Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More Home Page This Department
Link to OED Home Page Link to OED Home Page Link to OED About Us Page Link to OED Contact Us Page
Start, Grow, or Green Your Business Stephen H. Johnson, Director
Business Owners Business Districts Key Industries News and Resources
Letter from the Mayor
How to Use This Guide
Abbreviations Used in This Guide
Hints for Successful Business District Improvements
Beautification Projects
Flower Planters
Holiday Lighting
Metro Bus Shelters
Public Art
Street Trees
Clean and Green Seattle Initiative
Enhancement Projects
Street Furniture
Pedestrian Lighting
Bicycle Racks
Newspaper Boxes
Office of Economic Development
Neighborhood Matching Fund
Forming a Business Improvement Area
Grant Programs
Services to Businesses
Litter Cans
Sidewalk Cleaning
Spring Clean
Street Cleaning
Street Paving
Building/Fire Code Violations
Managing Parking
Public Safety
Street Light & Power Line Repair
Alley & Security Lighting
Crime Prevention
Emergency Preparedness
District Identification Signs
Traffic Controls
Use of Public Areas
City Parks
Sidewalk Cafes
Street Vendors
Additional Information
Neighborhood Business District Support
Business Dists., Merchants Assns., Chambers of Commerce
Community Development Corporations

Create a Thriving Business District


Street vendors can add to the character and interest of a neighborhood. The vendors outside of Safeco Field before a game enhance the pre-game excitement and provide valued goods.

Vendors must obtain a street use permit, which requires the permission of abutting property owners and businesses.

The City also gives permits to qualified non-profit organizations to vend merchandise which contains the organization’s political, religious, philosophical or ideological message at selected locations, on city sidewalks or within city parks. This type of vendor is considered a “First Amendment vendor.” If you have questions call Annual Permits at (206) 684-5267, or see Client Assistant Memo 2501 for Street and Stadium Vending guidelines (pdf file).

Certain types of street vending are also allowed in the vicinity of Safeco Field and the Seahawks Stadium during events. All other vending is illegal, except on private property. This is enforced by the Seattle Police Department .

Frequently asked questions:

Exactly what is “public right-of-way ?”

Public right-of-way is the street area from the property line on one side of the street to the opposite property line.

Are vendors required to have a permit?

Yes, they must have an annual street use permit, which is issued and regulated by the Seattle Department of Transportation. The permit specifically identifies one vending location and requires consent of abutting property owners and businesses. Vending is limited to food, flowers and non-alcoholic beverages.

Can merchandise or services be sold in street carts?

Only immediately consumable items can be sold legally, unless it is merchandise that falls under the First Amendment vending category (see above).

What if our district gets too many vendors or we have other complaints?

Call Annual Permits at (206) 684-5267 and relay your concerns. Noise complaints should be registered with the local police precinct.

Benefits and challenges of street vendors:


  • Adds a human touch and charm to the street.
  • Can slow down shoppers as they walk, which can help attract them to your store.


  • Can make sidewalks seem cluttered and reduce pedestrian traffic flow.
  • Can take business away from established merchants.