For centuries, prominent artists and professionals have left a distinctly gay mark on Vienna. The buildings and narrow cobblestone streets may look old-fashioned, but Vienna’s clubs, bars, shops, museums, events and festivals testify to a far more open and tolerant attitude towards gay couples strolling, holding hands and kissing in the streets of the Austrian capital. This modern perspective has been in development for centuries.

The Viennese Pride Festival has only been in existence since 1996, but it has quickly become one of the biggest parades in Europe, attracting approximately 120.000 spectators from far and wide. The organizers can rightfully boast that the Rainbow Parade has one of the most spectacular routes, leading down the awe-inspiring, historic Ringstrasse.

In keeping with tradition, the Austrian capital will once again invite people from far and near to partake in this astounding, viennese-style extravaganza. With this year’s slogan being “We are Family”, Vienna addresses the fact that the gay community not only beholds people with a strong familiar feeling towards each other due to their sexuality, but also consists of homosexuals, some with a burning desire to obtain the rights to adopt.

Together with the quite heavy political issue, Vienna’s gay visitors will also find a dizzying array of events tailor-made for whatever interest. Theaters, museums, music festivals, operas, symphonies, film festivals, dance companies, performance halls, galleries, exhibitions, shops, markets, bookstores, coffee shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs, parties, sport clubs, tournaments, celebrations and, of course, even the city’s beloved balls, all cater to and welcome gay citizens and guests.

Saturday, 3 July, the Rainbow Parade will once again hit the streets of Vienna, making it the 15th edition. In keeping with tradition, this colorful march will saunter though the City Park, via the University, Town Hall Square and the Parliament to Schwarzenberg Platz, where people will be able to enjoy multiple acts and performances carried out by prominent names on a gigantic open-air stage.

* http://www.hosiwien.at/regenbogenparade/