Baltimore’s streets buzz with positive energy throughout Baltimore Pride Weekend, June 16-17 this year. But all of June is Pride Month, which means there are endless festivals, shows and cultural experiences that you won’t want to miss while you’re visiting. Here are some fun ways to extend your celebration and get an even bigger taste of Baltimore’s LGBTQ scene and signature charm.
1. Get to know the King and Queen of Pride.
Explore the galleries and shops of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District on June 2, then end your day at Motor House, where 2018’s King and Queen of Pride will take to the stage at night for a drag review show. Pride royalty of years past will share the spotlight, and there will be a special performance by burlesque star Maki Roll of Washington, D.C.
2. Admire the beehive ’dos at Honfest.
Now in its 25th year, this quirky street festival in the Hampden neighborhood honors the heritage of Baltimore’s working women, who affectionately call friends and neighbors “hon.” Among festival-goers in cat-eye glasses and over-the-top beehive updos, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 1960s. Come take part in this tradition June 9-10, and make sure to catch the crowning of Baltimore’s Best Hon!
3. Have a musical moment.
All month there are plenty of opportunities to hear live music, both indoors and out. If you can’t get enough classic R&B, buy tickets to SOUL The Stax Musical, on stage through June 10. The show is all about Memphis-based Stax Records and the rise of its iconic artists, including Otis Redding and The Staple Singers. Rather be in the sunshine? Use this guide to Baltimore Summer Outdoor Concerts to find a free show. And mark your calendar for June 23 and 24, when the Baltimore Men’s Chorus harmonizes for two performances featuring songs of peace and justice.
4. Discover art wherever you go.
Baltimore is a dream for art lovers. From institutions like the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum to smaller art galleries throughout the city, there’s no shortage of special exhibits to admire in addition to regular collections. Explore the rich legacy of African-American creators in “A Guide to Visionary Artists of Color” at the American Visionary Art Museum, and view regional works at the Maryland Historical Society, including the topical new “Activism & Art” exhibit.
5. Raise a glass with the LGBTQ community.
Experience Baltimore’s nightlife on June 8 during the Big Gay Bar Crawl, which leaves from The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) and leads you to five different hot spots. Or have a drink in support of Baltimore Pride at fundraiser events in the days leading up to Pride Weekend festivities. On June 13, mingle with LGBTQ professionals and take part in a silent auction at Wine’d Up Wednesday. Then dress your best to attend the Twilight on the Terrace soirée on the 15th, which takes place at Gertrude's, an upscale, gay-owned restaurant located at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
6. Take a historical walking tour.
best way to explore is on foot, and no matter your interest, Baltimore National Heritage Area can guide you to the sites you should see. Get to know neighborhoods with rich cultural history like Fell’s Point, Mount Vernon or Penn North.
7. Get your giggle on.
On June 13, sit back and watch notable local comedians in their element at Laugh Out Loud, an official Baltimore Pride event. Host Tommy Gunn, a regular in Baltimore’s LGBT entertainment scene, is sure to keep you chuckling from the first joke to the last act.
8. Party during Pride Weekend.
We can’t forget the main event! Get ready for Baltimore Pride’s 11-block parade to take over North Charles Street on June 16, and stick around for an all-day street party featuring live performers, a DJ Dance area, food trucks, a ticketed Glitter & Paint Balloon Fight, and more. You can tailgate in the official Lez Lot, open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On the 17th, the celebration moves to Druid Hill Park for Elder Pride and Family Pride, featuring all-ages activities and plenty more musical performances.
For even more planning tips and advice check out the 2018 Baltimore LGBTQ Visitors Guide. Plus, sign up for Visit Baltimore’s LGBTQ e-mail updates to stay tuned into events all year long!