What’s so different about Manchester Pride? Everything. City Hall hoists a giant rainbow flag. The Pride Parade goes on and on (in a good way) with 120 floats including a contingent of openly LGBT police officers. There is a women’s-only space at Sacksville Park with music and live performances. And, most importantly, this Pride festival has raised 1 million pounds for HIV/AIDS services over the past 22 years.
According to organizers, Manchester Pride has traditionally been a fundraiser for the LGBT and HIV communities and is the only Pride event in the U.K. that has consistently done so.
Manchester’s Canal Street is the center of the LGBT community, both daytime and nighttime. This street was home to the original “Queer As Folk” series, before HBO introduced the groundbreaking script to U.S. audiences. During the day, Canal Street is a tranquil retreat with interesting shops, great outdoor cafes and funky restaurants. At night, the Rembrandt and Churchill’s are traditional gay pubs. (Note: Drink the beer! It’s cheap and the hard alcohol drinks like vodka are measured by the ounce.) Nightclub/bar Queer is fun while Mancunia, Cruz and Legends are the main dance clubs. There are some “men only” bars in Manchester organized by the local business guild in an effort to reclaim a strictly men-only environment. And there are great hotels close to Canal Street.
You will want to save time during the day to take in the local culture. Manchester is a sports town, just like Philly. If you are lucky enough to catch a Manchester United game, do it! Check the schedule at www.manutd.com and buy your tickets early, as they are hard to get.
For more information on travel to Manchester, check out www.visitmanchester.com/lgbt. For more information on Manchester Pride and to buy tickets, visit www.manchesterpride.com.