San Francisco throws one of the more colorful and prominent Gay Pride festivals in the world, with the key events taking place over the last weekend in June (on June 28 to June 29 in 2014). Of course, San Francisco has a rich and lengthy history of gay rights, and the city's Pride events are well-attended, well-organized, and great fun for visitors - it's also one of the largest Gay Pride celebrations in the United States.
Gay Pride in San Francisco centers around a full weekend of parties, gatherings, and parades. The main events are SF Pride Celebration at the Civic Center on Saturday, June 28, from noon until 6 pm, and the SF Pride Parade on Market Street on Sunday, June 29, at 10:30 am followed by another celebration at the Civic Center from 11 am until 6:30 pm that same day.
The official San Francisco Dykes on Bikes Pre-Pride Party takes place on Saturday from noon until 5 pm at the Mission's famed El Rio Bar, which is on the edge of Bernal Heights at 3158 Mission Street.
The San Francisco Dyke March is held Saturday, June 28, gathering at Dolores Park at noon, with the march commencing at 6 pm from 18th and Dolores. from noon until 5 pm, there's live music and other performances at the park.
The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration takes place over Saturday (noon to 6 pm), and Sunday (11 am to 6:30 pm) at the San Francisco Civic Center, just east of San Francisco City Hall. Festivities include more than 300 vendors, artists, and other exhibitors; a slew of music and comedy acts playing on the Main Stage (last year's acts included Peaches & Herb, Kimberly Caldwell, Xavier Toscano, Love Charisse, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Nina Sky, Alex Newell, Raquel Rodriguez, and many more), and similar performances and programming at Pride's more than 20 other stages and pavilions, such as the Trans, Homo Hip Hop, Asian and Pacific Islander, Women's, Soul of Pride African American, Latin, 60+ Space, Clean and Sober, HIV Pavilion, Leathery Alley, and more. Here's a map of the Civic Center festival grounds.
The final event is San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade, which begins at 10:30 am on Sunday and proceeds along Market Street, beginning at Market and Beale streets (near California Street) and continues for about 10 blocks, ending at 8th Street. Here's a map of the Parade Route. Among last year's Grand Marshals were Tabatha Coffey, Roger Ross Williams, Alex Newell, Cheyenne Jackson, Thomas Roberts, and Mondo Guerra.
Check out our guide to San Francisco gay bars for ideas about where to play and have fun during Pride week. Also take a look at local gay papers, such as Bay Area Reporter and San Francisco Bay Times, for more goings-on. And consult the San Francisco CVB's outstanding site on GLBT travel for general ideas about travel in the Bay Area.