By now, you've started mapping out your plans for Pride weekend. Whether this is your first Pride in San Francisco, you're a local resident who's been going for years, or you really want to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the nation, here's what you need to know to enjoy your weekend with as few hiccups and delays as possible.
Today (Friday, June 26th)
With the news of same sex marriage being legalized for the entire nation, celebrations at Civic Center and headed into the Castro are in full swing. Be forewarned, the Critical Mass bicycle ride will begin at Justin Herman Plaza at 6pm, which could add to the commotion and general traffic congestion.
As we noted in our events roundup earlier this week, the 12th Annual Trans March will proceed from Dolores Park to UN Plaza from 6pm-8pm. The SFMTA notes that from 10am-9pm today, Dolores Street between 18th and 20th streets will be closed, and it'll be local access only from Guerrero Street for all streets bounded by Dolores, 18th, Guerrero and 20th streets. "Traffic along Market Street is expected to be very congested during the march," per the SFMTA. "Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time or to use alternate routes."
Saturday, June 27th
If you plan on getting up early on Saturday, remember that the 36th Annual San Francisco FrontRunners Pride Run takes place in Golden Gate Park starting at 9am. The 5K/10K course makes a loop around the southern end of the park and the Polo Fields and will affect traffic going through the park at Sunset Boulevard. If you're heading north to go across the Golden Gate Bridge, stick to Crossover Drive to get out of the city.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks. If you're planning to help out with the installation, be aware that the event runs from 7-10am on Saturday with a commemoration ceremony at 10:30am. Unless you're planning to take friends from out of town up to Twin Peaks to enjoy the view, you shouldn't expect any major delays in the area, but feel free to head on up there, hammer in a few nails and take part in history.
Once the Pink Triangle ceremony ends, head over to Dolores Park for the San Francisco Dyke March. This year, this event begins a little bit earlier to coincide with an earlier start time for the Pink Party (formerly Pink Saturday). There will be a noon rally before the march heads up to the Castro at 3:30pm.
Between 2pm to 8pm, expect street closures for Dolores Street between 17th and 20th streets, and 18th Street between Church and Dolores streets. You can also expect Muni delays on all routes around the area. For anyone participating in the event that requires disabled access, there will be limited parking at Mission High School. (To reserve this parking, email firstname.lastname@example.org.) Event organizers highly encourage taking public transportation to the event and there will be a free shuttle for the disabled running from the 16th and Mission BART Station.
Just as the Dyke March ends, the Pink Party begins in the Castro and goes until 8pm. In order to address safety concerns this year, the LGBT Center (which is taking over for the first time after the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence stepped away) and other city officials have decided to start and end the event earlier. Let's hope this change in time has a positive impact on everyone's experience of the event.
Streets all around the neighborhood will begin closing at noon and won't reopen until 11pm Saturday, so be sure to get your car moved well beforehand. Both parking lots in the Castro, the one behind the Castro Theatre and the one behind Walgreens, will also be closed. At this time there are no plans to close the Muni platform at Castro, so that will most likely be your best bet for access to the party. (If you're not convinced, here's a full list of the many street closures in the area.)
While Pink Party is free, consider making the $10 suggested donation at the gate. Remember that no alcohol or open containers of any kind, even your sneaky coffee cups, are allowed, although all the bars will be open if you're looking to get a drink. This year, the LGBT Center is trying something new by allowing you to pre-register for the event, which will allow you to skip the line. You can also purchase tickets that will also allow you into a VIP section in the parking lot behind the Castro Theatre.
Pride Celebration Map at Civic Center
Sunday, June 28th
The SF Pride Parade will have traffic and Muni snarled all day long. Beginning at Market and Beale streets at 10:30am, the parade will make its way down Market and culminate at Market and Eighth streets, with revelers spilling into Civic Center Plaza. (Here's the map.)
Street closures will be many (here's the full list.) The SFMTA states that "Motorists are encouraged to avoid the Civic Center area on Saturday and Sunday as there will be extreme congestion. Event participants are strongly encouraged to take public transportation as parking and traffic will be extremely difficult."
When it comes to getting into bars and clubs in general during Pride, it's highly recommended that you get there early to avoid the lines and plan on staying at one place, instead of barhopping. Due to the increased number of people out and about, make sure you're aware of all of your belongings. In a Press Release to the media, the SFPD would like to remind you of a few safety tips for Pride weekend:
- Look out for each other and report any suspicious persons or activity to bar staff, Pride event staff or a police officer. A good adage is, “If you see something, say something.”
- Drink responsibly and be aware of your drink.
- Keep your friends close and your drinks closer.
- Don’t drink and drive; Always use a designated driver.
- Maintain possession of your cell phone, iPod, wallet and other valuables.
"There will be a significant police presence during the activities, with both uniformed and plain clothes officers on duty to monitor the events," notes the SFPD. "As with any large public event, there are always safety concerns. Safety is the responsibility of all parties involved including participants, organizers, security staff and the police."
Pride Weekend is about celebrating how far we've come, yet realizing there's still plenty more to accomplish. Be safe, be nice, and have a great weekend with your friends and loved ones. Happy Pride!
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