1. Travel

The San Francisco Pride Festival and Parade

Looking for the Biggest Baddest LGBT Bash on Earth? You Found It


The San Francisco Pride Festival and Parade

The Parade Down Market Street is Just One of the Many Pride Events During Pride Weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Taylor
The largest gathering of gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people in the world, San Francisco Pride is more then just a festival, its a phenomenon. Always held on the last weekend in June, Pride is smorgasbord of street parties, music concerts, club events and multiple parades - the city is basically transformed into a massive rainbow flagged playground. Come prepared for the time of your life.

The San Francisco Pride Parade

The highlight of Pride weekend, the San Francisco Pride Parade has its roots in the political struggle for equality centered in San Francisco in the 1970s.

The Parade now hosts hundreds of individual contingents, from Dykes on Bikes to local Glide Memorial Church, which has been performing same sex unions for decades.

Begining at 10:30am on Sunday at the bottom of Market Street near the Ferry Building Marketplace, the parade makes its way through the center of the city past hundred of thousands of ecstatic bystanders before joining the massive Pride Celebration in the Civic Center.

The San Francisco Pride Festival at the Civic Center

On both Saturday and Sunday, the entire Civic Center area is closed to traffic and stages are set up at the four corner of the Civic Center plaza and in front of San Franciso's regal City Hall. In all, more than 20 stages host live music, performances, speakers and DJ dance tracks at the same time during SF Pride, take a look at a festival map to get your bearings.

In the plaza itself and all over the adjoining closed off streets, hundreds of vendors, non-profits and community groups sell their wares and spread their message. Alcoholic beverages are available throughout the festival.

On the mainstage, which is directly in front of the gold plated doors of City Hall, local and national headliners - which in the past has included stars like Lady Gaga, Chaka Khan and the Backstreet Boys - perform nonstop. The biggest stars rock the stage on Sunday night after the parade. www.sfpride.org

The Pink Saturday Block Party in the Castro

Saturday night after the daytime party in the Civic Center the party moves to the Castro District for the famous Pink Saturday Block Party.

Castro Street is blocked off starting at around 5pm and several stages are set up at key intersections, most hosting Dj dance music that will keep the neighborhood dancing away until late into the night.

The San Francisco Dyke March

Also on Saturday, as if there wasn't enough already going on, is the annual Dyke March. This parade begins in Dolores Park in the Mission District in the afternoon and makes its way up Upper Market Street to join the Pink Saturday celebration just as its getting started. www.thedykemarch.org

The Trans March

Those that get to town before the weekend should make sure to catch the San Francisco Trans March, on the Friday of Pride weekend.

Gathering together transsexual and transgender people from around the world, this parade also meets in Dolores Park in the Mission District and then makes its way to the Civic Center area. www.transmarch.org

San Francisco Pride Parties and After Parties

The week leading up to San Francisco Pride brings a fully stocked line-up of major performers and up and coming acts to a wide variety of city venues, check out a current edition of the San Francisco Bay Guardian for a complete entertainment calender.

Accomodations during San Francisco Pride

Hotels all over the city fill up months in advance of San Francisco Pride and those that do have last minute vacancies tend to be lower quality and overpriced. Its a good idea to compare prices and book your hotel room ahead of time by using our very own Travel Center.
  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. San Francisco Travel
  4. Events & Festivals
  5. San Francisco Gay Pride - San Francisco Travel by About.com

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.