Motor City Pride in Detroit: Make It a Long Weekend

Modified: July 08, 2019 | Story by Sarah Bence | Photos by Bill Bowen

Heading to Detroit for Motor City Pride this year? We’ve got you covered with the best LGBTQ-friendly recommendations across the city.

Detroit takes its pride celebrations seriously, and is home to the largest pride celebration in Michigan, with over 40,000 participants. From June 8-9, 2019, the official Motor City Pride festivities will be held downtown. However, pride is an important community event that is celebrated all across the city. Make your visit a long weekend and explore all the LGBTQ offerings across Detroit.

Michigan Pride parade

Image courtesy of Jan Stevens.

Motor City Pride: Detroit Hotels

Detroit is home to a variety of LGBTQ friendly hotels, including many unique boutique accommodations. 

Trumbull & Porter

Trumbull & Porter is a boutique and artisan hotel located in the trendy Corktown neighborhood, which is home to a thriving LGBTQ community. The hotel is decorated in murals, artwork, and furniture all sourced from local Detroit and Michigan artists. Extend your visit to a Wednesday so you can experience the weekly Pride Night at Trumbull & Porter, featuring drink specials, late night food and outdoor dancing on the patio.

Friends hanging out in the courtyard at Trumbull & Porter hotel

Photo courtesy of Trumbull & Porter.

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney

Enjoy a luxury stay in downtown Detroit at Aloft Detroit. Located in the renovated David Whitney building, this hotel is the perfect starting point to explore Detroit. It’s close to downtown where Motor City Pride is held, and even has a People Mover station in the building for further exploration.

Read about more of Detroit’s boutique hotels.

Motor City Pride: Where to Explore

Be sure to give yourself time to explore the variety of neighborhoods in Detroit, including these particularly LGBTQ friendly communities.

Downtown

In downtown Detroit you can experience a safe and energetic city center, home to many restaurants, bars, shops and of course the Motor City Pride event. Experience the weekend-long festival (with burlesque shows, food trucks, concerts and more), the famed parade, and a vigil to honor those of the community lost to violence.

Midtown

Not far north of downtown, you’ll find the dynamic Midtown neighborhood, known as the cultural center of Detroit. Midtown is worth visiting for its many museums and theatres, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Fisher Theatre and the Fox Theatre. It’s also a thriving center for the LGBTQ community and home to many LGBTQ entrepreneurs and businesses.

Ferndale Pride parade in Michigan

Ferndale Pride by Bill Bowen.

Ferndale

Within metro Detroit, Ferndale is definitively the epicenter of the LGBTQ community. It is home to many LGBTQ owned organizations and businesses, including the progressive Ringwald Theatre. It is also populated by many LGBTQ residents and has had two openly gay mayors. Because so many community members are LGBTQ, Ferndale is an incredibly open and welcoming place that even hosts its own Pride celebrations.

Other metro Detroit neighborhoods that are known for their LGBTQ communities include Ypsilanti, Royal Oak, Palmer Park, Corktown and more. Read more about LGBTQ neighborhoods in Detroit.

Motor City Pride: Restaurants in Detroit

The foodie scene in Detroit is exploding, and this includes restaurants that are owned by and cater to LGBTQ folks.

Avalon International Breads (Downtown Detroit)

A Detroit icon, Avalon International Breads opened in Detroit in 1997. Founded and owned by life partners Ann Perrault and Jackie Victor, Avalon International Breads has been serving Detroit 100 percent organic fresh baked bread for over two decades in a sustainable and community-driven business model.

Bakery counter at Avalon International Bakery

Avalon International Breads by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Bon Sera (Ypsilanti)

Located in Ypsilanti, Bon Sera is a part underground supper club, part brunch haven, part edgy restaurant. It is both owned by and caters for the LGBTQ community, including hosting regular queer events and burlesque nights. Many Bon Sera events are held to support local community causes.

Detroit Vegan Soul (Downtown Detroit)

For some vegan comfort food, sans refined flours and sugars, head to Detroit Vegan Soul. This well-loved café is founded and owned by life partners Kirsten Ussery and Erika Boyd, whose mission is to make healthy, whole foods accessible to all people.

There are dozens more Detroit restaurants to visit during your Motor City Pride trip. Check out the full guide to LGBTQ dining in Detroit here.

Motor City Pride: What to Do in Detroit

You won’t be bored before, during, or after Motor City Pride. Detroit is brimming with things to do, including these LGBTQ community favorites.

Experience LGBTQ Nightlife

There is a wide variety of LGBTQ+ nightlife in metro Detroit. Options range from the all-male late night Escape Lounge Nightclub, to Ferndale’s Soho, a restaurant and bar that commonly hosts events in support of the wider LGBTQ+ community. Then there’s Menjos, a bar that’s popular among gay men and is Michigan-native Madonna’s former haunt, or Adam’s Apple if you are in the mood for karaoke. Read a full guide to LGBTQ bars and nightlife in Detroit here.

Drag Queen Bingo

Try out the wildly popular Drag Queen Bingo, offered Thursday through Saturday night, and Sunday brunch at Five15 Cafe. Be sure to book online before going for a night you won’t soon forget.

Motor City Pride Parade

Of course, you can’t miss the star event of Motor City Pride. The parade itself is held on Sunday, June 9 at noon, beginning at the corner of Fort and Griswold streets, near Campus Martius. Be prepared with your most outrageous Pride-themed outfit.

Other things to do during your long weekend in Detroit include visiting gorgeous Belle Isle or the innovative and forward-thinking Heidelberg Project. If it rains, head indoors and take in a show at one of Detroit’s many theaters.

Whether you are an ally or part of the LGBTQ community, Motor City Pride is a weekend not-to-be-missed. Let the festivities continue and give yourself a few extra days to explore what Detroit’s LGBTQ community has to offer.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues





  1. 1
    Trumbull & Porter
    1331 Trumbull Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-496-1400
  2. 2
    Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney
    One Park Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
    313-237-1700
  3. 3
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-833-7900
  4. 4
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
    313-494-5800
  5. 5
    Fisher Theatre
    3011 W. Grand Blvd., Fisher Bldg., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-872-1000
  6. 6
    Fox Theatre
    2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-471-3211
  7. 7
    Avalon Cafe & Bakery
    1049 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
    313-285-8006
  8. 8
    Belle Isle State Park
    99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit, MI 48207
    313-821-9844