With its historically Puritanical past, Boston has come a long way, baby. Beantown was the first major US city where same-sex partners could legally wed, it founded GLAAD and gave nearby Provincetown a rainbow-colored makeover.
The progressive gay scene is growing “wicked” fast, and it packs a lot of punch over pride weekend. Boston Pride (June 9-11) is destined to be a wild affair, so pack your bags and board an Amtrak for the ultimate Pride weekend in this exciting New England town.
June 9, 2017
Check in to your suite at Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square. The luxury hotel with unobstructed views of Fenway Park recently unveiled a massive, $50-million expansion and renovation, now touting uber-stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a gorgeous, new outdoor cocktail terrace and a busy restaurant with oyster bar.
Pride is a busy weekend for Boston, so exploring several hotels is always a good idea. We recommend a suite Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House. This soaring skyscraper is a historic landmark that overlooks the Boston Harbor. It offers stunning views, elegant accommodations and world-class amenities.
Now’s a great time to stroll famed and historic Newbury Street, often referred to as the Rodeo Drive of the East. Eight blocks are chockfull of high-end designer shops and the city’s best spas and salons, like award-winning Pini Swissa if you need last-minute trims and manscaping. While you’re on Newbury, stop into Newbury Comics, a Boston institution known for all things kitsch and quirky (from Star Wars-themed trinkets to horse-head masks) and, obviously, comic-book themed merchandise (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, X-Men, etc).
The nation’s oldest baseball stadium (1912), Fenway Park is one of the most famous stadiums in the world, and gay pride is the perfect time to be a part of Red Sox Nation. Fenway Park is partnering again with Boston Pride for the successful Pride Night @ Fenway Park. Box seats are the way to go, and don’t feel weird ordering a salad rather than a traditional hot dog. Fenway Park boasts a rooftop garden maintained by Urban City Growers, bringing Red Sox fans the best of fresh produce and herbs during baseball season. New this year is a special pre-game Pride Party on the Right Field Roof Deck, taking place before the Boston Red Sox vs Detroit Tigers game at 7:10 p.m.
You’ll finally know what it’s like to be a human ATM machine at Jacque’s Cabaret. This legendary Boston watering hole has live drag queen performances every night of the week, and the queens here are known to be irreverent, sassy and larger than life — and they werk for their tips. Hosted by Kris Knievil, the show starts at 10:15 p.m., and you can bet these queens lip sync for their lives!
Paradise is found at, well … Paradise near Central Square. Seducing a mostly college-aged crowd, this popular gay nightclub is not a sit-back-with-martini situation. The bi-level, dark and divey dance club is the city’s most energetic and scandalous, and it gets packed to the bone after midnight when the music gets livelier.
June 10, 2017
Grab a patio table at Cathedral Station (in “gayborhood” South End), a LGBT sports bar that serves up an excellent weekend brunch with classics like eggs benedict and French toast, though we predict you’ll order the hangover-cure specialty: the Breakfast Pizza (flatbread topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, olive oil and optional sausage, ham, spinach and more). Wash it down with a signature Cathedral Mustard Bloody Mary with housemade bloody and a dash of grainy mustard.
The 47th annual Boston Pride Parade (theme: Stronger Together) is kicking off at Copley Square. City Hall Plaza happens to be the best viewing spot and the most thriving section. The end of the parade route is where dozens of festivities happen (including 2017 Boston Pride concert with Lillie McCloud and Carlito Olvera of X Factor). This year’s grand marshal, Kristen Porter — founder of Kristen Porter Presents Dyke Night — has been helping unify the local queer scene for twenty years. Her ever-famous Dyke Night is the largest and longest-lasting event producing company targeting the women’s community in Boston.
Escape the crowds and head back to your hotel to freshen up. While you’re here, grab a table at Eastern Standard — one of the most buzzing restaurants in Kenmore Square — for an early farm-to-table meal. Definitely order some wicked fresh oysters and a Croquet Monsieur. Eastern Standard is known for its award-winning cocktail program, so order up a perfectly executed craft cocktail like The Forager.
The House of Blues is home to the main pride event, [email protected], which is presented by gay nightlife guru Chris Harris. With a major gay following, Chris is known to turn out one of the biggest, gayest bashes in town. DJ Abel hits the decks at midnight.
Over at Machine Nightclub, grand marshal Kristen Porter is throwing a lesbian-themed LUSH event with DJ Gay Jim (former music director at Kiss108) over two dance floors and four bars.
June 11, 2017
Part of the Global Equality March for Unity and Pride, the Stronger Together Rally at Boston Common coincides with rallies across the globe to help promote and fight for equal rights for everyone. Scores of thousands are expected to attend. If you’ve never made a protest sign before, now’s the time to get creative!
Boston Common is the perfect launching point for Boston Spirit magazine’s LGBT Equality Trail, which was drummed up with The History Project, Boston’s LGBT archive. Not only does this trail map hit up important places in Boston’s LGBT history, it’s a great sightseeing tour of the city.
You can’t leave Boston without visiting Alibi Bar inside the Liberty Hotel. The bar, formerly Charles Street Jail, still has original brick cell walls and bluestone floors that once held famous faces like Malcolm X. It’s now a stylish spot with celebrity mugshots on the walls where respective celebrities have actually come to visit, like Paris Hilton and Mel Gibson. Have a craft cocktail before you board your Amtrak ride back home.