18 Ways to Celebrate Pride Month in San Francisco

Show up and show your Pride.

In normal times, San Francisco’s Pride celebration and parade is the largest gathering of the LGTBQ+ community and its allies in the United States and is always one of SF’s best non-stop parties of the year. Unfortunately, this year, the official parade and party still aren’t happening out of a desire to keep everyone safe and healthy. However, as per this year’s theme, we’re “All in This Together” (if the song from High School Musical is now stuck in your head, please know you’re not alone), and the lack of a parade isn’t keeping anyone from celebrating #SFPride51 and our city’s rainbow-hued history and people. Here are a ton of fabulous ways to sparkle and shine during the month of June, many of which are still virtual, but a bunch of which are in-person (with COVID protocols in place, of course). The spirit of SF Pride is thriving, and no pandemic is going to stop us from sharing the love.

San Francisco Pride
San Francisco Pride

These back-to-back movie nights on June 11 and 12 are gearing up to be some of the most festive Pride celebrations in that there will be a real sense of community and gathering together to enjoy entertainment simultaneously, a thing we haven’t been able to do much of, if any, for the last 14+ months.

In the Heights, the movie based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage musical, will be playing on Friday night, the same day it opens in theaters across the country. You’ll just be seeing it on a 10,800-square foot screen, which is 45% larger than what you’d find in SF’s biggest movie theater. Saturday night’s flick is Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a musical drama inspired by true events surrounding a 16-year-old who dreamt of becoming a drag queen.

There will be a pre-show on both nights with special appearances, contests, music videos, and more. Ticket prices range from $19.99 to $2,499.

On Friday, June 18th, the eve of Juneteenth, there will be an uplifting event—exact details still TBD—at the African American Art & Culture Complex. The intent is to showcase the connection between “the fight for LGTBQ+ equality and the struggle for racial justice.” Another reason to show up and support the event? AAACC co-founders Melonie Green and Melorra Green were named SF Pride’s  2021 Community Grand Marshals.

The New Conservatory Theatre Center has extended this performance about the power and magic of being trans through June 30, so that it can be enjoyed for the entire month of Pride. The digital streaming event features trans performers from the Bay Area and beyond and takes audiences on a “journey of self-love through original animation, poetry, voguing, and much more.” Admission is pay-what-you-wish from $5 to $40.

tales of the city
Photo by Kevin Berne

From June 21st to June 27th, the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is streaming a performance filmed during its original 2011 run of the musical based on the first two novels in Armistead Maupin’s series—Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City and More Tales of the City. This show is especially meaningful to San Franciscans as the city is an important character in this tale that shows how we were, but also how we could be. This is the first time this fully-staged performance that was captured by multiple cameras will be able to be seen in its entirety in a decade. Tickets are $19, $29, and $49.

The GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro has reopened its doors just in time for Pride. There are currently two exhibitions on view: “Performance, Protest and Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker,” a show that uses textiles, costumes, photographs, and ephemera to paint a complex portrait of the artists who designed the iconic rainbow flag, and long-term exhibition, “Queer Past Becomes Present,” a storytelling of over 100 years of queer life in SF through photos, documents, and artifacts. Reserved tickets are recommended.

Photo by Auintard H.

This Black-led Pride Month event is the first-ever of its kind in the Bay Area, and wow, was it a long time coming. The four-day event (June 24 to June 27) is hosted by Oakland Black Pride, a nonprofit created to address inequities that exist for people at the critical intersection of Blackness and queerness, and includes virtual workshops, Zoom fitness classes, a Queer Expo, dance parties, a kickball tournament, and a Skate for Pride Party hosted by Grammy Winner Durand Bernarr. The celebration will culminate in a Slayer’s Ball grand finale party at The Bridge Yard, honoring the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans women of color who were prominent figures in the Stonewall Uprising, social justice advocates, and mothers of the Pride movement. Most events are free, but registration is required.

© Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is hosting After Dark Online events for Pride month, all of which were put together by 13 young trans and queer people ranging in age from 18 to 24. On June 10, at “Queering the Future,” find out about how the climate crisis and related challenges could disproportionately shape LGBTQ+ lives and the kinds of changes that will be necessary to achieve “inclusivity, resilience, and a brighter future.” The event on June 24 will celebrate LGBTQ+ heritage and culture. You’ll hear from artists, historians, and thinkers whose work has made an impact on SF’s LGBTQ+ “culture, history, and liberation.” Both programs are free and can be live streamed via YouTube or Facebook.

The SFGMC is putting on an entirely virtual showcase for Pride on June 24 at 6 pm. The “WIRED” showcase will feature six brand-new videos and never-before-seen performances, including a rousing homage to RuPaul and a performance of Todrick Hall’s iconic, “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels,” and the chance to hear from Chorus members and SFGMC friends, special guests, and more. The show will stream on SFGMC’s YouTube and Facebook pages and registration is free.

Frameline
Frameline

Frameline45 is putting on its longest festival ever with a mix of virtual and in-person events so that you can experience LGTBQ+ cinematic events wherever you’re most comfortable. The in-person events, mostly drive-in movies in SF and Concord, but inside at the Castro and Roxie Theatres as well, begin June 10, and the streaming events begin June 17. Both go through June 27. The online events include films and talks, like “Wilson Cruz in Conversation with Raffy Ermac” and “Indigenous Voices in Queer Cinema.” Tickets start at $10, but there are some free events as well.

Every Thursday during the month of June, Dirty Habit, the (heated) rooftop bar on the fifth floor of Hotel Zelos is throwing a “ThursTrap” party from 5–10 pm. There’s a DJ, Pride-themed craft cocktails, and a photo booth with two live models and sexy props to pose with, including naughty caption bubbles, feathery boas, handcuffs, and even a whip because what’s a naughty pic without a whip. Post your photo to social and tag Dirty Habit, and the restaurant will donate $5 to the SF Queer Nightlife Fund, a nonprofit network providing relief to LGBTQ nightlife workers and entertainers affected by COVID-19. (But even if you don’t want to share your “ThursTrap” on Insta, a portion of each evening’s entire proceeds will also be donated.)

Flickr/Christopher Michel

All through June, the famous pink triangle will be lit up with 2,700 bright pink LED nodes on the hillside of Twin Peaks once again as a nightly reminder of hope and resilience. Walk up the car-free part of Twin Peaks Blvd (enter at the Burnett Gate), drive up (via the Portola Gate), or hike up one of the trails if you want to see it close-up. Don’t feel like doing any of those? The triangle, which covers about an acre, is visible from over 20 miles away (when the fog is on hiatus).

Sister Roma and some of her sisters are performing at the Fairmont Hotel’s “Queens on Top” (‘cause it’s on Nob Hill, get it?) show for an afternoon of “brunch, flair, and big hair.” The menu includes delicious brunch eats, but most importantly: bottomless mimosas and bloodys. Tickets are $95, and since there is only one performance—noon on June 13—it will sell out.

SF’s queen of Queens, Juanita MORE! is hosting her legendary Pride party at 620 Jones on Sunday, June 27. This is sure to be one of the biggest parties of the weekend, complete with drag artists, DJs, and all kinds of diverse performers. Tickets are $55 in advance, and you have to have proof of a COVID vaccination or negative test to get in.

Get wine delivered and simultaneously support the SF LGBT Center

Vinebox, an SF-based subscription wine service where you get the season’s best wines by the glass is offering a limited-edition Pride box and 100% of the profits from the first 500 boxes sold will be donated to the SF LGBT Center. The Pride Set is $89 and includes nine 10 cl pours.

Photo courtesy of Kokak Chocolates

Send Pride-inspired artisan chocolate and truffles so someone you love

Kokak Chocolates, a woman- and LGTBQ-owned chocolate shop/company in the Castro, is offering several Pride collections of its small-batch single-origin heirloom chocolates. It’s a great way to show someone your love and support while also showing a small local business the same.

You were probably going to buy some gummies anyway, so why not buy the rainbow sherbert sativa Pride gummies from PLUS? For every tin sold, PLUS will donate a portion of proceeds to the San Francisco-based Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) to further their mission of ending the human rights abuses committed against Black and Brown TGI people inside of California prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond. A tin with 20 pieces (5 mg THC each) is $18.

Order a Cascara Spritz from Verve to support the It Gets Better Project

To celebrate Pride Month in June, Verve Coffee Roasters is offering a Cascara Spritz (Jamaica cascara, citrus kombucha, and topped with mint), and whenever you buy one, a portion of proceeds will go to the It Gets Better Project, a global nonprofit dedicated to empowering LGBTQ+ youth. Verve is also giving away Love is Love bandanas and Pride stickers at its Market Street location.

Noe Valley Bakery

Eat cake and drink coffee to help LGBTQ+ youth

Mr. Espresso has partnered with Noe Valley Bakery to raise money for the Lyric Center for LGBTQQ+ Youth. For the month of June, 5% of the bakery’s coffee proceeds will go to the organization. That’s on top of the 5% donated by the bakery when you buy its Pride cakes and cupcakes.

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Daisy Barringer is a writer who feels very lucky to have grown up in San Francisco surrounded by one of the largest LGTBQ+ communities in the world and a community of allies who support inclusivity and the fact that #LoveWins.