by Matt Baume
Sorry to break it to you, but Seattle Pride stinks, according to various rankings. In a new study by the website InMyArea, Seattle ranks #4 nationwide in satisfaction by attendees; but when asked what city people plan to travel to for Pride, we’re so low in the rankings that we don’t even appear on the list.
That sad showing matches findings from various other surveys: In 2019, Orbitz ranked Provincetown at the top of travel destinations for Pride, followed by St. Petersberg, then Atlanta, Long Beach, New York, Minneapolis (!), Columbus (!!!), Miami, Houston, and San Francisco. Worldwide, in 2017 Nestpick ranked Madrid at the top (they were hosting World Pride that year), followed by Amsterdam, Toronto, Tel Aviv, London, Berlin, Brighton, and so on. Seattle appears at #55. Our best showing may be in a list compiled by the hookup site Jack’d, which in 2014 put us at #5, behind San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, and Orlando. (Also, Texas had three of the worst Prides in the country, so take that.)
So what’s going on here? Why doesn’t anyone like us?
Well, for one thing, all of these rankings are a bit suspect, since they’re in no way scientific. InMyArea is a website where you can comparison-shop for Internet providers, so I’m not sure why they’re ranking Pride.
But there’s a definite pattern emerging from all of these surveys, and it’s not a pretty picture for Seattle. We’ve got a gorgeous city; we’re super queer-friendly; the Seattle Center festivities are enormous and very fun. What’s Columbus got that we don’t?
Speaking from a place of some expertise — I’ve been to dozens of Prides in different cities around the world — I have to reluctantly agree that our city’s official event is … fine. It’s okay. Number five on a nationwide list? Sure, that sounds about right.
The cities that I’ve been to with truly memorable Prides all have something unique. Paris is my favorite, since there are no barricades alongside the parade and everyone’s allowed to march along with it as a crowd — it feels very in-keeping with the riotous roots. London’s is a pedestrian paradise, with cars banished and a labyrinth of walkable streets. Berlin is packed with sexy clubs. San Francisco’s coincides with a film festival, a massive Dykes on Bikes party, and an entire separate Pink Saturday street fair. WeHo has marketably-attractive bodies, if you’re into that sort of thing (I find it tedious and am glad to be far from it). Reykjavik Pride is attended by fully one-third of the entire country. Amsterdam has boats. Orlando has beaches. Columbus has hotels for under $100 a night.
I’ll concede that the huge International Fountain is a real highlight. I love watching folks splash around in there. It’s a beautiful communal display of Seattle at its best — a bunch of strangers all having fun together, uninhibited, everyone welcome.
But what else have we got? Rainbow crosswalks? T-Mobile sponsorship? We don’t even have Mama Tits anymore. We’re slipping, Seattle. We should be the best in the country. No, the world!
So what would you do to get us there? Take this legally binding survey and share your ideas for making Seattle into Earth’s #1 Pride destination. We’ll share our favorite responses in a few days.