We have attended many Prides over the years including some of the biggest Pride parades in the world!
No matter the size, Pride is an incredibly important event with huge positive impacts.
Pride can mean validation, feeling free, celebrating survival, being accepted and respected, having a community and honouring those that have paved the way. Pride is so much more than glitter and rainbows.
For us, Pride means having the freedom to openly be ourselves, celebrate all the progress that has been made and call into action everything that still needs to be done!
It also feels amazing to cheer the floats along or depending where in the world you are, getting right into all the action and dancing along the street in the parade itself!
When was the first LGBTQ Pride Parade?
The first Pride parades (or march/protests) were held in the US in 1970.
Both Chicago and San Francisco organised a march on 27th June 1970.
The following day on 28th June New York gay activist groups held their own pride parade, known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day, to recall the events of Stonewall one year earlier.
Since then, Pride parades have grown all over the world to epic proportions with attendance in the millions!
It’s a unique experience to attend one of the biggest pride parades in the world where, for a change, you can feel like part of the majority and not the minority.
12 Biggest Pride Parades in the World
Imagine being surrounded by millions of your fellow LGBTQ community celebrating everything that Pride has to offer.
Check out the biggest pride parades in the world below ranked by reported peak attendance over the years.
New York Pride
Coming in at joint number one (unsurprisingly) is New York Pride.
Given this is one of the first places in the world to have a pride march it is incredible to see how much this has grown!
In 2019 New York hosted WorldPride bringing in an attendance of over 5 million people making it the largest pride celebration ever recorded!
New York has so much to offer, it is after all, the city that never sleeps and we love it!
For more about New York head over to our Complete Gay Travel Guide to New York.
Sao Paulo LGBTQ Pride Parade
In joint number one is another parade attracting millions of LGBTQ people from around the world is Sao Paulo Pride, Brazil.
The first pride parade in Sao Paulo was in 1997 and by 2006 it was breaking Guinness World Records holding the biggest pride parade in the world at 2.5 million people (at that point in time).
In 2017, the parade itself had 5 million people involved!
When it comes to events in Sao Paulo, its gay pride parade is the biggest event for the city after Formula one.
We almost went in 2018 but missed it by the skin of our teeth, however we also highly recommend checking out Gay Rio De Janeiro whilst you are in Brazil.
Madrid: the place that stole our heart.
We love Madrid and lived there for 7 months in 2018 – it was the most open, welcoming and LGBTQ inclusive city we have ever been to.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Madrid is home to one of the biggest pride parades in the world and one that we got to be part of!
In 2017 Madrid hosted WorldPride and hit a staggering attendance of 3.5 million people – bearing in mind that the population of Madrid is 3.2 million this is insane!
San Francisco Pride
Coming in at 1.8 million attending during the Pride Parade in 2015, San Francisco’s march in 1970 has also grown exponentially over the years.
With over 200 parade floats and more than twenty stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is one of the largest gathering of the LGBTQ community and allies in the US.
Cologne Pride (Christopher Street Day)
Cologne Pride is one of the largest Pride celebrations in Germany and quite rightly one the of Top Gay Travel Destination in Germany!
They state that ‘Unconditional social acceptance is and remains our stated aim. Likewise, ColognePride is an expression of self-confidence and zest for life’.
With 1.4 million people in attendance in 2002 for Europride and typical years bringing in 1.2 million visitors this is one of the many German Prides you do not want to miss!
Toronto’s Pride Week was born out of the mass protests that followed the 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids, and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005.
This is the biggest pride event in Canada and at its peak brought in over 1.2 million people in 2012. It was also the host to WorldPride in 2014.
Nowadays you can expect events throughout the entire month of June culminating in a massive pride parade.
We first visited Chicago in 2019 and fell in love with the city – it exceeded our expectations on so many levels. The cuisine, the nightlife, the things to do and how friendly the city felt.
We visited for Chicago Pride and were lucky enough to be in the parade itself – the atmosphere was incredible.
Chicago makes the list hitting 1 million attendees in 2016.
We can not recommend Chicago enough, head over to our incredibly detailed Gay Travel Guide to Chicago.
Berlin Pride Parade (aka Christopher Street Day)
Berlin is one our our favorite gay destinations in Europe, one we coin the hedonistic gay capital!
It’s people are very open, liberated and visiting Berlin is quite the experience, we highly reccomend!
In 2012 Berlin Pride hit the 1 million mark. We went in 2018 and we astounded at the amount of people, it was incredible!
For more on Berlin check out our Complete Gay Travel Guide to Berlin.
London Pride Parade
Heading over to the UK is the UKs biggest pride event, London Pride.
London Pride peaked in 2019 with 1.5 million people in attendance and that year we happened to be in the parade! It was an incredible experience!
Whilst London Pride is amazing, don’t forget if you are in the UK to head to our home of Manchester, the gay capital of the North – Manchester’s gay village is amazing all year round but during pride is gets insane!
This one surprised us! We visited Rome in 2018 and had a great experienced but it was not huge.
However, Rome has snuck onto the list as is hosted EuroPride in 2011 bringing in 1 million visitors to the city!
Rome itself is a beautiful, historical city with so much to see and a mix of chilled gay nightlife with a few gay club nights – definitely one to visit!
Check out our Gay Travel Guide to Rome.
In 2021 Paris attracted 800,000 people to its pride events!
Dubbed one of the most romantic cities in Europe it is a destination that is very high on our bucket list and one that is just across the water from the UK so I have no idea why we have not been!
Rio De Janeiro
Finishing our top ten biggest prides in the world is Rio De Janeiro with 700,000 people coming to pride in 2011.
Pride aside, Rio De Janeiro is one of our all-time favourite destinations.
The city and its surroundings are epic, the way the city merges with the forests and the dramatic coastline is stunning.
Combined with incredible beaches, wildlife, activities and one of the biggest gay clubs we have ever visited it is easy to see why Rio is on to a winner.
For all it has to offer check out our Complete Guide to Gay Rio De Janeiro.
Make sure you get yourself out there and experience one of the biggest prides in the world – at the same time, don’t forget those smaller ones that need your support to grow.
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