June in Chicago is spectacular for many reasons. And one of the major highlights is Pride. While the festivities look a little different this year, there are still lots of ways to celebrate, get involved, and support the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are a few ways to celebrate Pride Month 2020 in Chicago.
Party in-person at Navy Pier Pride
Head to the waterfront for a day-long, Pier-wide LGBTQ+ Pride celebration on Saturday, June 27. Enjoy special performances from The Vogue School of Chicago, live DJs, and Radio Gaga, then grab a bite and a drink at the Pier’s many outdoor bars and restaurants (margaritas to-go, anyone?). And a Rainbow Cone seems like an especially fitting way to celebrate Pride.
Pride in Place from the Pride Arts Center
Enjoy live online readings of LGBTQ-themed plays during Pride in Place. The new virtual series from the Pride Arts Center features a series of plays performed live by actors, each appearing via Zoom from their own homes. Upcoming shows include The Last Sunday in June on June 28 and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love on July 1. Tickets are $10 and are now available online.
Chicago is a Digital Drag Festival
The Chicago is a Drag Festival is going digital this year on Tuesday, June 30. The festival, which is the first ever outdoor event in Chicago that showcases an intersectional look into its drag culture and scene, will star Shea Couleé of RuPaul’s Drag Race and include performances and appearances from more local drag queens. The event will benefit the Brave Space Alliance.
Shop local LGBTQ+ businesses
Supporting your favorite local businesses is more important now than ever. And Chicago is full of spots owned by LGBTQ Chicagoans. Grab a bite on the patio at Big Chicks, shop the latest from local makers at Humboldt House, and stock up on on sweets at Jennivee’s Bakery. Explore more LGBTQ-owned Chicago businesses.
Hit the drag queen drive through
Where else but Hamburger Mary’s would be offering a drive-through service run by drag queens? Just call ahead and place an order for carry-out, and your meal will be hand-delivered by a fabulous queen. The Andersonville spot is offering the service Wednesday through Sunday.
Explore Northalsted (aka Boystown)
The oldest official gay neighborhood in the country, Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood is a treasure trove of LGBTQ hot spots. Duck into local boutiques, dig through funky vintage shops, and enjoy weekend brunch on a sunny patio.
Give back to local LGBTQ+ organizations
Whether you’re donating time or money, Pride month is a great time to give back. Center on Halsted in Lakeview is a community center dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ community. Programs include everything from cooking and dance lessons to HIV testing and group therapy. Other great Chicago-based organizations include Howard Brown Health, LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Coalition of Chicago, and Chicago House.
See LGBTQ+ landmarks
Chicago is a city known for its rich LGBTQ history — home to the country’s oldest gay neighborhood and the founder of the first known gay rights organization. See the legacy come to life at the city’s many LGBTQ landmarks and historic homes. And don’t miss the Legacy Walk in Northalsted, an outdoor museum commemorating the life and work of notable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender heroes.
Learn about Jewish LGBTQ icons
The Illinois Holocaust Museum is presenting a special discussion with Eric Marcus for Pride Month. The founder and host of award-winning podcast Making Gay History will share the rarely heard stories of Jewish LGBTQ+ historical figures on June 23, with excerpts from his audio archive of LGBTQ+ civil rights movement interviews.
Celebrate at virtual Pride Fest
While the in-person Pride Fest has been postponed, you can still celebrate virtually with the live streamed event and fundraiser. Join Virtual Chicago Pride Fest on June 20 and 21 for a full line-up of entertainment, activism, and more.