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NYC Pride is a massive annual event that brings together thousands of people from around the country – and around the world. Originally created as a way to fight for LGBT rights, Pride is the ultimate celebration of the gay community. It’s an amazing celebration and day of fun, whatever your sexuality. So if you’re heading to NYC Pride this year, here are 14 survival tips from Pride pros.
1. Where to Stay
Book a hotel or home rental along the parade route. It will make costume changes, freshening up and potential hook-ups more convenient. The city swells during Pride, so staying close to the parade means you can give jam-packed public transport a miss. Prices of accommodation surge, so it’s worth securing a place to stay with plenty of time in advance.
Another great thing about staying near to the Pride March route is being able to pop to the bathroom whenever you need to. The queues for public bathrooms or bathrooms in cafes and restaurants are enormous.
2. What to Wear
Be fashionable, but also comfortable. The long days on your feet might wear you down, so make sure you’re comfy without sacrificing your shine, of course. While comfort is important, Pride is also a display of colorful, eccentric, and wild clothing. Ditch your average t-shirt and opt for something bold and bright. Unfortunately, as with any large gathering, there are pickpockets at Pride looking to take advantage of the crowds. Wear your bag to the front of your body, buy a bumbag, or wear a neck pouch with your essentials, such as your phone, money, and I.D.
3. Join the March
Don’t skip The March on Sunday at noon – it’s one of the highlights of Pride Week and the best time to express your gay pride. During the March you can truly feel like your part of history — the Pride March first started in 1970. The March goes down Fifth Avenue, ending at Greenwich Village. It passes the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, which is where the Stonewall Riots began in 1969 — a pivotal event in launching the worldwide Gay Rights Movement.
4. Get Tickets For Pride Events
Buy your tickets to any special Pride events ahead of time; you’ll save money and time. There are events taking place all over New York, from dazzling parties through to fun brunches, costume parades, street music, and much, much more!
This year, Pride Island is one of the hottest spots to party. It’s located in Hell’s Kitchen in Pier 97 at 57th Street and the West Side Highway. Pride Island draws international DJs and you’re guaranteed to be dancing until the early hours of the morning. There are also annual fireworks over the Hudson River on Sunday evening.
5. Show Solidarity With a Rainbow Flag
Get dressed for the occasion, including, but not limited to, rainbow flags, excessive glitter, and multi-colored wigs.
6. Leave Heels At Home
Save your feet and your pride and wear flat shoes – leave the heels to the professionals.
7. Carry Loose Change
Carry cash for food, drinks and, most importantly, tipping the go-go dancers. ATMs close to the Pride March route are known to run out of cash. It might be wise to scope out ATMs in advance and arrive with enough cash to float your day.
8. Go VIP
If you’re over 21, make sure you head to the VIP Rooftop Party. If not, there’s always Youth Pride on Saturday.
9. Dry Pride
If you are partying sober, check the Gay And Sober site to stay tuned for all the dry – but fun – during Pride.
10. Skip Work on Monday
Plan on not going to work on Monday; it’s a tradition. New Yorkers go big during Pride weekend!
11. Know Your History
Finally, remember that Pride was created as a response to political oppression towards and violence against the LGBT community. Know the history and respect the mission behind the glitz and glamour.
12. Stay Hydrated
One of the most important things to remember during Pride is to stay hydrated! You don’t want to be that person who collapses in the street from dehydration. Bring a refillable bottle of water with you, and head to Washington Square Park when you need a refill — drinking fountains can be found in the park.
13. Wear Sunscreen
Pride takes place in June, and this is when the summer sunshine is starting to shine in NYC. As you’ll be outside in the street all day, be sure to protect your skin and wear sunscreen.
14. Charge Your Phone
You’ll be taking pictures, videos, and selfies all day during Pride, so be sure to charge your phone or bring a spare battery pack. While photos are a big part of your day out, you must remember to be respectful when uploading images to social media. Some of the LGBTQ+ people at Pride may not be out to their family, friends or colleagues. Always ask permission before uploading photos that include other people.
As with any crowded event, it can be hard to find friends and sometimes signal can be down due to high demand. Before you start drinking, choose a sensible meeting spot so you can find your friends if you get separated.
For more ideas on how to celebrate Pride in other destinations, here are the best Pride parades and where to stay.