Special Event Permitting Update

Posted September 22, 2022.

City of Seattle will suspend intake of new Special Event permit applications starting Monday, October 17, 2022, through Sunday, December 4, 2022.

Beginning Monday, October 17, 2022, the City of Seattle Special Events Office will temporarily stop accepting new Special Event permit applications for eight weeks to conduct a review and revision of the current permit workflow. Among improvements this eight-week pause will provide is the ability to reliably issue Special Events permits at least two weeks before the event date. The partial closure will also allow the city to re-design and implement other needed improvements such as: customer service and communication, and internal workflow and communication processes with the dozen or so departments and agencies that participate in the Special Events permit program — such as the Office of Economic Development, Seattle Police, Seattle Department of Transportation, Department of Neighborhoods, King County Metro — so that the permitting system works better and more efficiently for everyone.

Annually, the city's Special Events Office permits nearly 400 large scale events such as community gatherings, concerts and citywide athletic events. Over the past decade, new technology programs have become commonly used, new types of events have been invented, and new internal city processes have been implemented. While small adjustments have been made as needed, the permitting system needs a systemic review and revision to catch up with and better incorporate the past decade of changes.

What should I do if I have an event which needs a permit?

For events that take place between October 17, 2022, to January 31, 2023, Special Events permit applications must be submitted no later than Sunday, October 16, 2022.

For events that take place February 1, 2023, and later, permit applications can be submitted by Sunday, October 16, 2022. Applications not received by October 16, will not be accepted until Monday, December 5, 2022, and after. The city requests applications be submitted 90 days before the proposed event date for proper review and processing.

What if I have already submitted a permit application before or by October 16, 2022?

Permit applications received before or by Sunday, October 16, 2022, will be processed as usual. The city is only suspending intake of new permit applications starting Monday, October 17 through Sunday December 4, 2022. All other program processes will continue as usual.

What if I have a Free Speech Event taking place between October 17,2022, and December 31, 2022?

Free Speech event permit applications will not be impacted and will be processed as necessary by law. Please submit your Free Speech event permit application as soon as possible.

For more information, special event organizers can reach out to the Seattle Special Events Office at specialeventsoffice@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-8993.

Posted March 8, 2022.

The Special Events Office is accepting all applications for events that require a Special Event Permit.

Regarding COVID-19 mitigation requirements for outdoor public gatherings and events:  

  • As of March 1, 2022, the King County health order requiring vaccination or negative verification for outdoor public gatherings of 500 or more is ended. There is currently no requirement for verification at outdoor public events. For more information visit this Seattle King County Public Health page: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/current-guidance/verify.aspx  
  • As of February 18, 2022, the King County health order requiring masks to be worn at outdoor public gatherings and events ended, in alignment with the WA State outdoor mask mandate. For more information visit this Seattle King County Public Health twitter post: https://twitter.com/KCPubHealth/status/1491586917850234880

About the Office of Special Events

The City of Seattle plays a strong role in helping event planners bring people together safely and successfully in both city-wide and neighborhood events. Within this site are guidelines and requirements, event calendars, and contact information.

During both good and difficult times for the City of Seattle, special events help build a sense of belonging and community pride.

Special events such as fairs, arts, art-centered performances, festivals, concerts, sporting activities and others, bring people together from different backgrounds and different neighborhoods throughout the city. Together our citizens share a day, a week or an hour of transformation, laughter and fun. Special events weave the fabric of our community by creating opportunities to interact, celebrate, enrich people's lives, promote inclusiveness, and stretch imaginations.

Special events build family traditions, opportunities to participate, inclusiveness and unique experiences. Special events provide a chance for neighbors and strangers, big communities and small groups to interact and have common experiences.

It is important that the City of Seattle play a strong role in encouraging and helping events that bring the community together to take place safely on its streets and in its parks. These events encourage and support the interaction of neighbors, friends, families and strangers in addition to providing positive economic impact. It is essential that the City of Seattle encourage and support the safe interaction of neighbors, friends, families and strangers through the shared experience of special events. Special events create wonderful memories and provide the bonding that every community needs for economic and emotional growth.

As a dynamic city, Seattle has many constitutionally protected free speech events. One purpose of these guidelines is to assist event organizers in exercising their constitutional rights balanced with the City's right to regulate the time, place, and manner of special events in order to protect public health and safety, to reduce adverse impacts on the public places and neighboring areas, and to protect the rights of other users of our public places.

The Seattle Special Events Office processes applications for review by the Special Events Committee and the City's Special Event Coordinator serves as your primary contact with the Seattle Special Events Committee.