Madrid is without a doubt our favorite place in the world. We’ve been living here for 3 years and we couldn’t be happier to call the Spanish capital home. On a recent trip back to the states, we had the pleasure to attend a World Pride Madrid pre-party with amazing hosts (yes drag queens!), fabulous guests and a particularly Spanish flare not often found in New York City. The event was intended to introduce Madrid and World Pride to the US audience, who for reasons we can’t quite figure out, don’t fully know about Madrid and it’s reputation as a gay friendly destination.
If you haven’t heard by now, Madrid will host the official 2017 World Pride event from June 23rd to July 2nd. As a way to unite the global pride movement, World Pride has now been hosted for more than a decade in various cities around the World including Rome, Jerusalem, London, Toronto and now Madrid (soon to be New York City in 2019).
Madrid Pride is already a great experience – one we like to describe as a fantastically amazing, organized chaos with the full energy of the entire city behind it and an event that is unsurpassed by any pride we’ve ever seen. (PS – we’ve been to a lot of prides so trust us on this!)
If you haven’t been to Madrid, its pride or perhaps you’re ready to return, consider these reasons why you just might want to book your trip now.
#1 – It’s Huge!
Madrid Pride is already the largest pride event in Europe and the 2nd in the world. It’s on track to be bigger and better than ever and the city is expecting upwards of 3 million LGBTQA+ people to attend the 10-day event.
#2 – Madrid is Gay!
The City of Madrid estimates the LGBT+ population to be 500,000, which accounts for roughly 10% of the entire city. With numbers this large the community simply doesn’t go unnoticed.
#3 – The Gayborhoods
Madrid has a great gayborhood, called Chueca but in fact, the whole city is incredibly LGBT welcoming and the gays has even moved beyond the borders of Chueca to other great neighborhoods like Malasana, La Latina and Lavapies.
#4 – PDA is OK
Hold you partner’s hand and nobody cares. Seriously. We’ve been here for 3 years and have never once had a single comment (let alone a glance) from a local when walking hand-in-hand.
#5 – LGBT Acceptance
The vibe in Madrid is not just tolerance, but rather acceptance. There are very few cities in the world that offer the same kind of welcome to LGBT+ residents and visitors. So come visit, be out and be yourself.
#6 – The Venues
Madrid boasts more than 200+ LGBT specific venues including bars, clubs, shops, saunas and more to keep you busy and entertained throughout your visit.
#7 – Mr. Gay Spain
Because Mr. Gay España! That’s right…every year there is a public competition where handsome men from around the country compete to be named the winner and receive the official title of Mr Gay Spain. This might even count as two reasons…???
#8 – Join the Parade
The pride parade is not just for watching – you can even join in! Find your favorite truck blasting the best beats and take up a spot behind and walk, march or dance your way to the finish.
#9 – The Parties!
The parties are beyond great. Luckily, LGBT rights in Madrid and Spain have advanced to the point that the pride is more of a celebration than a protest. Sure, there is always work to be done for equality but people aren’t afraid to celebrate the victories so many people have fought for. Yes, it’s one big party and we’re excited that we have the freedom to celebrate being who we are.
#10 – The Allies
Straight people are welcome! In fact, there are probably way more straight people that attend the pride than LGBT’s and it’s with the support of our allies that events like this can be so successful. So come on over, be gay for a day and join the celebration….we won’t tell anyone ;-)
#11 – Hotness
Madrid (and its residents) are smoking hot! Yes, the weather is warm and you can really enjoy the sunshine, sexy locals and celebrate your pride in a city that has more than 300 sunny days per year. Pack your sun screen, sunglasses and your best (or least revealing) outfit and join the warm and sunny party.
#12 – Food & Drink
Tapas and tinto and beer, oh my! You obviously can’t visit Madrid without sampling some of its delicious food. Find great eats all over the city, particularly on Calle Cava Baja, which has more than 50 tapas bars in just a 500m stretch. Wash it all down with a local beer or a Tinto de Verano. What’s that you say? Well ever heard of sangria….?, yes it mostly for the tourists. Tinto de Verano is probably more popular with the locals and it’s one of the most common summer drinks. A bit of red wine mixed with your favorite lemon soda, and BAM! – you’re tipsy, satisfied and ready to celebrate your pride.
#13 – LADIES!
Madrid is not just about the gays! Yes, girls….Madrid has quite a few women’s bars and clubs, which these days is rare in most big cities. Don’t be shy, come alone, with a friend or with that someone special and enjoy the lovely lesbian nightlife.
#14 – City Support
The city is fully behind the pride and supports the event 100%. During Madrid Pride the entire city turns rainbow (literary), streets are closed down and plazas are filled with outdoor stages, events and great performances. Yes, the local government is a big supporter of the event and does everything in it’s power to make the pride celebration the best you’ve ever experienced.
#15 – Yours, Truly
And lastly and least (or most!?) importantly, Two Bad Tourists will be there in all it’s glory. Madrid Pride is our “Gay Christmas” and we simply can’t wait for June to roll around so we can enjoy the concerts, the parade and amazing parties we so look forward to every year.
Don’t believe us yet…..? Well you should.
Planning to visit? Come to say hello :-)
And remember, “Whoever you love, Madrid loves you!” – it’s cute, right?! ;-)
See you for World Pride Madrid 2017!
Note: Featured image by Sasha Charoensub