What you need to know about the 2018 Boston Pride Parade

The annual LGTBQ celebration is happening this Saturday.

Jaiy Dickson of Boston helps carry a rainbow flag as she marches during the Gay Pride Parade in Boston on June 8, 2013. Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Local organizers of the the 48th edition of the Boston Pride Parade, taking place this Saturday, June 9, have chosen the theme “Rainbow Resistance” to highlight both the celebratory and activist origins of the event.

“Income inequality is worsening and many states still lack LGBTQ employment protections, making it increasingly important to highlight the contributions of queer workers,” the organizers wrote in the official 2018 Boston Pride Guide. “Queer immigrants are facing increasingly outrageous attacks from the current administration. While we have won many battles, our continued Rainbow Resistance remains as imperative as ever.”

A rainbow flag is carried up Beacon Street at the 2017 Boston Pride Parade.


Numerous events celebrating the LGBTQ community, including those that are both officially affiliated with Boston Pride and those that are not, have taken place throughout the Boston area since the raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall Plaza last Friday. But the biggest gatherings will occur this Saturday, as City Hall plays host to the Pride Festival and Concert and serves as the finish line of the Pride Parade route.

Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s festivities.

What time does it all start?

The Pride Festival will begin at City Hall around 11 a.m., while the Pride Parade will head out from the Back Bay’s Copley Square around noon. Copley will be full of parade participants and well-wishers, so if you’re looking to watch the start of the parade and want a relatively unobstructed view, get there a bit early. If you’re planning to catch the parade farther down the route, arriving around 12:30 p.m. should be OK.

Where should you go?

The Boston Pride Parade route.

The Boston Pride Parade route.

The parade route begins in Copley Square, at the corner of Boylston and Clarendon streets. It dips into the South End by heading down Clarendon, then takes a left on Tremont, a left on Berkeley, a right back onto Boylston, a left on Charles, a right onto Beacon, and a final left back onto Tremont, before arriving in Government Center. If Copley Square is too packed, catching the parade on Charles Street as it runs between the Boston Common and the Public Garden is a good bet.

What should you expect?

Anticipate thousands of people marching, cheering, dancing, and riding through the heart of Boston, rain or shine. Organizers said they expect to welcome more than 300 organizations to the parade, and there will be participants of all ages and from all walks of life, including groups from churches, high schools, and after-school centers. Don’t be surprised if you see some eclectic outfits along the way, as well.

What should you do before, during, and after?

A band plays their way along Boylston Street during the 2013 Pride Parade.


While the Pride Parade and Festival are the marquee Pride Week events, plenty of other activities will go on throughout the day. On Saturday morning, you can join LGBTQ-friendly churches near the parade route for the 10 a.m. Pride Interfaith Services at Union United Methodist Church and the 11 a.m. Pride Morning Service just down the street at Old South Church.

At City Hall, the Pride Festival and Concert will be headlined by Martha Wash, whose distinctive voice topped the charts as a member of the Weather Girls with “It’s Raining Men” and as the initially uncredited singer of Jock Jams classics like C + C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now!)” and Black Box’s “Everybody, Everybody” and “Strike It Up.” Also on hand will be New Orleans rapper Big Freedia, whose voice can be heard in Beyoncé’s smash hit “Formation,” and Mix 104.1 DJ Fast Freddy, who will co-host the festival with local drag queen Verna Turbulence.

Once the festival winds down around 6 p.m., the Boston Pride Youth Dance will take place at City Hall until 10 p.m. (tickets cost $10). Elsewhere, the LUSH Womxn Pride Party at ICON will begin at 8 p.m. (tickets are $20).

For even more activities happening this weekend and throughout the rest of Pride Month, check out the calendar of events on the Boston Pride website.