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A LGBTQ couple embrace outside of Independence Hall

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community in Philadelphia

Play Video Gayborhood, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Raw But Meaningful LLC
Date May 22, 2024

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community in Philadelphia

A LGBTQ couple embrace outside of Independence Hall

Philadelphia is one of the country’s most LGBTQ+-friendly cities with a long history of activism and pride.

Today, the City of Philadelphia is a place committed to serving the LGBTQ+ community through advocacy and inclusion. Feel right at home while participating in these inclusive LGBTQ+ activities in Philadelphia.

Celebrate Pride in Philadelphia

Each year, Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community comes together for a series of celebrations, parades, and demonstrations. These events take place during International Gay Pride Month in June, and include the Equality Forum, Philadelphia Black Pride Celebration, and Philly Pride 365.

A group of men wearing purple tank tops march down the street waving rainbow flags as part of a Pride Parade in Philadelphia. Spectators watch from the sides.

Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival (2016). Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Pride March and Festival is an annual festival featuring live musical performances and a Pride Walk. Pride 365: A Program of Galaei invites everyone to participate in one of the single largest outdoor celebrations in Philadelphia. A variety of vendors will be stationed throughout Philadelphia’s Gayborhood, selling art, jewelry, and gifts during the event. Pride is also a time for the community to support local LGBTQ+ owned businesses. After partying at the festival or taking part in the Pride Walk, pop in a store to shop or grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant.

Look out for special events, menus, and more from restaurants, bars, clubs, and attractions around Philadelphia during Pride Month.

Pride celebrations in Philadelphia aren’t limited to June. OURfest – dedicated and inspired by National Coming Out Day – takes place during the first weekend in October. The weekend-long celebration includes the OURfest National Coming Out Parade, which features a 200-foot rainbow flag, floats, displays, and live entertainment. Following the parade, the OURfest National Coming Out Festival and Resource Fair take over Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. The event includes hundreds of vendors, artists, restaurants, food trucks, and community organizations.

Visit Philadelphia’s Gayborhood

The LGBTQ+ community in Philadelphia is a highly visible and important part of the city. Spanning several blocks just east of Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia, the Gayborhood is the center of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community.

Two women are shown walking across a rainbow crosswalk. The one individual on the right is wearing a zipped up rainbow jacket. A mural is shown behind the individual on the left. A street sign behind them, reads 13th St with a rainbow adorned along the bottom of the sign.

Gayborhood, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Raw But Meaningful LLC

In 2007, the City of Philadelphia dedicated three dozen street signs in an area of Washington Square that is now known as the Gayborhood. The signs are adorned with the rainbow flag as a show of solidarity with the community and as a way to symbolize the city’s commitment to diversity.

This section of Center City is home to numerous LGBTQ+ owned shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs. Along with a charming community feel and those rainbow street signs, you’ll find rainbow crosswalks throughout the Gayborhood.

A great way to learn more about the neighborhood and Philadelphia’s history is to take a Philly Gayborhood and LGBTQ+ History Walking Tour. Along the way, snap a photo by one of the city’s LGBTQ+ murals, including Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Pride and Progress by Ann Northrup.

Support LGBTQ+ Businesses

When visiting the Gayborhood, make dinner reservations at one of the eateries operated by restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. The married duo is the heart and soul behind restaurants like Barbuzzo, a Mediterranean spot offering wood-fired pizza and house made pasta.

Philadelphia is also home to many other LGBTQ+-owned restaurants. Mission Taqueria has a Mexican inspired menu, while neighboring Oyster House serves up and shucks out some of the best seafood in Philadelphia.

Indulge your sweet tooth with a pastry from Cake Life Bake Shop, a trans-owned bakery in the heart of Fishtown. Or, grab a coffee from One Shot Cafe, known for serving up artfully crafted caffeinated drinks in Northern Liberties.

Philadelphia also boasts an impressive array of LGBTQ+ owned storefronts, boutiques, and other businesses. Along 13th Street in the Gayborhood, shop for quirky Philadelphia-themed gifts at Open House. Or head across the street to browse home goods, apparel, and jewelry at Verde.

In Northern Liberties, stop by Trunc, a gay-owned, female-owned, Black-owned, and Veteran-owned boutique and gift shop.

A blue historical marker for Giovanni's Room is shown. The writing on the marker is a bright yellow. A rainbow flag sways in the wind behind it to the right.

Giovanni’s Room. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

The Gayborhood is home to numerous culturally significant sites, including Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room, the country’s first LGBT-focused bookstore. Philly AIDS Thrift, which now owns Giovanni’s Room, has another location that sells used clothing and home goods, with proceeds benefiting local HIV/AIDS organizations.

Learn about Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ History

Before the historic Stonewall Riots energized the modern gay rights movement worldwide, a significant event unfolded in Philadelphia. On July 4, 1965, a group of protesters initiated a pride march in front of Independence Hall. This demonstration, known as the “Annual Reminders,” raised awareness that the LGBTQ+ community still did not have basic civil rights. This is often considered the flashpoint of the modern gay civil rights movement.

Independence Hall is in the background. A group of people are gathered in front. Some are shown with Pride rainbow flags. Others are dressed in bright colors. The grass is bright green. The sky overhead is a bright blue.

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.

Today, this early display of LGBTQ+ activism is commemorated with a historical marker at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets.

Other LGBTQ+ historical markers can be found in the city. There’s one for Alain Locke, known as the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance” for promoting African American artists, writers, and musicians. Another one for Gloria Casarez, Latina lesbian civil rights leader and Philadelphia’s first director of LGBT Affairs. And one for Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), one of the most awarded weekly newspapers in the U.S.

Learn more about Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community and its history at the William Way LGBT Community Center, which was created to support and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Today, they offer literary programs, art exhibitions, and 14,000+ books in the center’s library.

Visiting Philadelphia for one of the events above and looking for places to stay or how to get around? Check out our Plan Your Trip page for more information.