Chicago Pride comes to North Halsted Street in iconic Boystown June 20 and 21, but don’t let the name fool you: There’s plenty fun to be had for the ladies.
More than a million revelers will pour onto Halsted Street between Addison and Grace for a two-day LGBT celebration that boasts three stages, live drag entertainment and major musical acts including The Veronicas, Debbie Gibson, Cazwell, Estelle, Big Freedia, Jessica Sutta and Inaya Day.
With that much talent, the $10 admission is a bargain!
Debbie Gibson gets the party officially started on Saturday, June 20, as Pride Fest weekend’s first performer. The “Only In My Dreams” singer will get the “Electric Youth” jumping with a set on the Main Stage at Halsted and Grace at 2:45pm, followed by a drag show.
Famed former Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta brings her signature sultry moves to the Main Stage on Saturday at 8:15pm for a half-hour set before The Veronicas hit the stage for a 9pm show that’ll kick off your long night out in Boystown.
Make sure to bring your four-legged friends to Sunday morning’s Main Stage event, which includes an adorable costumed Pet Parade at 12:30pm. Musical entertainment resumes with a set by “American Boy” singer Estelle at 1:30pm, followed by “Gypsy Woman” dance queen Crystal Waters at 3pm.
Indie gay favorites Big Freedia and Cazwell will lather the Main Stage in gay goodness at 3:50pm and 5:05pm, respectively. The night ends with a powerful set by Inaya Day at 6:15pm and Brooklyn’s St. Lucia at 7:30pm.
Festivities at Pride not hilarious enough? Check out the 4th Annual Women’s Funny Festival at Stage 773, where over 500 female performers—including SNL writer Katie Rich and trans comic Dina Martinez—will grace four stages across four days, June 18 to 21. (Tickets are $15 and available online.)
Be sure to get your WNBA sports fix on Wednesday, June 24 when the Chicago Sky takes on the Atlanta Dream at 12:30pm. (Tickets can be purchased online.)
If you’re in town during the week, be sure to attend Out In the Harbor, a special LGBT event at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor on Monday, June 22. Or head over to the Brookfield Zoo for a special Pride Day celebration on June 25 from 10am-5pm.
Whip out your walking shoes for the annual Chicago Dyke March on June 27. The procession, which prides itself on being body positive, will kick off at the Humboldt Park Boat House.
Chicago’s official Pride Parade is actually the weekend following the Pride festival in Boystown. It kicks off at noon on Sunday, June 28, with grand marshal Ty Herndon and a legion of marchers sashaying down the four-mile route from Montrose Avenue and Broadway in Uptown to Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park.
Make sure to get your pre-game on at home, though: changes in this year’s Parade policy have outlawed alcohol along the parade route. (Onlookers who arrive three sheets to the wind run the risk of catching a $1,000 fine for open containers.)
Of course all the local bars will have Pride parties and drink specials, too. Budget hunters should head to Spyner’s Pub on Western Avenue for what Chicagoist calls “the perfect laid-back gay bar experience.” Its almost always packed with ladies and, better yet, will be celebrating an anniversary on Sunday with throwback prices. Yes please!
Other sapphic-friendly hot spots include Marty’s, The Glenwood, Sidetrack, Scarlet, Big Chick’s, the weekly Dollhouse party at Cuna Lounge, Berlin dance club, and the Closet (named for its teeny size).
And lastly, Roscoe’s pay homage to the Queen of Pop on Sunday, June 21, with a special pride edition of Slave 4 Britney Sundays. Go call the police! Go call the governor! DJ Riley York will be spinning only Britney hits from 6pm to close.