Few cities have a greater variety of Pride-related gay events going on during the month of June than Chicago, whose Gay Pride Month includes sporting events, food tastings, parades, plays, musical performances, parties, queer youth gatherings, and ceremonies of all kinds. Chicago's most significant Pride events take place primarily in late June, with Chicago PrideFest taking place June 17 and June 18, 2017, a week before the Chicago Pride Parade, held June 25, which is the same weekend as the popular related event, Backlot Bash Chicago, now held over two weekends (likely June 15-18 and 23-25, 2017), and one week before Chicago Black Gay Pride, which takes in early July.
Details about the 2017 festivities are not yet available but will be posted here when information is released. Here's a look at last year's celebrations:
The city's main Pride celebrations center around a series of events and parties, culminating in the city's Annual Pride Parade. Events include lectures, awards ceremonies, book discussions, and all sorts of parties.
The Chicago Pride Fest is a great place to meet local merchants and learn about area GLBT organizations. It takes place this year the weekend before the parade, on Saturday and on Sunday in the heart of Boystown, which is also where you'll find the majority of the city's many gay bars.
This year's festivities will be staged along North Halsted Street between West Belmont Ave. and West School St., and live entertainment includes American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Daya, Dumblonde, and many others.
The following weekend, Chicago Pride's most famous event, its colorful and celebratory Annual Pride Parade, begins at noon on Sunday at the corner of Broadway and Montrose, and continues south on Broadway, then south on Halsted, east on Belmont, south again on Broadway, and east on Diversey to Cannon Drive, near Diversey Harbor.
Also on Sunday, the city's Northside gets into the act with the Chicago Pride North party in the Glenwood Arts District - which runs from noon until 2 am and includes plenty of great entertainment.
One very cool Pride event that takes place in Chicago's diverse and vibrant Andersonville neighborhood, the seven-day outdoor women's festival Backlot Bash Chicago takes place over two weekends: Thursday through Sunday and Friday through Sunday.
Events typically take place at 5238 North Clark Street (right behind Cheetah Gym). This massive women's party, dubbed the "Ultimate Lesbian Concert", is welcoming of everybody and features a number of live music performances. This year's performers include Lisa Loeb, Cathy Richardson, Antigone Rising, Congress of Starlings, and several others. Cover charge is $15 to $20, depending on arrival time - see the Backlot Bash website for details and to purchase three-day passes.
Chicago Gay Resources
Plenty of gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week, especially in the gay-popular Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods. Check local gay papers, such as the Windy City Times, for details. An excellent website covering the city's GLBT scene is ChicagoPride.com. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the Chicago CVB.
There are also plenty of gay clubs and gay-friendly restaurants throughout Chicago. For more info, check out:
- Chicago Boystown/Lakeview Gay Bars Guide
- Chicago Downtown/South Side Gay Bars Guide
- Chicago Andersonville/Uptown Gay Guide