Everything you need to know for the 2018 Chicago Pride Parade

Fri. June 22, 2018 6:22 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

photo credit // chicagopride.com
Thousands are expected to descend on Chicago's Uptown and Lakeview neighborhoods Sunday for the 49th annual Chicago Pride Parade, a culmination of the city's Pride Month festivities.

Orlando "El Fenomeno" Cruz, the first openly gay active professional boxer, will serve as Grand Marshal. Cruz came out in 2012 and has since been an active spokesperson for the LGBTQ community. On Saturday, June 16 , Cruz was honored by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center as "King" of the Chicago Puerto Rican People's Parade.

The parade marches under the international theme, "Remember the Past, Create the Future".

Planning to attend? Here's everything you need to know.

ROUTE AND TIME: The parade starts at 12 Noon at the corner of Broadway and Montrose. The parade featuring 150 colorful entries will then travel the 21-block parade route south on Broadway; then south on Halsted; then east on Belmont; then south on Broadway; then east on Diversey to Cannon Drive.

Related: 2018 Chicago Pride Parade line of march

There will be nine cross-over streets along the parade route: Montrose at Broadway; Irving Park Rd. at Broadway; Grace at Broadway; Addison at Halsted; Cornelia at Halsted; Roscoe at Halsted; Aldine at Halsted; Barry Ave. at Broadway; and Wellington Ave. at Broadway. 

Related: Best locations to watch the Chicago Pride Parade

LESS ALCOHOL, MORE SECURITY: Security will be tight again this year. Open container rules will continue to be strictly enforced, with 170 private security workers patrolling the parade and police on every corner. Penalties include, but are not limited to, $1000+ tickets being issued, and you could have to throw out your booze.

STREET CLOSURES: Some street closures will begin as early as 8 a.m. and parade route closures begin as early as 9:30 a.m., or as the crowd intensifies. The closures include Montrose, Irving Park and Wellington at Broadway and Addison, Grace and Roscoe at Halsted. Streets are expected to fully reopen by 8 p.m. 

TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation is highly recommended. The CTA will be providing extra service and longer trains on the 'L', and several buses will be re-routed on parade day. Bicycles will not be permitted on CTA trains for most of the day, and strollers and carts must be folded before boarding all CTA buses and trains. Check the CTA's website for additional information.

The closest L stops are Wilson, Sheridan, Addison or Belmont on the Red Line and Southport, Belmont, Wellington, or Diversey on the Brown Line. Bus lines are 8, 22, 36, 80, or 152.

The Belmont and Addison stations (and the surrounding area) tend to become the most crowded, so you are encouraged to consider watching the parade from the other parts of the route, including areas toward the start of the route—such as Broadway, south of Montrose—which are served by both the nearby Wilson and Sheridan stations on the Red Line.

Metra will provide extra trains on the BNSF, UP North, UP Northwest and UP West Lines. Other lines that operate on Sundays will offer extra seating capacity. To view the schedules, click here.

PARKING: There won't be much street parking available near the assembly or parade routes, so if you're driving be prepared to park outside of the immediate area. Watch for temporary no parking signs. 

WEATHER: The Weather Channel forecasts mainly sunny skies with a high in the 70s. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. The parade goes on, rain or shine. Bring plenty of bottled water and sunscreen.

Cooling busses will be available at Halsted, south of Belmont; Addison, west of Halsted; Belmont, east of Broadway; Wilton, north of Belmont; Buena, west of Broadway.

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: If you need first aid, the Chicago Fire Department has first aid stations at 901 W. Addison St., 765 W. Roscoe St., 3165 N. Halsted St., 561 W. Surf St. and 802 W. Roscoe St. There will also be a public safety command center on Belmont Avenue between Clark and Halsted.

NEEDS AND SPECIAL NEEDS: Portable restrooms will be stationed along both the parade line-up street and the parade route. For seniors or those who need wheelchair accessible sites, head near 600 W. Diversey. It's towards the end of the parade route and typically is less crowded than other streets. Many arrive early to set up chairs and claim their spots. This area also has bathrooms for those with special needs.

HISTORY: The parades commemorate the Stonewall rebellion that took place on June 28, 1969 when patrons of a New York City gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, fought back during a raid by police. At that time gay bars were frequently raided across the country. That night, bar patrons fought back and street demonstrations continued for several days. During that week gay liberation groups were formed, thus giving birth to the modern day LGBT rights movement.

Related: A look back at the Chicago Pride Parade: 1970 - 2017

Pride Parades are staged in over 150 cities worldwide with more than 90 of them in the United States and at least 12 taking place on the last weekend of June each year.

The annual Chicago Pride Parade is coordinated by PRIDEChicago. chicagopridecalendar.org

Related: Don't miss these 10 Pride-themed events this weekend

Related: Don't miss these 10 Pride-themed dance parties