Spotlight on San Diego Pride Month

Summer is here, and that means that San Diego Pride is making a triumphant return for 2023. SD Pride is an annual event that epitomizes diversity, love, acceptance and equality; a festive gathering that brings together people from all walks of life thanks to its vibrant parade, empowering events, and uplifting atmosphere. Our central Mission Valley location puts our hotel just minutes from this massive weekend event, as well as within minutes of our favorite establishments in the Hillcrest neighborhood. So if you’re planning to head to the city for Southern California’s premier LGBTQIA+ festival, here’s a closer look at just some of the can’t-miss stops you’ll want to make.


Hop Over to Hillcrest 

The Hillcrest neighborhood is the center of the LGBTQIA+ community in San Diego, and is absolutely brimming with great things to do. If you want to dance, then you simply need to open your ears and follow the beat. You’ll find one of San Diego’s biggest and most impressive farmers markets here, as well as some of the most popular thrift stores and vintage shops in town (such as Buffalo Exchange and Flashbacks). Thirsty? Stop in at Hillcrest Brewing Company — “The First Gay Brewery in the World” — and hoist a pint of craft beer. The brunch scene here is world-class, too. You’re also very near the museums of Balboa Park and the award-winning San Diego Zoo while in the area.


Check Out the Community Center

(Photo: @lgbtcenter)

While in Hillcrest, the civic-minded will want to pay a visit to the city’s LGBT Community Center. “The Center” has offered a deep range of inclusive services and resources since starting in 1971 with a small group of activists and a discreet answering machine in a closet. But just as the community has left the closet behind, so has The Center. Today, it’s the place to go for health, services, valuable educational programs, and support of all kinds.   


Drink in a Pub Crawl

(Photo: @richssandiego)

San Diego’s social scene is legendary for a reason, and the classic community bar is a neighborhood staple in the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a dive bar, or want to dance the night away at a late-night club, Hillcrest is a hub where you’ll find some of the best nightlife in town. Locals’ tip: visit Hillcrest on Wednesdays. Many of the bars offer dollar drinks, so the crowds can be busier than some weekend nights! Here are some of the most popular spots: 

  • Gossip Grill: Southern California’s only & best women’s bar — is known for karaoke and drag brunches and saucy soirées. Never a dull moment.
  • The Hole in the Wall: Located outside of Hillcrest near the Midway District, this has been a friendly community gathering place since the 1940s. 
  • Rich’s: The city’s biggest LGBTQIA+ nightclub with multiple rooms, DJ’s, dancing and outdoor patios. Typically a line on weekends, but well worth the wait.

  • San Diego Eagle: The center of the leather culture in “America’s Finest City”.  
  • Flicks: One of the busier spots in town with strong drinks and a fun, lively crowd.
  • Number 1 On Fifth: Known for strong pours, RuPaul drag nights, and Latin dance.


Patronize Peak Performances

(Photo: @sdgaymenschorus)

San Diego’s community creativity is absolutely over the top, with stagecraft of all stripes offering an unending stream of excellent entertainment. Urban Mo’s is the epicenter of the city’s drag and burlesque scenes, with weekly events like Diva Bingo, themed trivia and bubbly brunches. Don’t miss Lips San Diego, either — it’s known for Drag Dining, and is very popular for bachelorette parties, birthdays and other special events. Diversionary Theatre has been presenting thoughtful LGBTQIA+-focused plays, music and more since 1986. And the 100-member-strong San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus has been performing the best in heartfelt vocal standards for nearly 40 years. 


Plan a Beach Day

It’s a fact: you simply cannot come to San Diego without spending a day on the sand, soaking up some west coast sunshine. Secluded Black’s Beach is famously home to San Diego’s community naturist sunbather community, so head there if you’re not interested in heading home with tan lines. Ocean Beach — while drawing a bit more diverse of a crowd — is still very popular in the community. OB is also dog-friendly, big with the surf crowd, and close to a lot of fantastic bars and restaurants you’ll want to check out.


San Diego Pride Festival (July 8–16)- Your Go-To-Guide

Pride is such a big deal in San Diego that it can’t be confined to a single month! The San Diego Pride Festival has been showing up and showing out since 1969, making it one of the longest-running LGBTQIA+ events in the country. It’s an all-out, big-time bash that offers spontaneous revelry, educational events, workshops, ceremonies, and — naturally — the Pride Parade. Attendees can also look forward to amazing food, a themed music festival, and even film screenings. It’s here, it’s queer, and it’s going to be huge this year. If you’ll be attending, here is some need-to-know info, as festivities take place just over the hill from our hotel!

Pride Parade: Takes place Saturday, July 15th at 10 am, beginning under the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Ave and Normal Street. *Streets will be blocked off and traffic will be backed up, please leave early or call those Ubers in advance! *Local’s tip- you can view the parade anywhere along the route (starting at the flag and ending at Balboa Park), but the REAL fun is to show up super early to one of the LGBTQ+ friendly bars along the route, to join the crowds and cheer everyone on in a super exciting environment.

Pride Festival- Takes place Saturday & Sunday (7/15-7/16_ from 11 am- 10 pm at Balboa Park. Tickets range from $32/day to $225 depending on tier level. The annual festival includes dance parties with multiple stages, 100s of entertainers, fabulous food and exhibits, and more. This year’s headliners include David Archuleta, Princess Nokia, Sauce Santana and more!

What can I do if I’m not attending the festival? Hillcrest really comes alive all weekend long, everywhere you go, from Thursday 7/14’s block party, through Sunday night. Join our friends at Hillcrest Brewing for specials all weekend, Rich’s for the ultimate dance party (beware the lines to get everywhere!) and more. You can find all this info HERE!


Days is the Place to Stay For Pride

If you’re headed to San Diego for Pride, then Days is the stay. We’re close to it all, offer exceptional amenities and quality comforts, and fantastic special offers. So choose the San Diego Travel deal that’s right for you, and we’ll get your room ready for you to head out for a weekend of fun, diversity and love.