San Diego

Everything You Need to Know About San Diego's Pride Parade

aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock
aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock
aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock

San Diego’s Pride movement began in 1970, just months after the historic Stonewall Uprising, when LGBTQ students at San Diego State College organized to form the Gay Liberation Front, which later that year hosted a “Gay-In” in Presido Park, likely the first Pride event in San Diego history. Now, as we honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the hard-fought victories that followed, it’s time for rainbows to fly over the streets of Hillcrest with one of the best Pride Parades in the nation. The weekend’s activities are organized by San Diego Pride, a non-profit whose stated mission is “fostering pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.”

Last year, San Diego’s Pride Parade attracted more than 250,000 attendees and 235 distinct contingents (marching and vehicles) in the parade alone, so navigating your way through it all can be challenging. Use our handy guide for all the relevant details, and have a safe, fabulous, Pride-filled weekend!

When and where is the parade? 

The Pride Parade is on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 10am (one hour earlier than previous years), beginning under the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street. This year’s theme is “Stonewall 50 – Legacy of Liberation.”

What’s the parade route? 

The parade will proceed west along University Avenue, turning left on Sixth Street, then left again on Balboa Drive before ending at Quince Drive. The route is approximately 1.4 miles long, as you can see from the map below:

How do I get there? 

Driving and parking in Hillcrest is notoriously difficult, and the expected hordes of revelers aren’t going to make it any easier; walk, bike, or use public transportation if possible. Check the MTS schedule for the best route to the parade, using University Avenue and Normal Street as your destination. Above all, allow yourself plenty of time so you don’t miss a minute of the festivities!

Where should I park?

If you absolutely have to drive, San Diego Pride has set up a free parking and shuttle service to and from the Pride Parade and the Pride Festival at the Old Naval Hospital at Park Boulevard and President’s Way.

To the Pride Parade: Free shuttles run round trip to the Pride Parade from 7am till 3pm on Saturday, July 13, dropping parade attendees off at Essex and Richmond Street, one block south of University Avenue.

To the Pride Festival: Free shuttles run round trip to the Pride Festival from 7am till 12 midnight on Saturday, July 13 and from 8am till 10pm on Sunday, July 14, dropping festival attendees off at Sixth Avenue and Juniper Street.

A free express shuttle will take you from the Pride Parade to the Pride Festival from 12pm till 4pm on Saturday; catch it at Essex and Richmond Streets. Cyclists can store their bicycles safely at the bike corral located just outside the Pride Festival at Sixth Avenue.

Janson George/Shutterstock
Janson George/Shutterstock
Janson George/Shutterstock

What streets will be closed?

Saturday’s street closures will begin at 5am and remain in place until 4pm. A complete listing of road closures on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 can be found here; scroll down to the purple section. Also, note the No Parking Zones below the pink section. Nothing ruins a good party like walking back to your car and seeing a parking ticket!

What will the weather be like?

Expect partly sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the upper 60s — solid parade weather, in other words. This is San Diego, after all.

Are the events ADA accessible? 

San Diego Pride has an array of resources to ensure that everyone has an amazing experience, including: accessible seating, American Sign Language interpreters, and, at the Pride Festival, cool zones for seniors and service animals.

ADA Accessible Vans will be available at any Pride (Festival, Parade, Parking) Shuttle stop on Saturday, July 13 from 8am to 12 midnight and Sunday, July 14 from 7am to 10pm. Contact the Pride Volunteer at the Shuttle stop to hail an ADA Accessible van. 

aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock
aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock
aliciamariemassie/Shutterstock

Where is the best viewing?

There’s decent viewing from the sidewalks along most of the parade route, but if you’re early enough, try to snag a seat in one of the review stand areas at University Avenue and Normal Street, University and Richmond, University and Vermont, University at 7th, and 6th Avenue at Balboa Drive.

Where and when is the Stonewall Rally?

The Spirit of Stonewall Rally takes place on Friday, July 12 at 6pm under the Hillcrest Pride Flag. Speakers include Caroline Dessert, Esq., CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center; Bixby Marino-Kibbee, a clinical social worker supporting our trans youth and community; and keynote speaker Dwayne Crenshaw, CEO of RISE San Diego which provides non-profit community development outreach.

What’s the Pride Festival and how do I get in on it?

San Diego’s Pride Festival takes place on Saturday, July 13 from 11 am till 10 pm, and  Sunday, July 14 from 11am till 9pm at Marston Point in Balboa Park at 6th Avenue and Laurel Street. Imagine a dance party with four amazing stages, over one hundred entertainers, fabulous food, inspiring art, exhibits, cultural presentations, and vendor booths. Headliners this year include King Princess, Mykki Blanco, and Asia O’Hara on Saturday, and Melissa Etheridge, Car Astor, and Snow Tha Product on Sunday. Add 50,000 of your new best friends and mix thoroughly for the Pride event of the summer! Tickets range from a $20 one-day pass to $200, depending on your level of VIPness.

Courtesy of San Diego LGBT Pride
Courtesy of San Diego LGBT Pride
Courtesy of San Diego LGBT Pride

Where can I keep the party going?

Much of San Diego’s queer nightlife is centered in the Hillcrest neighborhood, with enclaves in North Park and University Heights. Local favorites include Spin, an enormous nightclub in a converted warehouse; Martinis Above Fourth, a swanky, elegant club with huge, award winning martinis; Eagle, for those who enjoy a bit of leather with their nightlife; The Rail (formerly the Brass Rail), San Diego’s oldest gay bar; and Gossip Grill, an inclusive women’s bar where everyone is welcome.

How else can I show support?

San Diego Pride depends on over 1,500 volunteers to plan and implement the Pride festivals, parades, and events, and with more than thirty different volunteer departments, you’re sure to find one that’s a good fit. You can donate at any time, knowing that 84 cents of every dollar goes to education, advocacy, and civic organization. Most importantly, register and vote! Your voice is needed now more than ever.Sign up here for our daily San Diego email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting various vegetables and beverages, reading cookbooks and traveling around Mexico. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.

San Diego

How to Celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego

Check out female-led dance programs, pop up markets, beer dinners, and more events this March.

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Women have played a huge part shaping San Diego into the city it is today. In celebration of Women’s History Month, there are a variety of events across the city that commemorate women’s contributions to our community and culture. Home to the Women’s Museum of California, which hosts events throughout the year, be sure to check out all the ways to support and honor women this month. From art exhibits to dance performances, pop-up markets and yoga, check out the best events to celebrate Women’s History Month in San Diego:

Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The San Diego Museum of Art

Discover works from overlooked women artists

Ongoing through November 7, 2023
Balboa Park
The San Diego Museum of Art currently has 20 modern and contemporary works of art on display from women who unjustly didn’t receive the same amount of fame as their male contemporaries. The museum’s Modern Women exhibit is your chance to see work from artists like Elaine de Kooning and Lee Krasner, who were overshadowed by artist husbands Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock but whose work has long deserved its own moment in the spotlight. The collection showcases pieces that range from acrylic paintings to photography, inviting us into an untapped artistic sphere.
Cost: $20

Practice Sun Salutations while supporting a good cause

Saturday, March 4, 10 am to 11 am
Pacific Beach
Make a difference in the lives of teen girls of colour while taking a yoga class at Kate Sessions Park. Organized by local nonprofit One Love Movement, all donations for the event go towards college scholarships for girls of the DETOUR F.A.N.C.Y. Expo & Leadership Academy, a mentorship program that promotes equity and inclusion in higher education for girls of colour. All while enjoying stunning views of Mission Bay.
Cost: Donation-based

Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona
Photo by Bianca Quirino Photography l Courtesy of Simplemente Chingona

Shop local women-owned businesses

Sunday, March 5, 1 pm to 5 pm
Middletown
What better way to celebrate the women in your community than by supporting their local businesses? The Women’s History Month Market, located in the FEMX Quarters venue, is a pop up market you don’t want to miss. The market will feature over 35 vendors from women artisans and you’ll find uniquely crafted sunglasses, jewellery, clothing, and more. The family-friendly (and pet-friendly) event will also include food and music.
Cost: Free

Drink beer crafted by female brewers on International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 8, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Escondido
Women were the original brewers of ale, after all, so it only makes sense to honour our past and present beer connoisseurs with dinner and brews. Located at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Stone International Women’s Day Beer Dinner features three courses, each paired with a tasty beer specially brewed by a team of women at Stone Brewery. The event is part of a larger global celebration for International Women’s Day, where brewers all over the world brew a speciality beer that supports The Pink Boots Society, a non profit that empowers women and non-binary people in the beer industry through scholarships and education. Grab your tickets while you can! 21+
Cost: $50-$70

Attend an exhibition celebrating female and non-binary artists

Saturday, March 11, 5:00 pm
Barrio Logan
Head over to the entertainment and community venue Corazon del Barrio and show your support to female and non-binary artists, whose art and music will be featured in the Diosa Art Show. Around 40 artists are on the bill at this all-ages event.
Cost: Free

Drink some pints for the pups

Saturday, March 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Carmel Mountain
If you need another excuse to down some brews, Second Chance Beer Company is hosting its first ever Ladies & Pups Market for Women’s History Month. The brewery, which holds various events throughout the year, donates a percentage of its sales to animal rescue organizations in California and Arizona. The dog-friendly market will include pop ups from women-owned businesses such as Bold Bouquet, Wet Nose Pottery, and No, You Sit! Treats. For the occasion, Second Chance will serve Fistful of Gummies – Berry Edition, a rendition of their fruited sour beer created in collaboration with Pink Boots Society, an organization that supports women and non-binary individuals in the beer industry.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Women's Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California
Photo courtesy of Women’s Museum of California

Attend a ceremony at the Women’s Museum of California

Saturday, March 18, 11 am to 1 pm
Rolando
Perhaps San Diego’s largest Women’s History Month event, the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes local women for their achievements in the community. The annual event, which takes place at Joan B. Kroc Theatre, is a project of the Women’s Museum of California, a museum dedicated to educating the public about women’s contributions through history with exhibits, programs, and events. Over 100 women have been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame since the program was founded in 2001, and this year’s class includes notable women like activist Norma Chávez-Peterson and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. The event includes a VIP brunch followed by the Induction Ceremony. Be sure to purchase tickets early to secure your spot.
Cost: $20-$150

Join a community of local women and get inspired

Monday, March 20, 5 pm to 7:30 pm
Miramar
The Women’s Speaker Series at Alesmith Brewing Company is a monthly community gathering where local women come together to support one another in achieving professional and personal goals. The event includes a social hour followed by a selected speaker. For this month, the Women’s Speaker Series features career coach and small business owner Laura Bashore, who will share her insight on how you can advance your career or business. Make sure to reserve your spot before attending!
Cost: Free

Come hear about the roles San Diego women played during World War II

Tuesday, March 21, 1 pm to 3 pm
Mission Valley
In the early 20th century, many women were not allowed or expected to be the breadwinners for their households, but things suddenly changed with the United States’ entry into World War II. Here’s your chance to learn about the real experiences of women who lived through WWll and how they navigated through it all. Presented by Oasis San Diego, head over to Mission Valley Library to attend this in-person event.
Cost: Free

Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project
Photo by Carly Topazio l Courtesy of The Rosin Box Project

Attend a ballet program choreographed entirely by women

Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, March 25 & Monday, March 27, 7:30 pm
Liberty Station
Experience not one but three world premiere ballet performances at The Rosin Box Project, a contemporary ballet company that works to redefine the concept of dance and how it’s experienced for both artists and audiences. To coincide with Women’s History Month, TRBP is kicking off its 2023 season with Empower, a female-led ballet program choreographed by TRBO Residents Lauren Flower, Bethany Green, and Carly Topazio. The program, which takes place at Light Box Theater, offers a fresh take on dance by pushing the boundaries of traditional ballet. Your ticket includes a post-show reception.
Cost: $45

Hear music by a little-known female early 20th-century composer

Friday, March 24, 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Balboa Park
While you may not be familiar with composer Alice Barnett Stevenson, she played an integral part in San Diego’s music scene during the early 1900s. Stevenson was an active member of various music organizations at the time, and she composed art songs for voice and piano and performed at schools all over the country. Her home became a hub for local recitals from visiting musicians, and was also where the San Diego Symphony was founded. This month, you can hear her compositions performed live for the first time in nearly 100 years at the San Diego History Center. Selected works by Stevenson will be performed by musical scholar Katina Mitchell and pianist Yewon Lee. Be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Cost: $25-$40

Listen to Black San Diego women discuss important community issues

Saturday, March 25, 12 pm to 4 pm
Valencia Park
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Friends of Malcolm X Library are hosting Ain’t I a Woman, an event featuring Black women who will be speaking about their professions and discussing the challenges faced within the workplace and the community while offering suggestions on how to further enhance and embrace equality. The event includes a Q&A panel discussion, door prizes, free raffles, as well as music, poetry, and dance. Seating is limited so be sure to reserve your spot early.
Cost: Free event. Lunch purchase is $15.

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Michelle Harris is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Over the years her writing has also appeared in Atlas Obscura, Mental Floss, and Audubon Magazine. When she’s not busy typing, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and cooking vegan food.

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