Arm Wrestling, Disney Queens And A Rave At The Aquarium: The 10 Best SF Pride Parties

San Francisco Pride doesn’t just happen on Sunday: Oh no—the celebration starts long before and runs well after, what with pre-Pride parties, kick-off parties, during-Pride parties, post-Pride parties, after-Pride parties, after-after-parties and recovery parties.

But how to make sure you’re having the best time possible? GayCities has pulled together a totally biased roundup of the ten best Pride Week parties in the City by the Bay. Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bi, trans or even straight, you’re sure to have a great time. (And this year, with the 49 Places That Make Us Proud challenge, you might win something. Just checking in to dozens of places around town can unlock instant prizes.)

One of the best ways to kick of Pride weekend early is with some girl-on-girl arm-wrestling at Smackdown at the Lexington on Thursday, June 21. While the women flex their guns, Cockblock DJ Ms. Jackson and DJ China G will keep the dive hot and sweaty.

That same night, catch Juanita More and Hecklina at the California Academy of Sciences. Heklina will host a “transpecies” costume contest, Juanita spins with Stay Gold DJs and Hard French will take over the coral-reef aquarium. Check in to this event for a chance to win fabulous prizes!

On Friday, June 22, the Original Plumbing crew returns to the Bay Area for a post-Trans March bash at Elbo Room. The third-annual “unofficial” dance party is “shipwreck” themed, with DJs RapidFire and Average Jo swabbing the decks and photographer Amos Mac walking the plank.

Before the weekend starts, go through your old Halloween costumes and pull together some Prince Charming realness for the Disney Prom at the Rickshaw Stop. Whether you’re dressed like Sleeping Beauty or Maleficent, this fairy tale fête will improve your chances of a happy ending.

Like a LinkedIn for A-gays, dot429 brings its classy soiree back to Postrio this Friday. Chase the caterers carrying hors d’oeuvres, hang by the bar until the last open-bar drink is served, or network with other professional gays. All as DJ P-Play of Honey Soundsystem spins.

Speaking of networking, GLAAD is having their fourth- annual Pride fundraiser on Friday: T-Dance Under the Dome inside Westfield San Francisco Centre, offers nibbles from Under the Dome eateries, plus live entertainment and a runway show. (Check in at the temple of retail during Pride season for a chance to win awesome prizes from local businesses.)

On Saturday, a good chunk of San Francisco gets turned into a roving protest at the Dyke March at Dolores Park. Later everyone chills out and joins the boys at an all-nighter Pink Saturday Street Party in the Castro. Afterward head to Public Works for a booty-shakin’ (p)RIDE Party featuring a clusterfuck of queer DJs from Stay Gold, Party Hole and Ships in the Night. (While you’re out-and-about, fire up your smart phone and check in at Dolores Park or Public Works for a chance to win a free vacation for a friend to visit you in San Francisco.)

Finally on Sunday, June 24, The Parade kicks off at the ungodly hour of 10:30am on Market and Beale, winding its way to Market and 8th Street downtown. (Keep an eye peeled for Grand Marshal Sarah Silverman.)

Later, wild child Courtney Trouble takes over El Rio, while Hard French invade SOMArts with a live performance by SSION. And Juanita More is hitting two venues this year as part of her fundraising efforts—a party shuttle will transport guests back and forth between 620 Jones and the Phoenix Hotel

There you have it: How to conquer Pride this year in one fell swoop!

And remember, This SF Pride season, don’t leave the house without your smartphone: By checking in to 49 hotspots on GayCities— including 620 Jones and El Rio—you can win instant prizes like museum passes and dinner for two.

And by submitting Pride photos you might win a vacation getaway of your dreams, courtesy of JetBlue and Kimpton.

Photos: Allen Jordan, Andrew Ballantyne, dot429