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Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

June 23, 2011 2:00 PM

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(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

parade Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

Sunday, June 26th
12 Noon
Starts at Halsted & Belmont, goes North on Halsted, South on Broadway, then East on Diversey to Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park.

With almost half a million attendees, the Chicago Pride Parade is one of the biggest in the country. Come show your support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at the parade this year in the only manner acceptable: by having fun.

Parade Route

cool Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

Cool Stuff

Grand Marshall this year is Fernanda Rocha of The Real Housewives of Orange County fame. As a beautiful, Brazilian Lesbian who is both strong and open, she’ll serve as a great Grand Marshall.

See who else is marching in the parade this year by checking out the full marching orders list at Notice who’s first: Mayor Emanuel himself. Fifth in line is Governor Quinn (thanks for signing that bill legalizing civil unions, Pat!). Keep your eyes open for the 32nd spot to see the Chicago Cubs’ van. Other notables include the B96 Radio Float, which will be kicking out the jams (do people still call music “jams” nowadays?), and the Chicago Botanic Garden trolley, which is sure to be green. And don’t forget to show your respect for wonderful organizations like the Chicago Gay Hockey Association car, the Howard Brown Health Center truck, and the Chicago Bisexual/Queer Community truck.

How to Get There

hat Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

The area around the parade will be packed. Plus, many of the streets will be closed down from traffic, so it’s highly suggested you take public transportation. The closest train stop is the Belmot Red / Brown line. The Addison, Belmont, Diversey, Sheridan, Broadway and Halsted CTA buses will all be running and are viable options, but beware, they’re rerouted near the parade-grounds. There are no Metra stops particularly close to the start of the parade, so it would be advisable to take the Metra downtown where you can easily take a CTA train North to the Belmont station. Drive if ya want, but I reserve the right to say, “I told ya so,” as you sit stuck in traffic.

snake Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

What to Bring

Water and sunscreen should be at the top of your list, higher even than alcohol, especially since alcohol apparently isn’t allowed. So, to reiterate: don’t bring any. And certainly, whatever you do, don’t share it with me. Also, don’t bring any water guns. Not even Super Soakers. In fact, there’s a whole list of tips (that sound more like rules, if ya ask me) that tells you what not to bring, you can read them here.

where Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

Where to Watch

First off, keep in mind that the streets are barricaded. Lay out on the sidewalk all you want, but avoid going into the streets while the parade goes on. Unless you’re a ninja, then you can do whatever you want. Even if you are, I still don’t suggest it.

Don’t just choose the beginning of the parade route to set your butt down either. With over four hundred thousand people in attendance, you’ll want to find a good spot away from the main crowd to enjoy the parade. Diversey Parkway, near the end of the parade, would be a nice spot to be able to spread out. Or even just North of Diversey on Broadway would work. Both of these spots would undoubtedly be less crowded than Halsted and Belmont. Whatever you do, don’t try to sneak a peak at the parade from the assembly area, which is South of Belmont on Halsted. You’ll just get yourself yelled at by police and parade marshals. Nobody wants to get yelled at on one of the happiest days of the year. Where will I be sitting? That’s something I won’t reveal. But! If you see a pale dude lounging in a small, plastic kiddie pool, don’t be surprised if that’s me. It’s not something I do for the parade though, Just something I do, well, every day. Maybe I’ll see you there!

It’s Pretty Good (It Gets Better)

marry Guide To: Chicago Pride Parade

(credit: Jonathan Mathias /

With the legalization of same-sex civil unions in Illinois, there’s a lot to celebrate this year. There’s still a long ways to go down the parade road of change though (pun only slightly intended). Civil unions are nice, but they’re not marriages. More worrying, are the prevalent anti-gay sentiments that affect our youth. While you can’t necessarily stand for this, you can’t let the negatives way you down either. I suggest you go to the parade and have a good time. Fight the negativity by having fun. And take that fun with you – have a parade every day. Not literally, obviously, but allow the positive sentiments swimming amongst the crowd at Pride to follow you throughout the year. To propel you forward, not allowing anything to get in your way. This isn’t the only way to fight hate, but it’s definitely the most enjoyable way. So go out there and enjoy yourselves.

Mason Johnson, CBS Local Chicago

Photos provided by Jonathan Mathias

View Comments
  • Lakeview Greg

    Have fun and spend lots of money in the neighborhood! Whee!

  • Nick Thompson

    I have a cardboard tube and some gerbils, anyone wanna party?

  • Chad

    THE PRIDE PARADE. When are we going to learn that the stigma of the gay community being nothing but sex and partying is never going to end until we start to show some respect for ourselves. This is the image we give ourselves by parading down Halsted in thongs and harnesses….yet we cry constantly over never being taken seriously.
    PRIDE weekend – the only time I ever feel ashamed to be a gay man.

  • ET

    The Gay Pride Parade is nothing to be ashamed of, there are parades to celebrate many different events, why not have one to celebrate who you are? It is meant to be a DAY of fun and festivities, I say live a little and relax. It will all be over in the morning. Gotta go, I’m on my way to the parade.

  • william

    why is the parade not being televised has advertised?

  • Chad

    ET. There is nothing wrong with a parade. No one says the gay community cant celebrate. It’s the WAY we celebrate that gives the community a bad name. And I’m not a Rebublican, rightwing, socialist who wants to drown out everyones good time. I’m a gay man who loves other gay men and I want to be respected. I just believe that the what happens on Broadway and Halsted Steets today does nothing for the cause and I can believe how anyone could.

  • Ellie

    Does anyone know why police rerouted part of the parade down Clark Street (and right into traffic)??? It was total chaos. There was also a total lack of crowd control. People were walking in front of the floats.

  • S Bob Osbourne

    Why would anyone want to watch this display of sex? It is disgusting and shouldn’t be conducted in public. A public parade with the sole purpose of showing a sexual preference?

    I agree with Chad. I don’t know what ’cause’ he’s talking about, but I will say the gay pride parade is revolting. Not that anyone in the organized LGBT community cares, but your conduct does influence how others view you. The vast majority of American’s don’t care to see open displays of sexual behavior, straight or gay.

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