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Pride Parade in New York City

New York, California, Colorado, Florida, Washington, D.C.

5 Gay Pride Celebrations Around the U.S. You Shouldn’t Miss

By: Jess Moss

Alexander Thompson
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  • States:
    New York
    California
    Colorado
    Florida
    Washington, D.C.

Gay pride in the United States can be described with one word: passion.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) celebrations that take place during gay pride month each June attract people of many sexual orientations, religions and ethnicities, with participants waving rainbow flags and celebrating equal love and gay rights. From a parade that files past the bar credited with being the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S. to dogs dressed in drag, here are five great gay pride celebrations around the country. Of course, these are also gay-friendly destinations throughout the year. 

NYC Pride — New York City, New York

While at first glance it might look like just a typical New York City street party, NYC Pride’s roots are steeped in history. The modern gay rights movement began here in 1969, when riots followed a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, an LGBT bar. Now those protests are commemorated in the city’s annual Pride Week celebration, one of New York’s most beloved festivals. The late June events include a rally and parade, with more than 350 contingents marching through Manhattan. One popular place to watch the parade is in front of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. 

NYC Pride Parade

NYC Pride Parade
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Washington, D.C., Capital Pride — Washington, D.C.  

Capital Pride in Washington, D.C. sometimes takes on a political vibe, especially when the government is making rulings on issues surrounding gay rights. While many of the festivities are concentrated over the course of one weekend in early June, Capital Pride events span more than a week and are preceded by D.C. Black Pride. If you start your pride partying in Washington, D.C., plan a trip up the East Coast to New York City for its pride festivities.

D.C. LGBT Pride Parade

D.C. LGBT Pride Parade
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San Francisco Pride — San Francisco, California

If there’s one gay pride event in the U.S. you need to attend at least once, it’s San Francisco Pride. It’s considered the largest gay pride celebration in the country — and one of the most celebrated in the world. During late June, San Francisco Pride draws more than 1 million people to events like a parade and a festival that overtakes the Civic Center and city streets. San Francisco’s Pride celebration embodies the freedom of expression, human rights and love — all things the California city is known for embracing. 

San Francisco Pride

San Francisco Pride
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PrideFest — Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado’s PrideFest celebration, which takes place in mid-June, has been growing in recent years, drawing more than 350,000 people. The festivities include parties, concerts, a parade, a 5-kilometer walk/run and activities like face painting for kids. Denver’s celebration has been called the most family-friendly gay pride event in the U.S. Denver is also a dog-loving city, and the Dogs in Drag parade is one of PrideFest’s most popular events. 

Denver Pride

Denver Pride
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Key West Pride — Key West, Florida

Every day, Key West feels like other cities might during their pride celebrations: the South Florida island is known for its “anything goes” atmosphere and gay-friendly community. But during the early June Key West Pride celebrations, there are more LGBT-friendly events and a parade. What sets this celebration apart from those in big cities like Miami and New York City is its laid-back vibe. This is pride done island style — not too crowded, tropical and easy to join the festivities. 

Key West Pride

Key West Pride
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