

The event that started a movement, WorldPride is taking it all back to where it started with the Stonewall Uprising. On Friday, June 28 from 6 to 8 p.m., join special speakers — including Barbara Poma, the owner of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, and activist Harnaam Kaur, “The Bearded Dame” — to have your voice heard in a “reimagined Rally experience.”

Welcome Center

Located at 112 Christopher Street in the West Village, the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center is the gateway to all of the events happening over for Pride. Here, visitors can create a travel profile that will recommend experiences throughout the city, as well as take a picture at the selfie wall. The welcome center also “showcases New York's role in the struggle for equality through a timeline gallery from the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950s, to the Stonewall uprising in the 1960s, to Governor Cuomo signing the state's Marriage Equality Act into law in the 2010s.” The center is open daily until 7 p.m.

Historical Sites and Tours

Historical sites, landmarks, monuments, bars, and more significant to the LGBTQI+ movement are scattered across New York City. Luckily, the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is working to document those places on one interactive map to help guide tourists and locals alike across the city to visit these important places in the movement. From the Keith Haring Studio & Foundation to Julius’, this map will keep you moving and learning.

For an even more interactive experience, download the VAMONDE app on your phone and search “LGBT” for a self-guided tour of the city made in conjunction with the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

Pride Lights

Buildings around NYC will be lighting up in Pride colors throughout the month of June, making the perfect opportunity to visit. Landmarks such New York City Hall, The Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Madison Square Garden and more will be decked out in their finest rainbow attire.

Other happenings Around NYC

The Beach at Dream Downtown is hosting Glitter & Glow-Up with drag queen Lagoona Bloo. Stop by for mermaid scales and other pride-friendly “glow-ups” for the parade on June 30.

The James New York — NoMad, who earlier this month gave drag makeovers to guests, is also partnering with the Stonewall Community Foundation to showcase an exhibit on important historical figures and icons within the LGBTQ community centered around six themes: activism, arts, literature, fashion, nightlife, and pop culture. The exhibit, called ICONS, will be on display throughout June and is free to the public.

The New York Public Library is hosting a four-part exhibition that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Open until July 13, “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” features photographs of the movement and a collection of works related to LGBTQIA+ history at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

The world famous Magnolia Bakery is selling special edition Pride Pudding and donating 10 percent of proceeds to The Trevor Project during Pride Month.

Hakkasan New York created two Pride-themed cocktails — PRIDE, a vodka-based drink with coconut, lychee liqueur and Prosecco, and EqualiTea, a gin-based drink — and will donate $5 for every drink sold to Broadway Cares.

The W New York Downtown has transformed the hotel’s Living Room in a pop art exhibit open 24/7 with LGBT artist-in-residence Pitch Black. The exterior of the hotel has also been transformed for pride by French artist Lucas Beaufort.

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, one of NYC's most popular rooftop bars, is throwing a 10-hour "Top of the World" party for Pride on June 30. Hosted by Whitney Day, this rooftop has carousel seating and a mini-golf course to keep you going for all 10 hours. 

Añejo in Hell's Kitchen and Tribeca created a special tequila cocktail infused with Fruity Pebbles called the Bamm Bamm Rubble. $2 for each cocktail sold will benfit The Trevor Project. 

Ophelia, the cocktail lounge at the top of the Beekman Tower is donating $1 for each of its Pride cocktail, Ophelia's Pride Aviation, to The Trevor Project.

And this is just a small glance at WorldPride and Stonewall50. Check out the official events calendar for even more opportunities to celebrate, commemorate, and spread the love.

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