Gay Pride in New York City is an experience of epic proportions. Celebrities make cameos, parade floats are over-the-top and Pride events are raging, unforgettable affairs. NYC Pride 2017, taking place June 23 to June 25, is destined to be a monumental, rainbow-colored extravaganza with famous acts, a new cultural experience, Pride Island, and one of the most visited parades in the world. Pack your bags, board an Amtrak and make your way down to Manhattan (AKA: the queerest island in the world) for major Pride action.
June 23, 2017
Check into Hotel Indigo LES, which still has rooms available over this busy weekend. The flagship hotel for the Hotel Indigo brand, Hotel Indigo LES is perfectly located downtown on Ludlow and Houston, and it’s the only hotel with unobstructed, 360-degree views of the cityscape in the Lower East Side. Several rooms sport balconies, so feel free to bring the party back home. The swank, indoor/outdoor rooftop bar, Mr. Purple, is run by Gerber Group, and it’s a magnet for A-listers (like Dakota Fanning and Emile Hirsch) who chill by the pool and knock back craft cocktails.
If you’re looking for a hotel near Madison Square Park, The New York EDITION is a must visit. Built in 1909, The New York EDITION offers exceptional service, luxurious accommodations and a unique hotel experience in the heart of midtown. If you check in, make sure to take in the view from your suite’s oversized windows, and make a reservation at The Clocktower for a meal you’ll never forget.
Take advantage of the perfect weather and make a beeline to The Highline, one of the greatest examples of urban renewal in Manhattan. The former rail line-turned-elevated park is an unbeatable spot for people watching, sunbathing, public art and views of the NYC landscape and Hudson River. While you’re here, visit the new Whitney Museum and wave to gay hotel guests at The Standard hotel, notoriously voyeuristic with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Most Pride festivities on Friday night take place on the west side, so start the night in Chelsea with dinner at Scarpetta. Helmed by celebrity chef Scott Conant, this nationally recognized, modern Italian restaurant impresses diners with housemade pastas and creative cocktails. The signature spaghetti, reimagined and refined, is the star dish.
Pride Island at Hudson River Park is the newest, three-day LGBT cultural experience where world-renowned musicians and acts will perform to massive crowds. Tonight, multi-platinum singer /songwriter Deborah Cox, a favorite for gay house music heads, will belt her hit Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here, while Patti Labelle, who obviously needs no introduction, will prove she’s one of the world’s best diva with all her hit songs, including Lady Marmalade.
Put on your best work uniform and clock in at Highline Ballroom for Fantasy, the all-night club experience with a “Men at Work Fantasy” theme. Live DJs Ralphi Rosario and Eddie Martinez will helm the decks, and “secret” acts are in store. This event, which skews more “circuit party” (in partnership with Brian Rafferty Productions), gives a small taste for the big weekend to come.
June 24, 2017
Head to famed institution Russ & Daughters for a lox bagel to go. You’ll devour it on your commute as, today, you’re spending the afternoon at the beach. Flaunt your abs at Asbury Park — the emerging beach hot spot in New Jersey — a gorgeous, coastal hangout favored by the gay community. It’s a two-hour commute from Penn Station, and you’ll likely train up with a number of other city gays.
If you’re not feeling the beach, head across the river to Brooklyn. While fundamentally “hipster,” it’s now thriving with a full spectrum of the LGBT community. Have brunch at the ambitious Meadowsweet, a Michelin and Zagat recommended restaurant serving New American fare with amazing brunch dishes like chilaquiles and sunny eggs or duck pastrami hash and poached eggs. It’s one of the busiest brunch spots in Williamsburg, so make a reservation in advance.
Explore the vibrant neighborhood with the perfect, late-afternoon stroll. Bedford Ave is beyond cool, still the main pulse, and Berry Street is hot on its heels with new restaurants, bars and indie shops. Stop off at Blue Bottle Coffee for a caffeine fix, shop at several men’s boutiques and definitely have a cold one at Metropolitan, Williamsburg’s ultimate gay dive bar since 2002. It gets plenty of Saturday traffic at 3 p.m.
New York Post said Zuma was churning out the most Instagram-worthy dishes in NYC, and they’re not exaggerating. The beautifully plated Japanese dishes at this trendy midtown hot spot are big on both flavor and aesthetic. A dinner here is expensive, but well worth it, especially with signature, delectable dishes like the miso-glazed black cod and roasted lobster with shiso-ponzu butter. Reservations are required.
June 25, 2017
Wave your rainbow flag at The NYC Gay Pride Parade. With more than 2-million people in attendance, this legendary parade has been a citywide celebration since 1970 where locals dress up in costumes, cheer on more than 80 imaginative floats and celebrate equality. This year’s grand marshals ACLU, Brooke Guinan, Krishna Stone and Geng Le help kick off the parade at noon. It starts at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street, heading downtown where it winds up in the West Village (Christopher and Greenwich streets), the best place to grab a spot around 3 p.m.
Hit up PrideFest along Hudson Street, near the end of the parade route and a few blocks from the Hudson River. Dozens of food vendors, musicians and entertainers make it a can’t-miss event (the people watching is also quite notable). Singer LeAnn Rimes will headline this year’s festival with a live performance. Plus, free swag!
Pride Island is home to the epic, outdoor closing event, formerly known as Dance on the Pier (still on Tribeca’s Pier 26). The eight-hour long dance party is the best place to catch the sunset and properly end the weekend. DJ Scott Martin, DJ Cindel and Chus & Ceballos provide beats, and headlining artist Nelly Furtado will sing to thousands. Past artists have included Cher, Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson.