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Summer 2017 Bucket List: WorldPride in Madrid

by Kelsy Chauvin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Apr 24, 2017

The convergence of all things queer in Europe descends on Madrid this summer. Taking place over the traditional Pride week in late June, both WorldPride and EuroPride meet Madrid Pride for a veritable rainbow explosion.

In an ordinary year, all would be distinct events in different cities. But Madrid stepped up to host the trio simultaneously from June 23 to July 2. It's a tall order, but the Spanish capital seems poised to make a splashy show over the 10-day LGBT bonanza, marked by huge opening and closing ceremonies and the massive WorldPride Parade on Saturday, July 1.

The city is already a famous bastion of progressive solidarity, this year marking four decades of organized LGBT demonstrations and celebrations. With WorldPride -- the umbrella name for all three events -- Spain will see hundreds of thousands of participants traversing the historically gay Chueca neighborhood, enjoying WorldPride Park coming to Puente del Rey and celebrating in venues all over the city.

Above all, visitors can expect to see Madrid's vibrant queer culture on display, Spanish style. So whether it's music, dance, poetry, fine arts or puppetry, organizers and officials plan to showcase their all-welcoming culture that "fills the streets and squares to allow residents and visitors to enjoy the freedom and diversity that Madrid has to offer," reads the WorldPride website.

That means loads of parties, claro, thanks in large part to the savvy event coordination behind WE Pride. The annual Pride-related event will be bigger than ever with dance parties, show-stopping stage productions and more shirtless clubbers than ever before.

Don't miss the annual afternoon pool party (details to be announced), and expect to see clubs from around the city hosting events day and night.

WorldPride is as much about socializing as it is social causes. In the arts-and-culture realm, that includes Muestra‚ÄĘt Cultural Pride in Plaza del Rey, putting on film, literature, burlesque shows and performance pieces that reflect and honor queer voices. La Culta and La Oculta's social-arts program invites galleries and local creators to promote discourse through LGBT fine and alternative arts.

On the social justice spectrum, the International Human Rights Conference coincides with WorldPride from June 26 to June 28. A summit of speakers and community leaders will explore the pillars of LGBT experiences around the world, incorporating a "transversal perspective" for an array of viewpoints.

Let's not forget about sports, a staple of Spanish culture. Visitors can watch IX Pride Games competitions from June 23 to June 25, plus rugby, women's soccer and other tournaments where muscular physiques meet athletic prowess.

Travelers heading to Madrid will appreciate the city's everyday charm, from its lovely central Retiro Park to the food stalls of Mercado San Miguel. Auston Matta, an American writer and entrepreneur now based in Madrid, recommends three tours for different outlooks on the city.

Devour Madrid Food Tours showcases some of the best restaurants in town (including plenty of tapas), Spain 7 Degrees offers an LGBT "rainbow" city tour, and Sandeman's Free Tour is a great city overview that's perfect for budget-smart travelers. (Check out Matta's blog, Two Bad Tourists, for more tips on gay Madrid.)

Since most queer travelers will center their visit on Chueca, they'll find clubs like Delirio and Baila Carino (part of a complex that includes restaurant La Paquita). But lesbians shouldn't miss Truco or Club 33 in Cortes. And while you may pass plenty of time enjoying tapas at restaurants like Gastro Croqueteria de Chema, don't forget to browse at Chueca's LGBT bookstore, Berkana.

Where to Stay
Westin Palace Madrid
Room Mate Oscar

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBT interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.


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