Event: Washington, D.C. Capital Pride
Major locations: Dupont Circle and Pennsylvania Avenue
Dates: June 11-12, 2016
Host: Capital Pride Alliance
Theme: Make Magic Happen
Capital Pride takes to the D.C. streets each June and this year marks its 41st celebration. While the LGBT community’s D.C. history dates way back, the original event took off in 1975. Previously called Gay Pride Day, it was a one-day block party, which drew roughly 2,000 attendees in its first year. Today, after many years and several name changes, Capital Pride now spans two weeks and attracts well over 250,000 guests.
Capital Pride Alliance hosts the annual festivities in the District, with events focused on raising awareness, educating the community, and celebrating diversity. Are you ready to fly your rainbow flag?
Check out our guide to the D.C. Capital Pride weekend:
D.C. Pride Parade
Date: Saturday, June 11
Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Fee: free admission
D.C. Pride Parade route: The 1.5-mile route runs from Dupont Circle to Logan Circle. The procession is kicking off at Twenty-second and P Street, making its way up New Hampshire Street, over R Street, and down Seventh to P Street. The 1.5-mile route will end at Fourteenth and R Street.
Transportation: To arrive at the parade’s starting point, ride the Metro red line to the Dupont Circle Q Street exit. For metro service to the finale spot, take the green or yellow line to the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station and use the Thirteenth Street exit.
Fast facts: This year’s parade general marshal is actor and activist, Leslie Jordan. He’ll pump up the crowd, as musicians and performers take the stage at the announcement stand and review stand, located along the parade route. Contingents will be competing for some of the most coveted awards, such as Best Incorporation of Theme, Most Outrageous, and the Judges Award, among others.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: Along the route, you’ll find Duke’s Grocery, Agora, Fox and Hounds, and Sweet Green.
Viewfinder tip: Follow the hashtags #MakeMagicHappen and #HavePride365 for live updates about the celebrations.
D.C. Pride Festival
Date: Sunday, June 12
Time: 12-7 p.m.
Fee: Free, but $5-20 donations are encouraged. VIP Festival Experience passes are available for $150.
Location: Festival zones are located between Seventh and Third Street, along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Transportation: Both the green and yellow Metro lines service the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop, which is just steps from the festival entrance.
Fast facts: More than 300 exhibitors are setting up shop across all seven festival zones, which are each color-coded. There will be three entertainment stages, three beverage gardens, and one family-fun area. Because the asphalt heats up in the summer, leave your pets at home.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: There are four restroom stations in the festival. Nearby gender-neutral options include Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Cosi, and Paul Patisserie.
Date: Sunday, June 12
Time: 1-9 p.m.
Fee: Free festival admission, but pit passes are $25.
Location: Located within the Pride Festival, in front of the U.S. Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue and Third Street
Transportation: Ride either the green or yellow Metro line to the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop and then head down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol.
Fast facts: This year, Hot 99.5 is hosting the concert that overlooks the U.S. Capitol. Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor are headlining the event, but other performers have yet to be announced.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: There are bathrooms within the festival, but the Starbucks at 550 C Street NW is another nearby option.
Edgy and gritty, the Black Cat will help you dance your way into the Pride weekend. The Booty Rex Pride Party, featuring Anthology of Booty and She Rex, is taking over both floors of the D.C. nightclub on Friday, June 10. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 9 p.m.
A D.C. vacation calls for mimosas and bellinis, so get your fix at the Crack of Noon Pride Day Brunch. To kick-start the revelry, Urbana at Kimpton Hotel Palomar is hosting a gourmet brunch with cocktails between 12 and 3 p.m on June 11. Tickets cost $100.
The Bachelor’s Mill is one of the oldest LGBT venues in town, so you know it’s going to be a sweet spot during Pride. The Capital Hill entertainment complex has three bars, two rooftop patios, and a lower patio—dance parties go late into Friday and Saturday nights and karaoke and drag shows keep Sundays festive.
Town Danceboutique is the capital’s largest gay club. This buzzing two-story dance spot hosts cabaret-style drag shows every Friday and Saturday at 10:30 p.m. GoGo boys take the stage after 11 p.m. on Fridays, and DJs set up on Saturdays. There’s a $12 cover charge and doors open at 10 p.m
Lodging: Looking for D.C. hotels that aren’t smack dab in the heart of the excitement? Consider booking a place in Georgetown, which is west of the festivities, or in NoMA to the east. Also check out lodging around neighborhoods to the north, such as Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, and Columbia Heights.
Attractions: There are plenty of things to do in D.C. that are away from the crowds. Nearby Eastern Market is an indoor and outdoor world market, where you can pick up flowers for your hair, antique treasures, and snacks for the road. Need something to soak up your fun from the night before? Head to A Baked Joint, where homemade breads and stiff cocktails grace the morning menu. And if you’re looking to sneak in a trip to a museum or two, the Newseum explores the journey of journalism and the right to free expression, while the Spy Museum reveals the fascinating world of espionage.
Average weather: The weather can be hot and muggy in early June with temperatures peaking in the 80s F. Pack water, sunscreen, and a big hat to keep cool.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: A 2006 law in D.C. requires businesses with single-occupancy bathrooms to provide gender-neutral bathrooms. To find or report Washington, D.C. gender-neutral bathroom locations, visit refugerestrooms.org.
What Pride events are you attending this year?
**Header photo attribution: Flickr via Tim Evanson