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 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 politically minded and family-friendly marches, it’s time to don your hottest lewk and have a goddamn ball.
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, not least because it's just been announced that Bangkok will be hosting World Pride 2028. The festivities kick off with a parade on June 4, which will begin at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center and follow the theme of "Beyond Gender." After the parade, the Siam Center will be hosting live performances by Proxie, BNK48, and artists from Drag Race Thailand, in addition to a line-up of art exhibitions scattered throughout the month.
Things are looking up for Brazil, which welcomed left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva earlier this year. And with changing tides, this year’s Pride is sure to be as vibrant as ever. São Paulo has been hosting an annual Pride Parade since 1997, and holds the title for the largest of its kind in the Guinness Book of World Records. It attracts nearly three million people each year from all over Brazil and countries throughout South America. The parade starts in front of the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo at Avenida Paulista: Expect floats, feathers, and reggaetón aplenty. But before you join in on the parade, get the party started early at the LGBTQ+ Diversity Fair, happening June 8.
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, and this year, it'll be open entirely for the first time. 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.
June 18 –25
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. This year, Christina Aguilera will be headlining Pride Island at Brooklyn Army Terminal. And if you want something more low-key (but no less fun), check out the Dyke March the day before, 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. 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, check out the National Queer Arts Festival, running from June 9 to July 2. San Francisco also 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.
One of the biggest Pride celebrations in the world takes place over the course of June, culminating in the Pride parades that close 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.
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. Thousands will gather around the Angel of Independence statue in the leafy "Pink Zone," a.k.a. 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 Facebook page for the complete list of Pride-related shenanigans.
June 1–July 1
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. Be sure to check out The Real Housewives of Soho drag extravaganza, hosted by The Next Drag Superstar winner Vesalia.
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 official main party of CSD Berlin, House of Pride, is a highlight.
August 8 –13
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. Be sure to check out the Official Reykjavik Pride Closing Party, led by legendary band Stjórnin, on August 6.