New York City Pride is right around the corner! This year the celebration is Friday, June 24th through Sunday, June 26th 2016. Use this guide as your quick Pride weekend travel itinerary. If you’re reading this before May 20, 2016 make sure you sign up to win TWO ROUND TRIP TICKETS to the pride of your choice from IGLTA and United.
Arrive in NYC Friday Afternoon
Check into your hotel and get ready for dinner to get your night started. I’d recommend staying somewhere in Lower Manhattan below 50th street and plan to use the train, cabs, and ubers for your trip. Many streets will be blocked off along the parade route and there won’t be any street parking available. Having a car in the city would be way more hassle than it’s worth.
It’s your first night in NYC. Go FULL ON GLAM. Beauty and Essex is my all time favorite restaurant in NYC. It’s a trendy fine dining restaurant hidden inside an old pawn shop. Once you enter the pawn shop you enter through a backdoor into the ultra lux lounge area. Be prepared to be surrounded by a glam crowd and to splurge a bit on imaginative recreations of New American bites in the form of shareable small plates. Try the Crab Rangoon ($17) or the Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings ($16). Don’t forget to order one of the nouveau classic cocktails ($17) or pro-tip sneak off to the ladies room for the free champagne the bathroom attendant serves.
After dinner, head to Cielo
This year NYC Lesbian Royalty DJ Whitney Day is back at it again. She’s throwing down at Cielo for her Pride kick off SHUT UP & DANCE! Friday, June 24th 10pm-4am. She’s kicking off NYC PRIDE weekend in one of the world’s best and most celebrated nightclubs - Cielo. Set in the velvet rope laced meatpacking district, there is no better example of a venue that showcases quality music, sound, lights and vibe in all of NYC nightlife. Plus there’s even an outdoor patio for chilling! DJs Amanda Louise (Sydney, Au), Colby B (NYC, SF, Seattle) & Whitney Day (NYC / LA) have one request - let’s all just SHUT UP & DANCE! If you want to sweat it out into the early am hours, this is the party for you! Tickets range from $15-25 & will be available at the door and or skip the line and order in advance.
After you’ve danced your heart out grab a cab and head back to your hotel while munching on a 3am empanada from the corner Bodega.
Once you’ve slept in a bit and get yourself out of bed, it’s all about BRUNCH. Head down to Bar Bacon in midtown for bacon flights -YES you read that correctly- and other gastropub grub. Bar Bacon has delicious food that won’t break the bank in a laid back setting with a large bar. Get your mimosa on with their Buttermilk Pancakes ($12) Try the BBQ Pork Dumplings ($12) or the Lobster Loves Bacon Mac and Cheese ($20) wash it down with a beer flight or one of the barkeeps custom cocktails ($13-$15).
Spend the afternoon shopping in Soho, touring central park or day drinking at Cubby. The Cubbyhole is tiny little charming watering hole. It’s right in the center of the West Village which is the heart of the daytime pride celebrations. While Cubby - as locals call it - is technically a lesbian bar, it’s very welcoming of all identities. The over the top kitschy ceiling decorations are definitely a novel highlight. Hanging from the ceiling are dozens of paper Chinese lanterns, streamers and plastic toys hang from the ceiling. Cubbyhole is the perfect spot for belting along with the jukebox to mostly nostalgic tunes. It’s a great day for a midday drink when you’re trying to take a break from the parade.
Once you’ve had enough of the daytime antics head to the local corner pizza shop for a good NYC slice and head up to Bryant Park for the Dyke March. The Dyke March is my favorite part of Pride. I mean… what’s better than a thousand screaming semi dressed queers playing in a fountain? Not much.
After the Dyke March make your way back to your hotel. Grab a shower and change into your night time attire. Don’t be afraid to throw back a couple drinks as you’re getting ready for your night out.
Head down to Henrietta Hudson’s bar in the West Village. Henrietta’s is one of the oldest lesbian bars in NYC. They’ve recently rebranded and are gearing up for the biggest parties of the year. Henrietta’s is always PACKED during the Pride. It’s a $10 cover at the door.
The March starts at noon but you really have to be to there hours early to get a good spot. There are 350 groups in the parade and it usually takes hours. Slather on the sunscreen, make sure you have some bottled water and park yourself near a starbuck because they have free public bathrooms.
After the parade it’s alllllll about Whitney Day. NYC Pride Sunday has become synonymous with MARQUEE & Whitney Day. Now in its 4th year, ‘THE PARTY’ is a Pride highlight for 1,500 LGBTQA’s who look forward all year to this one-of-a-kind event. For 2016, she’s going ALL OUT with a DJ Line-up that will bring the house down! Kick-Ass DJs M.O., June & Whitney Day will be spinning hip-hop, club favorites & big room sounds to fill up the biggest & best club NYC has to offer - MARQUEE! Plus, don’t miss a killer performance by Diplo & Baueer’s muse, Baltimore Club Queen, TT THE ARTIST! And our drummers-in-residence, BATALA NYC will be banging it out with us! NYC Pride weekend isn’t complete without you & your crew ending at THE PARTY @ MARQUEE. Tickets range from $20-30 & will be available at the door and in advance.
Be prepared for a wild weekend, once you’ve checked out of your hotel room on Monday morning, you’ll haveno regrets. Happy Pride!