This year’s New York City Pride celebration marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which kicked off the gay pride movement. It is also the first time in history that World Pride will be hosted by a US city. With that said, almost 4 million visitors are expected in New York, many of whom will be in search of pride parties, rooftop moments and bottomless brunches.
With so much happening, finding the right events for you can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the city. And if you weren’t among the lucky few who managed to secure tickets to the high profile parties months in advance don’t worry, there are plenty of events, bars and clubs around the city waiting to welcome you with rainbow flags.
We've created this brief guide to give you a high-level lay of the land and help you devise your Pride weekend strategy. While we recommend going in with a rough plan, we’re also huge advocates of a little spontaneity, especially with so many people in the city converging for a common purpose.
Expect long lines, everywhere. From restaurants to coffee shops to bars and nightclubs, lines will be long so plan ahead and arrive early.
Consider biking. Whether you rent one or use CitiBike, biking may be one of the quickest ways to get around the city. The subway will be hot and the Uber surcharge will be ugly.
Refuel whenever you can. With so many back to back events, it’s hard to predict when your next meal will be.
Kick things off early with the One Dream Opening Party at Marquee hosted by Masterbeat, official presenter of World Pride NYC dance events. Doors open at 10 pm so pregame at nearby Chelsea gay bars, Barracuda or Boxers Chelsea.
Start your night with dinner at queer staples, Elmo or Cafeteria. Getting a resy will likely be impossible so show up early, put your name down and grab some drinks at the bar. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your neighbors - with so much excitement in the air, you just may meet your new weekend party buddies.
Now that you’ve got a proper base, it’s time to get the evening started. If you’ve secured tickets to LadyLand or Horse Meat Disco (Sold Out), grab your Uber to beat the traffic and long lines. Otherwise, spend your night bar hopping downtown. The west village is known for gay bars like Pieces, Rockbar, Duplex and the historic Stonewall Inn, where it all began. Also check out East village which is home to our favorite gay dive bar Boiler Room and the cozy watering hole, Club Cumming.
If you’re looking to turn things up, try and score some tickets to PENTHAUS, the rooftop party at Copacabana where, NYC DJ Mazurbate will be spinning his signature nasty mashups.
For brunch, check out Arriba Arriba or the new Westville in Hell kitchen; Tenth Avenue Cookshop if you’re in Chelsea; The Loyal or Boucherie if you’re in West village; Sadelle’s in Soho or Jack’s wife Frieda if you’re anywhere in between.
Post brunch, head to one of the countless daytime activities and tea dances happening across the city. While some have sold out, there are still plenty of places to have an outdoor drink. They include Masterbeat Tea dance at Terminal 5, the Black Unicorn Pool Party or the Out of this World Pride party at Elsewhere in Brooklyn (which also continues late into the night). For a bit less commitment (no ticket necessary) head up to the rooftop at Boxer’s in Hell’s Kitchen.
If you’re looking for something a bit more laid-back, consider a pit stop at Christopher Street Pier or Sheep Meadow in Central park which are both typically filled with gay men picnicking in little more than shorts and speedos.
From there, squeeze in a power nap, rehydrate then it’s time for Saturday Pride Island. While tickets sold out instantly upon release, some are available on resale websites such as Stubhub. The Saturday and Sunday package is steep due to the recent confirmation of a Madonna appearance, however a Saturday-only ticket will definitely be worth your while with a lineup featuring the likes of Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor and Pabllo Vittar.
Saturday night is jam packed with events. From LadyLand round 2 to the infamous WE party and Ty Sunderland’s Devil’s Playground. Picking which one to attend can be a stressful decision but keep in mind, that with an influx of more than 4 million gays you can’t go wrong with any. And remember it’s more often about the company than the actual event.
If you fancy another night of bar hopping you’ve also got plenty of options. Hell’s Kitchen will be buzzing so check out Rise, Hardware or Industry. Rebar is a popular Chelsea hotspot and if you’re in Brooklyn head to The Rosemont or Metropolitan.
On Sunday grab some brunch at any of the many popular west village restaurants, preferably one with a bottomless brunch special so you can pregame properly ahead of the parade. Once you've had your fill head over to Le Bain at The Standard Highline Hotel for rooftop views and disco house beats by iconic NYC trio Occupy the Disco. If you managed to score tickets to Pride island, you'll want to arrive no later than 6 pm as filing into the pier may take some time.
Sunday night - the home stretch. As the disco starts to wind down and Madonna wraps her performance the streets will be buzzing with gays strategizing about next steps for the evening. Kygo will be spinning at Javitz center and Alegria will be well underway at Brooklyn Mirage.
And if you’re not looking to commit to a 6 am night and hundred dollar tickets but still want to go out with a bang head to local HK bars like Barrage, Rise and Industry.
Once Monday rolls around, you’ll likely want to use the day to rest up before flocking to Provincetown or Fire Island for 4th of July weekend and starting it all over again. From all of us at otto, we wish you a happy and healthy Pride Season - And remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint so drink lots of water and don’t forget to reapply sunscreen.