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The Ultimate Guide to Twin Cities Pride

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Twin Cities Pride parade / Lucy Hawthorne

The Ultimate Guide to Twin Cities Pride

Por Brian Fanelli

Twin Cities Pride is the nation's third-largest free pride festival and takes place every June in downtown Minneapolis.

The modern Twin Cities Pride is a massive, annual, family-friendly party that celebrates the large LGBTQ community in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Like all pride celebrations, its roots can be traced back to the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969 and the ripples of unrest and protest that spread across America in response.

Approximately 50 people attended Minnesota’s inaugural, proto-pride protest in 1972, on the third anniversary of Stonewall, but only about half of them marched down the Nicollet Mall; the other half waited in nearby Loring Park, ready to bail out their friends and loved ones if and when they were arrested.

Pride Goes Virtual, June 27-28

Under normal circumstances, Twin Cities Pride draws around 400,000 attendees to downtown Minneapolis to celebrate Minnesota's LGBTQ+ community. Sadly, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person Pride festivities have been cancelled for 2020.

But the show must go on.

This year, Twin Cities Pride (June 27-28) is going virtual with online celebrations that include streaming music performances, an online art show and a web marketplace to emulate the festival vibe typically found in Loring Park, while the annual Ashley Rukes LGBTQ+ Pride Parade has been creatively reimagined as an MC'd digital procession of user-submitted video clips. 

Bicyclist riding through Loring Park with Minneapolis skyline in background

Found on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis, Loring Park is an urban oasis in the heart of the city / Mike Krivit Photography, courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Explore the Twin Cities' Main Gayborhood

Neither of the Twin Cities has an official “gayborhood”—our queer community makes its home across the entire metro—but if there were an official ruling on the matter, the Loring Park neighborhood, home of the Pride Festival, would likely take the title.

One of Minneapolis’ distinctive downtown neighborhoods, the mostly residential streets of Loring Park are notable for their eclectic mix of historic brownstones, new apartments and condos, and the area’s largest and most diverse queer community. To get a feel for this vibrant neighborhood, grab a coffee and treat at the queer-owned Muffin Top Cafe and take a stroll around the neighborhood’s eponymous park. Sip your coffee from a bench overlooking Loring Lake and watch as countless rainbow flags flutter from the windows and stoops of the neighborhood’s many homes.

Like all true dives, The 19 is cash only, but unlike some lesser dive bars, there’s an ATM on-site.

Grab breakfast, lunch or dinner at the queer-owned Nicollet Diner, which stays open 24/7/365—but stop in before 1 a.m. to take advantage of the diner’s full bar, complete with boozy milkshakes and other fun drinks. And of course, no visit to Loring Park is complete without a game of pool, a round of Big Buck Hunter and a pitcher of Grain Belt at The 19, everyone’s favorite gay neighborhood dive bar—open since 1952. Like all true dives, The 19 is cash only, but unlike some lesser dive bars, there’s an ATM on-site.

Brian Fanelli

Brian Fanelli is a writer and editor for Explore Minnesota. When he isn't writing about life in The North, you'll find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore, biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails or walking his Chihuahua around Minneapolis.