Travel

10 Best Pride Festivals Around the World

Let your international rainbow flag fly.

Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock
Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock
Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock

Another Pride season is upon us, and once again we’re here, we’re queer-and after a two-year hiatus, we’re simply gagging for a kiki. That means if you’re not already in a boozy, rainbow-hued haze, you probably will be soon.

Pride is about more than just the party, though. It’s a time for us to come together (queers, qweens, and allies alike) to celebrate the diversity that makes the LGBTQ+ community so special.

There are plenty of battles left to fight, but it’s important to celebrate our victories-and what better way than partying with fabulous communities across the globe? Each city is totally unique, but they all have one thing in common: they know how to do Pride like nowhere else.

From the sunny, salacious, and ever-so-slightly sordid to political, family-friendly marches, it’s time to don your hottest lewk, and have a goddamn ball.

Watsamon Tri-yasakda/Shutterstock
Watsamon Tri-yasakda/Shutterstock
Watsamon Tri-yasakda/Shutterstock

Bangkok

June 5 – 31
On any given day, Silom Road’s queer quarter pulsates like an acid trip, with neon lights, gogo dancers, and thumping drag/gay/whatever bars at every corner. But this June, it’s going to be extra special.

“I’m so excited Bangkok is having its first Pride in over a decade-it’s about damn time!” says Pagina Heals, whose appearance on Drag Race vs. The World brought a global spotlight to Bangkok’s queer scene. The doyenne of Bangkok drag (and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand) thinks Pride is a huge leap forward for the LGBTQ+ community.

The parade starts at Maha Uma Devi Temple and weaves along Silom Road, kicking off a month-long celebration at iconic venues like Stranger Bar and House of Heals (at Maggie Choo’s).

Luciano Marques/Shutterstock
Luciano Marques/Shutterstock
Luciano Marques/Shutterstock

São Paulo

June 19
Pride is a time to remind ourselves that we have so much further to go before truly achieving equality. And with the current political climate in Brazil, this year’s Pride is more important than ever.

São Paulo has been hosting an annual Pride Parade since 1997. It attracts nearly three million people each year from all over Brazil and countries throughout South America. The parade starts at Avenida Paulista: expect floats, feathers, and reggaeton aplenty. It ends at Ibirapuera Park, with hyped-up concerts by Brazilian icons such as Maria Bethânia and Gilberto Gil, who have been openly gay and bisexual throughout their careers.

David Ortega Baglietto
David Ortega Baglietto
David Ortega Baglietto

Dublin

June 22 – 26
Dubliners know how to throw a good party. This pint-sized city explodes into a sea of emerald green every year, as its ancient streets backdrop one of Europe’s biggest celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day. And Pride is no different.

Ever since the first parade in 1983, Pride’s become one of Ireland’s most important and celebrated events, changing hearts and minds in the process. The predominantly Catholic Republic of Ireland voted for same-sex marriage in 2015 in a referendum led by a gay Prime Minister.

Dublin’s stately boulevard, O’Connell Street, transforms into a flurry of rainbows. The parade wraps up in Merrion Square (where you’ll spot a fabulous sculpture of Oscar Wilde, made of precious gemstones). Try to nab an invite to a private ‘members’ party (often held in eccentric underground venues, like a basement of a Chinese restaurant), as Dublin’s licensing laws means the night is cut short at 12:30 am.

Raphael Rivest/Shutterstock
Raphael Rivest/Shutterstock
Raphael Rivest/Shutterstock

New York

June 26
The Big Apple is where it all began back in 1970, with several hundred protestors marching from Greenwich Village to Central Park demanding an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, a year after the Stonewall Riots.

Today’s NYC Pride is one of the biggest and most brazenly queer celebrations globally, with over four million people getting involved. It’s also one of the most commercialized-but if you can handle all those corporate floats, there’s no better time to be in the big city.

There’s no shortage of places to drink, dance, and flirt, when it comes to afterparties. And if you want something more low-key (but no less fun), check out the Dyke March on Saturday afternoon, celebrating lesbians and allies who march in solidarity against hate and bigotry.

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock
Sundry Photography/Shutterstock
Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

San Francisco

June 26
San Fran: it’s time to grab your wigs, glitter, and finest gowns. Pride is finally here for the first time in what seems like an eternity. San Francisco is one of the world’s premier Pride events, but like many on this list, it’s been accused of ‘rainbow-washing’ in recent years, with Silicon Valley-style corporations co-opting the flotillas. That said, San Francisco has lost none of its original Pride magic-the LGBTQ+ community has responded by fashioning its own series of unique celebrations.

The country’s biggest Trans Pride celebration takes place around Mission Dolores Park on the Friday before Pride, while micro-venues open their doors to all-day-and-night parties on the Saturday. Alongside Pride, San Francisco holds the world’s biggest kink fest in September: Folsom Street Fair. It’s a must-go if leather and fetish gear are your thing.

Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock
Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock
Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock

Toronto

June 1 – 30
One of the biggest Pride celebrations in the world takes place over the course of June, culminating in the Pride parades that closes out the month (including a Dyke March and Trans March). Toronto’s streets are flooded with people who’ve come out to celebrate not just the LGBTQ+ community, but also everyone else who loves being themselves and having fun. Exhibitions, film fests, and ginormous parties complement the main event, and there’s usually a sonic-blasting all-day-rave at the TreeHouse towards the end of June.

Jacomergo/Shutterstock
Jacomergo/Shutterstock
Jacomergo/Shutterstock

Mexico City

June 20 – 26
The magnificent splendour of Mexico City plays out to a wild, week-long extravaganza during Pride. The parade itself happens on the last Saturday of June each year, with the Marcha de Orgullo. It’s been over 40 years since the county’s first protest against LGBTQ+ discrimination.

After two years off, expect a big, boisterous crowd of party-loving revellers finally coming together to celebrate Pride. Thousands will gather around the Angel of Independence statue in the leafy ‘Pink Zone’ Zona Rosa, the gay-friendly district, for a vibrant march along Paseo de la Reforma. The main event concludes at Zocalo, the city’s handsome central square. Mexico packs a punch for late-night afterparties: check out the official Pride site for the complete list of Pride-related shenanigans.

Kath Watson/Shutterstock
Kath Watson/Shutterstock
Kath Watson/Shutterstock

London

July 2
London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and that shows in its Pride celebrations.” Upwards of 1.5 million attendees flock to our capital,” says Haven Thorne, Head of PR for London Pride.

“This year, the parade kicks off at Hyde Park Corner, the site of the first 1972 march, also where mining communities showed solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in 1985.” It continues down Piccadilly Circus through Trafalgar Square before culminating at Whitehall Place (home to the House of Parliament).

Soho is a central ingredient of Pride, away from the politics and commercial floats. The ever-beating heart of London’s LGBTQ+ community is a must-visit if pulsing queer EDM anthems and an anything-goes atmosphere gets you up and dancing all night.

Elena Rostunova/Shutterstock
Elena Rostunova/Shutterstock
Elena Rostunova/Shutterstock

Berlin

July 23
One of the world’s party capitals, Berlin’s rainbow flag has been fluttering happily for years now, with some of the most inclusive (and frankly, out there) LGBTQ+ nightlife in Europe. This year is no exception.

Berlin Pride is named in honour of the street where the Stonewall Riots started. Christopher Street Day comprises two stand-out events: the main parade, which leaves from Ku’damm and Joachimsthaler Strasse and ends at the Brandenburg Gate; and the rally, a stage hosting talks, drag queen/king performances, and high-octane DJs sets. The laid-back, all-inclusive queer picnic at Volkspark Hasenheide is a highlight.

Sophia Groves/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Sophia Groves/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Sophia Groves/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Reykjavik Pride

August 2
Reykjavik may be one of Europe’s most remote capitals, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ready for its close-up. Thanks to its relaxed vibe, pristine natural beauty, and friendly locals, Reykjavik is an amazing city for LGBTQ+ travellers (and everyone else). It’s also one of the most progressive countries in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights-it was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2010. Two-thirds of the country take part every year. Once, the city mayor even marched in drag-which is pretty damn fierce.

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Justin McDonnell is a contributor for Thrillist.

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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