San Francisco Pride Parade - Celebrating the LGBT Community of San Francisco

San Francisco is a culturally diverse city, with a great mix of people from all walks of life. The Pride Parade is a celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the city, acknowledging their importance as well as that of their allies. The parade is also accompanied by a festival, attracting tourists and LGBT allies in large numbers.

Dates of the San Francisco Pride Parade 2021

2021 Dates - TBD

The San Francisco Pride Parade and Festival is usually conducted in the last full weekend of June. It commemorates the Stonewall protests, which marked a milestone in the fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Supporting marches including the Dyke March and Trans March occur on the Friday and Saturday nights leading up to the parade. The parade occurs on the Sunday of the weekend, beginning in the morning at around 10:30 am and going on until 4:00 pm in the evening. 

Highlights

Dykes on Bikes

A motorcyclist of the Dykes on Bikes contingent
A motorcyclist of the Dykes on Bikes contingent (Source)

This is the most popular attraction of the Pride Parade. The contingent of 400+ participants consists of women of various sexual orientations moving along the parade route on their loud motorcycles. It is usually the first contingent of the parade to ensure the walking contingents can walk at their own pace. If you do not want to miss this spectacle, make sure you are there before the parade begins.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

PFLAG Contingent at the San Francisco Pride Parade
PFLAG Contingent at the San Francisco Pride Parade (Source)
This is one of the most symbolic contingents of the parade, where members of the LGBT community walk alongside parents, friends and families, who are mostly straight. Their support and solidarity to the community makes for one of the most heartwarming sights during the festivities.

Entertainment 

There is no shortage of entertainment during the parade and festival, with music, competitions and comedy shows occurring on the mainstage. Supporting local acts and performers also get the chance to showcase their talents on around 20 stages run by the community. 

VIP Party 

For those looking to have the ultimate party experience during the festivities, the VIP Party is the place to be! Located at the Rotunda under the City Hall, guests are treated to great food and amazing drinks served to you at the hosted bar. Non-stop entertainment is also the norm, with three different rooms ensuring the party never dies.

San Francisco Pride Parade Venue

City Hall illuminated in LGBT colors during the San Francisco Pride Parade
Civic Center illuminated in LGBT colors during the San Francisco Pride Parade (Source)
The San Francisco Pride Parade is hosted along Market Street. It begins from Steuart Street and goes all the way to 8th Street, near the Civic Center Hall, where the two day festival is conducted. The location is of great significance to the LGBT community as it was where Harvey Milk delivered his iconic speech during the Gay Freedom Day in 1978.

What to Expect at the San Francisco Pride Parade

Large crowds at the San Francisco Pride Parade
Large crowds at the San Francisco Pride Parade (Source)

1. Large crowds

Leather Contingent at San Francisco Pride Parade
Leather Contingent at San Francisco Pride Parade (Source)
The 2019 San Francisco Pride Parade was reported as the largest gathering of the LGBT community and its allies. The annual footfall exceeds 1.5 million visitors from all over the world, making it a truly global celebration of the LGBT community.

2. Leather Contingent and Alley 

The leather contingent is a unique feature of the parade, celebrating those who identify with the BDSM and fetish community. Leather Alley is one of the areas of the festival where people can see demonstrations and booths dedicated to the community.

3. Corporate and Political Support 

Another unique feature of the SF Pride Parade is the support extended by politicians, reaching out to the LGBT community. Corporate giants based in California like Google and Apple also support and participate in the parade with floats of their own. They are often chaptered by LGBT employees of these companies. 

Tips for Visitors

  • Accommodation - Tourists and those coming from outside of San Francisco are advised to book accommodation well in advance. The rooms fill up very fast and get very expensive as the festival comes nearer.
  • Grandstand seating - For those who want to view the parade from the best seats in the house, there are limited grandstand seats available between 7th and 8th Street. These seats are available online on the SF Pride website and sell out quickly, so be sure to book them well in advance.
  • Be there early - The San Francisco Pride Parade alone attracts over 100,000 visitors. As a result, crowds gather quite early to get the best free spots to view the parade. This is certainly advised for tourists and families with kids to ensure you do not get swamped by the crowds.
  • Protect yourself from the sun - July is a pleasant time to be in San Francisco, with the temperatures ranging between 65℉ and 68℉ during the daytime. As a result, light clothing like shorts and cotton T-shirts will make for a comfortable experience. However, do not forget to wear sunscreen in order to protect yourself from continuous exposure to the sun.

This post was published by Peter Nikhil David

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