In California we don’t just acknowledge our diversity–we celebrate it. And some of the most colorful and charismatic demos of this spirit are the Pride festivals held throughout the Golden State. Designed to empower, entertain and connect local LGBT communities, Pride events also benefit community centers and raise awareness for LGBT rights and interests. (Fun fact: San Francisco and Los Angeles held the very first Pride parades in the country.)
Up and down the coast, you’ll find inclusive celebrations designed to welcome all in the spirit of bringing together locals and visitors alike:
- LA Pride June 10-12
The original Pride parade has been going strong since 1970. The 50,000 revelers who gather for West Hollywood’s LA Pride event celebrate with an over-the-top parade and festival that includes special events like celebrity concerts, a Latino Carnival and a roller disco party.
- Oakland Pride September 11
Oakland and the East Bay community fly their colors the first Sunday in September for Oakland Pride. Held on Broadway, the one-day event features a parade and festivities that include multiple stages hosting performers like Sheila E. as well as a family-and-children’s garden.
- Orange County (OC) Pride June 25
For the first time, Orange County’s Pride event will feature a parade in downtown Santa Ana. Expect an all-day party that celebrates the community, beginning at the main stage showcasing top performers and a constellation of other activities including a dance tent and symposium featuring film screenings, speakers and activists.
- Palm Springs Pride November 5-6
Palm Springs shows its colors every November for this weekend-long Pride fest by closing down Palm Canyon Drive and turning downtown into a pedestrian-friendly fun-zone. The full slate of events features a block party, parade and multiple other activities from a karaoke tent to a drag pageant.
- San Diego Pride July 16-17
Held in the beautiful urban greenspace of Marston Point in Balboa Park, San Diego’s Pride event sizzles with multiple entertainment stages, a farmers market, art exhibits, a kids’ zone and hundreds of vendor booths. A parade and 5K are also part of the mix on #SanDiegoPride weekend.
- Pacific Pride Festival (Santa Barbara) August 27
Postcard-perfect Chase Palm Park is the site of this Santa Barbara event which like other Pride festivals, supports services provided to the local LGBT community. Activities include a popular dog show, wine and beer garden, food booths and dance tent.
- Sacramento Pride June 4
Pride comes to the state capital every June when the Capitol Mall becomes a center of the LGBT community during this annual parade and festival. The one-day event features a dance pavilion, art zone, kid zone and vendors including local food trucks.
- SF Pride June 25-26
For more than forty years, this grand dame of pride festivals has taken to the streets of San Francisco for two days hosting exhibits, parties and community-run performances and events. The star here, however, is an outrageously prideful parade.
Looking for a place to stay during one of these pride festivals? Check out Kimpton’s California LGBT-friendly hotels.