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Celebrate Pride at the Best Festivals in the World

From Bondi Beach Drag Races in Sydney to a floating parade in Amsterdam, these are the best cities to celebrate Pride.

Tel Aviv Pride Parade

Photo: Guy Yechiely

Tel Aviv

The Israeli metropolis is known for its nightlife, but when Pride hits the city in early June, it draws revellers from all over the world. During the day, the famously queer-friendly (and admission-free) Hilton Beach is overrun with people of all ages dancing and sunbathing before heading to parties in the evening. The festivities hit fever pitch on Friday when the parade pours through the centre of the city to its finish line at Charles Clore Beach. Here, the parade’s spectators and performers turn the sand into a dance floor until the sun goes down.

Pride Week: June 4–10, 2017
Pride Festival Weekend: June 8–10

gaytelavivguide.com

Toronto Pride Parade

Photo: Scott Corman

Toronto

Toronto hosts a million people during Pride Month, making it Canada’s largest Pride celebration and one of the largest in the world. Spanning the month of June, Toronto Pride features concerts, performances, seminars and shows. On the final weekend the area around downtown’s Gay Village is closed to traffic and taken over by live music and drag performances, parades, vendors and a slew of queer-friendly events.

Pride Month: June 1–25, 2017
Pride Festival Weekend: June 23–25

torontopride.com

São Paulo

Attendance at recent São Paulo Pride parades has topped 4 million, making it the world’s largest – and, according to some surveys, the world’s best – LGBTQI event. Grab some catuaba, an energizing and refreshing Brazilian drink made from local trees, and hit the streets around Rua da Consolação. The whole city celebrates on the day of the parade (in late May or early June), and in the weeks leading up to it, queer films, talks, parties, musical acts and other cultural events take over the two main gay districts, Frei Caneca and Largo do Arouche.

Parada do Orgulho LGBT de São Paulo: June 18, 2017

paradasp.org.br

Pride Berlin Christopher Street Day

Photo: Heinrich v Schimmer

Berlin

Europe’s party capital can’t contain its Pride to just one celebration. In the western part of the city, the renowned Christopher Street Day parade culminates with a street party in the lush Tiergarten, near the Brandenburg Gate. Family- and visitor-friendly kiosks and performances – and tides of top-notch German beer – are on offer. The weekend closes with the Unity Party, which draws 4,000 guests and features three dance floors and 14 DJs.

Christopher Street Day: July 22, 2017
Unity Party: July 22, 2017

csd-berlin.de

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Photo: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Sydney

Mardi Gras, Australia’s largest LGBTQI festival, takes over the Darlinghurst district every February and March. In the weeks leading up to the main weekend (the second in March), the queer bars around Oxford Street burst with drag performances and dance parties. Unlike many Pride parades, Sydney’s takes place in the evening. Don’t miss the post-parade, all-night dance event at the outdoor Hordern Pavilion. Take in other queer events like the Mardi Gras Film Festival and Bondi Beach Drag Races – a competition that pits drag queens against one another in sports such as “handbag discus” and “competitive posing.”

Mardi Gras: February 8–March 4, 2018
Mardi Gras Main Weekend: March 2–4, 2018

mardigras.org.au

New York

The Big Apple was home to the first Pride, and its annual celebration is one of the world’s best. Held at the end of June, when the Stonewall Riots sparked the gay-rights movement in 1969, the city-wide event includes live music, a family movie night and the women-only rooftop dance at Hudson Terrace on the closing Sunday. The annual Broadway Bares show is a popular pre-weekend fundraiser featuring the Great White Way’s sexiest performers, while the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) hosts a six-hour queer art party across the East River.

Pride Festival: June 16–25, 2017
Main Weekend: June 23–25, 2017

nycpride.org

San Francisco Pride

Photo: Vicki Thompson

San Francisco

It’s no surprise that the West Coast’s biggest party is held in the city known for free love. San Francisco Pride squeezes an enormous number of events into the last weekend of June, including the Trans March and the Dyke March. Sunday is the main event, though, with its Pride parade down Market Street and a main stage featuring big-name musicians.

San Francisco Pride: June 24–25, 2017

sfpride.org

Amsterdam Pride

Amsterdam

After a week of official activities, including open-air film screenings, a beach party and a family park day, the canals of the Dutch capital are flooded with music and rainbows as a flotilla of decorated boats takes to the water in one of the world’s only floating Pride parades. After the parade, crowds move to themed party locations throughout the city; several women-only events are included. Rent a bike and ride from event to event, ending at Rembrandtplein, where the biggest party peaks around sunset.

Amsterdam Pride Week: July 29–August 6 Canal Parade: August 5, 2017

pride.amsterdam