So you’re a Pride virgin, huh? Don’t worry, kiddo. Here’s a few tips to make you feel like you’ve been there, done that.
Plan an agenda for at least one day. Whether that agenda includes watching the parade, wandering around Civic Center Park, or just figuring out what’s for lunch that day … plan something. Pride is so much more than sitting around on a blanket smoking weed with your friends. (But definitely do that, too.)
Figure out where you’re parking (or how you’re getting to the park). If you’re not staying within walking distance, do a quick search on parking in the area. Unfortunately, it’s the most expensive area to park in the city. Fortunately, that means there are a ton of options. Pay extra for a garage and see if there’s a deal for the weekend. (Pro-tip: Go to Parking Panda’s website and get something on the low-low.)
Do your homework on the gay bars. If you don’t live here, figure out where they’re all located. Are they walkable from your hotel? Are they charging a cover for that weekend? What theme fits your party mode? If you have a sec, stop by during the day when the bars aren’t as crowded. Ask the bartenders for recommendations. Pull out your “Pride virgin” card and they’ll probably be stoked to fill you in on some local secrets.
Buy your tickets early. Whether it’s for Corky’s Pool Party or a wristband for Tracks, many Pride events charge less if you book in advance. Save that extra cash for parking, higher-priced drinks, and tipping drag queens.
Hydration and sunscreen. This sounds obvious, but don’t blame me when you’re stuck in the middle of the park with a dry mouth and lobster skin.
Bring cash. And keep it on you. Better yet, when you make that agenda, note the days where you might need more. It might also be a smart idea to leave your credit card at home and throw your Pride budget onto a prepaid card.
Pace yourself. It might seem like an awesome idea to day-drink all day on Friday to kick off the weekend, but remember the last time you got wasted outside? Take breaks. Take naps. Take a multivitamin. (And your PrEP, boo.)
Know your other drugs. Your mother is (probably) not going to be there to take care of you. Maybe your friends won’t, either. Don’t assume Pride is a safe environment. Don’t think the hottie who gave you molly at the clubs is looking out for you. Don’t be an idiot. Do a little research on the trendy drugs on the scene, and if you’re going to do them at Pride … at least know what they look like.