A colorful float was entered by the San Diego Community College District.
A colorful float on the San Diego Pride parade route in 2019. The Pride parade returns this year. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Pride is best known for the big Saturday parade in Hillcrest, and it’s back this year on July 16.

But there’s so much more in the week leading up to the parade, starting Saturday with SheFest. Are you ready?

Pride, celebrating the LGBTQ community, has grown from a small grassroots march for equal rights into the region’s largest civic event. In addition to the annual festivities, the local Pride organization has donated more than $2.5 million to nonprofits while running multiple year-round community service programs

Here’s a rundown of the events (and some logistics too), including next weekend’s parade and festival, many of which are free.

SheFest

Hillcrest Pride Flag, 1500 University Ave., noon Saturday, with a stage for entertainment and activities, along with workshops that celebrate women and non-binary people.

Pride Week Kickoff Business Mixer

Gossip Grill, 1220 University Ave., 5:30 p.m. Monday, hosted by the San Diego Equality Business Association, with unveiling of the 2022-2023 Business Directory. Admission $35 if registered by Friday, $50 at door.

Light Up the Cathedral

St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave., 7 p.m. Wednesday, local faith leaders will gather to celebrate “faith and resilience” with the lighting of the cathedral in rainbow colors to follow.

Pride of Hillcrest Block Party

Hillcrest Pride Flag, the two-day fest – beginning at 4 p.m. July 14 and 2 p.m. July 15 – includes local and international performers, a cocktail bar and beer garden, food trucks, drag shows, go-go dances, a Ferris wheel and a DJ dance party. Tickets start at $40.

Pride Yoga at the Rady Shell

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, gates open at 5:30 p.m. July 14 for mingling. “Strike a Pose,” hosted by the San Diego Symphony, includes the class and dance party at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Free, but must pre-register.

San Diego Women’s Chorus Pride Concert

Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego, 2633 Denver St., 7 p.m. July 14, “Louder Than Words,” the chorus’ annual Pride concert, marks the 35th anniversary for the group. General admission starts at $25 in advance, and $30 at door.

Teen-Versionary Pride

Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., 3 p.m. July 15 and 4 p.m. July 16. Queer and allied teens from across the region perform a new play honoring Pride.

Pride Launch Party

Burnham House, 3565 Seventh Ave., 6 p.m July 15, with appetizers and treats from local top chefs and an open bar. Admission costs $90.

Spirit of Stonewall Rally

Hillcrest Pride Flag, 6 p.m. July 15, when local leaders receive recognition for their work in the LGBTQ arena, such as Trans Youth, honored as the Community Grad Marshal, and Viejas Casino and Resort. A slate of six advocates will speak. The free Pride Weekend Kickoff BBQ, at the nearby University Christian Church, 3900 Cleveland Ave., follows at 6:30 p.m.

Unite Music Festival

Spin San Diego, 2028 Hancock St., and Inspiration Hornblower at Pier 1, 10 p.m. July 15-16, and 4 p.m. July 17. Performers from the electronic music and dance, including deep house and progressive trance. The Sunset Harbor Cruise includes three decks of music. Weekend passes cost $289, with tickets for individual parties ranging from $39-130.

Pride Parade

Hillcrest Pride Flag, starting point, at 10 a.m. July 16. The 1.5-mile route heads west from University and Normal Street, turning south on Sixth, then left onto Balboa Drive before ending at Laurel Street. Somewhere from 250-300,000 people are expected to line the route, so arrive early and prepare for traffic and detours.

The free parade – the theme this year is “Justice with Joy” – includes a military contingent and youth marching band. Day starts with 8 a.m. 5K walk/run.

For shuttles, park at the Old Naval Hospital at Park Boulevard and President’s Way. Shuttles run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you’re not near the post-parade festival, pick up a shuttle to Balboa Park at Essex and Richmond streets from noon to 4 p.m.

For those who need accessibility vans, the vehicles will be on call for both the parade and festival from 8 a.m. to midnight on July 16 and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 17. Ask volunteer at the shuttle stop for assistance.

Pride Festival

Balboa Park, Sixth and Laurel, 11 a.m. July 16-17, festival features booths, food, art and more than 100 performers on four stages, including those focused on Latino and Pan-Asian communities. Admission starts at $26 for one day, with two-day passes at $32, in advance, ending Thursday. Those of high-school age or younger admitted free.

For shuttles, park at the Old Naval Hospital at Park and President’s Way. Shuttles run to Sixth and Juniper Street from 8 a.m. to midnight July 16. The next day, they run 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Accessibility vans are also available for the festival.



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Ellen Bullock