San Francisco Pride is one of the top world festivals that celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and lifestyle.
San Francisco Pride History and Facts
Like most similar celebrations in the United States, it is held on or around the anniversary of the New York City Stonewall Riots that followed the June 28, 1969 police raid on the gay-oriented Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The first San Francisco Pride Parade was held a year after those riots in 1970; it was a small event held in Golden Gate Park. The first New York City Gay Pride March was also held in 1970. These two events, along with the weeklong August Amsterdam Gay Pride in the Netherlands, are today the three largest in the world.
This is a huge parade with numerous contingents that take hours to assemble and get on the move along the route. The first contingents enter the parade route at about ten in the morning, and the last contingent doesn't get off the route into the festival area until mid to late afternoon. The parade occurs on the Sunday, and the festival area is active both on Saturday and Sunday. Here, you can hear speakers influential in the community as well as iconic performers like Lady Gaga.
Other events take place during this event as well, including events at a number of stages near in the Civic Center in downtown San Francisco.
San Francisco Pride Parade Tickets
The San Francisco Pride Parade is free of charge. All you have to do is find yourself a prime viewing spot along the route. Plan to spend a good portion of the day. Other San Francisco Pride 2016 events are free of charge, although donations are welcomed.
San Francisco Pride Parade Locations
The San Francisco Pride Parade route usually follows Market Street from Beale Street near the Embarcadero and Ferry Building to 8th Street and the area around the Civic Center and Orpheum Theatre. It is estimated that as many as a million people or more line the parade route, and many of these spectators follow the last contingent into the festival area. Stages, stalls, and vendor booths are grouped within this several block area. Independently organized events held in the city around the same time include the Trans March on Friday before the parade and the Dyke March and Pink Saturday on that Saturday night.
San Francisco Pride Parade Lodging
Except for those San Francisco Pride 2016 parade spectators who stake out their sidewalk space the night before, there is no camping for this event. However, your choice of accommodations runs the full gamut of what is available in the City By the Bay. Most attendees will choose gay-friendly San Francisco hotels that you will find concentrated in the Castro District, undoubtedly the oldest, largest, and most well known gay neighborhood in the country. Here is Twin Peaks, the oldest gay bar in the city, which proudly offers picture windows making patrons easily visible to those on the sidewalks. This is the center of gay travel in Northern California, and you can choose from charming bed and breakfasts like the Inn on Castro (321 Castro Street) and the popular Parker Guest House (520 Church Street). You're not limited to the most gay friendly properties, as the area just to the north of the Castro District boasts some of the finest five star hotels in the region, including the Huntington Nob Hill (1075 California Street) and the elegant Clift (495 Geary Street).
Image: Juan Carlos Pometta Betancourt