10 Biggest Pride Events In America (Unforgettable Experiences)

America is the birthplace of Pride, the festival that celebrates everything to do with gay culture.

It started as a march in reaction to the events of Stonewall on June 28th 1969, but has since come to encompass mainstream gay culture, along with allowing many within the LGBTQ+ community to come out and show the world who they are.

10 Biggest Pride Events In America [Unforgettable Experiences]

As such – despite all the corporations that pay lip service and get on the bandwagon – it is a vastly important event and helps many people to come to terms with their gender and sexuality, while also allowing heteronormative people to engage with gay culture.

With that in mind, we are going to look at the biggest Pride events in America today and what you can do to join these unforgettable experiences.

1. New York City, New York

We can’t start this list without the place that started it all. The New York Pride was originally known as ‘The Christopher Street Liberation Day March’ and occurred in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots that occurred on the same day the year previously.

New York Pride has managed to maintain its top ranking by not only being the first Pride, but also the biggest Pride in America, with normally two to three million people attending it every year.

New York really goes all out with Pride month as well with events occurring throughout the month of June, from family-oriented movies to late night parties, before ending the month with the traditional Pride march.

The march normally goes through 5th avenue and heads west on 8th street, before crossing over 6th avenue and onto Christopher Street, the birthplace of Pride. Finally, it will reach 16th street and 7th avenue, before dissipating in Chelsea.

2. Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is the second home of Pride, with the good people of Chicago joining the New York marchers on the 28th June 1970 in a show of solidarity during the first Pride.

Considering it is the third-largest city in America and the largest one in the Midwest, it is not surprising that Chicago Pride is such a big event, with more than a million people joining the festivities.

What’s amazing about Chicago Pride is that it is a massive sports city and the personalities from the sports community – both queer and straight – come out in force to celebrate gay pride with their brethren.

The Pride Parade in Chicago traditionally takes place on the last Sunday of June, but a festival takes place all through the prior weekend and throughout the prior month along North Halstead Street, for those who may not be able to attend.

3. San Francisco, California

As you might expect, San Francisco has a thriving Pride festival scene, and they plan for a whole host of different events throughout June involving Gay Pride.

In fact, San Francisco has overtaken Chicago as the second-biggest Pride in recent years, but it is still small scale compared to the huge Pride in New York – only having just under two million people attending.

Most major institutions have something planned for the Pride month of June – from nightclubs to galleries to universities to museums – but the main event goes over two days from June 25th to June 26th with the parade starting at 10.30am on the 26th and going throughout the day.

However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything going on beforehand – for example, the Trans March is set for the 24th June.

4. Houston, Texas

Heading to one of the larger cities in the USA now with Houston. Normally, you would not think of Houston as being the most Pride centric place in the world, but the city is incredibly welcoming and supportive of its queer inhabitants.

The Pride has a festival and a Pride parade on the last Sunday of the month, with close to a million people attending.

The events tend to run later than in other cities, as its position in the deep south means that the weather can become an issue – especially during the height of summer.

However, this might have to change as it is becoming larger and larger with every passing year.

5. Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City has been steadily growing in recent years and has become an important hub for the plains and mountain states that surround it.

This is especially true for rural queer people who may not have access to other cities or areas in which to find fellow members of the queer community.

This can be seen in the size of Denver’s Pride, as although the city is only about 700,000 in population with two million in its metro area, Denver Pride has an attendance of about 500,000 to 600,000.

The celebration – locally known as Pride fest – takes place over a weekend, has a variety of personalities – like Chad Michaels – and traditional events – like the 18-year tradition the beer bust at the Denver Wrangler.

6. Columbus, Ohio

Some see this Pride as the spiritual rival of Chicago’s Pride events – especially queer sports fans – however, we see it more as friendly jostling between two Midwestern siblings, each with their own unique events.

Whatever the case may be, Columbus attracts about 750,000 people per year and has so many events and personalities that you will be entranced by the whole affair.

The city has been having Pride events for 42 years, making it one of the older Pride festivals.

This age has done nothing to dampen the spirit of the event, as it has the same glitz and glamor of many other Pride festivals, from the city hall illumination on the 1st right up to the parade on the last weekend of the month.

10 Biggest Pride Events In America [Unforgettable Experiences] (1)

7. Los Angeles, California

We couldn’t have a list of the biggest Pride events in America without the City of Angels somewhere on this list. Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the US and when Pride month rolls around, it really shows.

Everything you would imagine from a creativity powerhouse like Los Angeles comes to life in their Pride: exhibitions, music, comedy, poetry, installations, and many more.

With so many A-listers living in the city as well, you are probably going to see a lot of people who have come out and become visible icons to those who are still struggling with their identity as well.

One thing that the city where Hollywood resides does best of all is the performance of it all, from the parade right down to the marching, if you can afford to, it is worth spending time just going to the march itself.

8. San Diego, California

The third entry on the list for California today is the beautiful city of San Diego, the eighth-largest city with somehow a small town charm.

Although this Pride attracts just below half a million people, that doesn’t make it any less important or any less fun, as it is the largest civic event in a city of almost 1.5 million people.

San Diego’s position on the Mexican border means that this Pride is a mix of cultures and allows for many in traditionally conservative areas of both Mexico and the US to explore their own identities without fear.

It is a parade of over 200 floats that has a two-day festival attached to it, making it perfect for a fun little weekend jaunt on the seafront.

9. Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Pride event is the largest Pride event in the south-eastern United States and one of the oldest and largest in the entire country, starting just 2 years after Stonewall in 1971 with typical attendance being around 300,000 people.

It is also one of the latest Prides in the country, typically being held in October, which is great for those who didn’t manage to scratch that Pride itch in the summer.

10. Miami, Florida

Miami is known for its party culture and its gay culture scene, so it is not surprising that it has one of the biggest Pride events in the country. Although it only has just over 400,000 people in the city, the Pride attracts more than 180,000 people a year.

The city potentially has the longest Pride of them all with events starting in April and continuing towards the end of June with the parade tending to start on June 19th.

There are many events in and around the city to do with Pride during this period, including brunches, bingo parties, and drinks parties to name but a few.

Conclusion

The biggest Pride events in the country are often some of the most glamorous, entertaining, and fun of them all.

They are in places with well established queer communities and have been welcoming to many people of many different backgrounds for a very long time.

If you are thinking about attending Pride, as an out person or a person still in the closet, think about giving these few a go and truly see how spectacular a Pride event can truly be.

Gay Worlley

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