Nine years ago, we published our editors’ recommendations for enjoying the Chicago Pride Parade weekend safely. Unfortunately, everything we wrote then applies equally to this year’s celebration. Avoid Belmont. Leave at a relatively early hour. Trust your gut.
Historically, there aren’t many problems during the parade itself. Flare-ups occur afterward, especially as people make their way to CTA stations. When the march is over, city crews wash down and clean up the route. Police usually allow cars back on Halsted Street, at least for a while. Then, not much happens. Until nighttime.
- Carry as little cash as possible. If you can function while only carrying your ID and one credit card, do it. Leave everything else at home.
- Do not get drunk. Okay, fine, we’ll meet you halfway. Do not drink to the point that your level of intoxication is apparent in how you act. Swervy, stumbly people may as well scream, “take my stuff!”
- Enjoy the parade. Leave the area by 9 p.m. As always, if you use Uber or Lyft, verify that the car you get into and its driver match the information on your app.
- Walk with at least one other person, especially after the parade disperses. Find yourself alone? Tag along with other groups.
- Belmont Avenue is a “no-go zone” after dark on Sunday. Stay away from it, no matter how many people are with you.
- If you take the Red Line, use the Addison L station. Do not use the Belmont station. If you’re on the Brown Line, exit at Wellington or Southport instead of Belmont.
- Avoid walking through large groups that are blocking the sidewalk. Go around. Do not stop to give someone a cigarette, a light, or a dollar. Avoid using your phone on the street.
- Bail if things start to get sketchy.