Timing a trip to San Diego for the Pride parade and parties
San Diego's LGBT Pride celebration is the party of the year, and everyone's invited. It's held each July and hosts tens of thousands of people at its music festival and parade. Pride offers something fun for everybody, but visitors from out of town might want to consider planning in advance.
Getting around the city
San Diego Pride partners with certain airlines and hotels each year to make attendees' trips a little easier and get them good deals. Visitors who fly Alaska Airlines or Virgin America to San Diego for Pride can save 10 percent on flights from any Alaska Airlines city in the United States, with the exception of Prudhoe Bay – just make sure to fly within the specified dates to have the discount automatically applied.
Once in the city, Pride encourages its visitors to use Uber to get around locally (and receive $10 off one ride to or from the Pride Festival) – but Lyft is also available in the city. San Diego is a sprawling area, so rideshares are usually the most efficient option for traveling within the city.
Parking during Pride
Because so many people attend San Diego Pride, traffic and parking often pose an issue to attendees. The Pride website encourages walking, biking or taking a rideshare whenever possible to avoid parking. The organization also offers free shuttles to and from nearby hotels, as well as a bike corral for those who choose to bike to the event.
For those dead-set on driving, though, free parking lots are available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Where to stay
As for lodging, Pride partners with three hotels:
- Harrah's Resort Southern California: Pride attendees can use a promo code to score resort credit for their stay in this resort, which offers three pools, luxurious rooms and fine dining.
- Manchester Grand Hyatt: It's right downtown and features two rooftop pools, eight dining options, and a spa and salon.
- Hotel del Coronado: This hotel sponsors San Diego Pride and aims to create a memorable stay for each of its guests.
Airbnb is also a solid option for attendees traveling on a budget or who want the option of staying in a home rather than a hotel.
What to expect
Once at Pride, there's a lot to see and do. Pride holds a two-day music festival for $15 per person, if tickets are purchased early, or $20 per person otherwise. The Pride Parade, which runs 1.1 miles through the heart of San Diego, draws more than 100,000 people each summer – it's not one to miss.
People go nuts at Pride. They drink, get loud, and take over the city. But as long as everyone finds a designated driver at the end of each night, safety is not a large concern, and the city of San Diego is relatively low-crime.
Pride attendees should keep their eyes peeled for fun things to do over the course of the weekend:
- Parties. Pride is teeming with cool parties, including a famous block party.
- Music festival. To keep things interesting, San Diego Pride hosts a two-day music festival.
- Rally. It's where leaders who work in favor of the LGBT community are recognized for their contributions.
- Pride Parade. It's the main event, really, and it's free for anyone who wants to participate.
Visitors should come equipped with comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and San Diego-in-the-summer-friendly outfits – clothes that will be comfortable for daily highs in the mid-70s.