Everything you need to know for Chicago Pride Fest 2024

Fri. June 21, 2024 8:14 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

chicago pride fest, 2022

photo credit // steven koch

The 23rd annual Chicago Pride Fest, June 22 and 23

Spectacular live entertainment, delicious food, endless shopping and plenty of people-watching marks the onset of Chicago Pride Fest happening Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 in Chicago’s Proudest Neighborhood.

Opening at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the two-day street festival turns North Halsted Street into one enormous Pride party with 2 entertainment stages and a dance music stage featuring some of Chicago's favorite DJs and drag queens. Plus a whole lot of queer and queer-friendly folks in attendance.

“I’m extremely excited for Chicago Pride Fest; it’s a great opportunity to celebrate our community with music and entertainment, and for me it is an opportunity to re-energize by linking with friends, family and making new friends in our community,” said Mark Liberson, chairperson of Pride Fest, which he tagged as “one of my favorite events.”

Chicago Pride has grown to become one the largest and most well-known Pride celebrations in the world.

Where's the party?

Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood, formerly known as “Boystown.” Once there, follow the herd of excited revelers or the gaggle of drag queens, or just follow the music. But seriously, Pride Fest is located on North Halsted St. between Addison and Grace. Gates open both days at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

Is there a charge for admission?

Not officially, but a $15 suggested donation for entry helps pays performers and festival workers, and funds community programs. Generous public donations paid for the Chicago Pride Crosswalks; 14 rainbow-paved intersections installed in 2019 that make up the longest installation of its kind in the world.

What acts are performing?

Natasha Bedingfield, JoJo Siwa, Sapphira Cristál, Bob the Drag Queen, Amber Riley and Empress Of are headlining this year’s Chicago Pride Fest.

Other artists appearing on the Bud Light North Stage include Kaleena Zanders, John Duff, Alex Lahey, Max Rae, Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute, and Ultrabeat.

Chicago Pride Fest’s South Stage Saturday lineup showcases local favorites: Sixteen Candles, Too Much Molly Band, Bev Rage & The Drinks, The Divas, and more. Sunday programming by Peach Presents features Empress Of, Aya Ito, Nanoos, AZN INVZN ft. Chess Knight, CZ Boogie, Supes Base among others.

The all-day dance party at the Waveland Stage closes Saturday with the CircuitMOM Experience ft. Alex Lo. The legendary performer will bring an energetic Broadway meets circuit party vibe.

Is there a complete schedule that I can look at?

Yes, check it out here!  (Downloadable schedule and festival map)

Are there other things to do or see?

If people-watching is your thing, grab a refreshment and watch the throng of festival attendees. With over 60,000 people expected to attend, there will be no shortage of eye candy for sure. In addition to the live entertainment, Pride Fest will include over 150 arts and craft vendors, as well as sellers of unique merchandise tailored to the LGBTQ community.

I hear bears will be at Pride Fest?

We hear bears, cubs, and otters will be at the festival! But, we must mention a fun event for the four-legged animals as well. The always popular Proud Pet Parade hosted by Miss Foozie is on Sunday, June 23, at 12:30 p.m. Registration begins at 12:00 p.m. at the North Stage (Halsted & Grace).

Will there be a Pride Parade?

Pride Month without a parade is like a gin and tonic without the gin! The annual Chicago Pride Parade is traditionally held on the last Sunday of June. This year, the 53rd annual parade is Sunday, June 30 at 11 a.m.  

(Downloadble Pride Parade route map | Official Chicago Pride Parade website)

What should I wear?

Forecasted temperatures on Saturday are extreme, with highs in the low to mid 90's, so dress accordingly and drink plenty of water. Keep in mind, that the festival is open rain or shine. Check the forecast before heading out!

How do I get there? Should I drive?

Pride Fest is easily accessible by public transportation, and attendees are encouraged to take CTA to the festival. (Maybe you’ll catch a ride on the CTA’s Pride Train.)

CTA Red Line stops Addison and Sheridan are a short walk from the festival, as is Belmont, which is served by the Red, Purple and Brown lines.

CTA buses 8 Halsted, 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 77 Belmont, 80 Irving Park, 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, 151 Sheridan and 152 Addison all serve the area of Pride Fest.

Halsted Street between Addison and Grace will be closed from 9 a.m. Friday, June 21 to 4 a.m. Monday, June 24. And there are numerous parking restrictions, so watch where you park.

Anything else I should know?

No large bags/backpacks are allowed, all bags will be inspected prior to entry. No coolers or outside beverages. Clear plastic-sealed bottled water is allowed.

Chicago Pride Fest is organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance (northalsted.com), the same group behind Northalsted Market Days and Halsted Halloween Parade. 

Official Chicago Pride Fest website

Chicago's LGBTQ calendar is on GoPride.com