With its roots as a gritty, steel-manufacturing city with a less liberal and artsy reputation than Pennsylvania's largest city, Philadelphia, the riverfront city of Pittsburgh has been occasionally overlooked by GLBT travelers who assume there's not much of a scene there. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Pittsburgh has long cultivated a vibrant, politically active, and fun-loving gay scene - it finally earned some of its due when the U.S. version of the show Queer As Folk used Pittsburgh as the setting for its chronicle of urban gay culture (granted, the show was actually filmed in Toronto).
The hometown of gay artist Andy Warhol also has a stellar arts scene, and several neighborhoods around the city are popular with Pittsburgh's many gay and lesbian residents.
Pittsburgh has enjoyed a great civic and economic comeback of late, and a perfect time to experience all that the region has to offer is during Pittsburgh Pride, which takes place in early to mid-June. This year the festivities take place from June 4 through June 12, 2016, culminating in a final weekend that includes a parade and festival.
During the week leading up to Pride, you can attend a number of related events and activities, including a "Ready. Set. Pride!" kickoff party on June 5 in Shadyside, and Wet Pride Pool Party at Skybar on the South Side on Thursday, June 9 - here's a full calendar.
Fans of nightlife can kick off their Pride Weekend on Friday, June 10, with a Pride Pub Crawl, taking place from 8 pm until 2 am at more than a dozen gay and gay-friendly bars and restaurants around the city, from 5801 to Images to Real Luck Cafe to Cruze, a hot gay dance club in the Strip District.
On Saturday, the big event is Pride in the Street, a wild and rollicking party that begins at 6 pm and takes place in the heart of downtown's gay bar strip, Liberty Avenue, from 9th to 10th streets. The party lasts well into the evening and always features a slew of top performers, including headlining pop star Kesha this year, along with Angel Haze.
The following day, Sunday is the Pittsburgh Gay Pride Parade Equality March, which takes runs from noon until 1 pm, beginning at Boulevard of the Allies and Grant streets, then moving east and turning left onto Grant Street, where it continues north to 5th Avenue, and then to the Pride Festival grounds along Liberty between 6th and 10th streets.
The excitement on Sunday continues after the parade with a huge and free PrideFest celebration, held from 1 pm until 6:30 pm at Liberty Avenue and 6th and 10th streets. The festival includes more than 150 vendors representing gay-friendly businesses (including some major corporations) and organizations throughout greater Pittsburgh, plenty of food and a beer garden, and two stages of live entertainment, featuring dozens of performers. The closing act this year is multi-platinum recording artist Dev.
Pittsburgh Gay Resources
Note that numerous gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Gay Pride. Check local gay papers, such as Out Newspaper for details, as well as the Pittsburgh Gay Guide. And be sure visit the helpful LGBT section of the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Association website for trip-planning advice.