Block Parties and Play Streets

Permit Counter Temporary Closures

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we closed our public-facing customer service counters on Monday, March 16. Our counters remain closed until further notice. This includes both the Street Use and the Traffic and Parking permit counters at the Seattle Municipal Tower on floors 23 and 37. We are still processing permit applications. Please read the instructions below on how to apply for a permit.

For construction use in the right-of-way and street improvement permits, please e-mail your completed application to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov.

For major utility permits, please e-mail your completed application to SDOTUtilPermits@Seattle.gov and be sure to use the subject line: Permit#_ProjAddress – UMP New Application / Modification Application

For all other permits, please apply online through the Seattle Services Portal.

Our staff will be available to provide application coaching and assist with issuing permits by phone. Click here for information on how to pay permit fees.

Block parties are a fun and easy way to build community and get to know your neighbors. You can host block parties on non-arterial streets throughout the city - even right outside your own home! Best of all, the permit is free and easy to obtain.

Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Plan your block party

Make sure your block party is:

  • Free and open to the general public.
  • No greater than one block long and does not include an intersection.
  • On a non-arterial street. You can find your street type here. (Pro-tip: If there is no line—dotted or solid—running along the middle of the street, it is most likely a non-arterial street.).
  • Is not on a street that buses run on.
  • Occurs between 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM (including setup/cleanup). Music or amplified sound must follow the City Noise Ordinance. As long as music isn't loud enough to disrupt nearby neighbors and ends before 10 pm, you're most likely following the rules.

If you plan on having food and drink at your block party, please note:

  • If you want to have vendors (such as a food truck) at your party, you will need to apply for a street and sidewalk activities permit instead of a block party permit.  
  • Under a block party permit, you can BBQ or potluck with your neighbors. Make sure to follow King County Health requirements.
  • For alcohol in the street, review requirements of the Washington State Department of Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). Alcohol may be allowed if you qualify for a WSLCB Banquet Permit. Otherwise, keep alcoholic drinks on private yards and property.
  • The sale of alcohol and cannabis at a block party is not permitted.  

When planning the set up of your block party:

  • Furniture or structures in the street should be easy to move immediately if emergency access is required at your event. 
  • Temporary stages, bouncy houses, or other structures are not allowed under a block party permit. Please apply for a street and sidewalk activities permit instead.   

Step 2: Talk to your neighbors

We encourage you to speak with your neighbors before applying for a permit, and you won't need to notify them again before your event. Talking with your neighbors in advance may also help you select dates that don't conflict with another neighbor, who may have visitors or a construction project planned the same day that will bring extra vehicles to your street. 

Once your permit is approved, you are required to notify your neighbors at least 2 days before the event unless you've already notified them of the block party. 

You can use these full-sized door hangers and flyers to notify your neighbors.

A sample flyer for closing a street for a block party or play street. A sample door hanger that you can use for outreach

If you plan to reach out to your neighbors by e-mail or online, here's a sample e-mail or post for you to use:

Sample Email or Post

Hi Neighbors!

We are applying for a free Block Party/Play Street permit from the Seattle Department of Transportation to host a neighborhood party (with [activities, i.e. bike riding, snacks, water balloon fight, dancing]), and we would like to get your input on the proposed days and times before submitting. We are thinking of [day/days] between [start time] and [end time]. Please let me know in the next few days if you have any concerns or questions by contacting me at [email address, phone number, or street address]. It's important to note that this will only restrict through traffic. All local traffic, including neighbors, visitors, deliveries, and emergency vehicles, will still be able to access the street. We hope you can join us!"

Step 3: Apply for your FREE permit

Submit your application at least 7 days before your first event. When you are ready to apply, head to the Seattle Services Portal by using the button to the right to login!

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use"
  • Select "Short Term Use" and "Block Party" record type.
  • During the application, you will need to provide the host contact information, a date and time (or if a recurring block party/play street the recurring days and times), planned activities happening in the street, and what part of the street you wish to close.

Step 4: Prepare your barricades and signs

You must provide barricades at both ends of your street closure. The barricades must:

  • be connected by rope or streamers,
  • be spaced five feet apart and
  • be at least three feet tall.

An example of a play street closure using trash bins, streamers, and signs closing the street.

Depending on your street, you may either use personal trash bins or furniture as your barricades, or you may rent barricades them from local providers.

"Road Closed to Thru Traffic" or “Play Street” signs must be placed at the ends of your closure. These can be picked up at the Street Use permit counter or at your local City of Seattle Customer Service Center.

We encourage you to make or print informational signs to inform others why the street is closed. Here is an example, but feel free to make your own! 

Street Closed sign example showing people playing

If you need help getting appropriate barricades for your street, we may be able to offer financial assistance. Please email us at publicspace@seattle.gov to learn more.

Step 5: Safely close your street and have fun!

Close off your street by setting up the barricades and signs. During the event, an adult monitor must be visible from both barricades and on-site at all times to quickly move the barricades for local traffic (including residents, visitors, deliveries, and emergency vehicles).

A 20-foot fire lane must be maintained at all times. Any large objects, like a bouncy house, that cannot be easily moved are not allowed in the street or on the sidewalk.

Step 6: Breakdown your event

After your event you will need to clear the area of all equipment, pavement markings, and debris and all borrowed signs and barricades must be returned.

We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share what went well, ideas for improvement, or photos from your event. Feel free to email us at publicspace@seattle.gov or tag us on Twitter at @SeattleDOT!

Night Out

Night Out is a national event held annually in August that is promoted in Seattle by the Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention team. We do not issue permits for these events. Please visit the Night Out web page to learn more.