June is Pride Month, honoring the 1969 Stonewall uprising, and what a phenomenon it has become. One in five Americans has attended a Pride event, including almost a third of adults ages 30-44 and a quarter of Gen Z. Almost two-thirds of those who identify as LGBTQ+ have gone to a Pride event.
Over the past few years, Pride has become a must for advertising. A large number of companies, many of them leaders in their industry and Forbes 1,000 fixtures, celebrate the occasion, seeing Pride advertising as a way to reach potential new customers while deepening their connection with existing ones. Last year, almost half of American adults, including more than 40% of straight respondents, said they support companies partnering with queer celebrities and showing LGBTQ+ people in advertising materials to promote Pride.
Above perhaps all else, Pride is fun! It’s an opportunity to experiment, toss out inhibitions and embrace new things. Millennials and Gen Z especially embrace Pride for its excitement and unpredictability.
Do you want to join in that fun? Pride events happening across the country present a fantastic opportunity to market new products and promote events. We’ve compiled a guide to the must-attend Pride events for advertisers in 2023. Remember, embrace authenticity and include queer people on your marketing team to ensure you bring the right vibe.
1. NYC Pride
The first Pride marches took place in 1970 in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, in commemoration of the Stonewall uprising. It only makes sense that those celebrations have grown into three of the best in the nation, and NYC wears that mantle with pride.
NYC Pride includes a “celebration of LGBTQIA+ womxn,” called Bliss Days, that features rotating DJs, dancers and pop-up performances. The march headlines the event, and over the years, it has served as a rallying point for gay rights, offering an opportunity to call attention to the AIDS crisis and honor those lost to illness and violence.
2023 theme: Strength in Solidarity
2023 date: June 25
Claim to fame: NYC Pride has the largest social media following of any Pride event worldwide.
Pride takes over the city in June, with celebrations popping up all across town. But the “official” event is the parade, which celebrates its 52nd edition this year. Organized by PRIDEChicago, the parade caps off the month of celebrations and winds 4 miles throughout the Windy City, starting at Broadway and Montrose and passing through neighborhoods including Uptown, Lincoln Park and Lakeview.
Pride in the Park Chicago, which claims to be one of the country’s biggest LGBTQ+ outdoor music festivals, takes place June 23 and 24 and includes rapper Saweetie and DJ Zedd. The Chicago Pride Fest (June 17 and 18) draws more than 60,000 people annually.
2023 theme: None
2023 date: June 25 (parade)
Claim to fame: Chicago is home to Northalsted (better known by its nickname, Boystown), widely considered the country’s first “official” gay neighborhood.
3. San Francisco Pride
San Francisco takes pride in its Pride—the city has one of the highest percentages of adults who identify as queer in the country, and it is known for its prominent gay community. Pride celebrates its 53rd year in the Golden City. It begins with a gathering in Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, with entertainment, shopping, food and family-themed activities available.
The parade takes place Sunday, going along Beale and Market streets. The focus, says San Francisco Pride, the nonprofit behind the celebration, is to promote inclusivity and equity, and visibility of the community can go a long way toward achieving such goals.
2023 theme: Looking Back and Moving Forward
2023 date: June 24 and 25
Claim to fame: Amidst national outcry over drag queen performances, Frisco recently appointed its first-ever drag laureate, a sort of ambassador of drag: D’arcy Drollinger.
4. LA Pride Festival & Parade
One of the world’s best-attended Pride fests, LA Pride draws about 400,000 people and takes place a bit earlier than most other Pride events, happening on the second weekend in June. The Christopher Street West Association sponsors LA Pride. The Pride in the Park event (June 9 and 10) draws huge names, this year including gay icon Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion.
The parade winds through some of Los Angeles’ most famous neighborhoods, starting and ending on Sunset Boulevard—which is, not for nothing, the home of some of LA’s best billboards. Those who want to reach the hundreds of thousands of Pride attendees can make an impactful purchase there. About 150 LGBTQ+ groups march along the 1-mile route
2023 theme: All Out with Pride
2023 date: June 11
Claim to fame: LA Pride was the world’s first permitted gay parade.
Rest of the Best Pride Events
Here are some other notable upcoming Pride events:
- Boston — June 10
- Washington, D.C. — June 10
- Detroit — June 11
- Providence, Rhode Island — June 17
- Columbus, Ohio — June 17
- Baltimore — June 24
- Norfolk, Virginia — June 24
- Minneapolis and St. Paul — June 25
Wondering why the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Pride events aren’t on this list? They actually took place earlier this year, in April and February, respectively. They are outstanding, well-attended events, but it’s too late to book them this year.
Advertising Opportunities at Pride Events
Getting your name in front of people at Pride can take many forms. For instance, at most events, you can pursue an official partnership, though those tend to be pricey (San Francisco’s lowest participation tier starts at $30K) and don’t always gain the brand recognition you want amid clutter.
- Mobile billboards
- Chalk stencils on sidewalks
- Guerilla advertising
- Bus bench advertising
- Wild Posting®
And those are just the beginning. We have helped many clients create a memorable presence at Pride events. Reach out today to learn more about Pride marketing and how we can help with it.