It was 1970, the summer after the Christopher Street Liberation Riots, that New York City held its first Gay Pride March in June. Since then, the LGBT community has been uniting worldwide to celebrate equality and diversity, and cities big and small are taking to the streets to encourage tolerance and equal rights. Hopeful messages aside, these festivities provide dynamic travel opportunities for travelers interested in exploring a destination’s gay culture and simply have fun, whether they’re ready to jump into the parade route or cheer from sidelines. Here, three celebrations to consider for your itinerary:
Go big or go home! This weeklong celebration (June 20-29) takes Pride to a whole new level as Toronto prepares to welcome 1.5 million revelers. This is the first time WorldPride has been hosted in North America as part of the global InterPride organization, which incorporates activism, education, history, and culture of the global LGBT community.
Don’t Miss: The week’s main attraction is the Pride Parade, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. Keep your eyes out for Anna Rekhviashvili, the Georgian human rights activist who will serve as International Grand Marshall.
Stay: WorldPride has partnered with Rainbow High Vacations for a range of packages from basic to luxe, from $260 CAD ($238.42 USD).
Off the Beaten Path: Join the Culinary Adventure Company for a Gaybourhood Gourmet walking tour through one of Toronto’s most diverse neighborhoods ($89 CAD or $81.61 USD).
Sitges Gay Pride
Head south along the coast from Barcelona and within 30 minutes you’ll find yourself in a charming coastal town peppered with history, and a gay scene that rivals that of more famous destinations like Mykonos. Gay Pride rolls into town June 12-16.
VIP: For those willing to splurge, a limited number of VIP passes include access to all parties, drink vouchers, and meet ‘n greets with performers (€199 or $272.63).
Dine: Take a break between the parade and Sitges’ late-night club scene with dinner at Fragata. With postcard-perfect views of the Iberian Sea, it’s the ideal spot to indulge in regional specialties like Catalan Escalivada (roasted peppers and eggplant on puff pastry) and salt cod.
45th Annual Chicago Gay Pride
There will be plenty of celebrating in Chicago this year as June 1 marks the date that the Illinois same-sex marriage law, passed in November 2013, goes into effect. The Pride Festival takes place June 21 and 22, while the parade itself is the following Sunday, June 29.
Don’t Miss: Academy and Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson will take to the stage in her hometown as part of the festivities at the North Side festival on June 21 at 2:40 p.m. (She’ll also make an appearance at Los Angeles Pride on Saturday, June 7.)
Show Tunes: Arrive in town early or stay an extra day for a visit to one of the city’s most iconic weekly bar happenings. On Monday nights, Sidetracks presents a dizzying array of Broadway and Hollywood videos from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., no cover.