A guide to some of the biggest and best Pride festivals in the world

Whether it's size, location or ambience, there's a little something for everyone

This article was originally published by Xtra’s sister publication Pink Ticket Travel.

Pack your rainbow flags, Mardi Gras beads and some underwear that works as outerwear—we’re approaching peak Pride season around the world. (No offence intended to those who celebrate in the southern hemisphere—you’re beautiful, Sydney, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Auckland).

This year, two Prides have been awarded a “special” status—one representing its continent, the other representing its country. So we’re putting these two at the top of our list of must-go Prides. The other 23 festivals we’ve gathered here are among the biggest and most unique Prides in the world.

The June 29/30 weekend, which is historically tied to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, is a busy one, with at least nine major Pride festivals taking place. You’ll have to make some tough decisions that weekend. But if you save up your loyalty points and use the rest of your weekends wisely, you should be able to rack up at least 12 Prides this season.

Thessaloniki, Greece

EuroPride 2024, June 21 to 29, 2024

Greece’s second-largest city was supposed to host EuroPride in 2020—whoopsie. Four years later, this handsome waterfront community is ready to strut its stuff for Europe and the world. Think party plus community events plus human-rights conference.The parade will take place around Thessaloniki’s most famous monument, the White Tower, built in the 15th century, which will be lit up with rainbow colours.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Canada Pride/Vancouver Pride, July 26 to August 4, 2024

Canada’s first national Pride celebration will be held in the West Coast metropolis of Vancouver, famous for its many waterways, urban beaches and mountain views. Oh, and its hot population. With more than 100,000 people attending a regular edition of VanPrideFest, this supersized version will surely break records.

Washington, D.C.

Black Pride, May 24 to 27, 2024

Capital Pride, May 31 to June 9, 2024

Next year, May 23 to June 8, 2025, the U.S. capital will host WorldPride, the every-few-years Pride celebration big enough to attract revellers from around the world. (It was last hosted by Sydney in February 2023.) So this year’s Black Pride and Capital Pride—two distinct, well-attended events held a couple of weeks apart—are mere tastes of things to come. But it all tastes good.  

São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo Pride, May 30 to June 2, 2024

For almost 20 years now, São Paulo has had the reputation of being the largest Pride in the world. An estimated three million people attended in 2023—that’s about a quarter of the city’s 12.3-million population. But size isn’t everything—paulistanos really know how to party, too.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Pride, June 1, 2024

Asia’s LGBTQ+ mecca knows how to show visitors a good time 365 days a year. But attending its Pride parade will warm your heart and remind you of the community and activism that exists beyond the nightlife scene. Oh, and some of the outfits you’ll see are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich Pride Fest, June 14 to 15, 2024

One of Europe’s most button-down nations gets a little rowdy, as 70,000 people converge on downtown’s Kasernenareal plaza for a two-day celebration that includes a parade and concert performances by national and international artists. And you can be sure the square will be pristine again the moment the event is over.

Rome, Italy

Roma Pride, June 15, 2024

Milan’s Pride might be bigger, but Rome’s turns 30 this year—it started as a demonstration and was Italy’s first Pride. Considering that the national government has gone sharp right while the Vatican has started to support the blessing of same-gender relationships, there will be a lot to talk about with Romans—when you’re not dancing up a storm.

Munich, Germany

Christopher Street Day/Munich Pride, June 22 to 23, 2024

Many European Prides have embraced explicitly political themes this year. This year’s Pride motto in Germany’s second-biggest city is “United in Diversity—Together Against the Right.” Munich’s first Christopher Street Day (a name for LGBTQ+ political and cultural festivals that’s often used in Germany and Switzerland) took place in 1980, when a small political parade of 150 gay men and 30 lesbian women marched through the city.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Pride Fest/Pride Parade, June 22 to 23, then June 30, 2024

Though party boys might be more familiar with Northalsted Market Days, held in August, the Windy City’s Pride Fest is also off-the-hook fun, and it’s held in the same Boystown neighbourhood. The parade, which takes place on a different weekend, is the culmination of a month-long slate of events, some of them sombre, some of them raucous. 

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City Pride, June 26 to July 1, 2024

The official Pride events for this metropolis of more than 22 million people remain focused on the political. The Marcha del Orgullo LGBT de la Ciudad de México is a moving experience. But get a quarter of a million Mexican queers together and you also know it’ll be a blast, with full bars and ticketed parties all over town.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid Pride, June 28 to July 6, 2024

Visitors to Madrid during Pride season might ask themselves: do any straight people live here? (That question might also be reasonably asked about Madrid during non-Pride season.) The parade, which like in most other cities wraps up the festivities, is a literal sea of people.

Toronto, Canada

Pride Toronto, June 28 to 30, 2024

Numbers-wise, Canada’s largest city throws one of the biggest Prides in the world—estimates are usually above one million attendees. It’s also a spectacle of well-executed logistics, as multiple performance stages, dance parties and parades take over large portions of the city’s busy downtown. It’s a miracle of planning and a testament to a population that wants to love love.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Pride, June 29, 2024

Ireland’s key Pride event, like so many others, was born out of protest. In this case, a 1983 demonstration triggered by a judge’s release of a gang of men who had beaten a gay man to death. Though it’s not one of the biggest festivals on this list, it’s got a lot of heart and shows how much and how quickly a country can go from demonizing LGBTQ+ people to celebrating them.

Paris, France

Marche des Fiertés, June 29, 2024

The French do it their own special way. Though there is a slate of LGBTQ+ cultural events, dubbed Quinzaine des Fiertés, held across the City of Lights throughout the last two weeks of June, it’s the parade—even more than the parties—that brings as many as 700,000 Parisians and wannabe Parisians out onto the street.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco Pride, June 29 to 30, 2024

You could argue that there’s a rivalry between San Francisco and New York City over which is the gay capital of the United States. We’re not talking sides. Both of their Prides are massive, political and built around their own very unique histories. Fifty-four years of Pride. Just … wow.

New York City, New York

NYC Pride, June 29 to 30, 2024

There’s no argument that the 1969 Stonewall Uprising established the template for modern Pride events, especially how they have morphed from protests to celebrations (albeit with some fight left in them). Both the parade and the PrideFest street fair and performance stages take place on the Sunday.

Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá Pride Fest, June 29 to July 2, 2024

A sexy city even in its quieter moments, the Colombian capital bursts with colour during its Pride celebrations. The parade is huge (note that the route can change from year to year) and there are ticketed parties and bar events, particularly in the super-gay Chapinero neighbourhood.

Cologne, Germany

ColognePride, July 6 to 21, 2024

Though events are spread across the month, the must-do experiences are the huge street party on the final Saturday and Sunday, and the Christopher Street Day demonstration (aka the parade) on the final Sunday. After the flurry of Pride celebrations at the end of June, Cologne’s is well-timed—if you want a big European Pride this weekend, this is the one.

Berlin, Germany

Christopher Street Day/Berlin Pride, July 27, 2024

Germany’s capital city and a global LGBTQ+ mecca, Berlin’s Pride celebrations are artsier, queerer and more political than many others. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an event for every taste, including some of the hottest ticket parties like Euphoria, which this year takes place on a single night, July 27, in three venues and with 2,500 guests.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Pride, July 27 to August 4, 2024

With its colourful entrants winding their way around the canals of the city centre, the Dutch capital’s aquatic parade is one of the world’s most unique Pride experiences—the floats actually float. For those who prefer to remain on dry land, there’s also a march and three days of street parties.

Montreal, Canada

Fierté Montréal, August 1 to 11, 2024

Some Prides deliver consistent formats year after year—the programming, the performers, the music and the vibe may change, but if you show up at a certain place and at a certain time, you know you’ll see a parade. North America’s French-speaking (but really bilingual) capital is always shaking it up—and the surprises are usually delightful. People come, no matter what shape Pride takes.

Brighton, U.K.

Brighton & Hove Pride, August 2 to 5, 2024

The United Kingdom’s favourite LGBTQ+ seaside getaway also hosts the country’s most delightful Pride. (London’s is also great, but the unofficial events often overshadow the official ones.) It’s lighthearted fun, and if parades aren’t your thing, you can devote yourself to mixing and mingling in the Pride Village Party.

Valletta, Malta

Malta Pride, September 6 to 15, 2024

The smallest country in the European Union punches way above its weight when it comes to throwing fabulous Pride celebrations—Malta hosted EuroPride in 2023 and is regularly ranked as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in the world. Their week-long festival culminates in a parade and street party.

Taipei, Taiwan

TW Pride, October 24 to 27, 2024

As one of the leading countries in Asia for LGBTQ+ rights, Taiwan has a lot to be proud of. In 2024, Taipei Pride celebrates its 20th anniversary, and the country celebrates five years since legalizing same-gender marriage. Their Pride is a grassroots community event, with few commercial messages—and a lot of heart.

Paul Gallant

Paul Gallant is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has appeared in The WalrusThe Globe and Mail, the Toronto StarTHIS magazine, CBC.ca, Readersdigest.ca and many other publications. His debut novel, Still More Stubborn Stars, was published by Acorn Press. He is the editor of Pink Ticket Travel and a former managing editor of Xtra. Photo by Tishan Baldeo.

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