San Diego Gay Pride 2016

Celebrating San Diego LGBT Pride

Hillcrest neighborhood, location of the San Diego Gay Pride

Andrew Collins

One of the largest and most entertaining such events in the country to take place in July, San Diego LGBT Pride draws thousands of spectators and participants to a massive festival, and more than 100,000 spectators for huge parade. It takes place in the middle of the month, July 15 to 17, 2016, and pulls in folks from throughout Southern California. San Diego is also relatively cool in the summertime, making it a great destination if you're looking for a place to beat the July heat.

In San Diego, Pride celebrations center around a handful of events, but the biggies are a Block Party on Friday, the Rally and Pride Parade on Saturday, and a Pride Music Festival (with Kesha headlining) that takes place Saturday and Sunday (July 16 and 17).

For tips on where to stay, check out the San Diego Gay Hotels Guide.

The weekend kicks off with a free San Diego Gay Pride Rally on Friday, July 15, at 6 pm, in Hillcrest at Marston Point (at Balboa Drive and 8th Drive).This is followed by the San Diego Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, from 6 pm until 11 pm and featuring top DJs and entertainers (including rapper and songwriter DEV) throughout the evening. A highlight is the raising of the ginormous rainbow flag over Hillcrest - at 216 square feet, it's hard to miss it! There will also be carnival rides, food trucks, bars, and dancing, and then afterward there's a big party at the legendary gay dance club, Rich's.

Held on Saturday, July 16, at 11 am, the San Diego Gay Pride Parade has more than 200 floats and contingents and features a variety of awards in different categories (most creative entry from a local business, top musical marching contingent, most entertaining and crowd-pleasing float, and so on). The parade runs along University Avenue (starting right under the massive Hillcrest Rainbow Flag), from Normal Street and 6th Avenue, before turning south on 6th Avenue and then left onto Balboa Drive and ending at Laurel Street. 

The San Diego Gay Pride Music Festival runs throughout both Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17. On Saturday it's from 11 am until 10 pm, and Sunday it's 11 am to 8 pm. Admission costs $20 for two days - you can purchase tickets here online. The festival is in lovely Balboa Park (at Marston Point, Laurel St. and 6th Ave.), right near Hillcrest and the Gay Pride Parade procession. There's a family midway for kids, beer gardens, a farmers market, a children's garden, Mundo Latino, SHE-FEST for women, the Oasis Beach Party, more than 300 vendors from the local community, and several entertainment stages. Performers this year include Kesha, DJ Tom Staar, and many others. Check back here for updates. Here's a map of the festival grounds and attractions.

Looking for tips and advice on traveling to San Diego during Pride. The SD Pride site has a very useful Travel page with links to several partners offering deals during the weekend, including Alaska Airlines, Uber, Car2Go, Harrah's Resort SoCal, and the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

San Diego Gay Resources

Bear in mind that many San Diego gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. The organizers of Pride recently launched a very fun and informative 25 Things to do during San Diego Pride weekend - everything from watching the Kesha perform to the amazing eating to be had at the many food trucks that will be at the event this year.

Also have a look at local gay papers, such as San Diego LGBT Weekly and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, for more on the local scene and what's going on during Pride. Also be sure to check out the superb LGBT travel site produced by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, an excellent resource for planning your trip.

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