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.
Don’t forget, there are anti LGBTQ+ laws in over 70 countries and even in those countries where everything is legal, homophobia and transphobia still exist. Pride is a lot of fun, but at it’s core it’s a protest to move forward and challenge these laws and attitudes to keep LGBTQ+ people safe!
In contrast, take a look at our post on ‘Why Straight Pride makes no sense!‘.
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, sing your favorite LGBTQ anthems or depending where in the world you are, getting right into all the action and dancing along the street in the parade itself! [no_toc]
Take a look at our list of the biggest pride parades in the world and add them to your bucketlist!
12 Biggest Pride Parades in the World
If you get a chance to attend one of the largest pride parades in the world you will be surrounded by millions of your fellow LGBTQ+ community celebrating everything that Pride has to offer – it is quite the experience!
Check out the biggest pride parades in the world below ranked by reported peak attendance over the years.
1. New York Pride – US
Coming in at joint number one for the biggest pride parade in the world (unsurprisingly) is New York Pride.
New York was one of the first places in the world to have a pride march, it was on 28th June 1970 and was officially known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March where a few thousand activists including two pioneering transgender activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera
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 to no become onf of the largest pride parades in the world!
In 2019 New York hosted WorldPride bringing in an attendance of over 5 million people making it the biggest gay pride parades in the world and indeed the biggest pride parade in the US 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.
Other US Prides we have been to: Check our Chicago Pride which over exceeds a million attendees.
2. Sao Paulo LGBTQ Pride Parade – Brazil
In joint number one for biggest pride parade in the world is another destination attracting millions of LGBTQ+ people from around the world: 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 (which is why it is joint number one for largest pride parade in the world with New York).
This is super interesting because being LGBTQ+ in Brazil can be a huge challenge depending on what part of the country you focus on. As a whole, the laws and protections are in a good place, but the attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people can be dangerous in parts. In contrast you have gay meccas like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro that are very gay friendly.
When it comes to events in Sao Paulo, its gay pride parade is the biggest event for the city after Formula one.
3. Madrid Pride – Spain
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!
The pride parade in Madrid normally starts near Atocha train station, runs along Paseo del Prado and finishes at Cibeles Palace. Be prepared, this goes on for hours and normally gets started late in the afternoon!
We have lot of content on Madrid including ‘Everything you Need to know about Madrid Pride’ and ‘The Best Gay Bars in Madrid’. In general Spain has some of the best Pride celebrations we have been to, check out some of the best gay destinations in Spain.
4. San Francisco Pride – US
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.
San Francisco is one of the top gay destinations in the US so it’s no surprise that it is also home to one of the biggest pride celebrations in the world. It has some really important gay history focusing on the Castro district pictured below and around famous LGBTQ+ activists such as Harvey Milk.
With over 200 parade floats and more than twenty stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is one of the largest pride parades in the US.
5. Cologne Pride (Christopher Street Day) – Germany
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!
Cologne is also home to some incredible gay parties and events, including the very popular Cologne 5exy Party.
6. Toronto Pride – Canada
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.
7. Chicago Pride – US
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.
8. Berlin Pride Parade (aka Christopher Street Day) – Germany
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! At the Berlin Pride Parade expect to see a little more than in other places in the word, Berlin has a thriving out and proud feti5h scene after all!
In 2012 Berlin Pride hit the 1 million mark. We went in 2018 and we astounded at the amount of people, it was incredible!
The parade route normally starts from Kurfürstendamm and finishes at the Brandenburg Gate.
9. London Pride Parade – UK
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!
10. Rome Pride – Italy
This one surprised us! We visited Rome in 2018 and had a great experience but it was not huge.
However, Rome has snuck onto the list of biggest pride parades in the world 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!
11. Paris Pride – France
In 2021 Paris attracted 800,000 people to its pride events maing it one of the largest gay pride parades in the world.
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!
12. Houston Pride – US
Houston made a record for itself in 2017 with pride parade crowds estimated to have exceeded 750,000 attendees and participants! Another one of the largest pride parades in the US.
Houston is an interesting one because in general, Texas as a state and the LGBTQ+ are not synonymous. However Houston is a becon of light for the LGBTQ+ community and has a lot to offer in terms of its gay scene.
13. Boston Pride – US
Boston celebrated Pride with record breaking crowds in 2019 as this was the year marking Boston 49th pride parade. The 2.2-mile trek goes from Back Bay to South End to City Hall. 2019 also marked the 50th year of The Stonewall Inn Riots which might have also contributed to this being one of the largest pride parades in the world.
14. Rio De Janeiro – Brazil
Almost at the end of our list of top 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.
15. Amsterdam – Netherlands
Amsterdam is well known to be one of the most popular destinations for gay travellers in Europe with its open and welcoming culture.
It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the Amsterdam Pride Parade also reaches some pretty big numbers including the crowd of 680k in 2017!
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!
Where is the next EuroPride?
The next EuroPride will be hosted in Malta in September 2023 and then in Lisbon, Portugal 2024.
Where is the next WorldPride?
The next destinations to host WorldPride will be Washington 2025 and Amsterdam 2026.
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.
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.