San Francisco Pride Guide: Celebrate LGBT Pride Like a Pro
The 47th annual San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade is on the itinerary for this Sunday, meaning the City will be in full party mode this week and weekend.
The San Francisco Gay Pride Celebration is kind of a big deal. In fact, if one were to attend only one event all year long in the City, this is, without a doubt, the one. Once home to Harvey Milk, San Francisco has been the pioneer of the American LGBTQ civil rights movement, as evidenced by the City’s rich history and symbolic role as a sanctuary to gay community. The San Francisco Gay Pride celebrations thus commemorate the freedoms and advancements enjoyed in our one-of-a-kind sanctuary city. As such, given the City’s reputation, Pride Weekend is quintessential San Francisco at its apex. With a different theme each year, this year is “a celebration of diversity.”
As shown by all the colorful decorations installed around town, Pride is a month-long gig. Though the parade is only on Sunday, the days leading up to it host many of the main events. During Pride weekend, the City is electrified with rainbow decorations, countless parties, and eccentric outfits.
If you haven’t decided how to celebrate, we have selected the top-pick events to attend to make the most out of SF Pride. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to enjoy yourself responsibly.
Scroll down to get the 411 on San Francisco’s best Pride celebrations, and make sure to check out SF Pride’s official website for additional details at www.sfpride.org:
Thursday, June 22nd:
A Lesson in Her-story → From Stonewall Inn to Orlando’s Pulse, the gay bar has been the site of significant history in the American’s gay rights movement. Nancy Unger, Professor of History at Santa Clara University will be presenting a talk about the role of bars and clubs in American History and the LGBTQ civil rights movements at the Commonwealth Club. For more than 100 years, clubs and bars have served as havens and sanctuaries for gay people, acting as centers of solidarity, community, and education. They’ve also been the sites of violence and persecution, making front-page headlines to this day.
The Gay Bar in American History Talk | The Commonwealth Club, 555 Post Street, San Francisco, CA | Thursday, June 22nd: 5:30PM reception, 6PM program | $7-$22
Friday, June 23rd:
Hey, Queen→ A jewel of drag herstory, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical will be performed at the Eureka Theater, opening this weekend. If you love the movie, drag queens, comedy, and musicals, then this is a must-see. If you’ve never seen Priscilla and you are drawn to the aforementioned list, then you should do yourself a favor and drag you favorite friends to this show for a night of unforgettable camp. Tickets are only $20, after all!
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical | Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA | All Weekend: Matinees at 3PM, Evening Shows at 8PM | $20
Saturday, June 24th:
Pretty in Pink→ Every morning on the day before the Pride Parade, community organizers install a giant pink triangle on the hilltop of Twin Peaks, acting as a bat signal to the LGBTQ community to announce Pride. This Saturday, rise early to display your sense of civic duty. Volunteers are welcome to come to the top of Twin Peaks anytime between 7AM and 10AM to help install the triangle, which is a symbol that commemorates the queer victims of the Holocaust. There will be coffee and snacks, and fabulous pink t-shirts for all helpers. At 10:30AM, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the triangle and honor the victims of the historic brutalization of gay people.
Giant Pink Triangle: Set-Up & Ceremony | Twin Peaks, Christmas Tree Point Road, San Francisco, CA | Saturday, June 24th: set-up from 7AM-10AM, ceremony at 10:30AM | Free
Dolores Day→If you haven’t been to Dolores Park on the Saturday of Pride Weekend…then you just haven’t actually experienced Dolores Park. This is the unofficial Saturday main event bash, and the entire park is usually filled to the brim with excited party goers. You can show up anytime of the day, but it is wise to get there early as possible to claim a piece of land before the crowds roll in. Bring a blanket and all of your friends. This is indubitably one of the biggest and funnest events in SF all year.
Unofficial Dolores Park Pride Day Party | Dolores Park, Dolores Street and 19th Street, San Francisco, CA | Saturday, June 24th: literally all day | Free
Civic Duty→ There will be an official Pride festival in front of City Hall at Civic Center the day before the parade. This popular event is the definition of “turnt.” There is also a festival at Civic Center after the parade on Sunday, so we recommend Dolores on Saturday and Civic Center on Sunday, but this is surefire fun if you so choose.
San Francisco Pride Festival | Civic Center Plaza, Larkin Street and Grove Street, San Francisco, CA | Saturday, June 24th: 12PM-6PM | Free
Sunday, June 25th:
Parade→ This is the centerpiece of Pride weekend (well, month). From Nancy Pelosi to Facebook, contingents from all over the Bay come to march in solidarity with the LGBT community. This cheerful parade is a joyful celebration honoring the gay community by showcasing glittery floats, flamboyant garb, and a lot of rainbows, and draws massive crowds from all over the world. If you’ve never been to it, this deserves the top spot on your SF bucketlist.
47th Annual San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration | Parade moves west along Market Street, starting at Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA | Sunday, June 25th: 10:30AM | Free
Civic Duty, the Encore→ After the parade, head over to Civic Center–with the huge crowds, big installations, and general high-energy brouhaha, you won’t be able to miss it. There will be a main stage with live performances and speeches, booze vendors, and general all-out celebrations. This is San Francisco at its most San Francisco.
San Francisco Pride Festival | Civic Center Plaza, Larkin Street and Grove Street, San Francisco, CA | Sunday, June 25th: 11AM-6PM | Free
Movie Night→ Sunday night is the closing night for the Frameline Film Festival, AKA the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. The final movie to be screened will be After Louie, starring queer icon Alan Cumming. This event will likely be a demure respite from all the craziness of the parade and other festivities; so if you prefer a quieter way to celebrate Pride, we recommend checking out the lineup at this film fest.
After Louie: SF International LGBTQ Film Festival Closing Night | Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA | Sunday, June 25th: 7PM | $60
Monday, June 26th:
Sporty Spice→ The San Francisco Giants host an annual LGBT night at AT&T, usually during Gay Pride weekend. Cap off the fabulous weekend and keep the party going by taking yourself out to the ballpark for a celebratory night of community and baseball.
Annual Giants LGBT Night | AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA | Monday, June 26th: 5PM pre-game party, game at 7:15PM | $16-$184