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By Eva Henderson
Happily, LGBT pride festivals are a growing phenomenon around the world. They are also made for a great excuse to have a holiday, as seeing a city in the midst of all the celebrations can be one of the best times to visit metropolis and party their hardest.
Here are some of the biggest destinations for LGBT events you’ll find anywhere.
As ground zero for what has come to be understood as the modern gay rights movement, New York City is a storied place to celebrate pride in the shadow of the historic Stonewall protests.
The celebrations officially last for a whole month all across the city, but the main day lands on the last Saturday of June in Manhattan. The march sees over two million partiers in attendance and boasts more than fifty colourful floats.
You don’t need a reason to visit NYC, with its incredible nightlife, historic landmarks and urban buzz, but if you do, they don’t come much better than NYC Pride.
San Francisco Pride
The spiritual capital of the LGBT community in America, SF Pride is the city at its beautiful, accepting best. The Castro district comes alive, as does the whole town, with a range of cultural events and nightlife celebrations that make the most of one of America’s loveliest metropolises.
Visitors can save money by staying across the Bay Bridge in the city of Oakland, where things are generally much cheaper. There are lots do outside the city, in particular, a vast range of wine-tasting tours to be enjoyed.
This is one of the country’s biggest year events and certainly one of the best-loved in Europe.
Amsterdam has always warmed to alternative lifestyles, and its LGBT scene is phenomenal. Taking advantage of the city’s network of the waterway, many of the floats are boats that travel canals coming alive with colour and music.
Amsterdam’s got lots of other things to offer travellers, including a great nightlife, some world-class galleries, many sites of historic interest and, for those who partake in enhanced refreshments, the legendary cafe scene.
Madrid Gay Pride
One of Europe’s best pride celebrations, LGBT meets Spain’s historic street party culture that draws two million attendees to its extravagant five-day festival, the biggest annual event of any city in Europe.
The musical support for this festival is particularly strong, attracting top name DJs and seeing the bars and clubs really come to life.
There are lots of other things to do around this beautiful city, with great museums and galleries.
More active travellers can also benefit from bicycle tours that shows the area in a wonderful new light.
Sao Paulo Gay Pride
Brazil is one country that knows how to pull off a fantastic carnival, and, indeed, this annual celebration is the largest pride event anywhere in the world. There are huge floats and of course incredible music and dancing drawing on the sensuous, rhythmic music genres the country does so well. It’s government funded, and politicians take great efforts to make everyone feel welcome and show solidarity with the LGBT community.
A bit nearer to home, Manchester Pride is probably the UK’s best and most respected pride event. Expect the biggest acts, year-round arts events and plenty of charitable giving.
Eva Henderson is a writer and traveller.
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