One of the largest and most entertaining such events in the country to take place in July, San Diego LGBT Pride draws some 50,000 spectators and participants to a massive festival, and more than 165,000 spectators for huge parade. It takes place a bit earlier this year, July 12 to 14, 2013, and pulls in folks from throughout Southern California. San Diego is also relatively cool in the summertime, making it a great destination if you're looking for a place to beat the July heat.
In San Diego, Pride celebrations center around a handful of events, but the biggies are a Pride Parade on Saturday and a festival that takes place July 13 and July 14.
The weekend kicks off with a San Diego Gay Pride Rally on Friday, June 12, at 6 pm, in Hillcrest at the junction of Normal Street and University Avenue. Speaking at the rally are several prominent speakers, including out actor and GLBT personality George Takei, and there's also a presentation of the Spirit of Stonewall awards.
Held on Saturday, June 13, at 11 am, the San Diego Gay Pride Parade has more than 200 floats and contingents and features a variety of awards in different categories (most creative entry from a local business, top musical marching contingent, most entertaining and crowd-pleasing float, and so on). The parade runs along University Avenue, from Normal Street and 6th Avenue, before turning south and to Balboa Drive at Upas Street. This years celebrity grand marshals include Brad and George Takei and La Toya Jackson.
The San Diego Gay Pride Festival runs throughout both Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14. On Saturday it's from noon until 10 pm, and Sunday it's 11 am to 8 pm. Admission costs $20 per day ($30 for two days) - you can purchase tickets here online. The festival is in lovely Balboa Park (at Marston Point, Laurel St. and 6th Ave.), right near Hillcrest and the Gay Pride Parade procession. There's a family midway for kids, beer gardens, a farmers market, a Youth Zone, leather realm, more than 300 vendors from the local community, several entertainment stages - dozens of 80 performers will appear this year, including emcee La Toya Jackson, Justin Utley, Morgan Page, Monica, Beverly McClellan, Amanda Lepore, Pandora Boxx, and many others.
Bear in mind that many San Diego gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. Check local gay papers, such as San Diego LGBT Weekly and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, for more on the local scene and what's going on during Pride. Also be sure to check out the superb GLBT travel site produced by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, an excellent resource for planning your trip.