The Best Cities Around the World to Celebrate Pride
Fabulous floats, unbridled flamboyance, and righteous resistance are staple elements of Pride—wherever you are in the world. Started in the US as an equal rights protest march, today Pride is celebrated with more than 200 (and counting) events the world over, allowing participants to bask in the glory of the LGBTQ+ community. This list of nine Pride hotspots rounds up the best places for travelers across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum to embrace their authentic selves and experience a flurry of fabulousness. Ready, set, glitter.
New York City, US
As the birthplace of the Stonewall Riots, it’ll come as no surprise that the Big Apple is one of the best places to celebrate Pride. Each year, the city proudly presents a jam-packed Pride programme featuring lectures, rallies, parties, and of course, the iconic Pride March to commemorate the 1969 gay rights equality march, a response to when police officers raided a Greenwich Village gay bar in 1969.
What to look out for in 2023: Pop icon Christina Aguilera will be headlining the Pride Island event this year, on Sunday 25 June at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo’s parade isn’t just South America’s largest and loudest Pride celebration—it’s actually listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest Pride parade in the world. Celebrations started in 1997 with only 2,000 people, but now 3–5 million people take to the city streets in brightly colored costumes and flamboyant floats that rival Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebrations. Most of the action takes place along Avenida Paulista, but pride-themed events begin up to a week before in neighborhoods such as Largo de Arouche and Jardin.
What to look out for in 2023: The world’s biggest Pride parade will start at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) on Sunday 11 June. During the week-long run up, dance the night away at Pride-themed parties at the Komplexo Tempo mega-nightclub.
The gloriously glamorous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney is a massive fest that invites LGBTQ+ people from around the world to get Down Under—it also draws A-list celebrities such as Cher and Kylie Minogue. This age-old event has now joined forces with Sydney WorldPride to present a show-stepping series of events that include the traditional parade—which usually kicks off at Oxford Street—plus pool parties, art and music tours, live performances and more.
What to look out for in 2023: Sydney WorldPride took place in February this year, but the 2024 edition is set to be the best yet, so start planning your Sydney trip sooner rather than later.
Affectionately known as the “San Francisco of the East,” Taiwan Pride in Taipei boasts the title of the largest LGBTQ+ event in Asia. Usually held in October, the celebrations are most concentrated in Kali Dagelan Boulevard’s Pride Village and the Zhongzheng District, home to more than 25 gay bars and shops.
What to look out for in 2023: Expect to see plenty of toned, topless men at both the parade and the myriad after parties, as well as Pride-themed “Rainbow Markets” selling all manner of weird and wonderful souvenirs.
It’s no wonder that Canada’s cultural capital is home to one of the biggest LGBTQ+ Pride events in the world. Pride Toronto sees celebrations throughout the entire month of June, with diverse events ranging from a high-octane kick-off bonanza and a Pride-themed pool party to a drag queen ball and marches dedicated to lesbian and trans people.
What to look out for in 2023: The theme of Toronto Pride 2023 is “Here, There, Everywhere,” a mantra designed to encourage LGBTQ+ travelers to come together as a community. 2023 highlights include the Slay Your Way nature hike and a drag queen pool party.
As one of Europe’s most liberal and progressive city’s, you won’t be shocked to discover that Berlin goes wild for Pride. Known by locals as Christopher Street Day—named after the street in New York City where the 1969 Stonewall Riots began—Berlin’s Pride celebrations span land, water, and weeks rather than days. Celebrations meld the city’s love of techno and rave with LGBTQ+ marches, parties, talks, and community events, with some celebrations even taking place on the Spree River.
What to look out for in 2023: Berlin’s 2023 month-long pride programme is as diverse as the city itself—events include a shibari workshop, self-defense classes, queer networking, an excursion to an alpaca farm, a tattoo convention, and much more.
Year after year, Madrid Pride takes the crown when it comes to LGBTQ+ celebrations in Europe—it attracts nearly 2 million visitors every year. Expect costumes featuring plenty of leather and feathers, plus an enormous Pride parade that makes its way along Paseo del Prado in the center of the Spanish capital. The heart of the party is in the LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhood of Chueca, which will have outdoor concerts, street fairs, and more, but you can also follow the crowd of locals to the bars in Malasaña, hailed as Madrid’s most bohemian district.
What to look out for in 2023: The 17th edition of Mr. Gay Pride Spain takes place the evening before Madrid’s all-singing, all-dancing Pride parade on July 1. The competition is held in the grand Plaza de España and features performances from top artists.
The West Coast does it best, as they say, and there’s no better example of the Emerald City putting on a show than Seattle PrideFest. Come June, a host of rooftop parties, activist talks, and art shows take over the city, so be sure to head out on the town to explore the LGBTQ+ art walks, film fests, and parties.
What to look out for in 2023: This year, the LGBTQ+-friendly Capitol Hill area is the place to be—you’ll find several stages hosting live acts and the street food trucks for which Seattle's famous.