How to Celebrate LGBTQ Charlotte Outside of Pride
Where to go and what to do when Charlotte Pride isn't taking over Uptown's streets.
by Jared Misner
While the annual three-day Charlotte Pride festival in August is undoubtedly the biggest celebration of all things queer in Charlotte, it’s certainly not the only time of the year when Charlotteans and their families can enjoy the diverse city they call home. Read below for a round-up of just a few of our favorites.
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and Charlotte Pride Band
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte is a group of gentlemen is in its 12th season of crooning, and after going to a performance, it’s easy to hear why. Apart from the groups many performances, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte throws several events, including a Christmas celebration and a June gala. If you’re interested in joining the choir rather than watching it, be sure to attend one of the group’s open rehearsals (check the website for dates). Bonus: While the name would imply it, there’s no requirement singers be male or gay, only that you support the organization’s mission. Additionally, don’t let the name fool you—the Charlotte Pride Band performs throughout the season not just in August at the Charlotte Pride festival. Among the recent performances the band has played are a collection of Russian Christmas music and an “Out of this World” space-themed concert.
LGBTQ Festivals (other than Charlotte Pride)
It’s no secret: Charlotte Pride is an absolute all-out party. But it’s also no secret LGBTQ Charlotteans want to celebrate in other ways, too. Enter these celebrations.
Orgullo, Charlotte’s Latin Pride festival, offers several events throughout the summer tailored toward the Latin community, including a Mr. CLT Latin Pride competition and the Charlotte Latin Pride Expo in September, a two-day festival that overlaps with Hispanic Heritage Month.
Charlotte Black Gay Pride is in July, and like the Latin celebration, this weeklong festival offers much to celebrate. Each year’s celebrations bring with it a slew of celebrations and community events for LGBTQ people of color to build social awareness and celebrate diversity within the community.
Charlotte Trans Pride brings together the Queen City’s transgender community for a series of events and celebrations, including walking together, arm-in-arm during Charlotte Pride’s parade down Tryon Street. These events usually coincide with the annual Pride festival in August.
Notable LGBTQ-Inclusive Spots
The Common Market, a mashup convenience store and deli with a fantastic patio, and Snug Harbor are two Plaza Midwood bars that also aren’t specifically gay, but LGBTQ Charlotteans and visitors alike will find a welcoming space at both these spots.
Elsewhere, be sure to stop by Plaza Midwood’s White Rabbit, an LGBTQ gift shop. You can’t miss it: It’s the fabulously painted rainbow building right on Central Avenue.
And if you’re looking for a bit of caffeine in the morning, Comic Girl Coffee & Books in the Shamrock neighborhood, is an all-vegan, feminist-owned coffee shop and comic book store. The shop buys only books that feature femme, queer or people of color as the main characters.
Charlotte’s Inclusive Festivals
If your family, LGBTQ or not, is looking for a cultural education, you’ve come to the right place. With scores of museums, theaters and music venues, Charlotte is bursting at its cultural seams. Within a stone’s throw on just one corner of Uptown, there’s the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Mint Museum, the Knight Theater and a host of other inclusive cultural destinations.
With an opening, welcome and inclusive environment, visitors to Charlotte also shouldn’t miss these annual festivals. Each June (and first weekend in July), the Charlotte Symphony takes to Symphony Park for a month-long outdoor concert series, culminating in a patriotic-themed concert for Independence Day. Families also love the Charlotte Jazz Festival each April. Jazz takes over the Queen City for a week, and many of the events are free. And if visual art is more up your alley, be sure to mark September’s Festival in the Park on your calendar. Stroll through the Historic Dilworth neighborhood’s Freedom Park with your family and pick up a unique piece of art from a local artist for your home.