With its roots as a gritty, steelmaking city with a less liberal and artistic reputation than Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia, the riverside city of Pittsburgh has occasionally been ignored by GLBT travelers who assume there isn’t 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 gained some of its due when the American version of the Queer As Folk show used Pittsburgh as the setting for its chronicle of urban gay culture (granted, the it was actually filmed in Toronto).
Gay artist Andy Warhol’s hometown also has a stellar art scene, and several neighborhoods in 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 the region has to offer is during Pittsburgh Pride, which runs from early to mid-June. This year, the festivities take place June 4-12, 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 “Done. Set. Pride!” launch 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 schedule.
Nightlife fans can kick off their Pride weekend on Friday, June 10, with the Pride Pub Crawl, taking place from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. in more than a dozen gay and gay-friendly bars and restaurants. from the city, from 5801 to Images from Real Luck Cafe to Cruze, a gay dance club in the Strip district.
On Saturday, the big event is Pride on the Street, a wild and exciting party that starts at 6 p.m. and takes place in the heart of the downtown gay bar, Liberty Avenue, from 9th to 10th streets. The party lasts well into the night and always features a host of top-tier performers, including pop star Kesha this year, along with Angel Haze.
The next day, Sunday is the Pittsburgh Gay Pride Parade March for Equality, which runs from noon to 1 p.m., starting at Aliados and Grant streets boulevard, then moving east and Turn left onto Grant Street, where it continues north to 5th Avenue, then onto the Pride Festival grounds along Liberty between 6th and 10th streets.
Sunday’s excitement continues after the parade with a huge, free PrideFest celebration, which runs from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on 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 Pittsburgh, plenty of food and a beer garden, and two stages of live entertainment, featuring dozens of performers. This year’s closing act is multiplatinum recording artist Dev.
Pittsburgh Gay Resources
Note that numerous gay bars, as well as popular gay restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Gay Pride. Check local gay newspapers like Out Newspaper for more information, as well as the Pittsburgh Gay Guide. And be sure to visit the helpful LGBT section of the Pittsburgh Visitors and Convention Association website for travel planning tips.