Where to Celebrate Pride with Kids in NYC
Pride 2023 means parades, drag performances, museum events for families, and so much love
June is Pride Month in NYC (and everywhere!) and the city is ready to celebrate. The official and legendary NYC Pride Parade for 2023 is on Sunday, June 25. (If you and the kids don’t like crowds, maybe steer clear. It gets packed.) But the parade is far from the only way to celebrate pride with the kids. Head out to youth pride events, drag queen storytelling, LGBTQ+ history tours around NYC, and much more. Plus, check out some of our favorite queer lit to add to your shelves. Read on for all the family-friendly NYC pride events happening around town, all month long.
2023 Pride Month Events for Families in NYC
Share Your Pride at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has set up a community mural where visitors can share what Pride means to them. Contribute to the collaborative Pride wall when you visit the museum this month. Stop by during an event day to craft a rainbow crown to ring in Pride month. Finally, visit on June 10 to watch the year’s Brooklyn Pride Parade (or ask at the museum how the whole family can march in the parade itself!).
Thur., May 25 and Thur., June 8, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Sat., June 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Pride parade is on Sat., June 10, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Hands-on History: Queer Pride at King Manor Museum
This month’s free “Hands-on History” family event is themed all around queer pride. Make rainbow salt dough ornaments from the Victorian Era and learn about the symbolism that flowers held for the community during that era. You can also get your hands on a booklet by Margaret Middleton, that explores the possibility of queer inhabitants in the historic manor (though there’s no concrete evidence of this). Walk around the museum with the booklet in hand to explore the hidden history of the space.
Sat., June 3, 1-4 p.m.
LGBTQ+ Teen Night at the Brooklyn Museum
The Museum’s annual LGBTQ+ Teen Night will feature a range of art-making, performances, and other activities inspired by queer art and activism. This year’s theme is “In This Town, We Show Pride,” and a full schedule will be announced on the website. The program is free and open to all teens ages 14 and up, but space is limited, and registration is required.
Fri., June 9, 5-7:30 p.m.
Queens at the Garden at the Queens Botanical Garden
Head to the Queens Botanical Garden to watch spectacular performances by the queen of drag, Marti Cummings. Joining the host this year are two other (family-friendly) performers, Nani Tsumani and Janae SaisQuoi. Enjoy a live DJ, pride-themed crafts, dance performances, food trucks, and drinks for both kids and adults. Tickets to this event are $25 for non-members and $20 for members.
Wed, June 14, 6-8:30 p.m.
Teen LGBTQ+ Comics Chat at the NY Public Library (Virtual)
Teens 13 to 18 are invited to join the Riverside Library in a virtual chat about queer authors and themes in comics and manga. The virtual meet is hosted by three librarians, who’ll share their favorite queer comic picks. Participants can visit one of three libraries after the event to pick up a free copy of a comic! Register in advance to get an email with the link to this free online event.
Thur., June 15, 4-5 p.m.
Pride Celebration at the Museum of Modern Art
Join the MoMA in this free event to celebrate LGBTQ+ art and culture. The day’s festivities include a visit to the museum, which you can wander around at your leisure, as well as art-making activities, music, drinks, and food. Members and their guests can attend without a ticket, but non-members will need to register in advance, once tickets are released in June.
Wed., June 21, 6:30-10 p.m.
Stonewall Day with Pride Live (And Christina Aguilera!)
Christina Aquilera is headlining Pride Live’s Stonewall Day event on June 23. Held outside the LGBTQIA+ landmark the Stonewall Inn, the holiday is a national day of awareness to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The event will be hosted by Angelica Ross and include performances from Betty, Mila Jam, and Mariyea. This year’s event honors everyday heroes, like members and friends of the community who fight for equality every day, in whatever way they can.
Fri., June 23, 5-8 p.m.
Youth Pride 2023 with NYC Pride
The celebration of and for LGBTQIA+ and ally teens returns this year with DJs, musical performances, special guests, games, drinks, snacks, and much more. The event is completely free but registration is required.
Sat., June 24, 12 p.m.
NYC Pride March 2023 with NYC Pride
The big event, the 54th Annual NYC Pride March, takes place on June 25, kicking off from 25th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon. More than 75% of all marching groups are non-profit organizations, and more than half are participating free of charge. The theme for the 2023 Pride March is “Strength in Solidarity,” with a strong focus on building a strong community and helping each other against the current political and social upheaval of the queer community. This year’s Grand Marshals and more information are yet to be released, so keep an eye on the website.
Sun., June 25, 12 p.m.
We Are the Rainbow at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Join CMOM in celebrating Pride Month by singing and dancing along with queer creators. This year’s lineup includes guest appearances by Lindz Amer, creator of the Queer Kid Stuff webseries, and Ayo Nish!, genre-bending artist, songwriter, and performer—among others. The programs are designed to help kids form a strong sense of community, boost their sense of self-worth, and “spark joy”!
Throughout the month
Pride in NYC Parks
The New York City Parks Department is hosting Pride events all month long, all around the city—and many of them are free! The lineup is still being released, so stop by the website to see what’s happening in a park near you this month. In the meantime, you can see how queer culture and pride live in the city’s parks even when it’s not being actively celebrated by visiting the “Pride at NYC Parks” website.
Throughout the month
Drag Queen Story Hour at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Libraries
Drag Queen Story Hour is coming to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, as well as several Brooklyn libraries. Kids will delight in the read-along event, which is hosted by drag queens and followed by a Q&A and art-making activity. You must register in advance.
Pride at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Throughout the month of June, the Whitney Museum will be hosting many events to celebrate Pride Month. Included in the lineup is a celebration of “The Stroll” (a documentary detailing the history of the Meatpacking District through the eyes of the trans women of color who lived there), a queer teen night full of music and art, queer history tours and presentations, an evening gala, and a family festival. Visit the website for details on the long lineup of events!
Throughout the month
Teen Pride Month Events at the Library
Your local library is a hub for community events, and this June, libraries around all five boroughs have Pride events and activities lined up for kids and teens. Browse the websites for what a nearby library has planned or head out on an adventure to a brand-new library. Events include arts and crafts workshops (like pin making, rainbow jars, tote bag decorating, and more), themed storytime and singalongs, teen LGBTQ+ meetups, movie screenings, talks and poetry jams, and much more.
Tour NYC with the LGBT Historic Sites Project
Create your own walking tour (or visit spots virtually) with the help of the excellent NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. Filter by neighborhood, public spaces, notable residences, cultural and educational institutions, and more. You can even download it to your phone for a self-guided tour! If you’d rather have a guide on your adventure, you can join one of the upcoming hosted tours.
For a Library Filled with Pride
In addition to pride parades and street fests, there are other ways to open the age-appropriate lines of communication with your children about the LGBTQ community—and acceptance of all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, and sexuality differences. We recommend browsing one of our favorite NYC independent bookstores for kids for books dedicated to diversity and acceptance. These reads are a great place to start.
“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
This classic is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins who formed a pair at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. This charmingly illustrated children’s book tells the story of what happens when the two are allowed to adopt an egg.
“PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Rainbow Pride Flag comes a picture book that tells the empowering true story about how the flag came to be. From its start in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its role spanning the globe today, you’ll hear a story of love, hope, equality, and, of course, pride.
“A Tale of Two Mommies” and “A Tale of Two Daddies” by Vanita Oelschlager
Both of these stories are great reads for ages 4-8 and allow us a peek inside the conversation between kids who are curious about one friend’s two mommies and another’s two daddies. They’re both perfect for introducing kids to same-sex families that are becoming increasingly common to see in society.
“This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman
Show your kids the beauty of the pride parade without ever leaving your house. This picture book perfectly captures the diversity, exuberance, and, well, pride on display and provides a solid springboard into a meaningful conversation. As a bonus, this book includes a reading guide chock full of facts about LGBTQ history and culture.
“Princess Princess Ever After” by Kay O’Neill
This graphic novel is an excellent book for the tweens and pre-teens in the family. It turns the theme of the traditional fairy tale on its head, by introducing two princesses who are very different. When the brave princess saves the kind-hearted princess, they set off on an adventure that leads to self-discovery and a budding (kid-friendly) sapphic romance. Beautifully illustrated, this book is an exploration of what it means to be yourself, no matter what society expects.
“Welcome to the Family” by Mary Hoffman
Explores one element of its prequel, “The Great Big Book of Families,” which is the arrival of new members into a family. Written with a humorous tone, you’ll have an opportunity to light-heartedly explore all the different ways a baby or child can become a member of a family—natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering, and same-sex families—while sending the message that all families are special and equal.
“The Family Book” by Todd Parr
Children are introduced to an array of families through whimsical, colorful illustrations. Pages are full of silly examples of differences (i.e.: some families like to be messy, some like to be clean), plus serious topics like adoption, same-sex relationships, and single parenting.
“It’s Okay to Be Different” by Todd Parr
Similar to “The Family Book,” Parr reinforces the need for acceptance of individuality through repetition and fun and colorful drawings. He mixes big ideas (“It’s okay to have different dads”) with random silliness (“It’s okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub”).
“King and King” by Linda de Haan
In this fairytale, a prince must find a mate to help rule the kingdom so the Queen can retire. While being introduced to a series of princesses, the prince meets a suitor’s brother and it’s love at first sight. Collage-style illustrations are bright, colorful, and altogether engaging.
“10,000 Dresses” by Marcus Ewert
Bailey loves dresses in all the colors of the rainbow. Dresses that sparkle, that shine, that twirl. His parents, however, are in his ear to remind him that he’s a boy and boys don’t wear dresses. In comes Laurel, a friend that shows him that it’s okay to be whoever he wants to be. This is an inspiring friendship story that any kid can relate to—but especially those who refuse to conform.
“This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids” by Dannielle Owens-Redi and Kristin Russo
Have a child who recently came out or is early on in the stages of questioning their sexuality? First off, congratulations that you’ve created an environment where your child feels open enough to talk about those feelings. Next up? This book. Written in Q&A format, it’s a go-to resource for parents committed to understanding and being the best support possible for their child. The authors share insight on everything from the emotional to the practical topics, peppered with real-life experiences of gay kids and their parents.
Additional reporting by Mimi O’Connor