From historic parades and colorful street art to massive festivals and star-studded concerts, California honors Pride in a big way. In fact, since 2018, June has been formally named LGBTQ+ Pride Month in California, making it the first state in the country to designate the celebration as an official event.
California’s history of LGBTQ+ activism runs deep. The first LGBTQ+ business association was founded here in 1962; Laguna Beach was the first city in the U.S. to elect an openly gay mayor; and the iconic rainbow flag was even designed in San Francisco. Every year, California cities honor this legacy—and you have plenty of opportunities to join in the fun. Here’s a travel guide for anyone looking to celebrate LGBTQ+ history and culture at one of the many Pride festivals and events throughout the state.
Sacramento Pride March and Festival
Every year, more than 20,000 visitors descend on Sacramento for the city’s two-day Sac Pride. On June 11–12 the Capitol Mall transforms into a buzzing entertainment zone with live music, drag performers, and food vendors. The main event on Sunday starts with the Pride Parade, which marches from the corner of 3rd Street and N Street to the State Capitol for a big outdoor party.
Sonoma County Pride
This year's Sonoma County Pride theme is “We Are Family” in honor of togetherness and community connection. The celebration includes events and activities from June 1–4. Don’t miss Pride Movie Night in Old Courthouse Square and the annual Pride Parade, complete with a costume contest. To get in the Pride spirit a little early, visit nearby Viansa Winery for Pink Sonoma Saturday on May 14 to taste Rosé from more than 20 area wineries. The event benefits Positive Images, a Sonoma County grassroots organization supporting LGBTQ+ youth.
San Francisco Pride
Organizers of San Francisco Pride made “Love Will Keep Us Together” the 2022 theme for this popular annual festival on June 25–26. Head to Civic Center Plaza to see live concerts, comedy acts, and cabaret performances on the main stage, and take part in Sunday’s parade, which starts near the Embarcadero. Explore more events throughout the Bay Area, including the stunning Ribbons of Remembrance  rainbow floral display at Filoli in Woodside on June 4–5; the Proud of My Family Celebration at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose on June 4; and Frameline46: The San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, running from June 16–26.
Get the party started a couple weeks early in San Luis Obispo. At the SLO Pridefest, May 20–22, you’ll find a Friday night drag show, plus plenty of music and fun on the main stage. Bring the whole family to enjoy the interactive events in the Kids Area, Teen Lounge (complete with nightly silent discos), and the Family Fun Zone. Activities for all ages include bracelet making, selfie stations, picnic games, and arts and crafts.
Los Angeles was the first city in the world to host a permitted gay pride parade, and you can see history in action with the 52nd annual event on June 10–12. Watch headliner Christina Aguilera and acts such as Anitta and Syd perform at Pride in the Park at L.A. State Historic Park, or watch revelers dance on fabulous floats down Sunset Boulevard during the parade. In town the week before? Attend WeHo Pride in West Hollywood on June 3–5 for a street fair and music festival OUTLOUD: Raising Voices with performances from Lil’ Kim and Jessie J.
Catalina Island Pride Month
From Dana Point, Newport Beach, Long Beach, or San Pedro, you can hop across the water to Catalina Island for the city of Avalon’s first-ever Pride Celebration on June 18. Take in live entertainment, participate in the march, and watch the rainbow lighting of the historic Catalina Casino.
Orange County has long been a premier destination for LGBTQ+ tourism, and that’s never more true than during OC Pride on June 25, held in downtown Santa Ana. Watch world-class burlesque performances and drag shows from stars like Mo Heart from Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
SYV Pride Week
The newly formed SYV Pride organization in the Santa Ynez Valley is kicking off their inaugural Pride celebration with a welcoming party: It begins with a DJ, drag queens, and a cabaret performance at Dana V. Wines on June 22, followed by several days’ worth of festivities in the valley. The main event is a parade in Solvang on Saturday, June 25, followed by a party in Solvang Park.
These two communities celebrate Pride Month in a big way later in the year. San Diego Pride is planning a slate of events in July, including art exhibitions, She Fest, a 5K, a block party, and a thrilling two-day festival in Balboa Park.Greater Palm Springs Pride will kick off its celebrations in November, with the opportunity to “sip, sashay, celebrate, and honor those who have courageously fought for equality.” Watch the iconic Pride Parade and Festival down Palm Canyon Drive, and pool party hop at events hosted annually by The Saguaro, Hotel Zoso, and Margaritaville Resort.