The 10 Best Pride Festivals Around the World
Let your international rainbow flag fly.
Another Pride season is upon us, and once again we’re here, we’re queer—and after a two-year hiatus, we’re simply gagging for a kiki. That means if you're not already in a boozy, rainbow-hued haze, you probably will be soon.
Pride is about more than just the party, though. It’s a time for us to come together (queers, qweens, and allies alike) to celebrate the diversity that makes the LGBTQ+ community so special.
There are plenty of battles left to fight, but it's important to celebrate our victories—and what better way than partying with fabulous communities across the globe? Each city is totally unique, but they all have one thing in common: they know how to do Pride like nowhere else.
From the sunny, salacious, and ever-so-slightly sordid to political, family-friendly marches, it’s time to don your hottest lewk, and have a goddamn ball.
June 5 - 31
On any given day, Silom Road's queer quarter pulsates like an acid trip, with neon lights, gogo dancers, and thumping drag/gay/whatever bars at every corner. But this June, it’s going to be extra special.
“I’m so excited Bangkok is having its first Pride in over a decade—it’s about damn time!” says Pagina Heals, whose appearance on Drag Race vs. The World brought a global spotlight to Bangkok's queer scene. The doyenne of Bangkok drag (and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand) thinks Pride is a huge leap forward for the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride is a time to remind ourselves that we have so much further to go before truly achieving equality. And with the current political climate in Brazil, this year’s Pride is more important than ever.
São Paulo has been hosting an annual Pride Parade since 1997. It attracts nearly three million people each year from all over Brazil and countries throughout South America. The parade starts at Avenida Paulista: expect floats, feathers, and reggaeton aplenty. It ends at Ibirapuera Park, with hyped-up concerts by Brazilian icons such as Maria Bethânia and Gilberto Gil, who have been openly gay and bisexual throughout their careers.
June 22 - 26
Dubliners know how to throw a good party. This pint-sized city explodes into a sea of emerald green every year, as its ancient streets backdrop one of Europe’s biggest celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day. And Pride is no different.
Ever since the first parade in 1983, Pride’s become one of Ireland’s most important and celebrated events, changing hearts and minds in the process. The predominantly Catholic Republic of Ireland voted for same-sex marriage in 2015 in a referendum led by a gay Prime Minister.
Dublin’s stately boulevard, O’Connell Street, transforms into a flurry of rainbows. The parade wraps up in Merrion Square (where you’ll spot a fabulous sculpture of Oscar Wilde, made of precious gemstones). Try to nab an invite to a private ‘members’ party (often held in eccentric underground venues, like a basement of a Chinese restaurant), as Dublin’s licensing laws means the night is cut short at 12:30 am.
The Big Apple is where it all began back in 1970, with several hundred protestors marching from Greenwich Village to Central Park demanding an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, a year after the Stonewall Riots.
Today’s NYC Pride is one of the biggest and most brazenly queer celebrations globally, with over four million people getting involved. It’s also one of the most commercialized—but if you can handle all those corporate floats, there’s no better time to be in the big city.
There’s no shortage of places to drink, dance, and flirt, when it comes to afterparties. And if you want something more low-key (but no less fun), check out the Dyke March on Saturday afternoon, celebrating lesbians and allies who march in solidarity against hate and bigotry.
San Fran: it’s time to grab your wigs, glitter, and finest gowns. Pride is finally here for the first time in what seems like an eternity. San Francisco is one of the world’s premier Pride events, but like many on this list, it’s been accused of ‘rainbow-washing’ in recent years, with Silicon Valley-style corporations co-opting the flotillas. That said, San Francisco has lost none of its original Pride magic—the LGBTQ+ community has responded by fashioning its own series of unique celebrations.
The country’s biggest Trans Pride celebration takes place around Mission Dolores Park on the Friday before Pride, while micro-venues open their doors to all-day-and-night parties on the Saturday. Alongside Pride, San Francisco holds the world’s biggest kink fest in September: Folsom Street Fair. It’s a must-go if leather and fetish gear are your thing.
June 1 - 30
One of the biggest Pride celebrations in the world takes place over the course of June, culminating in the Pride parades that closes out the month (including a Dyke March and Trans March). Toronto’s streets are flooded with people who've come out to celebrate not just the LGBTQ+ community, but also everyone else who loves being themselves and having fun. Exhibitions, film fests, and ginormous parties complement the main event, and there’s usually a sonic-blasting all-day-rave at the TreeHouse towards the end of June.
June 20 - 26
The magnificent splendor of Mexico City plays out to a wild, week-long extravaganza during Pride. The parade itself happens on the last Saturday of June each year, with the Marcha de Orgullo. It’s been over 40 years since the county’s first protest against LGBTQ+ discrimination.
After two years off, expect a big, boisterous crowd of party-loving revelers finally coming together to celebrate Pride. Thousands will gather around the Angel of Independence statue in the leafy ‘Pink Zone’ Zona Rosa, the gay-friendly district, for a vibrant march along Paseo de la Reforma. The main event concludes at Zocalo, the city’s handsome central square. Mexico packs a punch for late-night afterparties: check out the official Pride site for the complete list of Pride-related shenanigans.
London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and that shows in its Pride celebrations.“Upwards of 1.5 million attendees flock to our capital,” says Haven Thorne, Head of PR for London Pride.
“This year, the parade kicks off at Hyde Park Corner, the site of the first 1972 march, also where mining communities showed solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in 1985.” It continues down Piccadilly Circus through Trafalgar Square before culminating at Whitehall Place (home to the House of Parliament).
Soho is a central ingredient of Pride, away from the politics and commercial floats. The ever-beating heart of London’s LGBTQ+ community is a must-visit if pulsing queer EDM anthems and an anything-goes atmosphere gets you up and dancing all night.
One of the world's party capitals, Berlin’s rainbow flag has been fluttering happily for years now, with some of the most inclusive (and frankly, out there) LGBTQ+ nightlife in Europe. This year is no exception.
Berlin Pride is named in honor of the street where the Stonewall Riots started. Christopher Street Day comprises two stand-out events: the main parade, which leaves from Ku'damm and Joachimsthaler Strasse and ends at the Brandenburg Gate; and the rally, a stage hosting talks, drag queen/king performances, and high-octane DJs sets. The laid-back, all-inclusive queer picnic at Volkspark Hasenheide is a highlight.
Reykjavik may be one of Europe’s most remote capitals, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ready for its close-up. Thanks to its relaxed vibe, pristine natural beauty, and friendly locals, Reykjavik is an amazing city for LGBTQ+ travelers (and everyone else). It’s also one of the most progressive countries in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights—it was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2010. Two-thirds of the country take part every year. Once, the city mayor even marched in drag—which is pretty damn fierce.