Long one of Europe's most gay-welcoming cities, Cologne is in the heart of Germany's scenic Rhineland and is the country's fourth-largest city. It's a scenic, culturally rich, and friendly city that also hosts a wonderfully festive and well-attended Gay Pride festival in early July, called Christopher Street Day. In 2016, Cologne Gay Pride takes place July 1 through July 3, although there are a number of related events leading up to this.
From the night of Friday through Sunday (July 1 to July 3), there's a big Gay Pride Festival taking place in Cologne's charming Old City district. The action takes place in Heumarkt and typically kicks off at 4 pm on Friday, and then again on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 11 am each day. Featured are a variety of ceremonies and speeches, dance music by major DJs, and performances by several top entertainers and musicians. Here's a full schedule of event highlights that make up Cologne Pride.
Additionally, on Sunday (July 3), the official Christopher Street Day Parade traditionally takes place at noon - and look out, because this is one of the biggest such parades in Europe, attracting nearly 1 million participants and spectators according to some estimates.
Cologne Gay Resources
Many of the city's restaurants, hotels, and shops - not to mention gay clubs - have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. Check local gay papers, which are distributed at popular gay bars. And visit the Cologne Gay Travel Guide by Patroc.com, which is very handy and has extensive information on the local gay scene. Additional excellent trip-planning resources are the GLBT site produced by Cologne Tourism, and the German Office of Tourism's site on GLBT travel.