Travel

The Ultimate Guide to LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Nashville

Here's how to celebrate and party this Pride Month in Nashville.

Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride

The LGBTQ+ community in Nashville contributes so much to the arts, creativity, business growth, and overall livability of this city, and whether you’re a proud member or an enthusiastic ally, you’d be remiss not to take a moment to celebrate this Pride month. The big Nashville Pride 2022 Festival will take place the weekend of June 25 – 26, but there are plenty of other opportunities throughout all of June to show your Pride and have some fun at the same time. The 10 options below are all must-hit events.

City Winery Nashville
City Winery Nashville
City Winery Nashville

Dine with the divas at ‘Queens of Country’ Drag Brunch

Saturday, June 11
City Winery
Nashville being “Country Music, USA” and all, it makes sense that we celebrate Pride with homages to some of the genre’s greats at this festive drag brunch. Your ticket doesn’t include food or drink, but those will both be available for purchase as the talented performers circulate through the crowd to keep them entertained. This benefit event for Nashville Pride is certain to be a good time.
Cost: $25 and up

Celebrate Pride with your local soccer heroes

Saturday, June 11
GEODIS Park
Nashville SC’s LGBTQ+ supporters will be recognized on this special Pride Night match against the San Jose Earthquakes. The fun will start before the team even takes the pitch with a special Pride Plaza Party featuring queer alt-country artist Gina Venier and participation from LGBTQ+ allied businesses. Other in-game musical acts will also feature LGBTQ+ acts and allies like Harper Grae, Brandon Stansell, and Nathaniel Banks of Arlie. Special rainbow-emblazoned gear will be worn by the players and available for purchase in the Pro Shop, and 10% of sales from the 2022 Pride scarves, shirts, headbands, and posters will be donated to LAUNCH PAD, a local volunteer group that offers services to LGBTQ+ youth in need of emergency shelter and housing.
Cost: $21 and up

Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride

Be a part of the big Pride Parade down Broadway

Saturday, June 25
Downtown
Kick off the weekend of official Nashville Pride events early on Saturday morning as thousands of LBGQT+ marchers and allies gather at 8th and Broadway to march down to the riverfront starting at 10 am. Rainbows will be flying as floats, decorated vehicles, and paraders joyfully make their way through Lower Broad. The eclectic group of Grand Marshalls represents the breadth of the local queer community, including country music star and member of Brothers Osborne, TJ Osborne, entertainment icon Leslie Jordan, local advocate Greg Cason, and long-time gay rights activist Alberta Hardison.
Cost: Free

Watch the Pride Parade from on high

Saturday, June 25
Downtown
The Skydeck on top of Assembly Food Hall will be an excellent aerie to take in the gala parade and get your heart pumping at the same time. An outdoor group fitness class will begin the day at 9 pm followed by a parade viewing party with airbrush body-painting, music from a DJ, a glitter station, and a mimosa bar. All you need to bring is a yoga mat and a good attitude.
Cost: $40

Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride
Nashville Pride

Take part in the big Nashville Pride Festival

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
All elements of the LGBQT+ existence will be celebrated at this huge weekend festival in the shadow of the State Capitol. (Hopefully, they’ll be listening!) Multiple stages will feature music acts including headliners Walk the Moon and country legend Tanya Tucker. More than 200 vendors will be offering up their arts, crafts, clothing, and food items, and local organizations will set up tents and tables to show their support and share helpful information. A Kids and Family Zone will be set aside so that everyone can take part in the fun, and youth activities will be scheduled throughout the weekend. Community art projects will encourage attendees to demonstrate their support through creativity, and VIP and Friends of Pride Lounges will be available for those who want to pay a little extra to get a more luxe experience.
Cost: $5 and up

Feel fully proud at the IMAGINARIUM Pride Celebration

Saturday, June 18
Collective 615, West Nashville
IMAGINARIUM is a non-profit group whose mission is to make the world a better place through collective imagination followed by conscious action to achieve a more inclusive culture. So you can bet Pride is a big deal for them. They’ll gather for an evening of friends, music, treats, and love, and the vibe will be electric and supportive. There’s no cost to attend, but you could at least register in advance to let you know you’ll be joining in the festivities.
Cost: Free

Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville

Knock ‘em down at the QDP x Pride Party at Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday, June 25
Germantown
Reserve a premium bowling experience for up to eight partygoers for two hours at Brooklyn Bowl, and you’ll be part of the QDP extravaganza. QDP is a monthly local queer dance party, so you know the atmosphere will be festive. Your ticket includes all-you-can-bowl, a comfy couch and table, food and bev service, and excellent sightlines to the entertainment on stage.
Cost: $275

Pump up the party at the Pride Bar Crawl

Saturday, June 18
Downtown
This boozy walking tour of Downtown kicks off at Lucky Bastard Saloon on Lower Broad before winding its way around the party district with stops at various watering holes along the way. A portion of your ticket price will benefit The Trevor Project‘s efforts to support LGBTQ+ youths, and the rest of the cost entitles you to vouchers for two drinks or shots at the participating venue of your choice, plus a commemorative cup, access to drink specials along the way, and an invitation to the big afterparty. Wear comfortable shoes.
Cost: $20

Virgin Hotels Nashville
Virgin Hotels Nashville
Virgin Hotels Nashville

Celebrate Pride all month long at Virgin Hotel Nashville

Various
Music Row
As one of the official hotels of Nashville Pride, Virgin Hotel Nashville celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the year. But during Pride Month, they really turn it up a notch with all sorts of fun activities. From an Upside Down Drag Tea Party with boozy tea cocktails on June 12 to a Wednesday night Rooftop Sounds party on the pool deck June 15 to the official afterparty of the first night of Pride on June 15, Virgin is the place to be seen as part of the scene.
Cost: Varies

Close down the party at the Sweet Tea Dance

Sunday, June 26
East Nashville
The Sweet Tea Dance is the official closing party of Nashville Pride, and this version of Nashville’s official tea dance should be extra-special in honour of the occasion. Basement East is the venue for the soiree, and the post-Pride celebration at “The Beast” is certain to be festive.
Cost: Free

Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of Nashville, where he has lived his entire life — except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular contributor to the Nashville Scene, Nashville Lifestyles, Local Palate, Edible, FoodRepublic.com, and Conde Nast Traveler. He likes beer, bourbon, and bacon but isn’t fanatical about any of them.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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