It's that time of year again: Sunday, one of the nation's largest gay pride parades will take over the streets of Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood -- but things are being done a bit differently this time around.
The Chicago pride parade's 2012 route has not only gotten longer, but has also moved slightly north (and east): The parade is set to step off from Broadway and Montrose, continuing down Broadway before turning south on Halsted, east on Belmont, south on Broadway and, finally, east on Diversey to Cannon Drive.
The parade will, per tradition, begin at 12 noon and will be grand marshaled by Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson. If you can't make it in person, the parade will be streamed live online by Gay Chicago TV in collaboration with ChicagoPride.com.
Last year some 500,000 spectators are estimated to have taken in the parade, packing largely into a radius of only a few blocks of Halsted. Parade organizers this year hope the longer, adjusted route will make for a smoother ride for parade-gazers and participants alike.
In case you need a break from the action, we've rounded up 11 of our favorite spots along the new parade route that may meet your varying needs -- throughout the parade day and beyond.
Don't forget to check out our Pride Month Guide, which offers up a number of Pride Parade weekend alternatives including the Dyke March and the Neo-Futurists' queer take on their "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind." Happy Pride, Chicago!
Photo by whitneyinchicago via Flickr.
<strong>4181 N. Clarendon Ave.</strong> <br> With parties the proceeding night lasting into the wee hours of the morning, you'll probably need a jumpstart of the good stuff. This is one of HuffPost's favorite Chicago coffee-slingers. <br> Photo: Facebook
Corona's Coffee Shop & Cafe
<strong>909 W. Irving Park Rd.</strong> <br> If you slept in and need a quick nibble to go with your caffeine fix, we hear Corona's has some out-of-this-world paninis and breakfast wraps. <br> Photo: Facebook
El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill
<strong>3906 N. Broadway St.</strong> <br> Need something heartier to carb load for a long day of parade-gazing and booze-grazing? El Mariachi opens at 11 a.m., at which time you can commence imbibing their jumbo-sized margaritas and indulging in their table-side guacamole and chips. <br> Photo: Facebook
<strong>3919 N. Sheridan Rd.</strong> <br> Afraid you'll miss Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Gov. Pat Quinn's early parade cameo? Grab a tray, a pair of tongs and pretend you're on "Supermarket Sweep" at this Sheridan El stop-area bakery by snatching as many freshly-baked sugary goodies as your heart desires to-go. <br> Photo: -Tripp- (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/trippchicago/4319512346/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr</a>)
Center On Halsted
<strong>3656 N. Halsted St.</strong> <br> Need a quick air-conditioning break? Want to grab one of the city's many free area bar guides? <em>(Forget to pack a condom in your parade fanny pack?)</em> Stop in at the city's beautiful Center On Halsted and saunter over to the adjacent Whole Foods if you'd like to choose between 20 flavors of coconut water to jumpstart your busy Sunday. <br> Photo: Victory & Reseda (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/resedabear/2272902108/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr</a>)
Tulip Toy Gallery
<strong>3459 N. Halsted St.</strong> <br> Forget a little something else in your parade-going kit? Tulip has you covered. <br> Photo: Facebook
<strong>3241 N. Broadway St.</strong> <br> Still in need of a cool down, not to mention a little something sweet? Travel a block north of the parade route's right turn off Belmont onto Broadway and slurp up some delicious gelato. <br> Photo: Special*Dark (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/allthingschill/15587455/sizes/o/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr</a>)
<strong>2917 1/2 N. Broadway</strong> <br> Did you already dust off that bottle of champagne you were going to bring as a host gift to your pal's post-parade soiree? We're huge fans of this East Lakeview gift shop. Because nothing says "I'm sorry" better than local independent artists' creations. <br> Photo: Facebook
<strong>2940 N. Broadway Ave.</strong> <br> So, the parade is winding down and you're in need of a little post-parade, mid-afternoon, pre-after-party grub. We still dream almost daily about this Asian fusion's fantastic bi bim bop and Korean burritos. <br> Photo: Facebook
<strong>2945 N. Broadway Ave.</strong> <br> Looking for some lighter fare? (If you happen to be shirtless, that "food baby" will show, afternoon.) This artisan shop serves up phenomenal sandwiches and has a great olive bar as well. <br> Photo: Facebook
<strong>500 W. Diversey Ave.</strong> <br> If the glitz and glamor of the parade left you salivating for a nice dive bar with plenty of pinball machines and board games to take your mind off possibly pandering politicians, Galway Bay should do the trick. <br> Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/uberzombie/2402901637/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">uberzombie</a> (Flickr)