Pride Guide 2021: How U.S. Cities Are Celebrating Virtually and in Person

·10 min read

From a spontaneous uprising against injustice sparked by Black trans women to a series of celebrations uniting tens of millions of people across the globe, it's incredible how far the march for LGBTQIA+ equality has come since the 1969 Stonewall riots. While Pride Month is rife with opportunity to take to the streets in celebration, it's also the perfect time to educate yourself on the history of the movement, advocate for intersectionality, and pay tribute to the past sacrifices made to ensure a safe and secure future for today's LGBTQIA+ community.

Girls kissing during Pride month event
Girls kissing during Pride month event

Mixmike/Getty Images

All pride celebrations in the country have been severely limited over the past two years, but the steady rollout of vaccinations has paved the way for a slight return to form, with no shortage of in-person events to take part in all across the U.S. Whether you're planning a day out on the town with your closest friends or prefer to celebrate solo from the safety of your home, 2021's pride celebrations will surely have something exciting in store for all.

New York City

While many of the city's events are still in the planning process, NYC residents can look forward to a wealth of activities available both online and in-person this year. The main events are centered around the fourth weekend in June, with Friday night's RALLY serving as a call to action for the protection of Black Trans Lives as well as a memorial for those lost during the Pulse Massacre. The NYC Pride March will make its glorious return on the 27th, featuring a star-studded cast set to offer a virtual celebration while in-person events are in the works as well. PrideFest will be celebrating its 27th anniversary in Greenwich Village, with local merchants setting up shop alongside some of the city's top entertainers. In terms of strictly-virtual celebrations, PrideFest can also be attended online at MarketFest, while the Human Rights Conference and Family Movie Night will both be held online.

Los Angeles

51 years after its first pride march, the City of Angels is rolling out a revolutionary new concept spanning the entire month of June. Officially titled Pride Makes a Difference, this 30-day event will bring a philanthropic edge to this year's pride month with a wide array of community service and group volunteering opportunities available for sign up. Celebration-wise, community members are welcome to tune in to the June 10th Thrive with Pride Concert, a virtual festival highlighting some of the LA area's hottest LGBTQIA+ artists with legendary hyperpop pioneer Charli XCX serving as headliner. Just two days later, be sure to catch ABC7's Thrive With Pride Celebration, a special event highlighting the city's most prominent LGBTQIA+ activists and leaders along with a performance by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.

San Francisco City Hall light up in rainbow colors for Pride
San Francisco City Hall light up in rainbow colors for Pride

Cultura RM Exclusive/Wonwoo Lee/Getty Images

San Francisco

San Francisco has been at the forefront of the gay pride movement since its very first march in 1970, and the city is keeping safety and social distance at the forefront this year with Movie Night at Oracle Park, an open-air event taking place on June 11th and 12th. The Friday night screening will pay tribute to the tenacious spirit of Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood with John M. Chu's "In the Heights," while Saturday night is still TBA. On June 18th, the African American Art & Culture Complex is following up on last year's Marsha P. Johnson rally with an event focusing on Black Liberation, with details to come in the next few weeks.

Chicago

Typically held during the last weekend in June, the Midwest's largest pride parade is still up in the air, and will most likely take place in late summer or early fall. Not all hope is lost for June visitors though, as Pride in the Park has been cleared to take place on June 26th and 27th. A newcomer to the world of Chicago Pride, this open-air concert was first launched in 2019 at Grant Park, and is set to make a roaring comeback this summer with Tiësto, Gryffin, and Chaka Khan headlining the event.

Boston

While all in-person events have been postponed until fall 2021 at the earliest, there's a wealth of online events available to celebrate Boston's 50th pride anniversary after last year's cancellation. Pride Week starts off on June 4th with a virtual flag raising ceremony then immediately kicks the festivities into high gear with OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, an LA-based three-day virtual concert series with performances by Hayley Kiyoko, Adam Lambert, Kim Petras, and a wealth of other prominent LGBTQIA+ musicians. For any creative types out there, the June 13th Express Your Pride Campaign offers the perfect opportunity to showcase your personal connection to Pride, with user-submitted photos airing on Boston Pride's social media pages all throughout the day.

Saint Petersburg

This year, St. Pete will be celebrating for four straight weeks during the month of June - a fitting timeline for the largest Pride celebration in the state of Florida. The month starts off strong with Outdoor Adventure Week, a six-day celebration complete with a 5K, Diva Dash, and a waterfront festival, then leaps into Family Week, a celebration for all ages that highlights some of the city's top street performers at St. Pete Pier. The third week in June highlights the city's strong creative roots with Arts & Music Week, with ample opportunity to visit iconic institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts and Dalí Museum. As Pride Month wraps up, visitors can peruse local food trucks and craft breweries during Restaurant Week, with Straub Park's Pride Picnic serving as the main event.

Dallas

The Big D is swinging back to life this June with Dallas Pride 2021, an open-air festival taking place on the 4th and 5th at Fair Park. Dallas-based queen Marsha Dimes is set to host the event this year after a successful stint as 2019 Dallas Pride Grand Marshal, while visitors can look forward to performances by a plethora of Texan entertainers including Jada Pinkett Fox, Kameron Ross, and Drag Race alum Kennedy Davenport. For those who prefer to remain socially distant but still celebrate, the two-night concert series will be available to stream at no cost on Dallas Pride's website.

Seattle

For the second year in a row, the Pacific Northwest's largest city is holding its festivities entirely online, offering two full days of live music, speaker panels, and boundless opportunity to get to know your local LGBTQIA+ community members. While the complete schedule for Virtual Pride is still being put together, there's no shortage of spectacular performers already signed up to the event, including bounce music mastermind Big Freedia as headliner with noted Seattle personality Betty Wetter set to host. Animal lovers take note - this year's festivities aren't just for humans, with a special slot on the schedule strictly designated for showing off cats, dogs, and all manner of other animal companions.

Pride flags being held during parade
Pride flags being held during parade

Alan Schein/Getty Images

Minneapolis & St Paul

Minnesota's favorite dynamic duo has joined forces once again to offer both in-person and virtual events all throughout June and July. At the Pride Grand Marshal MASKqueerade Party, guests will be treated to live music, comedy shows, and drag performances with an option to tune in virtually or purchase a ticket for in-person entry, while Pride Family Fun Day and the Rainbow Run 5K are two ideal events for celebration with a side of fresh air. To take part in the main festivities, head to Loring Park on the 17th and 18th for a fun-filled day rife with local food stalls, craft beer, and live music.

Washington D.C.

For 2021, the nation's capital has unveiled a new program that spans the entire month of June known as Paint the Town Colorful with Pride. This event invites local community members to express their pride as vibrantly as possible, with the June 12th Colorful Pridemobile Parade set to make its way through only the most colorfully-decorated neighborhoods in the city. On June 11th, patrons are welcome to stream or attend Capital Pride Honors, an annual ceremony that pays tribute to the most influential leaders in the LGBTQIA+ community. Once Sunday rolls around, visitors can eat and drink their way through D.C. at Pride Brunch, a city-wide event that offers fine food and drink at some of the district's most prominent LGBTQIA+-friendly restaurants.

Denver

This year, Denver Pride is excited to roll out their brand-new Pride Hubs, a program that invites guests to gather in-person for food and fun at a wealth of locations across the city ranging from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to the Jewish Community Center. Any athletically-inclined participants should be sure to take part in the June 26th Denver Pride 5K at Cheesman Park, while those who prefer to stay socially distant can sign up for a virtual version of the event as well. On Saturday, Denver Pride wraps up with the Virtual Denver Pride Parade, a compilation of fun-filled videos created by local community members and supporting organizations.

Portland

Like most celebrations across the country, Oregon's largest pride event will look a little different this year, with a mix of in-person and online events to take part in throughout the month. On June 16th and 17th, patrons can head to Zidell Yards for Pride Pics, a two-night event showcasing a blend of queer documentaries and narrative film, then tune in to Chasing Rainbows on the 18th and 20th for an online medley of legendary tunes sung by the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. While this year's Pride Parade is a totally virtual experience, anybody wishing to indulge in a boozy midday gathering should be sure to book a ticket to one of the week's Diva Drag Brunches, a star-studded event filled with music, burlesque shows, and even acrobatics.

people smiling for the camera during Pride festival
people smiling for the camera during Pride festival

Meera Fox/Contributor/Getty Images

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is forgoing their typical Pride Festival and Pride Parade this year in favor of Pride Week, an outdoor-focused celebration taking place from June 1st to June 7th. The events will kick off with a flag raising followed by an interfaith service the next day, while the brand-new Pride Story Garden will be available to visit from the 3rd to the 7th. Located in Washington Square, this brand new venue is comprised of 20 individual exhibits highlighting LGBTQ+ history and culture. While the regularly-scheduled parade is off the table this year, visitors can join in on the one-time Rainbow March and Rally on Sunday from the Capitol to Liberty Park.

Columbus

One of the largest LGBTQIA+ pride events in the Midwest, Columbus Pride recorded 500,000 marchers in 2019 - a far cry from the city's first parade in 1981, which was composed of just 200 brave participants. At this year's celebration, patrons are welcome to join a wealth of in-person events ranging from a Pride 5K to one of the city's many Columbus Pride Tea Dances, a casual social outing that harkens back to the then-illegal gatherings of LGBTQIA+ people in the '50s and '60s. For those who prefer a socially distant celebration, the city is airing a Virtual Pride March on the 19th.

Indianapolis

The Hoosier State has decided to take the all-online route this year, with the festival taking place through Zoom and Twitch on June 12th. Once logged in, guests will be able to explore a virtual map of Military Park with ample opportunity to tune into concert streams, peruse the merch available in the Vendor Village, and mingle with local community members through the virtual meet-up platform. Musical performances and meet-up details are still TBA, so keep a close eye on the Indy Pride website for further information.

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