Everything you need to know for Palm Springs Pride

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Greater Palm Springs Pride
(Photo: Rex Hoss)
Palm Springs VRBO
Casa Bonita, Palm Springs VRBO home rental

After canceling its parade in 2020 because of Covid, Palm Springs Pride is back, back, back this year. The welcoming theme for the city’s 35th gathering is ‘You Are Included’… and yes, that means you!

Palm Springs is one of the best-loved hotspots in the U.S., with its big, blue skies, year-round sunshine, a sizeable population, and plenty to see and do. Quite frankly, you’re sure of a super- gay old time just hanging out by the pool of one of the many gay-friendly inns, but when Pride hits town, we definitely recommend you get out and about and enjoy the festivities.

Greater Palms Springs Pride, 2018 (Photo: John Warden)

Here’s all the most important info for Palm Springs Pride 2021

• The festival runs November 1-7, with the main parade taking place Sunday, November 7.

• Several events will take place during the run-up to the big parade. For example, an exhibition showcasing the LGBTQ history of Palm Springs comes to Welwood Murray Memorial Library, while the Palm Springs Cultural Center hosts an evening of queer short films on November, 3.

• The partying kicks off in earnest on Friday, Nov. 5. Tribute act, The Robyn Party, will hit the festival’s Arenas Stage. Over on the main stage, catch Jody Watley and Shannon, plus the debut of what promises to be an astounding ‘Global Rainbow’ art light installation by artist Yvette Mattern.

Jody Watley
Jody Watley (Photo: Supplied)

• On Sunday, November 7, the parade will kick off at 10 am on Palm Canyon Drive. It starts in the Uptown Design District, at E. Tachevah Drive, and then moves south, ending at the entrance to the Pride Festival at Amado Road. It will feature 71 different groups, led by the iconic Dykes on Bikes. The parade’s free and lasts for a couple of hours.

• The parade will be followed by a festival running from 11 am till 6 pm. Most of the big-name entertainment will grace the main stage at Grand Canyon Drive and Amando Road.

Palm Springs Pride

• Beyond the main stage, you will also find a market area, a children’s garden, a youth zone, plus a smaller stage area and marketplace in New Downtown Park. Alaska Airlines have sponsored the Altitude Lounge for those who want to enjoy dance beats from a line-up of DJ talent.

• Palm Springs Pride is gateless and ticketless (score!), but if attending, please donate whatever you can. Also, expect bars and resorts to ask you for either vaccine proof or a recent negative Covid test.

Palm Springs Pride map

Performers at Palm Spring Pride

Performers on the main stage will include Jeanie Tracy, Jody Watley, Shannon, and the Perry Twins on November, 5th; Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, Beth Sacks and Third Eye Blind on Nov. 6; the Trans Chorus of LA and headliners A Flock of Seagulls on Nov. 7, among many others.

Related: Palm Springs pool parties captured in captivating new exhibition

The Perry Twins are among the many DJs taking part in Palm Springs Pride
The Perry Twins are among the many DJs taking part in Palm Springs Pride (Photo: Supplied)

Where to party

Desertopia is a weekend-long LGBTQ festival taking place in Palm Springs over the weekend November 6-7. It will run at three different venues: a Saturday pool party at Infusion Beach Club, the huge Asia SF nightclub, and Sonoran, with acts including Bright Light and Monique Heart.

Hunters Palms Springs kicks off Pride weekend with an opening party from 4-7 pm on Thursday, November 4, featuring Jennifer Corday. Expect a busy weekend of beer garden shenanigans and liquor-fueled fun.

The Barracks is one of the biggest gay nightclubs in the whole of southern California and is popular with bears and jockstrap lovers.

The long-running gay haunt Streetbar on Arenas Road is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is conveniently located close to the Pride action.

Chill Bar Palm Springs has been praised for its drag brunches, making it one to add to your list when you need to re-fuel.

Quadz Palms Springs, which has a sister venue in Las Vegas, is known for its show tunes and cocktails.

(Photo: Grant McMillan)

Where to Stay

There are literally dozens of LGBTQ-friendly accommodation options in the city, so heck our gay-friendly Palm Springs hotel listings for more ideas. Here are just a handful of the more well-known names.

The Santiago in Palm Springs
Palm Springs’ Santiago resort

The Santiago is simply one of the best-loved, clothing-optional gay resorts in the city. It offers great views of the mountains—and also around the beautiful pool area!

The Hacienda at Warm Sands is one of the more luxurious (swimsuit-optional) gay resorts in the city, earning it a loyal following of returning customers.

La Dolce Vita is a Spanish-style resort offering lots of shade and places to unwind. Nineteen tropical rooms are available for stays, while massages and facials appointments can be booked through the spa.

El Mirasol Villas is one of the more affordable options and is also one of the city’s oldest gay resorts. The building was originally built in the 1940s by Howard Hughes and is conveniently located near the Palm Springs nightlife.

INNdulge is another well-known, popular gay resort that’s close to bars and clubs. Furthermore, it boasts a clothing-optional swimming pool and a 12-man hot tub that’s open all night.

• If you prefer bigger establishments over small resorts, Renaissance Palm Springs is a downtown hotel well-known to gay travelers around the globe as it’s also the home of the world-famous White Party.

 Where to stay that’s just like home

Palm Springs VRBO
Courtesy VRBO

VRBO features dozens of listings, where you can rent everything from a condo to your very own pool house. The advantage here is that you can host Pride pre-party, and BBQ by the pool. It’s also an amazing way to spend the week, working from home leading up to the big day–and share the three bedrooms with friends. This is a way to enjoy the city like a local. We stayed at lovely Casa Bonita, which was just a 7-minute Uber to the gay strip, and all the shops and restaurants situated in downtown Palm Springs. There are many VRBO options if you book ahead.