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Before the Parade Passes By: Pride Essentials for 5 Iconic Destinations

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 23, 2019
Orbitz at the Chicago Pride Parade
Orbitz at the Chicago Pride Parade  (Source:Orbitz)

The countdown has begun! Major events and exhibitions have already kicked off across the country, so if you're planning on attending Pride or Stonewall events, it's time to strategize.

This year, Orbitz conducted a survey to find out what LGBTQ travelers take into consideration and discovered that 79 percent of those surveyed plan to attend this year's events with a group. And we all know group travel is like wrangling cats, so divide up the responsibilities (hotels and car shares should be tackled first).

"More travelers than ever before will be celebrating love and equality in some of the most gay-friendly cities across the country this year," said Carey Malloy, Director of Brand Marketing for Orbitz Brand. "With this being a milestone year for Pride, our message to travelers is now is the time to plan your trip while accommodations are in high demand."

Here are our essential tips for five of the largest Pride celebrations across the country:

LA Pride  (Source:PhotosByByron / Getty Images)


Los Angeles kicks off Pride May 31 - June 9 with Grammy-winning Meghan Trainor headlining the festivities. Relatively new to the lineup is LA Pride Night at Universal Studios (June 1) with exclusive after-hours park access from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.

When the Sun Sets — Kick up your heels in West Hollywood at the iconic Abbey or walk across the street to the fresh and fabulous Flaming Saddles, a bi-level nightlife mecca with two-steppin' go-go boys daily drink specials.

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles — This year marks the 40th anniversary of GMCLA, and to celebrate, they've invited the New York City Gay Mens Chorus to create a 500-member choir that will ring through the rafters at Walt Disney Concert Hall on August 16.

Stay — Take a dip off the Sunset Strip at the London West Hollywood where the rooftop pool offers stellar views of the City of Angels.

Check out these other Los Angeles LGBTQ tips.

Capital Pride Parade  (Source:Matthew Wexler)


Our nation's capital celebrates Pride May 31 - June 9. Its theme, "ShhhOUT: Past, Present & Proud," recognizes multigenerational leaders who have raised their voices for LGBTQ rights.

Riot! The Pride Opening Party — "RuPaul's Drag Race" Vanessa Vanjie Mateo headlines this electric night at Echostage with DJs Honey, Dvonne and Ed Bailey for a high-energy kick-off. (June 7)

"Rise Up!" at the Newseum — The groundbreaking exhibit explores the modern LGBTQ rights movement, spearheaded by that fateful night in June 1969 when police raided Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn. Highlights include a bullet-punctured envelope found in the suit jacket of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk the day he was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, James Obergefell's wedding jacket, and a portion of the AIDS quilt, which represents the continuing epidemic and its particular effect on today's transgender community. (Through December 31)

Stay — The Embassy Row Hotel is located in Dupont Circle and just a short stroll to bustling nightlife spots including Nine, Trade and Green Lantern.

Check out these other Washington, DC LGBTQ tips

Chicago Pride Fest  (Source:ChooseChicago / Chicago Pride Fest)


Pre-party in Chicago! That's right, the Windy City has back-to-back Pride celebrations. Chicago Pride Fest kicks things off with a two-day street festival, June 22-23. Scheduled performers include Leann Rimes, Alex Newell and more.

See a Show! — 2019 marks the Year of Chicago Theatre, so take your pick from hundreds of companies ranging from touring Broadway shows and storefront theaters to the home of Second City improv comedy. The queer-centric Pride Film & Plays presents "Desire in a Tinier House" through June 29.

A Taste of Pride — It's no secret that Chicago's stellar food scene is reason alone to visit. Put a feather in your rainbow cap with a meal at Elizabeth, out chef Iliana Regan's funky and innovative restaurant offers various tasting menus that evolve with the seasons.

Stay — Hotel Zachary Chicago's Wrigleyville location is literally across the street from the iconic baseball park and also a short stroll from Boystown, where the party spills into the streets during Pride weekend.

Check out these other Chicago LGBTQ tips.

NYC Pride  (Source:Walter Wlodarczyk/NYC & Company)


New York City Pride. WorldPride. Stonewall50. Yes... that is all happening this June. It's going to be epic! A full rundown of events can be found at, but there are can't-miss events that should be on your itinerary:

WorldPride Opening Ceremony (June 26) — Whoopi Goldberg hosts this all-star event at Brooklyn Barclays Center, featuring Cyndi Lauper, Ciara, Todrick Hall and more. "I am thrilled to be a part of the WorldPride Opening Ceremony," says Lauper. "I can't wait to celebrate with my LGBTQIA+ friends and family from across the world." Either can we!

"Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall" at the Brooklyn Museum (May 3 - December 8) — Twenty-two artists born after 1969 offer their interpretation of the impact of the Stonewall Riots through painting, sculpture, performance and video.

Oscar Wilde Tours — Discover New York City's queer legacy with LGBTQ historian Andrew Lear through the streets of Greenwich Village. Want a dose of culture instead? Check out Lear's "Gay Secrets of the Met" and the not-so-secret meanings behind those ancient Greek nudes and homoerotic works from the Renaissance.

Stay — The James New York is located near the end of the newly revised parade route, so you'll be at the epicenter of all the action and with walking distance of NYC's hottest nightlife neighborhood, Hell's Kitchen.

Check out these other New York City LGBTQ tips.

San Francisco Pride  (Source:San Francisco Travel Association / Nader Khour)


This year's San Francisco Pride (June 29-30), titled "Generations of Resistance," pays homage to the LGBTQ community's continuing legacy to advocate for equal rights. Of course, you can still do it in style! This year's mainstage features Brazil's most famous drag queen Pabllo Vittar, while the parade's grand marshals include transgender activist-artist Donna Personna.

Life is a Cabaret — Feinstein's at the Nikko's gorgeous cabaret venue draws international talent. This June's line-up includes hilarious comedian Pam Ann (June 12-13), super cute crooner Spencer Day (June 14-15), and the campy "Liberace & Liza" tribute (June 26-27).

Stay — The Marker San Francisco's recently renovated stylish digs are close enough to the Castro, but you'll want to allow from some relaxation amid the gorgeous Beau-Arts touches. Spring for the Signature one bedroom spa suite and enjoy a six-foot Jacuzzi and Jonathan Adler bath amenities.

Check out these other San Francisco LGBTQ tips.

Orbitz has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community and was the first leading site to launch pages dedicated to LGBTQ-friendly travel options. National support has included The Trevor Project, HRC, PFLAG, among others, along with ongoing local partnerships and support in its hometown of Chicago.

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Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

Spring 2019

This story is part of our special report titled "Spring 2019." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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