Gay Pride: NYC, LA, San Francisco & Washington 2013

It’s June! Pride time everyone! That means music, colour and marching like mad. We kick start our series of Pride events 2013 in the USA. In Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and New York City, Pride is one of the biggest and most upbeat events of the year. And another reason to join in the fun, is that most of it is free.

So, if you want to see any of these cities at their most colourful, book yourself a gay-friendly hostel (we’ve got recommendations below) because this lot KNOW how to throw a party…

For more Pride events, see our pick of the best prides around the world, or pride guides to London, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam

NYC Pride 2013

28-30th June 2013

This is where the Stonewall Riots took place so NYC Pride has emotive roots. The great thing about New York City, is that the gay-friendly vibe isn’t stuck in one neighbourhood – there are NYC gay bars, cafes and clubs all over. But the most popular neighbourhoods include Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the East Village, West Village and Williamsburg. There are some fabulous looking parties planned, but the main NYC Pride events are free.

Pride Rally
June 28th / Pier 26
The official kick-off to NYC pride, the rally will feature a well-known musicians, comedian and performers entertaining on stage until 10pm.

The March
June 30th / 36th St. & 5th Ave. finishing at Christopher & Greenwich St.
If you get to the nitty gritty of this event, it is in fact a parade. But organisers state ‘we will call it a march until we have full equal rights’. Over one million people are expected at the turn out of the 43rd anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Where to watch? Anywhere! Enjoy the costumes – awards are given out for the best ones. The march is a free and un-ticketed event.

Hostels in NYC: At the Chelsea Inn they offer private double and twin rooms within easy reach of Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking district. Nice traditional decor with a homely atmosphere and continental breakfast included (go for the white chocolate cranberry scones!) Alternatively, Hostelling International – New York offer shared rooms on the Upper West Side close to Central Park. They have a fab terrace too! Find more hostels in New York.

LA Pride 2013

7-9th June 2013

Also a long-standing gay event, LA Pride is held in the popular West Hollywood gay neighbourhood. Aside from the parade, there is also the PRIDE Run and a whole host of gay events in June. The Festival, with access to the main stage, is ticketed and you can buy LA Pride Festival tickets here.

Purple Party
7th June / West Hollywood Park / Free
Kick-start the weekend with the free Purple Party in West Hollywood. This year they are focussing on the ‘L’ in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) with some celebrated female DJs and acts. But of course, the event is for everyone’s enjoyment! Prior to the party is the Dyke March at San Vincent Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.

8-9th June/ Admission: single day pass $20, buy here
The line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but you’re guaranteed some well-known acts pulling out the big tunes – check back here for more soon! Aside from the main stage they also have a Mainstage Dance, Rhythm & Soul, Country Dance and Latin Dance areas.

9th June 11am / Santa Monica Blvd. to main LA PRIDE Festival entrance
Over 400,000 are expected to create the throng, so arrive early. There will be a minute of silence held at noon during the LA PRIDE Parade and the whole event will be televised on West Hollywood Channel 10.

Hostels in LA: The Banana Bungalow West Hollywood is ideally located for getting to and from the festival site. They offer shared or private rooms with air-conditioning, a funky lounge area and self-catering facilities. Find more LA hostels.

San Francisco Pride 2013

29-30th June 2013
Harvey Milk made San Francisco a gay beacon of hope and today, San Francisco Pride is considered to be one of the top US gay pride events. The Castro is a particularly vibrant gay district. To get you in the spirit and educate yourself with the city’s struggle for equality, ‘Milk’, a film starring Sean Penn, is essential and inspiring viewing.

29-30th June /Civic Center
A landmark in San Francisco’s gay history, the SF Pride Celebration is held in the very spot where Harvey Milk once stood and addressed Pride participants over 30 years ago. There are 19 stages including the Main Stage and although the line-up is yet to be announced, it has previously hosted big names including The Backstreet Boys, Lady Gaga and leading gay frontliners. There will also be plenty of local talent keeping the crowds entertained. $5 donation recommended.

30th June 10.30am / Starts at Market & Beale and ends at Market & 8th St.
So yes, party hard on Saturday night but don’t forget your early start the next day for the parade, which promises the usual colourful and upbeat procession. Dress code: Glitter, feather boas…well, you wouldn’t want to look out of place now would you!

For more goings on, find other San Francisco Pride events. Look out for Pride Guide or Pocket Pride, a useful publications featuring all the events in June.

Hostels in San Francisco: A short walk from the Castro district, the Elements Hostel has a bar and a rooftop terrace with fantastic views of San Francisco and won the ‘most popular’ award in HostelBookers Award for Excellence 2010. They offer private and shared rooms all with private bathrooms. Alternatively, San Francisco Backpacker Hostel – Pacific Tradewinds has shared rooms and is great for socialising with fellow travellers. Find other hostels in San Francisco.

Washington Capitol Pride 2013

May 29th – June 9th 2013
The annual Capitol Pride is far from conservative. The main events take place over the final weekend, but there are plenty of special gay events in the build-up to the Washington Pride Parade and Festival. Check out the Drag Ball costumed kickball competition, then the Heroes Gala honouring heroes of the LGBT community and a Trans Pride day of speakers and workshops. See the event calendar here.

8th June, 4:30pm / 22nd & P St.
Expect a full afternoon and evening of marching with announcements and music keeping the crowds entertained. There will be more than 170 floats and walkers, including drag queens, community groups, Capital Pride Heroes and Engendered Spirit awardees and many more.

9th June, 12pm-7pm / Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets
This family-friendly event is attended by over 200,000 people. There will be food and drink and main stage headliners will be Emili Sande, Cher Lloyd and Icona Pop Although the event is free, a $10-20 donation is recommended to help support the annual event. The official Washington Gay Pride Festival After Party will run from 6pm-2am on 17th Street at Cobalt, one of the best Washington gay clubs. Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial (Green/Yellow); Judiciary Square (Red)

Hostels in Washington: Duo Housing Washington DC has brand new facilities and is just 2 blocks from the metro. Also, HI – Washington DC is not far from the National Mall and they offer a free breakfast too! Search for more hostels in Washington.

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Thanks to ElvertBarnes, pellesten, Poldavo (Alex) and ingridtaylar for the images off Flickr! Please note, all images were suitable for use at the time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.

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