Imagine for a moment you are walking through Midtown and have found yourself at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Ave. Do you know where you are? For those who may be less familiar, this intersection has been considered the heart of the LGBTQ community in Atlanta and each year in October the streets of Midtown become especially alive for the annual Atlanta Pride Festival.

The Atlanta Pride Festival is the largest event of its kind in the southeast, with over 300,000 in attendance. As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the festival this year on October 10–11, attendees may walk atop rainbow-painted crosswalks at this very important intersection — an accomplishment many residents campaigned hard to achieve. So celebrate diversity and community with us during these two days; the energy is infectious.

Here are our three tips and suggestions to maximize your Pride experience.


Kick Off the Weekend Right

Begin your festivities on Friday, October 9 at the beautiful Georgia Aquarium for the Official Pride Kick-Off Party.  The 600,000-square-foot aquarium transforms the breathtaking facility into the social event of the year, selling over 4,000 tickets annually. Several of the aquarium staff members were so excited about the event this year, they created a custom Dolphin Show just for the party. Oh, did we mention you have free reign of the aquarium? That’s right. You can sip on a martini while you gaze at whale sharks above, marvel at penguins or flirt with Maris, one of the playful Beluga whales (she’s our favorite).

If you were fortunate enough to obtain a Lounge ticket, sponsored this year by Loews Atlanta, you can savor passed hors d’oeuvres, sip on cocktails from the complimentary open bar or receive a relaxing chair massage by the hotel’s award-winning spa, exhale. IMG_2274

Appreciate the Festivities

During the two-day LGBTQ event you can enjoy a great lineup of live entertainment and events in addition to hundreds of vendor booths. Arguably one of the most popular events of the weekend is the Atlanta Pride Parade on Sunday — a 1.5 mile march running from Downtown Atlanta and concluding in Piedmont Park. Colorful floats, costumes and performers share the road with activists and supporters for this exciting and unforgettable parade.

Often referred to as “Atlanta’s Central Park,” Piedmont Park is one of the most picturesque city parks in the country and will be the hub of activity both days. Two stages of entertainment will be found in the park along with over 200 market vendors and programs for families, youth, seniors and elders. Many vendors may be cash only, so come prepared to find something you can’t live without. A full guide to the Pride festivities and happenings can be found here.


Explore the Neighborhood

Being home to countless restaurants, bars, shops, and many of the region’s top arts and attractions, Midtown is fit for diverse needs and interests. During the neighborhood’s busiest time of year, many restaurants and bars will be offering specials and the city’s most popular LGBTQ bars will be filled with activity. You may be looking to dance the night away at an energy-pumping party, or perhaps escape the crowds for a quiet romantic dinner. Feel free to lean on the guidance of the Loews Atlanta concierge team, who can assist you in finding the ambiance best fitting your needs.

Located in the heart of Midtown neighborhood, Loews Atlanta is fortunate to be part of such a vibrant community.  Whether you are straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, Pride is a celebration open for all to support. You can come in a group or come alone. If you fly solo, chances are you’ll end up with a new friend or two. So pack your bag, put on a big smile and experience Atlanta as the diverse and welcoming city that it is.