Long Beach Pride is one of the reasons I love Long Beach as much as I do. I know, I know. “All Prides are the same,” you say. Well, not this one. This one is the best in all of SoCal. I would say all of California, but San Francisco is better obviously.
One of the great things about Long Beach in general is how involved the community is with the gay scene. All sorts of local businesses as well and city officials participate in the parade. The whole city celebrates with businesses having sales and rainbow flags lining the streets.
The location of this Pride is perfect. There is plenty of parking and its laid out on a huge grassy knoll on the waterfront, with a concert area and tons of places for lying in the grass, as opposed to WeHo pride with is a crappy hole in the dirt, and San Diego pride with is on a track and you can’t even drink there! There are at least five dancing areas (techno, country, hip hop, pop, Spanish, etc.) There are multiple stages including the main stage, a comedy stage, and a religious stage. Every year there is a nice B List performance (Deborah Cox, The Bangles, En Vogue, etc.)
Of course there are all types of booths trying to get you to sign up for something or buy something or make you play some erotic game. And there are SO MANY food options to choose from, including my favorite, Thai food on a stick! I went back to that food booth three times this last time.
Every year the crowd is amazing. Excited, friendly, and of course drunk. By the time the festival is over at 10:00pm, everyone is ripped and ready to party. There are plenty of places nearby to finish up the night. Long Beach gay bars include: Ripples, Executive Suites, Silver Fox, The Falcon, Hamburger Mary’s, Sweetwater Saloon, The Mineshaft, The Brit, Paradise Café, and more.
I suggest you buy plenty of drink tickets early on because if you run out, standing in that line later in the day is a certain buzzkill. You might want to bring some water, sunscreen, and a nice big blanket. Also, if you are crafty enough you can sneak in some liquor in water bottles.