The insiders’ guide to Phoenix Pride 2023

Festival organizers share what you need to know about the event

Don your rainbow gear and dancing shoes and get ready to feel the pulse of the LGBTQ+ community at the Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival on Oct. 21-22. 

Founded in 1981, Phoenix Pride is expected to attract about 55,000 people throughout the weekend to band together “United Against Hate,” as this year’s theme states.

“It is one of the most positive, welcoming, energizing atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of,” said Jeremy M. Helfgot, spokesperson for Phoenix Pride. “We see a wonderful mix of all ages; all demographics. And really the core of the whole thing is celebration. It’s everyone just being positive and having a good time.”

What to expect at Pride

The Phoenix Pride website has the full lineup of events and activities and a map, with the festival running from noon to 9 p.m. both days and the parade starts at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. 

Attend the Festival on Oct. 21

The family-friendly festival takes over the bulk of Steele Indian School Park spread across 60 acres with seven stages and over 150 performances ranging from local folk and acoustic performers to high-energy drag headliners. Tickets start at $34.

The grounds also feature 300 exhibitors, food and drink vendors, community stages, KidSpace, an all-day Dance Pavilion and the Fiesta Caliente Latin Stage, which Helfgot said has become a huge centerpiece of the festival in recent years. Headliners include Ashanti, Donna De Lory, Niki Harris, Paulina Rubio, Ultra Naté and ZEE MACHINE.

The VIP Experience will feature a lakeside air-conditioned tent with a two-level bar, a bistro, special bathrooms, entertainment by Ru Paul Drag Race All-Stars and more.

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See the Parade on Oct. 22

Another big element of Pride is the free parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at Third Street and Thomas Road and travels north, ending at Third Street and Indian School Road. More than 2,000 individuals walk and ride the route as 15,000 spectators cheer them on. 

Safety and security are paramount throughout the weekend, Helfgot said, although they’re integrated seamlessly so it doesn’t feel intrusive. 

“We are constantly looking at and revising security plans per the information we receive in partnership with public safety,” he stated. “I feel our events are very safe, very much secure, and people can feel comfortable coming.”

A pair of attendees at the Phoenix Pride Festival
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride
Group in tie-dyed attire marching in Phoenix Pride Parade
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride

Pro tips for enjoying Pride

Streets are closed on both sides along the parade route on Sunday, so Helfgot urges people to have a parking plan and a backup. He also urges everyone to use light rail, bus or rideshare. 

The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of finding a spot in a lot or garage. If you’re willing to drive around and walk a mile or so, you might find free street parking in nearby neighborhoods. The festival is just north of the end of the parade route.

The announcer stages for the parade are at Third Street and Osborn, so Helfgot advises staking a claim nearby if you want to hear the chatter. 

Take plenty of water to the parade or take cash to buy it from vendors who cruise the sidewalks selling cold bottles for $1 as well as rainbow garb and other goods. Credit cards are generally accepted at the festival. 

Pets on a leash are welcome at the parade but not at the festival. Check the website for the list of prohibited items at the festival.

Once the parade winds down, bars and restaurants from the Melrose District to Roosevelt Row and beyond see a surge in business. LGBTQ+ classics like Stacy’s@Melrose and Boycott Bar are particularly popular, but many other places—like Hula’s Modern Tiki and Morning Squeeze, to name a couple—roll out the welcome mat with Pride-themed cocktails to keep the good vibes flowing.

Festival after-parties are prevalent, too, from the official one on Saturday at Walter Where?House to a smattering of bars around town.

Group of Pride Festival attendees in brightly-colored attire
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride

A deeper connection for the community

No matter how you celebrate Pride, it’s key to remember the underlying purpose. The event is a touchstone for many in the LGBTQ+ community who look forward to it all year so they can express their true selves.

And unlike neighborhoods like West Hollywood in Los Angeles or the Castro in San Francisco, Phoenix’s LGBTQ+ community isn’t concentrated in one area, so this is a way for them and their allies to connect in one central location.

“It’s hopeful, it’s reassuring, it exudes some sense of optimism that people really can come together and maybe one day we will get past all of the bias and hatred that exists,” Helfgot said.

More than four decades after Pride’s founding, Helfgot noted, “There’s still a lot of work to do as we work to eradicate hate and intolerance and work toward equality for all people. Equality and equity for everyone is the end goal.

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Phoenix Pride Festival

When: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 21-22

Where: Steele Indian School Park, Indian School Road and Central Avenue, Phoenix

Cost: $34 and up

Phoenix Pride Parade

When: 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22

Where: From Third Street and Thomas Road to Third Street and Indian School Road, Phoenix

Cost: Free

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Two cosplayers at a convention center in Dallas, TX

11 fall events that you might not have tried – but definitely should 

Experience something new and amazing during Texans’ favorite season

Though fall is a relatively short season weather-wise, DFW comes alive with a variety of festivals, each offering its own unique charm and flavor. While the Metroplex offers plenty of beloved, established fall favorites, there are new, unique, and unmissable events that you might not have experienced yet. Journey with us to find your new fall favorite. 

Best Little Brewfest in Texas

Featuring more than 40 craft breweries from Texas and around the world, this is drinking done for good: The event donates 100% of the net proceeds to local charitable organizations. Sample a wide variety of beers while perusing retail vendors, trying local food trucks and listening to live music. A general admission ticket includes 12 beer tickets, a souvenir cup, access to vendors — and the knowledge you’re helping the community. Located at Old Town Lewisville, 151 W. Church St. Tickets start at $45.

An individual smiling as they prepare food at the Dallas Soul Food Festival

Dallas Soul Food Festival

Dallas’ culinary diversity will be front and center at this year’s Dallas Soul Food Festival. Attendees can sample the rich and savory flavors of Southern cuisine, with soul food staples like oxtails, collard greens, and candied yams taking center stage. But it’s not just about the food; this festival features plenty of vendors to shop and a community-centric atmosphere that invites everyone to savor the tastes and traditions of the South. Located at Lofty Spaces, 816 Montgomery Street in Dallas.

The Dallas Fan Festival

Also known as Fan Expo Dallas, the Dallas Fan Festival is one of the region’s best-attended pop culture and comic conventions. This experience is heaven on earth for fans of comics, movies, TV shows and gaming, featuring celebrity guest appearances, cosplay competitions, panels and a vast exhibition floor filled with merchandise and collectibles. Located at the Irving Convention Center, 500 W Las Colinas Blvd. Tickets start at $20.

Rest in Plano (R.I.P) Fest

The Rest in Plano Fest invites you to explore Downtown Plano’s haunted past, with walking guides through homes and businesses that are home to true-life macabre tales. Featuring Halloween-themed fun for all ages like tarot readings, spooky photo ops, pumpkin-sculpture demos alongside food and beverages, this is Plano like you’ve never seen it. Located in Historic Downtown Plano

Diwali Mela

Diwali – or the Hindu festival of lights – is one of India’s most important holidays of the year. Celebrate here in Dallas with Diwali Mela, where organizers say you can expect thousands of attendees who come for the vibrant, joyful atmosphere. The event will feature laser shows, fireworks, kids’ rides, performances (including a Bollywood Concert), a Desi Bazaar and plenty of excellent food options. Located at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park, 3750 The Midway in Dallas. Tickets start at $12.

A table with a white tablecloth and various dishes at Diwali Mela

Greek Food Festival of Dallas

The Greek Food Festival of Dallas is a delightful (and delicious) celebration of Greek culture and cuisine. This annual event immerses visitors in the flavors and traditions of Greece, offering an array of authentic dishes like gyro, souvlaki, moussaka, and baklava. Beyond the food, the festival features live music, traditional dance performances, and artisanal vendors offering Greek crafts and goods. It’s a family-friendly affair with a dedicated children’s area, complete with games and activities. Located at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road in Dallas

Fall Japanese Festival 

Embrace Japanese culture and traditions while you escape the hustle and bustle at the Japanese Fall Festival. Held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, this festival is a cultural gem that transports visitors to the enchanting world of Japan. Attendees can expect martial arts demonstrations, serene tea ceremonies, captivating traditional dance performances, and exquisite ikebana (flower arranging) displays, all with the stunning backdrop of the botanic garden. Adult tickets are $12. Located at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. in Fort Worth.

The Romanian Food Festival 

Take a delectable journey into the heart of Romanian cuisine and culture! Hungry visitors are treated to an array of traditional Romanian dishes, including mămăligă (cornmeal porridge), sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled sausages), and an assortment of pastries and desserts. It’s a culinary adventure that brings the flavors of Romania to Dallas, with plenty of live music, dance performances, and cultural exhibitions, too. Free to attend. Located at St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church, 3801 Glade Road in Colleyville.

Sazon Latin Food Festival

A must-visit for food enthusiasts looking to explore the rich gastronomic heritage of Latin America without leaving home, this festival celebrates the diverse and flavorful cuisines from the Caribbean, Central and South America. The event promises great drinks, music, and a festive atmosphere, creating an immersive experience that captures the essence of Latin American culture. Located at Lakewood Brewing Company, 2302 Executive Drive in Garland.

Fort Worth Water Lantern Festival

At the Water Lantern Festival, people from all walks of life will come together to release beautifully crafted lanterns onto the water’s surface. This often produces a sense of unity, hope and reflection as people inscribe personal messages or wishes on their lanterns before releasing them. Tickets start at $35.99. Located at Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey Street in Fort Worth.

A jewelry display with beaded jewelry, stones, and crystals at the Turtle Creek Fine Arts Festival

Turtle Creek Fine Arts Festival

This festival showcases a diverse array of artistic talents, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photography, giving attendees the opportunity to interact with artists and purchase unique pieces directly. Visitors can also enjoy live music, delicious food and a tranquil outdoor setting, making it a perfect weekend outing for art lovers of all ages. Free to attend. Located at Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave in Dallas.

A juicy burger, with fries, and a drink sitting on the table at a local restaurant

How much does a good cheeseburger cost in Dallas right now?

Plus, we found the best bang for your buck at every price point

Cheeseburgers are a lot like great clothing staples: You can dress them up or down, but they’ll always be a classic. In Dallas, our burger game runs the dining gamut, from a fancy Wagyu handheld to a greasy smash burger. But in the years since the pandemic, when prices can creep insidiously upward, even this humble dinner staple can come with a side of sticker shock. So, we ran the numbers* on some of Dallas’ most popular choices to determine how much you can expect to pay — and found some clear winners that balance quality and price. Here is the Localite roundup of cheeseburger prices in Dallas.

Group One: Fast Casual-ish

Average Price: $9 (without sides)

A bar graph displaying the average price of a burger at several different fast but casual burger restaurants in the DFW area

Among most fast-casual restaurants, you’ll find that the price range largely falls between $9 – $11, with a few caveats. Some of the more expensive burgers also include expensive upgrades, like house-made pickles, a higher-quality bun, or low-or-no price add-ons, like signature spreads. And, some places serve a double patty as the standard offering.  

When it comes to quality and price, though, there are a few standouts. 

Keller’s Drive-In, known for its come-as-you-are vibe, is the clear standout for cheap eats. Even though the famed Dallas institution raised the price of a standard cheeseburger to $4.35, Keller’s is still more affordable than most fast-food restaurants. From the perfectly seared patties to the poppy-seed bun, this is an oft-recommended cheeseburger for good reason. 

Relative newcomer Sky Rocket Burger, which expanded from one location to three (with an additional Lewisville location on the way), offers burgers that look messy but taste meticulously well-balanced. Its patties are all ground on-site and can be churched-up with grilled onions, jalapenos and spicy mayo for around 50 cents each.

Group Two: Fast Food

Average Price: $6 (without sides)

A bar graph displaying the average price of a burger at several different fast-food restaurant chains in the DFW area

You’ll find a narrow price difference between the mega-players in fast food. The most expensive burgers include The Shake Shack ShackBurger at $6.59 and a Burger King Whopper with Cheese at $6.79, but these options offer a distinct taste, setting them apart from affordable but unremarkable burgers from Sonic or Wendy’s (differentiated only by patty shape, unfortunately). Clearly, though, there is a winner.

Texas favorite Whataburger enters in the middle of the pack in terms of cost, but offers superior quality and taste compared to fast-food faves. Though Whataburger’s made-to-order patties often translate to longer wait times (intolerably longer after a drink or two), the Whataburger with Cheese tastes fresher than fast food competitors.

Group Three: Fancy-Schmancy Burgers

Average Price: $21

From steakhouses to French eateries, Dallas fine-dining establishments offer plenty of outstanding burgers, but they’ll come at a cost. Comparing the exact numbers can be difficult — the price of a side is sometimes included; sometimes not — but they all have one thing in common:  the highest-quality ingredients. Wagyu beef, artisanal cheeses, crispy vegetables and locally sourced ingredients create an elevated burger experience. 

Is the $21 price tag worth it? That’s between you and your wallet, but there are a few Dallas offerings that have earned consistent critical and patron praise. Our picks include Meridian, Knife, Neighborhood Services, Hudson House and Bistro 31, whose high-brow burgers and welcoming restaurant ambiance help satisfy your prime rib tastes on a hamburger budget.

*Numbers accurate as of this writing and can change.