Chicago Pride: Big Shoulders for a Big Pride March

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jun 28, 2013

The City of Big Shoulders opens its arms to visitors for its Pride celebration that kicked off last week and culminates with the Pride Parade on June 28 to 30. It's a chance for visitors to experience the first (and so far, only) officially recognized gayborhood in the United States, the eponymous Boystown.

North Halsted Street, Boystown's main drag, is chockablock with gay-oriented businesses. You'll know you've arrived when you see the 11 rainbow Art Deco pylons along the strip.

But don't limit yourself to the north side of town. Take the El down to Hyde Park, the lakefront neighborhood that houses the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the home of President Barak Obama. Wander through the University of Chicago's historic campus, which has been home to 87 Nobel laureates and world-famous scholars like philosophers Mortimer Adler and Leo Strauss, and the economist Milton Friedman.

The summer months are the perfect time to experience Chicago. The temperature is moderate (usually), with Lake Michigan giving off a comforting wind that contrasts to the wintry blasts for which Chicago is so famous.

The absolute must-see sights in Chicago, however, are located right within the Loop, the city's central business district. Here, you can experience the birth of the skyscraper. In the 1880s, architectural pioneers like Louis Sullivan realized the potential that new technology provided. One of the best-known buildings doubles as the city's main department store, Carson's. Getting culture while shopping: could it get any gayer?

Stay, Eat, March

The Majestic Hotel, located in the heart of Boystown, is an Art Deco treasure that offers a complimentary breakfast and gym access. The "shabby chic" rooms are reminiscent of an English country estate. For a room with a view, consider Hotel Lincoln, which features J. Parker, one of the best rooftop bars in the city.

If you can manage a reservation, head Au Cheval in the West Loop. Narrow and always packed, Au Cheval offers updates on classics like a bologna sandwich, this one fried with eggs. Be prepared to use the gym after trying chef Brandan Sodikoff’s gloriously fatty favorites like a sticky, ginger-laden fried chicken.

If you’re heading to Chicago this weekend, be sure to check out these Pride highlights:

Hot Jock Strap Contest
Show your stuff at this monthly jock strap contest: 1st place prize $150 in cash and prizes; 2nd place $75 in cash and prizes; 3rd place $25 Crew card. The crowd picks the winner.
Crew Bar & Grill
4804 N Broadway
Friday, June 28, 2013
10:00 PM

Chicago Pride Zumbathon® hosted by Cyon Flare.
Fundraiser for Air Necessities, a nonprofit providing air conditioners to those most vulnerable to extreme heat.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Chicago Dyke March
Chicago Dyke March Collective is a grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience. It is an anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots effort with a goal to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability.
Margate Park
Saturday, June 29, 2013
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Chicago’s 44th Annual Gay Pride Parade
200+ floats, decorated vehicles and walking groups representing businesses, organizations and individuals. The parade steps off at Noon in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, from the Montrose/Broadway corner, proceeding south on Broadway; then south on Halsted; then east on Belmont; then south on Broadway; then east on Diversey to Cannon Drive.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


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