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Pride season is just around the corner, which means that rainbow-coloured parties will be going on across the globe in celebration of LGBT life. From San Francisco to Denmark, we track the best and most vibrant of the hundreds of participating cities and exactly who, we mean what, you should be doing there.
Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb’s open-door approach has changed the way we travel. We’ve teamed up with with the free-spirited connoisseurs of accommodation to bring you the most fabulous places to stay for Pride around the world. Not that you’ll be getting much sleep…
SOHO, LONDON 23-28 June
If you think Oxford Street is overcrowded now, then you’ve never experienced it during Pride week. The city’s annual gay pride festival and parade take Soho by storm, flooding the streets with thousands of people from the LGBT-friendly community. Colours blend together through a mesh of people, floats and flags winding their way through London’s streets. Cool off after the parade with a pint or cocktail at one of Soho’s best bars and clubs.
Where to celebrate: For a day of drinking in the sun, start on Rupert Street and stop at either The Yard or the Rupert Street bar. Grab a pre-club cocktail (or two) at Friendly Society and top off your night with some boozing and boogying at Lo Profile.
SEE MORE: Where to drink and dance in London
WEST VILLAGE, NEW YORK 26-28 June
The most vibrant of rainbows stretches across this city from 11th Avenue to Avenue D. The West Village is one of many Manhattan neighborhoods that are rich with the history and movements of the LGBT community. With clubs and bars around the corner of each city block, you are bound, wherever you are, to have an unforgettable week. But to be fair, you’re in the city that never sleeps, so we can’t actually promise how much you will actually remember.
Where to celebrate: After catching the end of the parade in the West Village make your way up to Le Bain at the Standard Hotel for drinks on their roof terrace. Then, for historical purposes, head back downtown to The Stonewall Inn, the bar that all but launched the Gay Rights movement in New York City. And when the clock strikes midnight cab it over to Westway where you are guaranteed great music, drinks and, well, dancers. Semi-professional, that is.
SEE MORE: Where to drink and dance in New York
MYKONOS 19-23 August
Come one, come all because this is one Pride week you won’t want to miss out on. Over 30,000 people come each year for this island’s annual festivities, although, quite frankly, Mykonos doesn’t really need another reason to party. The celebration is nonstop on this glamorous Greek isle and Pride Week is no exception.
Where to celebrate: The XLSIOR festival is definitely the biggest draw of the week, and with very good reason. They give you the best music from some of the biggest artists in the gay circuit scene. But if festivals aren’t your thing, or you aren’t ready to go home just yet, then enjoy early(ish) drinks at The Elysium Sunset Bar followed by late night dancing at Babylon Mykonos.
SEE MORE: The bachelor’s guide to Mykonos
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND 3-6 September
The colourful city of Reykjavik is celebrating its 17th year of Pride this summer with a week-long celebration. For such a little city, they sure know how to throw one serious party, attracting up to 100,000 people in recent years (that’s more than two thirds of the city’s population). Reykjavik is truly the heart and pride of Iceland. No pun intended.
Where to celebrate: In a compact city such as Reykjavik, you’ll find the bars to start your night at stacked stacked right on top of the clubs at which to end it . Gain some liquid confidence downstairs at Bravó and then dance the night away upstairs at Kiki. Or you can head over to Trúnó, a café and bar located just below Barbara Sunshine – the name speaks for itself.
SEE MORE: Iceland in thaw
PROVINCETOWN, CAPE COD 2-10 July
This cute cape town is probably one of the most unsuspecting East Coast finds. Provincetown just so happens to be one of the most popular destinations for the LGBT community, especially during the summer months when they host most of their city-wide events. Is Provincetown the new Hamptons? Probably not. But when it comes to Pride week, anything goes.
Where to celebrate: A night in Provincetown should always begin at Wave, the bar at the Crown & Anchor resort, where you can sit by the pool and enjoy the summer weather. And how should it end? At A-House or Purgatory, two nightclubs infamous for their dancing.
CASTRO, SAN FRANCISCO 27 September San Francisco is celebrating its 45th year of their Pride celebration and parade this year with the theme “Equality without Exception.” Celebrations begin at City Hall where San Fran celebrity and the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, Harvey Milk, addressed the community over 30 years ago.
Where to celebrate: Whether it’s ‘drag queens,’ ‘daddies,’ or ‘twinks’ that you’re looking for, the Leather Bar, Badlands and Twin Peaks always supply. Or go to Moby Dick and check out the 120 gallon saltwater fish tank. Not quite big enough to fit Moby though…
SEE MORE: San Francisco city guide
SCHÖNEBERG, BERLIN 25-28 June Rainbow flags line the streets of this small Berlin village – small in size, that is, certainly not in personality. With a huge concentration of bars and clubs, this ‘gaybourhood’ is the ultimate draw for the LGBT community. Berlin’s Gay Pride Parade, or what locals call ‘Christopher Street Day’ is one of the most eclectic Pride celebrations in Europe, offering around 200 different events throughout the week.
Where to celebrate: A good starting point to any evening in Schöneberg is Heile Welt, centrally situated in Berlin’s gay triangle. Just a short walk over from this cozy bar is Hafen, a necessary pit-stop before moving a few streets over to Connection (warning: don’t go here with with your parents or anyone with any sort of moral compass).
SEE MORE: Fritz Kalkbrenner’s Berlin
DUBLIN 8, IRELAND 27 June Dublin is essentially known for its excessive drinking and partying with or without an excuse, but hey, what better excuse than Pride? With the legality of same-sex marriage just around the corner, Dublin has a lot to celebrate this year. Having made such huge strides I think it’s safe to assume this year’s festivities might be the biggest yet… Gay Pride and Guinness? Nothing better.
Where to celebrate: Grab an early pint from Panti Bar where they appropriately abide by their logo, ‘7 days for gays’. Dublin can get a little chilly at night so after you have your blanket of beer warmth head over to either The Pygmalion or The George to dance away the earlier part of the night. And when you’re ready to call it in? Regrettably make your way to Copper Face Jacks where we truly can make you no promises.
SEE MORE: Dublin city guide
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 15 August Denmark is the home of minimalist Scandi chic but more importantly, it made history in 1998 when it became the first nation in the world to recognise registered same-sex partnerships. Copenhagen Pride Week might also be the only time of the year when the Danes lose their world-famous cool. And who wants to miss that?
Where to celebrate: Whether you’re in need of a midday snack or post-dinner drink, Oscar won’t let you down. Afterwards, head to The Jane for a plush power-up before heading out to HIIVE or Bakken Kbh.
SEE MORE: Copenhagen city guide
CHUECA, MADRID 5-9 July
Famous for its gay population, Chueca is Madrid’s liveliest barrio and is miles more diverse than its hipster next-door neighbour Malasaña. Come summer, the Spanish capital takes Pride (Orgullo) very seriously indeed – Calle Hortaleza begins to buzz the week before, with flapping rainbow-coloured flags and street vendors selling memorabilia in kaleidoscopic colours. If you’re staying near the action then don’t expect much sleep – the streets will be jam-packed with concert-goers out to enjoy the free live acts in the squares.
SEE MORE: Madrid city guide
Words by Nora Maloney
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