PLANNING YOUR SPECIAL EVENT


IN THIS SECTION

Selecting an Event Date and Time

Existing Annual Events

Special Events Calendar

Stadium Games and Events

Citywide "Gray Out" Days

Rush Hour Drive Time Restrictions

Selecting an Event Location

Parks & City Facilities

Streets

Waterways

Private Property

Neighborhood Outreach

Special Events Office Assistance


Selecting an Event Date and Time

When selecting an event date and time, you will want to consider what other events will occur on the same day. This will help you decide (1) if there may be competition for event audience or participants, (2) if there will be adequate City resources (such as Police staffing) for your event, and (3) what coordination or partnership opportunities exist between you and other similar or same-day event organizers.  

Existing Annual Events 

Most annual special events take place on about the same day or date each year.  For example, events associated with a particular holiday, like Independence Day, may always occur on July 4.  Other events may always be held on the a specific week's Saturday of a particular month.   

Applications are processed on a first-come, first serve basis.  However, annual, traditional, or City sponsored events will have preference for a particular date, time, or location over a new event or event requesting a date change.  In such cases, the City will work with the event organizer to identify ways to make the event possible (if possible) at a different date, time, or location.  

Special Events Calendar 

Use the current or previous year's online Special Events Calendar to identify events on the dates you're looking at.  Event organizer contact information is included with the details for each event.  

Stadium Games and Events 

Large athletic events, such as Seattle Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks, or UW Husky Football and any large concerts or other types of events held in stadiums require substantial Police services. Check the team and/or venue calendars to assist with your planning 

CenturyLink Field

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field

Key Arena

Seattle Storm 

UW Husky Football

Citywide "Gray Out" Dates 

The City of Seattle has identified some dates that will be challenging for City services to support additional events. You may still propose one of these dates, but approval may be difficult, depending on event needs.  

May 1 - Annual May Day rallies and marches 
Last weekend of June - Seattle Pride 
July 4 - Independence Day 
Last weekend of July - Seafair Torchlight Parade 
First weekend of August - Seafair Weekend

Rush Hour Drive Time Restrictions 

Use of arterial streets in Seattle, including all public streets in the downtown core, are restricted during weekday peak traffic hours. It is rare that an event can gain approval to close a street or cause any type of traffic control during these hours: Monday-Friday 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM.   

Selecting an Event Location 

Parks & City Facilities 

Seattle Parks and Recreation manages a 6,200-acre park system of 400+ parks and extensive natural areas. Parks provide athletic fields, tennis courts, play areas, specialty gardens, and more than 25 miles of boulevards and more than 120 miles of trails. Parks also manages many facilities, including community centers, swimming pools, environmental learning centers, boating centers, and more. 

See Parks for more information and resources. 

Streets 

As Seattle continues to grow, the regular and special use of City streets and right-of-way increases. Special event organizers are strongly encouraged to avoid or limit the closure or use of City streets whenever practical. If a street closure is required, you should carefully consider the type and location of street, the volume of traffic, and the businesses and residences that will be impacted. 

See Street Use for more information and resources. 

Waterways 

Seattle's public waterways, including lakes, bays, and canals, act as venues for many special events, including activities such as swimming, rowing, sailing, and more. Special event organizers should consider the type of waterway, access locations, regular boating traffic, and surrounding businesses and residences when planning for a water event. 

See Waterways for more information and resources. 

Private Property 

Special events that occur solely on private property may not require a special event permit.

See Activity Requiring a Special Event Permit for more information.  

Neighborhood Outreach 

Early discussions with businesses, residents, and/or neighborhood groups can help to ensure that your event is met with support. The Special Events Committee emphasizes minimizing neighborhood and traffic disruptions, so early discussions with your neighborhood can help you to identify and address any potential issues.  You will be required to notify the neighborhood (businesses, residents, business associations, neighborhood association) during the permitting process, so it is never too early to begin building those important relationships.  

Special Events Office 

The primary purpose of the Special Events Office is to coordinate the permitting process. While we do not maintain referral lists of specific venues or vendors, we are happy to meet with you during your planning phase to discuss the permitting process and to offer general guidance on selecting location, routes, time of day, date, and other event planning. Call or email the Special Events Office to set up an appointment, preferably 6 months or more before your proposed event date.