With so much attention on our nation’s capitol, Washington DC Pride 2017 is destined to be a huge affair. DC is #UnapologeticallyProud, and a burgeoning gay scene is taking DC to all-star level as a top US destination for gay travelers. We’re packing our bags for June 8 – 11 to check out trendy restaurants, cultural attractions and exciting places to party down while celebrating all things Capital Pride.
June 9, 2017
Check into Watergate Hotel, where you’ll receive the presidential treatment. The historic hotel has served as a sanctuary for numerous, former US presidents, and it remains one of the most iconic hotels in DC. It recently reopened in June 2016 after a $200 million renovation, now gleaming with sleek, posh interiors and offering back-bending service. (NOTE: If you arrive to DC a day early on Thursday, the ultra-fancy Vida Fitness and Penthouse Pool Club & Lounge hosts a spectacular rooftop gay pool party at 7 p.m. Expect live DJs, buttoned-up partiers and mild shenanigans).
If this is your first time to Washington DC, explore essential and iconic sites with a stroll down The National Mall. It’s lined with plenty of national treasures like Lincoln Memorial, the famed Reflecting Pool and the National Museum of American History. The National Mall is the perfect spot for a selfie, and you can visit the attractions before hundreds of thousands of visitors crowd here on Sunday.
Book a table at The Bird, a foodie magnet and one of several prominent restaurants managed by EatWellDC, a restaurant management company with a private farm that provides the freshest eats available in DC. In Logan Circle, The Bird serves up elevated, innovative dishes that include free-range organic chicken and other types of bird like quail and duck, also featuring local artwork and commanding wall murals.
Prepare to fist pump at Rainbow Resistance, the official Pride 2017 Opening Party. You’ll want to arrive promptly on time as live performances include CupcakKe, Ultra Nate and 80s star Tiffany, whose hit single I think We’re Alone Now is likely your go-to karaoke jam. You really don’t need a better reason to Facebook Live. Held at Rainbow Room, this exciting, infectious gay bash is a must.
An essential nightcap is in and around the Logan Circle area where four new gay/gay-friendly bars have recently opened in the past year (proving DC’s fast-growing gay scene). Bar hop among new essential hot spots like Trade, a queer dive bar with back-alley patio and live DJs; Uproar, a low-key, dark den for bears with a back-lit bar and fun rooftop scene; and Dirty Goose, an intimate, vodka-themed bar known for its excellent martinis.
June 10, 2017
It’s going to be a loaded day, so fuel up at Capital Pride Brunch. Expect mingling, endless booze and good times at these two back-to-back dining events at The Showroom, including Crack of Noon brunch with buffet and open bar (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and — immediately after— the 7th annual Liquid Brunch with open bar, entertainment and dancing (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Both events include bottomless champagne and mimosas.
Go bottoms up at The Pride Block Party, a Capital Pride first, which kicks off at 4 pm. Adjacent to the Pride Parade, this booze-fueled event includes a massive beer garden, live entertainment and several bars. The location is on 15th Street NW between P Street and Church Street, and it’s free to enter. Feel free to go in and out at your leisure as the block party runs the duration of the parade.
Starting at 4:30 p.m., the annual pride parade, visited by hundreds of thousands of spectators, travels 1.5 miles through Dupont Circle and 17th Street (ending in the Logan Circle neighborhood) with more than 180 floats! Grand marshals include gay activist Edie Windsor (lead plaintiff in the US Supreme Court Case United States vs Windsor, which overturned section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, a legal victory for same sex marriage in the US) and Jim Obergefell, another marriage equality champ, as well as political activists Mandy Carter and Nicole Murray Ramirez. Keep an eye out for the airplane-themed float with openly gay Brian Kelly of The Points Guy (airline frequent-flier guru) and Rainbow Railroad. If you want unobstructed, prime views of the parade, you can purchase VIP Viewing Stand tickets.
House of Cards fans may not find the fictional Freddy’s BBQ Joint in DC, but second best is recently opened Slim’s Diner, a nostalgic, retro-inspired diner serving the best comfort food in town. It’s located in the quickly gentrifying Petworth area, embracing the look and feel of a true, all-American, no-frills diner with straight-up, hearty grub.
Make a beeline to Town on U Street, DC’s largest nightclub with two levels of dance floors and an outdoor patio. You’ll find all sorts of antics over gay pride weekend, as well as a diverse mix of patrons, from muscleboys and twinks to queens and activists in suits. Tonight, Andrew Christian Underwear models will be well equipped for the evening, and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s lovely Tatianna will be front and center on stage with a live performance.
Treat yo’ self to breakfast in bed, then join hundreds of thousands marching in the Equality March for Unity and Pride. The grassroots movement is a strong fight to eliminate discrimination and promote equality all over the world. As of now, it’s scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the National Mall. Check the Facebook page for any updates and news.
1 – 8 p.m.
The ultimate Capital Pride event, the official 42nd Annual Pride Festival crams loads of entertainment, music, food, education and celebration into an all-day affair with three stages of national and local talent and 300 exhibitors. Stick around for Miley Cyrus, who is headlining this year, along with Tinashe, The Pointer Sisters, Vassy and two of the top three queens in Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season 9 (announced after June 2). The US Capitol and Washington Monument as the backdrop roots the entire experience in place.