Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published in June of 2019.
June is a month filled with Pride celebrations around the world because of its significance in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The Stonewall riots in late June of 1969 in New York City’s Greenwich Village — started after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar on Christopher Street — marked a turning point for the modern gay rights movement in the United States and eventually helped launch the revolution around the world.
As for Pride, what began as a purely social and political movement has become a mix of parades, parties and rallies over the years. And Pride events have increasingly become a tourist draw — not just in New York, but in cities around the country and the globe that took their cues from the Big Apple.
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“As Pride events have evolved into larger festivals, often lasting multiple days, they’ve become a magnet for travelers who want to connect with LGBTQ communities around the world and experience their celebrations,” International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association president and CEO John Tanzella told TPG. “Scheduling a trip around Pride is an easy way to find like-minded people, even in places that don’t have many year-round LGBTQ offerings.”
The social dimension is still there, of course, and varies by location. But in addition to calling attention to the LGBTQ+ community’s ongoing struggle for equal rights, Pride is also a time to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
The pandemic drastically altered the landscape for celebrations in 2020. Nearly all in-person Pride marches, demonstrations and parades were canceled or turned into virtual events because of safety considerations. With the vaccine rollout continuing around the world, many organizers have resumed plans to hold in-person Pride events.
More than 150 official Pride festivals and events are happening around the world in 2021. A number of cities have chosen to push back their Pride events to allow more time for residents to get vaccinated and restrictions to be eased, so we’re focusing on both events happening during Pride month and during the subsequent five months. And while there are some events on this list that won’t be available for U.S.-based travelers due to travel restrictions, residents near these destinations will still be able to celebrate in person.
Of course, NYC Pride — the granddaddy of them all — is included on the list. We’ve also featured some surprising cities that are building excitement for their events. For example, some Pride celebrations overseas have come to great prominence in recent years, including Madrid Orgullo and Tel Aviv Pride.
That said, being in just about any city during its Pride festivities can be rewarding. Whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, there is something special about watching a city come together to celebrate love and (naturally) Pride. Consider this a small but significant rainbow-colored slice of the global Pride pie.
Tel Aviv Pride in Israel
Tel Aviv Pride (June 6 to June 25) is the Middle East’s biggest celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond that, it’s arguably Tel Aviv’s best party of the year, regardless of how you identify. Tel Aviv is somewhat of a refuge for LGBTQ locals and travelers in the region, and the city’s main gay nightclubs all have big parties during Pride week (though cover charges vary). The main parade takes place on June 25, culminating with an afternoon blowout party by the beach. Men in Tel Aviv tend to take pride not only in their equal rights, but also in their chiseled bodies (plus, Israel is pretty hot in June) so expect to see those T-shirts flying.
Where to stay: If you book a room at the Hilton Tel Aviv, you will be staying above Tel Aviv’s semi-official gay beach, Hilton Beach. The lowest room rates at the time of writing are around $583, or 70,000 points per night, during the festival. The Sheraton Tel Aviv has rooms available from $508 per night, or around 50,000 points per night. If you want to stay closer to the Pride party itself at Charles Clore Park (toward the Jaffa end of the seaside promenade), the InterContinental David Tel Aviv is also a smart bet. Or rock out in luxe Levantine style at The Jaffa hotel.
Rooms are going for $436 or 70,000 points per night during the festival — if you’ve picked up the Hilton Honors American Express Card with its 80,000-point welcome bonus for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months (plus an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months), you’d have more than enough rewards for one award night. If you recently signed up for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you could use the 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening for a reward night or to offset the cost of a longer stay (rooms cost 50,000 points per night).
Capital Pride in Washington, DC
The U.S. capital is not just the home of political discourse and cherry blossoms; it also has a thriving LGBTQ scene. The Capital Pride events always impress with their variety and style, and this year, there are events planned throughout the entire month. This year’s theme, “#StillWe,” symbolizes the resilience, struggles, celebrations and pride that exist within the gay community. The Capital Pride Opening Party is a ticketed event taking place Friday, June 1. This year’s parade will be a bit different than in years past. Organizers have set up the Colorful Pridemobile Parade to take place Saturday, June 12 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. — the same weekend D.C. plans to lift its remaining COVID-19 capacity restrictions. The parade will only feature vehicles and will follow a different route than past parades.
Where to stay: Rooms at the Westin at City Center or the Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection are available for as low as $151 per night for that weekend. Rooms at the Westin can also be booked for 70,000 points a night.
Zurich Pride in Switzerland
Gay-friendly Zurich, who knew? (Okay, we did.) If you’re looking for a well-organized Pride event with plenty of music and good fun — and the very real possibility of bumping into some of the most eligible gay hedge fund managers anywhere on Earth — then you can bank on Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, during Zurich Pride. The two-day event is typically full of parties, events, cultural activities, live music and much more.
However, if you want to celebrate Pride in Switzerland, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Organizers wanted more time to make it as safe and secure as possible for guests, so they have rescheduled Zurich Pride until Sept. 4-5.
Where to stay: The Zurich Pride Festival’s many partner hotels include the Renaissance Zürich Tower Hotel, Hilton Zurich Airport hotel and Platzhirsch Hotel.
ATHENS Pride in Greece
Greece is known for several wonderful Pride celebrations held each year. Because of the ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19, many events such as those held in Thessaloniki have been postponed and their schedules remain uncertain. Athens has rescheduled its Pride events until next month, July 18-25 due to current health conditions in Greece. This year’s theme is “This Is What Unites Us” and organizers have promised a dynamic slate of events. In addition, Sept. 11 will mark a special day dedicated to Pride.
Athens has been observing Pride since 2005, and nearly 100,000 people attended Pride in 2019.
Where to stay: There is no shortage of options for travelers, including the Athens Marriott for as low as $153 per night. You can use points as well, but at 160,000 points per night, you’re much better off paying for it with cash. A much better option for redeeming points is the Hilton Athens, where nights will cost you 48,000 points.
NYC Pride in New York
After being forced to cancel its events in 2020 due to COVID-19, New York City is resuming its Pride celebrations in 2021 in a big way. The entire month of June is packed with events celebrating LGBTQ culture. This year’s theme is “The Fight Continues.” Appropriate, given the importance of the city to the global gay rights movement.
Events are scheduled across the five boroughs, from Drag Bingo and a comic book fair featuring queer artists in Brooklyn to weekly screenings of LGBTQ films in Staten Island. Many of those events are ticketed, so look into that quickly before they sell out. The main event, the NYC Pride March, takes place Sunday, June 27. This year’s Grand Marshals are groundbreaking actor Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “My SoCalled Life”), Ceyenne Doroshow, performer/activist and founder of G.L.I.T.S., Indian advocates for gay rights Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju, renowned HIV prevention expert Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, and Aaron Rose Philip, who has become a trailblazer and role model for the trans community and people with disabilities.
Where to stay: Hyatt is once again a Platinum Sponsor of NYC Pride. Rooms at the Hyatt Herald Square the weekend of the Pride March are as low as $190 per night. The Hyatt Union Square has rooms available for $240 per night. Both also recently decreased in points price. You can also splurge on higher-end properties such as the Park Hyatt and the Andaz 5th Avenue, both of which run between $420 and $714 per night.
Madrid Orgullo in Spain
Madrid has become a magnet in recent years for its Pride celebrations. This year Madrid Orgullo (the Spanish word for “pride”) events will stretch from June 25 until July 4. The Pride parade, passing along the Paseo del Prado, falls on July 3 and will take place with some COVID-19 restrictions. The closing party will take place the following day.
Where to stay: While Madrid has plenty of boutique hotel options, the Westin Palace Madrid is a great option if you don’t mind stretching the budget a bit. Rooms there run around $299 per night, or 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Pride in London, England
London is another city that is opting to wait before its return to full-sized events. The city has pushed its Pride celebrations until the weekend of Sept. 11 while the U.K. continues to try to keep COVID-19 cases down as non-essential travel resumes.
The theme for this year’s parade will be “Visibility, Unity and Equality.” Organizers are currently accepting applications to take part in the colorful parade, as well as asking people to raise their voices and press the U.K. government to recognize the rights of the LGBTQ community. The parade route will be slightly altered this year. It will still go through central London, Piccadilly Circus and around Trafalgar Square, but the final route is still being finalized.
Aside from putting on a great event, the London Pride organizers also put out tips on how to make the most of any Pride event while remaining safe. Check out the website for their advice on how to best enjoy the festivities (hint: eating and hydrating with lots of water is key).
Where to stay: Treat yourself like a Queen (of England, that is) at the Mayfair, a Radisson Collection Hotel. You can charge your stay to your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which will earn you 3x or 2x on your purchase, respectively.
San Diego Pride in California
California’s celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community take a backseat to none. Unfortunately, the lingering effects of the pandemic have forced the cancellation of many of the state’s signature events, such as San Francisco’s Gay Pride parade and L.A. Pride in West Hollywood. San Diego’s Pride events are happening in a scaled-down format from July 10 to July 18. Given the ongoing public health guidance, organizers decided to set up a mix of virtual and limited-capacity in-person events. This year’s theme is “Resilient.”
The Spirit of Stonewall Rally, traditionally the opener to San Diego’s Pride activities, is still happening on July 16. There is also a 5k run/walk event that will be held (though the exact date is still to be determined), as well as a reduced-capacity Pride Live showcase of community leaders, volunteers and entertainers.
Where to stay: There are no shortage of attractive hotel options near the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego, which is where some of the city’s most vibrant restaurants and bars are located. The Hyatt Grand Manchester San Diego, the Hilton Bayfront and the Marriott Marquis all have rooms available during SD Pride that start at $208 per night.
Berlin Pride in Germany
When it comes to Pride celebrations in Europe, for many folks bigger is better. And that brings us to Berlin. The German capital’s Pride — technically called Christopher Street Day in homage to the Stonewall riots and New York City’s key role in the gay rights movement — typically attracts up to half a million people who follow the parade route. This year’s motto is “Save our Community – Save YOUR Pride.”
As with many European cities, Berlin’s Pride events will look a bit different this year due to pandemic restrictions. The CSD March take place on July 24, beginning at 12:00pm between the two subway stations 𝐍𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐫𝐟𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐳 and 𝐁ü𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚ß𝐞 and ends at Alexanderplatz, the most visited area in the city.
Where to stay: The “hetero-friendly” Axel Hotel is about as gay as it gets, while the Soho House Berlin in the city’s Mitte borough is undeniably sexy (think: a rooftop pool and ensuite rainfall showers).
Amsterdam Gay Pride in the Netherlands
You have to figure if the Pilgrims ditched Amsterdam because it was too sinful for their tastes, the city has to be doing something right — right? It’s no secret that Amsterdam knows how to have a good time, but its Pride has sometimes played second fiddle to better-known events in burgs like, well, Berlin. The city’s Gay Pride festivities, which this year run from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8, are finally garnering the attention they deserve.
The centerpiece of the weekend, the iconic Canal Parade, will not take place because of COVID-19 concerns. Other events such as street parties and dance festivals will go on, albeit likely with limitations on crowd sizes and spacing.
Where to stay: It can be quite challenging booking rooms for Amsterdam’s Pride weekend because August is peak tourist season. With the uncertainty of travel to Europe at the moment, you may get lucky. The DoubleTree by Hilton near the cultural hotspot NDSM Wharf will cost you 46,000 Hilton Honors points. The W Amsterdam will cost you $406 per night. If you want to book a less extravagant hotel, the Amsterdam Marriott has rooms for $207 a night.
Reykjavík Pride in Iceland
Are you a friend of Björk? Well, you don’t have to own every existing remix from the Homogenic album to be eligible to enjoy this midsummer’s Pride, held from Aug. 3 to Aug. 8. This effervescent Icelandic celebration of diversity and solidarity has been held every year since 1999, but it had to be postponed like most everything else in 2020. Proudly billing itself as “the biggest small Pride in the world,” organizers say they will be celebrating with in-person events this summer — though it will be a slimmed-down version of the event that in past years lasted 10 days and attracted 100,000 visitors. This year’s theme: “Queers of all ages.”
Where to stay: The Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is a solid bet with a winning location in the center of town.
Taiwan Pride in Taipei
In any given year, Taiwan Pride in Taipei is billed as Asia’s biggest LGBTQ+ event. Over 80,000 revelers are expected to attend the celebration from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 in the Zhongzheng District. The spotlight event is the parade, happening on Saturday, Oct. 30. In addition to the main parade, you can expect plenty of other satellite events and after-parties. According to a Taipei gay guide, the capital’s “Red House district is home to more than 25 different gay bars, shops and restaurants.”
Where to stay: Stay at the W Taipei in the central business district (rooms available from $257 per night) and you won’t have far to go for one of the gay rooftop pool parties planned during Taiwan Pride.
Miami Beach Pride
We’ll wrap up our list with what promises to be one of the most colorful Pride celebrations in the world. Miami Beach Pride is one of the largest and most popular events celebrating gay culture. Usually, the party happens in April, but due to COVID-19 and last year’s cancellation, this year’s slate of events will take place Sept. 10 through Sept. 19.
The main event will take place the weekend of September 18-19, with the parade that runs along world-famous Ocean Drive happening on Sunday. Organizers promise a COVID compliant festival and will implement safety protocols that will include mandatory masks, temperature checks, touchless transactions, sanitizing stations, larger tent sizes and open spaces.
Where to stay: Any of the various boutique hotels along South Beach will make attractive options. If you want to truly live it up, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach has rooms for $494 per night. Rooms at the W South Beach go for $535 a night.
Original reporting by Jessica Puckett.
Feature image by Anthony Devlin – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images.
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