10 Large Gay Pride Festivals Across the U.S.

Below are some of the largest Gay Pride Festivals in the U.S. If you're a gay person looking to network with other LGBTQ people, you can party on at these 10 festivals across the country.

The Origin of Gay Pride Festivals

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Gay Pride Festivals celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) culture and history.   The Stonewall Riots of 1969 were a precursor to Gay Pride. At that time, gay persons protested against homophobia and violence against LGBTQ persons in New York City. The riots culminated in a Gay Pride celebration of parties and the first gay pride march.

Other major cities across the world followed suit. Today, there are more than 150 official Gay Pride festivals. Let's look at ten large pride festivals in the United States.

Image Credit: Virginia Tourism Corporation. 

1. New York City Pride

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New York City Pride is one of the largest Pride Festivals in the world. Every year millions of LGBT persons and their allies gather in Manhattan to celebrate gay Pride. The grand festival takes place during the last week of June.

NYC Pride is significant because it is America's first Gay Pride March.  Since that time, NYC Pride has become more of a festive occasion. Numerous events take place, including drag brunches, a film festival, and of course, the gay pride march. If you're an LGBT person or an ally, you should experience NYC Pride once in your life.

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2. San Francisco Pride

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San Francisco is home to a large LGBT population and has even been named the “Gay Capital of America.” There are many significant LGBTQ events, including Fresh Meat Festival, Folsom Street Fair, and Castro Street Fair. The most iconic event is San Francisco Pride.

San Francisco Pride takes place annually during Pride Month in June.  It is the biggest Pride festival in America and one of the largest in the world. The first one took place in 1970, a year after the Stonewall Riots in New York City. San Franciso Pride has grown to 100,000 annual participants.

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3. Chicago Pride

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Chicago is another vibrant city with a huge gay scene in Boystown and Pilsen and events and activities held throughout the year. One of the biggest festivals in Chicago is Chicago Pride in June.  The major highlight of Chicago Pride is its Parade.

The Pride Parade runs through Boystown and has more than 1 million spectators and participants. It is a two-day celebration that brings LGBTQ persons and their allies from all over the nation. Like other Pride celebrations, it consists of many events and activities, including Pride in the Park & Pride Parade.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/André Lage Freitas. 

4. Atlanta Pride

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Atlanta Pride is one of the biggest Pride Festivals in the Southeast. It started in 1971, growing to more than 300,000 attendees.   Atlanta Pride used to take place in June when many other Gay Pride Festivals took place across the country. However, the organizers decided to move the festival to October during LGBTQ History Month.

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5. Capital Pride

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Capital Pride is a Pride Festival in Washington, D.C., every year during Pride Month. It started as a one-day block party but grew into a series of events. These activities include drag brunches, movie nights, and pool parties.  There is even an event for puppies called Puppy Pride PAWrade where dog owners can dress up their puppy.   The parade happens at DuPont circle, a popular hub in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/AFGE. 

6. New Orleans Pride

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New Orleans has one of the largest LGBT populations in this country. As a result, the city hosts several LGBT events, including New Orleans Pride and Southern Decadence. One of the largest LGBTQ festivals in New Orleans is New Orleans Pride in June in the iconic French Quarter.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/ Tony Webster. 

7. Denver Pride Pridefest

Denver Pride is the most significant event for the LGBTQ community in Colorado. More than 450,000 attendees attended Denver Pride in pre-pandemic years. The Center on Colfax organizes the 2-day festivities. It includes a Pride 5k,  a parade, concert, drag performances, and other entertainers.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/Jeffrey Beall. 

8. Miami Beach Pride

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Miami is known for its nightlife. Straight persons and the LGBTQ community flock to the city during different events, including Spring Break, Carnivale, and Art Basel. Miami Beach Pride takes place from April 1st to April 10th.   Organizers of Miami Beach Pride will be following the safety protocols of the CDC during this pandemic. Different events during Miami Beach Pride, including drag brunches and the main parade.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/Pedro88Pablo. 

9. Nashville Pride

Nashville Pride 2021

Nashville Pride is a festival that has been going on for decades. It started in 1988 and continues to be one of the biggest LGBTQ celebrations in Tennessee. Like many other pride festivals, Nashville Pride was virtual for the past couple of years, but it will be in-person in 2022. There is already a lineup of events, including a pageant and a closing event at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Downtown Nashville.

Image Credit: Wikimedia/NovumChase. 

10. Big Boy Pride

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Orlando, Florida, is a major city known for its tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios. However, it is also known for its gay culture. One of Orlando's most significant gay events is Big Boy Pride (BBP). BBP is a festival created for more prominent gay men but welcomes all types of gay men. The festival includes various events in April, including pool parties, seminars, and live entertainment. Big Boy Pride will take place this year and be a four-day event.

Image Credit: Pexels. 

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Marcos Martinez is a gay coming out coach and blogger who writes about the black gay lifestyle.