The Pride of all Prides is upon us. More than one million people descend on San Francisco this weekend. With the population of the city doubling in size it can be, well, a challenge to navigate the maze of streets, hills, routes, and events. The celebratory mood of the marriage equality ruling is sure to make it the most joyous Pride ever.
Below are seven tips and many highlights to help you survive and thrive at San Francisco Pride. For a full list of events and happenings, check out the GayCities Pride Guides.
1. Request Monday Off
You’ll be thankful you did.
2. Don’t go to the Castro without a plan
Long lines for crowded bars and the steep covers leave many people stranded in the street with no place to fully enjoy the celebrations. Get there early and stake out a corner with your buds. Move in groups. Be patient.
3. Drink alcohol with caution and water without
With all the shirtless bodies in such tight spaces, it gets sweaty in the clubs and in the streets. Many a boy has had the weekend ruined by a hangover.
4. Shop beforehand
Getting the perfect outfit for Pride Sunday can be a real challenge. If you didn’t plan ahead, stop by Sui Generis or Retro Fit. Vintage, consignment and new fashions mixed together make a style icon’s dream closet, even if you might not be wearing too much more than shorts and a tank on sunday.
5. Wear Sunscreen
The fog city can be deceptively sunny. Since it is often cool, even in the afternoons, the sun can seen less threatening until it’s too late and you’ve burned. Make sure you don’t get anything worse than a tan line by lathering SPF30 (at least).
6. Bring Cash
Most San Francisco Bars are cash only, plus the waiting time for a drink will be less if you fanny pack it over your underwear. However, don’t bring too much cash.
7. Diversify Your Adventures
Yes, the Castro and the slightly rougher gay bars in SOMA are great, and they will be packed all weekend. But remember there’s so much more to San Francisco, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Baker Beach to the restaurant scene in the Mission and shopping in Union Square. Take some time to explore the town as a whole. You’ll enjoy the bars and clubs all the more because of it.
Now that you are property prepared, here are a few special events we recommend.
Drag Yourself on over to the legendary show Some Thing at The Stud. San Francisco’s prominent queens parade around as guests dance until the wee hours.
If you fancy yourself a hipster, or simply love them, don’t miss Mr. at Monarch. What better way to break in Pride than with a mustache party and San Francisco’s best DJs spinning all night long? Make sure to get tickets beforehand.
Of course you can’t miss the day-long Pride Festival at Civic Center no matter how little sleep you had the night before. It’s like a gay theme park, and braving (or reveling in) the crowds is worth it for this quintessential celebration of our history and liberation.
The pinnacle of official Pride celebrations is the Pride Main Party, Offer-Nissim with Tristan Jaxx. It’s going to be packed tight and of epic proportions. If you want to experience the circuit party realness of San Francisco Pride, this is your party.
For celeb and all other types of sightings, head over to the 11th annual Juanita More Pride Party. It’s an institution, with a ticket purchase not even guaranteeing you entry, at least not immediately. So get there early to nap one of the tickets made available at the venue. Proceeds go to Juanita’s annual favorite charity so you can enjoy your cocktail with a clear conscience. Touted as “The party of the year,” here’s what Ms. More is saying about the performers at this year’s extravaganza:
THERE’S THE LEGENDARY STEVE FABUS, THE INIMITABLE DAVID HARNESS, THE AMAZING JACKIE HOUSE, AND MY TALENTED SON ROBERT JEFFREY. COLLECTIVELY, THESE DJS TELL A STORY OF WHERE OUR NIGHTLIFE HAS BEEN AND WHERE IT IS PROUDLY GOING. PERFORMANCES AND MORE! BY DOUBLE DUCHESS AND MISS RAHNI.
The coolest way to end Pride might just be the Mighty Real Pool Party At The Phoenix Hotel. Boys in bathing suites, rain or shine. Enough said.
Want something more sedate and, well, intellectual? Check out Frameline’s showing of the film Bare at the Castro Theater at 7pm, followed by the closing night gala at Oasis Nightclub & Cabaret. You can’t go wrong
Not coming to San Francisco for Pride? Well we’ve got a chance for you to win a trip to San Francisco anyway. Play Ad Lib San Francisco for your chance to win a fancy all-expense paid trip for two. GayCities and San Francisco Travel will take care of your flights, a two-night stay at a Kimpton Hotel and other VIP perks.