Vending Permits

Is a Vending Permit all I need to become a vendor?

Vending in public spaces requires more than just a Street Use vending permit. To start your new vending business, you will first need a City of Seattle business license from Seattle’s Finance & Administrative Services Department. Depending on your business type, you may also need a food permit from the King County Health Department or a Seattle Fire Marshal permit (for use of open flame, wood, or charcoal to prepare food).

In Seattle right of way, vendors are permitted to sell food and/or cut flowers only. This limitation expands for vending in authorized stadium areas, and for organizations exercising first amendment rights (read more on our vending program page).

A Street Use vending permit allows you to use the specific location you identify; and the vending decal you receive must always be prominently displayed, to avoid fines and penalties. If you intend to vend on property managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation, you will need to obtain a Park Use permit.

There are four main categories of food and flower vending:

  • Sidewalk or Plaza Vending – allowed at specified sidewalks (vending carts only) and public plazas (vending carts and food vehicles) during daytime and/or nighttime hours.
  • Curb Space Vending
    • Designated Food-Vehicle Zone – food vehicle vending allowed at SDOT-designated curb spaces; may recur weekly at specific times in daytime and/or nighttime hours.
    • Temporary Curb Space Vending – food vehicle vending allowed in conjunction with an event located on either private property abutting the curb space or in a public place.
  • Stadium and Event Center Vending – vending of food, merchandise, services, nonalcoholic beverages allowed in the authorized Stadium Event Vending Area
  • Mobile Food Vending – mobile vending of food exempt from a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit allowed in a public place (not location specific)

Note: Insurance requirements are associated with permitting vending activities. Our client assistance memo on Certificates of Liability Insurance (CAM 2102) has more details. Please also review our Vending Fee Schedule to learn about fees associated with our vending permits.

If you have a business plan with an approved City of Seattle business license, you may be ready to apply for your Street Use vending permit! Click the button on the upper right to start filling out your application.

Applications may be submitted by email; through postal mail; or in person at the Street Use Permit Counter.

Permit status or application review

You can find information on the status of curb space, sidewalk, mobile, and stadium permits using SDOT’s new Vendor’s Bulletin tool:

  • View all SDOT-permitted vending sites
  • Locate sites by permit status: accepting applications, approved, active, in comment permit, expiring soon, renewed, and currently in lottery
  • Search sites by vendor, neighborhood, day of the week, and expiration date

Download the Vendor’s Bulletin spreadsheet, updated every Monday and Thursday afternoon. It opens in Microsoft Office Excel. If you do not have Microsoft Office Excel, you can download the open-source Calc, or email annualpermits@seattle.gov to request a PDF version.

Use the blue buttons at the top of the spreadsheet to filter permit types.

Permits can be filtered by:

  • Neighborhood
  • Permit status
  • Day of the week
  • Vendor

For example, to see food vehicle permit types, click on the Food Vehicle button. To clear the filter, click on the red X at the upper right corner of each set of buttons.

Comment on a vending permit application

You may submit written comments concerning Street Use permit applications to SDOT. Please make sure that your comments are postmarked or emailed to SDOT no later than 10 business days after the first day of the public notice period.

Please send your comments by letter or email to:

Seattle Department of Transportation
Attn: Public Space Management Program
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

OR

publicspace@seattle.gov

Please include the permit number, your name and contact information, and the specific reason for your comment concerning an application.