Summer 2022 promises to deliver a bounty of Pride events as major cities across the U.S. return to in-person happenings with parades, festivals, rallies, dance parties, and more.
According to a recent survey, LGBTQ travelers have been craving their next great getaway, ranking domestic trips among the top activities. With over 500 Amtrak destinations throughout the country, train travel makes getting there easier than ever.
The Northeast Corridor’s Acela connects Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City (along with Boston, New Haven, and Wilmington) with faster travel times, spacious comfortable seats, and plenty of legroom so you’ll arrive well-rested for the festivities.
Travelers increasingly rely on technology for easy and flexible bookings and quick access to itineraries and points of interest. For example, Amtrak’s mobile app enables riders to book and modify travel, board contact-free with e-ticketing, check train status and service alerts, or text in real-time with an agent.
Safe, stress-free travel is the name of the game. Of course, leaving the car (and the soaring gas prices) behind is a great first step, but having a shortlist of what’s not to be missed upon arrival will make planning a Pride getaway even more effortless.
Philadelphia Pride (June 3-5), organized by the newly formed Pride Collective, has reimagined the city’s Pride celebrations through principles described as Points of Unity and built upon the historical efforts of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, Ms. Major, and others.
“We are standing on the shoulders of our Queer and Trans ancestors, working diligently to make them proud and ensuring that we have an event that all members of our community feel seen and celebrated,” stated the Collective. Permits are being finalized for a June 5 march followed by an event in Midtown Village.
At nearly 100 years old, Philadelphia’s William H. Grey III 30th Street Station celebrates the city’s rich cultural and architectural heritage, and arriving by train positions travelers within easy reach of terrific dining, nightlife, and hotel options.
Plan ahead to secure a table at the in-demand Vernick Food & Drink, one of the city’s buzziest restaurants by chef Greg Vernick, or go on a cheesesteak crawl to feast on your favorites.
Philadelphia’s nightlife will burst with Pride all month long, with special events at bars and dance clubs, including landmark nightlife destination Woody’s and Voyeur Nightclub, featuring three floors of DJs and dancing to everything from EDM hip-hop to 80s pop.
Several new hotels have just opened within walking distance of the Gayborhood, including the W Philadelphia with its modernist design and WET Deck swimming pool and terrace. For a trip back in time, check out (and stay in) Guild House, a Victorian manor featuring 12 opulent rooms and suites.
Tip: Catch up on work or personal business while en route and officially unplug when you arrive. Amtrak’s Quiet Car can be reserved on Acela and is located adjacent to the First Class car. Just remember — no phone calls!
Our nation’s capital kicks into high gear June 10-12 for reUNITED: Capital Pride 2022. RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 winner Symone headlines Riot!, the official opening party, followed by a weekend of can’t-miss events from a parade and block party at Dupont and Logan Circle to an all-day festival on Pennsylvania Avenue with entertainment on three stages and more than 300 exhibitors.
There’s plenty to explore throughout D.C., including a new roster of queer nightlife establishments to add to the already bustling scene. Jo McDaniel and Rach Pike’s As You Are (has quickly become a favorite gathering spot for coffee or cocktails. “We just realized how impactful a space like this is, that breaks the cultural norms of bar life and nightlife,” Pike has said. “And then to collaborate with the community to build a space that makes sense for keeping the entirety of the queer community, all its intersections included, safe, and a place to fellowship and grow together.”
Neighborhood bar Kiki is the latest arrival in Shaw (D.C. northwest quadrant), while JR’s, The Fireplace, and Larry’s Lounge remain longtime favorites in Dupont.
For a casual bite and energized crowd, head to the Duplex Diner. Or for freshly shucked east coast oysters and other delicacies of the sea, Hank’s Oyster Bar (with three locations) is the ideal spot to stop for “urban beach food.”
Stay near the action at the newly opened Courtyard Washington DC Dupont Circle, located on a quiet residential street but within walking distance of Pride happenings. Also nearby but a bit more splurge-worthy is the Ven Embassy Row, part of Marriott’s Tribute portfolio. The property showcases a Scandinavian design and aesthetic for a tranquil respite and a not-to-be-missed rooftop pool.
Tip: Planning ahead makes for stress-free travel and is cost-saving, too. Advance booking on Amtrak can save up to 20% off fares.
New York City
The City That Never Sleeps stays true to its name during Pride month, when New York City comes alive with events throughout the city, culminating in the annual Pride March on June 26. Wear comfortable shoes because Pride is nothing short of epic, and to experience it in its full glory means canvassing the parade route and some of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods.
Pride is more than just partying in the streets, though. NYC Pride’s annual conference on June 23 will gather queer thought leaders and changemakers for a day-long conference and keynote session (followed by cocktails, of course!). The Rally follows on June 24, along with a three-day music festival at Pride Island featuring headliners Kim Petras, Lil’ Kim, Kylie Sonique Love, and more. The March steps off at noon on June 26, with grand marshals announced soon.
Pride in New York City is a marathon, not a sprint. So consider focusing on a neighborhood to explore to maximize your time. The East Village is filled with affordable finds like Mamoun’s Falafel, a quick coffee at Abraço, or arguably one of the best carnivorous bites in the city at 7th Street Burger.
The East Village comes alive when the sun sets, thanks to stalwart gay bars like Club Cumming, Alan Cumming’s namesake nightclub; Nowhere, which draws a casual, eclectic crowd; and the secret enclave for craft cocktails Please Don’t Tell, in which guests enter through a phone booth in a storefront hot dog stand.
New York City is a revolving door of new hotel openings. Recent standouts include ModernHaus SoHo, featuring a stunning art collection and near some of the city’s best shopping, and Motto by Hilton’s new Chelsea location, centrally located for easy access to Pride events.
Tip: Take time to recharge. Pride is a blast, but it can also be exhausting! If traveling by train, booking a private room, even for a shorter trip, can provide added comfort, privacy, and the much-needed rest and revitalization to experience Pride in the best way possible.
RELATED: “Ride with Pride”: Kick off your pride journey with Amtrak