Phoenix Pride, one of the first major gay pride events in the country, takes place in early April. It’s the perfect time, given the mild and sunny climate of central Arizona at this time of year.
To give you an idea of what to expect during the city’s Pride celebration, here’s a look at last year’s event:
The City Pride event has become a huge draw in recent years, especially as it draws participants and spectators from across the fast-growing metropolitan area, including Scottsdale, Mesa, and Glendale, not to mention some LGBT people from Tucson ( which has its own Star Pride Parade in the Desert and celebration in mid-October). About 35,000 people attended Pride last year. Phoenix is also packed these days with a rejuvenated downtown that includes a beautiful and efficient light rail service (runs from Northwest Phoenix to downtown and into Tempe and Mesa) and a number of new or recently established restaurants, hotels and restaurants. renovated. gay bars and discos.
Looking for tips on where to stay during Pride? See the Phoenix and Scottsdale Gay Hotels and Resorts Guide
First, although the main events take place on Pride weekend, the organizers also present the 10 days of pride, a series of gatherings and parties leading up to Pride weekend, starting a week earlier. These include a family day, pet pride, the Echo Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards, a screening of the movie Homestretch at the Mesa Public Library, and several other major events.
Phoenix Pride weekend includes a Pride Parade, held on Sunday, culminating on the Pride grounds at Steele Indian School Park at 10 am (3rd Street from Thomas Road south to Indian School Road). If you’re arriving by light rail, your best bets are the Thomas Road or Indian School Road stops along Central Avenue.
There will be over 150 live performances on five artist stages at Phoenix Pride performing on several different stages: Bug Light Main Stage (featuring the main main acts), Tish Tanner Community Stage (local speakers, youth performers, and community members ), Pride Dance Pavilion (think club tunes), Bistro Stage (a little softer on music, jazz, and acoustics), and Pride Metro Stage (a mix of music styles offered by local DJs). You can buy tickets online or, for a little more, at the door.
On a related note, on the weekend before Pride, the adult porn and erotic emporium Castle Megastore is hosting the Erotic World festival: the program includes waxing demonstrations, “Cabaret Romantasy,” exotic dancers and more. This is a free event, open to over 18s.
The many gay bars in Phoenix and Scottsdale, as well as the gay-popular restaurants, hotels and shops, have special events and parties during Pride Week. Check out local gay newspapers like Echo Magazine for more information, as well as the handy AZ Gay Pride Guide. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city’s official tourism organization, the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Also note that Phoenix hosts a large LGBT event in mid-October, the Rainbows Festival Street Fair, which takes place in downtown Phoenix’s historic Heritage Square Park.