LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27:  A couple kiss in Trafalgar Square after the annual Pride in London Parade on June 27, 2015 in London, England.  Pride in London is one of the world's biggest LGBT+ celebrations as thousands of people take part in a parade and attend performances at various locations across the city. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Pride Pilgrimage to NYC Pride’s mothership

With Atlanta Pride further out, you’re a short flight away from June Pride in other cities, including New York City’s LGBT Pride Mecca

By James Parker Sheffield

Since June in ATL can resemble a scene from Twister, many of us are starting to feel good about having Pride in October in some respects. Still, when summer pops up on the horizon, our internal gay programming demands we wave those rainbow flags a little bit higher.

To fill the gap, you can hit up local events on the Atlanta Pride Stonewall calendar, or even make a road trip to Augusta Pride. But if you’re still looking for that perfect June Pride moment, other cities with rich gay histories in Pride are just waiting to show you a good time on the traditional last weekend of the month. We’re looking at you, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, St. Petersburg, et al. Visit for a full list of options.

Of course, the favorite is to take a journey back to where it all began. The birth of the modern Pride movement, including the creation of Pride events across the world can be traced back to the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.

Each year, a million or so of our gay brethren take to the streets of NYC to mark the occasion… and make no mistake: They throw one hell of a party. It’s a stamp that every “Gay Card” holder should be clamoring to get at least once.

The best thing about making a pilgrimage to NYC Pride from Atlanta is that it’s doable on just about any budget. With flights clocking in at just over two hours, you can even make NYC Pride a daytrip and forego paying for a hotel room if you have to.

Whether you have the means for a three-day VIP experience, or are just flying up for Sunday’s free festivities, start making plans now and be prepared with our primer.

There is a mix of ticketed and free events, including a variety of official parties and concerts that take place each day, with the Pride March & Festival happening on Sunday.

Ticketed Parties:

The bulk of ticketed events take place as part of Pride Island on Pier 26. Deborah Cox and Pattie Labelle light up the stage on Friday night, as Saturday welcomes Tegan and Sara, Years & Years, Occupy The Disco and others.

DJs, such as Scott Martin and Chus & Ceballos, have been announced for Pride Island Sunday, but the main headliner for the night will be named closer to the event. Rest assured, it’s going to be big. Previous performers include Cher, Whitney, JLO, and Janet, so expect good things for Sunday evening.

Other notable official parties include Fantasy, an indulgent “sexy uniform” party Friday night and the VIP Rooftop Party Saturday afternoon. For those in town for the full weekend, don’t miss the Masterbeat Game Show Saturday night at the renowned Hammerstein Ballroom. It features an incredible sound & light show, performers, dancers, four tiers of balcony viewing, and games with cash prizes. Each of these events is ticketed, and you must be over 21 to join the fun.

March & Festival:

The NYC Pride March is one of the world’s most incredible showcases of organizations, elected officials, entertainers and national LGBTQ celebrities. While the parties are outstanding, New York’s Pride March is definitely the crown jewel of the weekend. It lasts for hours, and participants go all out to create a special experience for spectators lining the streets of Manhattan.

Step-off is slated for noon at the intersection of 36th Street & Fifth Ave. It continues down Fifth Ave, until it reaches the iconic Christopher Street park in front of Stonewall Inn. You’ll find announcer stations at the intersections of Fifth Avenue at 36th, 25th and 8th Streets. If you want to get anywhere near these spots, arrive early. Sidewalks fill up quickly.

The Sunday PrideFest grounds are close to the end of the March route. Before, during and after the March, find entertainment, market vendors, official NYC Price merch, and a variety of activities. PrideFest is free and open to the public, but you can purchase VIP passes for an elevated experience.

NYC Pride takes place June 23-25. For info and party tickets, visit

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