One of the biggest spectacles of Gay Pride Month in New York City is, of course, the over-the-top parades and festivals.
From floats and food to scantily-clad dancers and gay rights organizations that have pushed the community forward for decades, there's a whole lot to see and do.
Since NYC has such a large and diverse community, each borough plays host to its own Pride festivities, a testament to the size and strength of the ever-growing gay community and its supporters.
Here's the rundown of each Pride parade going on this month and where to best get in the middle of all the rainbow-lined action.
1. Manhattan - The March
Easily the biggest and most attended of all the parades, the Manhattan Pride Parade starts off at noon on Sunday, June 26th at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue. The colorful procession winds all the way down Fifth to the finish line at Christopher and Greenwich Streets.
Last year's parade was one of the biggest in its history, with more than 350 organizations marching, and showcasing over 80 unique floats.
This year's Grand Marshal is 15-year-old Jazz Jennings, the honorary co-founder of Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation and the youngest Grand Marshal to date.
Try to find a viewing spot along Fifth Avenue between 34th and 14th Street. The lower you go and the later the day goes, the more crazy the party gets. By the time the last of the parade crosses Christopher Street, around 5 p.m., the West Village is a packed blur of revelers and rainbow flags.
2. Queens - The Festival
Although much smaller than Manhattan's parade, what it lacks in size the Queens Pride Parade makes up for in character, not to mention a full-blown neighborhood block party at the end of the route. It's all going down this Sunday, June 5th in the melting pot neighborhood of Jackson Heights.
Launching from 37th Avenue and 89th Street at noon, you're sure to see all kinds of locals hanging their heads outside their windows, hunkering down on fire escapes or walking alongside the parade down 37th to 75th Street, the end of the procession. But that's where the real party starts.
Several of the side streets are closed off to allow for a myriad of booths to be set up with everything from food and frozen drinks to gay rights organizations and free HIV screening stations. The festival embodies the spirit of the Queens LGBT community, one of love, acceptance and, most of all, fun.
3. Brooklyn - Twilight Parade
As everything seems a little too "mainstream" for Brooklyn these days, the borough is doing something different than the usual parade. It kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Park Slope on 5th Avenue and 3rd Street on Saturday, June 11th, marching down to 9th Street. It's the only nighttime parade held in NYC.
Before the parade they also have a street festival of their own, celebrating this year's theme: "20 Years Of Pride." In addition to food, t-shirts, rainbow gear and a slew of organizations with free giveaways, it's another event that's swarming with a sense of community.
The first revelers will be welcomed right along the parade route on 5th as early as 11 a.m. The festival will shut down at 5 p.m. sharp to make way for the illuminating Twilight Parade two hours later.
4. Staten Island - PrideFest
Although Staten Island isn't known for its gay scene (mostly because there really isn't one), the LGBT community there has grown substantially over the last few years. The borough plays host to a slew of events, but the big party is on Saturday, July 16th, the only NYC Pride celebration not held in June.
Held at the picturesque Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gardens on the island's north shore, about a 40-minute walk or 15-minute bus ride on the S40 from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal on Bay Street, Staten Island's PrideFest is definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Starting off the festival will be a charitable 5K Run/Walk throughout Snug Harbor's grounds. Instead of doing a traditional race though, this year's racers will not compete against each other but against their own finish time predictions in a 'guess your time' format race. Ready? Set. Go!
5. Harlem - Heritage of Pride
Yes, Harlem has its own separate Pride parade on Sunday, June 26th, the same day as Manhattan Pride. If you're looking to avoid the messy masses in midtown, head on up to the more spacious uptown neighborhood, now celebrating its seventh year hosting Pride festivities.
Organized by New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the parade steps off at noon by Jackie Robinson Park on Bradhurst Avenue and West 148th Street. The march celebrates both the pride and achievements of the African American gay community as well as the newly-founded cultural diversity in Harlem.
If you don't want to miss the Manhattan Pride Parade, Harlem is also hosting the Harlem Pride Celebration festival right along Jackie Robinson Park on Saturday, June 25th from noon to 6 p.m., complete with live entertainment, games, food and all the elements of Harlem's rich heritage.
6. New Jersey - Pride 25
It's technically not NYC, but they always ride on our coattails anyway, so why not? This year's Pride extravaganza takes place in the legendary seaside town of Asbury Park, celebrating its 25th year hosting the NJ Pride festival.
Kicking off at noon this Sunday, June 5th, the celebration comes prepared with a long list of live entertainment, vendors, food stands and, of course, a parade. Among the headliners slated to perform are Jordin Sparks, Autumn City, Vinny Vero, Alexander Grey and CHRZA.
One unique thing about this celebration is that it's right next to the beach, so make sure you bring your swimmers if you want to lay out in the sun or take a cool dip. Although the beach fun depends on the day's weather, the festival will happen rain or shine between 5th and Ocean Avenues.
Check out NYC Gay Pride Month Kicked Off With the Get Out! Awards in Chelsea.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]