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We’ve always liked to equate hitting up a pride fest as going on safari. It’s very circle of life: Newbie gays bursting forth like the kings and queens they’ll become, lifted to the masses by leathermen in butt-less chaps (sunburnt red, like a baboon). Daddies stalking otters like a lion stalks a gazelle. Brothers in arms becoming enemies in a battle of power over shirtless studs. A boisterous celebration of an entire ecosystem of animals coming together for one purpose (with evangelical hyenas picking at the scraps).
Right right, this metaphor is stretching thin, so let’s just say “hakuna matata” and put it this way: Major urban prides are a hoot, and as a travel-savvy diligent gay, you should see the Big Five Prides – Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, NYC, and Chicago – at some point in your life. So why not start this summer?
Below, hotel packages to have you bedding down with bucks to spare.
Boston Pride: “Equality – No More, No Less," June 3-12 (www.BostonPride.org)
For Beantown’s brouhaha you have the choice of three hotels thanks to Kimpton’s fifth-annual “Summer of Pride” package. The rate includes deluxe overnight accommodations with a 15 percent discount, $25 dining credit for on-site restaurants every day of your stay, and a Pride-themed welcome gift at check-in (such as exclusive Kimpton rainbow duck, complimentary issue of the Pride edition of The Advocate magazine, and more). Chose from the Hotel Marlowe, Nine Zero or Onyx Hotel (www.OnyxHotel.com) – or any Kimpton property in 23 cities across the US. Valid May 26-September 5, 2011 for Thursday through Sunday stays. Book using code PRIDE.
LA Pride: “Power. Passion. Purpose.” June 10-12 (www.LAPride.org)
Perfectly situated for action in West Hollywood, the Starck-designed and Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz-refurbished Mondrian is offering its modern, design Studio Suites for $365. Guests also receive complimentary daily parking and a $100 spa credit to use during their stay. Valid June 1-30, 2011 with booking code PKPRID.
New York City Pride: “Proud & Powerful," June 18-26 (www.NYCPride.org)
For the granddaddy of all prides – let’s not forget it was the 1969 Stonewall Riots that catalyzed the modern gay movement – the parties are big, the parade immense, and NYC’s usual hubbub all that more intense. Luxury sleeps at the Peninsula New York (www.Peninsula.com/newyork) have you covered with a Pride Package: Overnight accommodations with daily breakfast for two, a "rainbow-themed" welcome amenity in honor of the Pride flag, a complimentary one-way shuttle transfer to the LGBT Pride March (or to Chelsea on non-parade weekends), and a welcome kit from the hotel's Concierge highlighting the "Top 10 Gay-friendly New York City Destinations" are all included. Weekend rates start at $620, about 15 percent off normal rates, with $10 of each booking donated to GMHC. Valid June 1-30, 2011 with arrival on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Chicago Pride: June 24-26 (www.ChicagoPrideCalendar.com)
In the Windy City, Pride is a month-long affair of sporting events, performances, and parties, and of course a big parade and festival in North Halsted plus a cool lesbian-popular event in Andersonville, the Backlot Bash. Take advantage of the PRIDE 365 Package at either the W Chicago City Center or Lake Shore locations (www.WHotels.com/pride365) for whenever you want to go. Guests receive a Puma Urban Mobility travel wallet, a one-year GLAAD membership, subscription to Out magazine, and two welcome cocktails – plus the best rate guaranteed. Valid year round.
San Francisco Pride: “In Pride We Trust," June 25–26 (www.SFPride.org)
For the 41st annual edition of the pride fest, the luxurious Taj Campton offers rates from $275 for a deluxe room. Its location just off Union Square means you’ll be in the heart of action for the parade down Market Street and the festival in Civic Center Plaza. The rate also includes welcome cocktails for two. Valid June 1-30, 2011.