After a dreary pandemic hiatus, the 52nd annual San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration returns with a rainbow glitter bang on June 25th and 26th. But it’s not just one weekend: the entire month of June is Pride month in San Francisco, with all kinds of events, special treats, menus, art shows, parties, marches, and more. Here’s a list of some happenings to help you get your Pride turned up and on.
Featured Photo: Castro Rainbow Crosswalk courtesy of Max Templeton via Unsplash
Kick Things Off
On first Sundays on the back plaza at the Ferry Building Marketplace (1 Ferry Building, San Francisco) is the HEAD WEST Marketplace, a local, outdoor marketplace of makers, merchants, crafters, designers, and artists. On Sunday June 5th, they’ll be hosting a Pride Kickoff Celebration in collaboration with Grace Powers, benefiting Rollin’ with the Homos, LYRIC, and Queens of the Castro. Enjoy cocktails while you shop, with live music and performances by PRINCESS and other local drag performers, powered by BAAAHS, a mobile DJ bus. 11am to 5pm.
Be sure to head inside the marketplace and visit Humphry Slocombe, who will be scooping its Pride flavors all month long. Try the PRIDE Sundae with two scoops of Harvey Milk & Honey Graham ice cream (or any flavor you want) with housemade pink marshmallow fluff and Fruit Loops. Taste the rainbow!
Party Party Party
There are special events all month, from club nights to day parties, but here are a few that will be really extra:
June 10th: MOREBANG! Pride Party with Juanita MORE!, Steve Fabus, and Jimmy DePre at the newly redesigned Redwood Room at The Clift Royal Sonesta. Evening or cocktail attire is strongly encouraged, with prizes awarded for the best dressed. 21+. Free. 9pm to 2am. 495 Geary St.
June 12th: Four One Nine in SoMa and The Mushroom are kicking off Pride with Garden of SheDen: a drag bunch with sexy vegan food. There will be six performances, music, a beauty bar, cocktails, wine, and more. Tickets: $225. 1pm to 5pm. Address revealed with RSVP.
June 25th: After a fantastic debut in 2019, Polyglamorous and The Great Northern are hosting the return of Pink Block, a queerific block party featuring five stages packed with local and national talent, from DJs to live performances. There’s a day party and after-party, so bring your dancing shoes. Tickets. 1pm to 2am! 119 Utah St.
Dine at Queer-Owned Restaurants
Pride month is an extra-special time to support queer-owned restaurants throughout the city. Here are a few to visit:
Soak in the vibes of the plant-filled Arcana (2512 Mission St.) in the Mission where you can enjoy tea during the day, and natural wine and bites in the evening (there’s also live music).
Have beignets for brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food (652 Polk St.) or tuck into a hearty fried chicken supper at Brenda’s Meat & Three (919 Divisadero St.).
Canela (2272 Market St.) in the Castro always gets into the Pride spirit, with special offerings like Pride punch, their rainbow grazing board (perfect to pre-order and bring to a Pride party), and more, all month long.
You’re going to need some coffee to stay fueled during this busy month, so pay a visit to Fluid Coffee & Events (332 Golden Gate Ave.) in La Cocina’s Municipal Marketplace.
Just in case your night ran late (it happens), Orphan Andy’s (3991 17th St.) is always there for you, 24/7, and the zany decor makes it the gayest diner in the City, ever. The Monte Cristo is a great choice for night owl eats.
Enjoy (and Gift) Special Pride Treats
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Pride party host gift, or you just want to celebrate with your own box of chocolates, don’t miss the special Pride-versary treats from queer-owned Kokak Chocolates (3901 18th St.) in the Castro (they’re also celebrating the store’s second anniversary and Philippine Independence Day!). There’s the eye-catching Say It Louder Collection, a Castro Pride collection, and more.
Feel like having a bit more of a party? Pick up a tin of cannabis-infused “Proud” gummies from Kiva Confections, who will be making a $100,000 donation to support the LGBTQIA+ community (no rainbow-washing here!). The Proud Gummy comes in a brand-new Passionfruit Punch flavor, complete with some shimmer! They have 5mg of THC per gummy, so start with half if you’re new to edibles. The tin is one you’ll want to keep — it features The Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks. (Order yours from queer- and women-owned Sava, a local cannabis delivery company — first-time users get a discount with code mymilligram.)
On June 11th – 12th, the National AIDS Memorial will mark the 35th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt with an historic outdoor display in Golden Gate Park that will feature nearly 3,000 hand-stitched panels of the quilt. It marks the largest display of the quilt in 10 years, and the biggest ever in San Francisco. Visitors will be able to walk through the display to view each panel, remember the names, and witness firsthand the stories sewn into each of them.
The free public event will take place on June 11th – 12th from 10am to 5pm both days in Robin Williams Meadow. An opening ceremony and traditional quilt unfolding will start at 9:30am on the 11th, followed by the continuous reading of names of lives lost to AIDS aloud by volunteers, dignitaries, and the public on both days. There will be a closing ceremony at 4pm on Sunday the 12th, when newly made panels will be presented to be added to the Quilt. Volunteer opportunities for the upcoming display are also available.
Ahead of the display, the National AIDS Memorial Grove, which oversees the tapestry, is offering free quilt panel-making workshops June 1st and 8th at its offices in the Castro.
Marcia Gagliardi is a San Francisco–based freelance writer and restaurant columnist, well-known for her groundbreaking, 16-year-old tablehopper newsletter.