Every year during the first weekend of August the Gay Pride takes place in Amsterdam, the city that everyone knows and visits for its very liberal attitude and its reputation for tolerance.
Without exaggerating, this event draws hundred-thousands people of all ages and sexual orientations to Amsterdam, it’s an amazing opportunity to have fun but also to show support towards diversity.
It was our first Gay Pride experience and we loved it so much that we’d love to return again next year. The Canal Parade is the highlight and the most awaited event of the whole Gay Pride week, therefore it can be very crowded, but don’t worry there is space for everyone!
Here are few tips for whoever wants to go to Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade, to make sure you are prepared, you know what to expect and finally you get the best experience depending on what and how you’d like to take part.
Tip #1 – The earlier the better
As already mentioned, the Canal Parade will get very busy and crowded so if you wish to be watching it from the front row or at least from a good enough spot to be able to see, you must get there in advance. People pick their spaces hours before the start of the Parade, some of them even place their own chairs, picnic blankets and even sofas to be able to comfortably watch the show later.
We personally arrived not long before the Canal Parade started because we had no idea how crazily full it would get, though in the end we instead enjoyed moving up and down the whole length of the canal during the Parade and, even if we couldn’t have a clear view of the boats some of the time, we still had good time and caught a glimpse of the show on the water.
Tip #2 – Take some snacks and drinks with you
Don’t forget to bring something to eat and most importantly plenty of water (it might get hot) or any other drink you might fancy, especially if you have a good spot and don’t want to move and lose it just to buy some food. The Canal Parade usually lasts about 5 hours so you want to have all you might possibly need so that you needn’t leave your space.
Some people organized proper picnics, had tables with loads of snacks, food and also plenty of booze. We were very surprised to see how well organized and prepared people were with all the necessary supplies, just like if it was a day out somewhere.
Tip #3 – Don’t forget the camera
Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade happens only once a year so make sure not to accidentally forget to take your camera with you. It’s a perfect day from a photography point of view, a real paradise if you enjoy taking photos even as an amateurs like us, and not in a professional way.
We found that everyone likes to pose for you, people stop to be photographed and like to be a model for you or sometimes even with you. It’s incredible how everyone is extremely relaxed and in a good party mood.
Tip #4 – Toilets
There are special festival toilets that are put in Amsterdam along the canals especially for the Gay Pride, there are also the usual street urinals every now and then available for the guys, but with the amount of people coming to the Canal Parade the chances to find a free one to use are very slim.
Unless you don’t mind waiting your turn, don’t panic because there are other toilets that cafes, bars and private businesses make available but be prepared to pay for it or otherwise hold it and drink less!
Tip #5 – Mobile Food Vendors
If like us you weren’t prepared well enough and you don’t have any food with you, there are food vendors moving around usually selling a few kinds of pretzel. So if you feel a rumble in your tummy but you don’t want to miss the show or the next boat coming, look around for the food cart or follow your nose.
Alternatively there are cafes and bars every now and then along the canal that will have something for you to eat, but we aren’t sure about prices, quality and what is available, it’s a big open air festival at the end so you must adapt!
We hope you’ll find our tips useful to get the best out of your time at the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade. Overall, no matter what, we are sure you’ll find a way to enjoy yourself, but if you go prepared you might have even a better experience.
Have you been to the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade too?
What tips do you have?