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Where to Celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month in California

Dance, sing, march, eat, and party—all in the name of equal rights

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Posted 2 years agoby Jessica Sebor

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; even the iconic rainbow flag was designed in San Francisco. Just last summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill establishing June as LGBTQ Pride Month, making California the first state in the country to do so. This June, celebrate crusaders of equality past and present at one of the many Pride events held across the state, including these fun-filled festivals.


May 31–June 9: L.A. Pride Week

This 10-day “week” includes events all across Los Angeles, culminating in the famous West Hollywood festival. Head to LGBTQ Night at the L.A. Dodgers to catch a game followed by a fireworks display, or get exclusive after-hours access to Universal Studios Hollywood at the park’s Pride Night. Don’t miss the main event, held June 7–9. More than 400,000 people turn out annually for the three-day festival and parade. The $20 fee gets you access to big-name headliners like Paula Abdul, Meghan Trainor, and Years & Years.


June 1: Fresno’s Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival

In its 29th year, Rainbow Pride is one of the largest LGBTQ events in the Central Valley. Festivities kick off with the annual parade at 10 a.m. in downtown Fresno, and the party continues all day long in the Tower District. Come see live music, drag shows, inspirational speakers, and more, all honoring this year’s theme: 2GETHER.

June 2: Santa Cruz Pride

Join grand marshals Adam Spickler, the first openly transgender man to hold elected office in California, and musician Vynes Dowling for an all-day Pride celebration in Santa Cruz. At 11 a.m., the 45th annual parade begins with hundreds of marchers strolling down Pacific Avenue. The afternoon festival features a main stage with live music and spoken-word art. The party continues into the night at the Pride Celebration Pool Party at the Hotel Paradox, complete with tasty food and a costume competition.

June 8–9: Sacramento Pride

Rapper, singer, songwriter, and self-love icon Lizzo is just one of the reasons to celebrate at SacPride this year. The two-day outdoor fest at Sacramento’s Capitol Mall features multiple stages and dance tents where dozens of musicians, including “Tempo” singer, will perform. This year’s theme, “A Legacy of Stonewall,” pays homage to the 50th anniversary of the famous riots. Bring the whole family to the parade and festival, which features a CA Children’s Museum Zone, SPCA Paw Pride Pet Pavillion, and bites from local farm-to-fork restaurants.


June 15–23: Orange County Pride Week

Honor Orange County’s rich LGBTQ legacy at this nine-day celebration. Stay tuned for event announcements (which will likely include roller parties and bingo nights), all leading up to the main attraction: Orange County Pride Parade and Festival on June 22 in Santa Ana. Both the “Stand Up, Stand Out” parade and festival are free of charge, but get tickets ahead of time for the evening’s entertainment at the Yost Theatre, featuring music, art, comedy, and drag.


June 29–30: San Francisco Pride

Each year, on the last weekend of June, a joyful Pride celebration takes over San Francisco in the most wonderful way. The two-day festival turns 10-plus city blocks into LGBTQ-celebratory spaces like the Queer Youth Space and Leather Alley. The Sunday morning parade, themed “Generations of Resistance,” and kicks off with the fierce roar of Dykes on Bikes. Cinephiles will also enjoy the Frameline43, San Francisco’s International LGBTQ Film Festival, playing more than 150 movies from June 20–30.

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