Block Parties and Play Streets

Updated June 2024

Block parties and Play Streets are a fun and easy way to build community and get to know your neighbors. Gather your neighbors to hold a block party in your street or turn the street over to the kids for play! These simple, neighborhood-scale street closure permits allow closure of a neighborhood street to thru traffic. Best of all, the permit is free. 

Some closures exceed the thresholds we have established for block parties and play streets and are not allowed under this permit. The block party/play street program is intended for neighborhood- scale gatherings. If your street closure event exceeds the following thresholds, it cannot be permitted as a block party/play street. Check out the Street & Sidewalk Activities page to see permitting options for larger street closure events: 

  • Attendance is expected to exceed 100 people at any point in time 
  • Vendors (other than a permitted food vendor) are a part of the event 
  • Event includes alcohol sales 
  • Closure exceeds one block 
  • Closure request is on an arterial street 

Just refer to the following steps:

Step 1: Getting Started

Step 2: Talk to Your Neighbors

Step 3: Apply for your FREE Permit

Step 4: Prepare to Close the Street

Step 5: Safely Close Your Street and Have Fun!

Step 6: Clean Up and Remove Barricades

Step 1: Getting Started

Make sure your play street 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:
    • If there is no line-dotted or solid-running along the middle of the street, it is most likely a non-arterial street.
    • The map linked above shows non-arterials as grey and arterials in other colors
  • Not on a street that buses run on or an emergency vehicle route
  • Planned to occur between 9:00 AM - and dusk (or until 9:00 PM if dusk is later than that), including setup/cleanup
  • Food is allowed at block parties/play streets. The participants can provide it, or another idea may be to have a food truck vendor at your street closure. Tell the vendor to apply for a Street and Sidewalk Activities permit so they can have temporary permission to sell food at your event!

When planning the setup of your event:

  • Check out our street closure templates (full and partial) and street closure checklist! You must complete the street closure template and include it when applying. 
  • Furniture, structures, and equipment in the street should be easy to move immediately if emergency access is required.
  • Large structures like temporary stages, and bouncy housesare not allowed under this permit. 
  • Make sure to follow the City Noise Ordinance. As long as music isn't loud enough to disrupt nearby neighbors and ends before 9 PM, you're most likely following the rules. 

If you'd like to see a comprehensive list of current street closures, check out the below map:

Street Closures

Step 2: Talk to Your Neighbors

We encourage you to communicate with your neighbors before applying for a permit. Coordinating 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. You can also identify people who are able to volunteer to help make your event a success! You can use these flyers to notify your neighbors.

An image of the post card announcing plans for a play street closure.

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


We are applying for a free permit from the Seattle Department of Transportation to close our street for some outdoor fun and recreation in our street! The street closure will only restrict through traffic. All local traffic, including neighbors, visitors, deliveries, and emergency vehicles, will still be able to access the street. We are thinking of requesting (day/days of week) between (start time) and (end time), beginning on (date) and ending on (date).

Before we submit our application, we would like to know what you think of this idea and whether you have any questions we can answer. Please let us know by (date) if you have any questions or concerns about this. You can contact us at (email address and/or phone number).


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Step 3: Apply for your FREE permit

Try to submit your application at least 14 days before your first event.  Applications received less than 14 days prior to the event date may not be processed by the requested date.

When you are ready to apply, head to the Seattle Services Portal by using the button to the right to login! Note: if you've never used the Portal before, you'll need to register and set up an account first. See this helpful registration article or video on how to do this. Once you are logged in, follow the steps below or check out the instructions in this article:

  • 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, your proposed dates and times (or if a recurring closure, the recurring days and times), a brief description of your planned activities that will happen in the street, and what part of the street you wish to close (half block closures are also allowed).
  • Fill out and upload the appropriate street closure template:

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Step 4: Prepare to Close the Street

As the permit holder, you are responsible for procuring the required signage and barricades as shown on the approved street closure template uploaded to the permit's Documents tab. We also have a Street Closure Checklist to help you prep!

Barricade Basics

  • At the ends of your closure, set up barricades no more than 6' apart and connect them with streamers or rope
  • Place barricades behind the extension of the sidewalk to make it easy for people to cross the street
  • If you are adjacent to an arterial street, you must use Type 3 barricades (a quick internet search will show you some places to rent Type 3 barricades).
  • If you are adjacent a non-arterial street, you may use Type 2 barricades or household items like personal trash bins or furniture that are at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Signs, too!

  • Play Streets and Block Parties abutting arterial require no-turn signs and Type III barricades as shown on the approved street closure template.  The permittee is responsible for renting or purchasing these traffic control signs. 
  • Install a 36"x24" "STREET CLOSED" sign at the center of the street on your Type II/III barricade as shown on the approved street closure template. 
  • Here is a PDF version of the sign that you can either print yourself or at a print shop. If you're not printing at a print shop and don't have a printer that can print on this scale, you can still print this PDF, but will need to assemble the sign. You can find  instructions on how to print the sign for assembly here.
  • Consider posting  King County Public Health signs at the entrances on either side of the street closure.
  • Print informational signs to inform others why the street is closed.
  • Signs should be attached to a barricade a minimum of one foot above street grade to be easily visible to drivers.

Borrowing Play Street and Block Party Signs

Your Play Street or Block Party requires signs at both ends of your block to let drivers know that the street is closed. You can follow the instructions to print your own signs, or you can now borrow our Play Street and Street Closed signs to make your event look more official. Please follow the same instructions for displaying these signs as you would for those you make.

To borrow the signs, you need to show proof that you have a permit. After your event, please return the signs within a week. This way, other residents can use them. You will receive two Play Street signs and two Street Closed signs, one for each end of the block. Note: these signs are not reflective, so don't use them after it gets dark.

You can email us at to borrow them directly from us. Once we confirm that the signs are available, our staff will get in touch with you to set up times for you to pick the signs up from the Seattle Municipal Tower lobby.

If your Play Street will end after sunset, you need retroreflective materials so the barricades are visible.  

  • If using Type 2 or Type 3 barricades:  These are already retroreflective.
  • If using household items: These must be marked with retroreflective tape. Household items must have a minimum of two 3-inch-wide retroreflective bands on all sides, placed 2 inches from the top of the item an with a maximum of 6 inches between the bands.  You can still use the standard Street Closed sign; feel free to outline it in retroreflective tape if you'd like! Please reach out to, or tel:206-684-ROAD for any questions or help. 

Recycle Bin w/ Retroreflective Tape

Example of a household recycle bin with retroreflective tape on it.  

If you need help getting appropriate barricades for your street, we have limited financial resources and may be able to offer assistance. Please email us at  to learn more.

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Step 5: Safely Close Your Street and Have Fun!

It's hard to have fun if you're worried about the safety of your children and friends, so make sure you close the street before you begin! Set up your barricades and signs. Agree on which adult(s) will monitor the barricades. At least one adult must be visible from both barricades and on-site at all times to quickly move the barricades for local traffic. Remember -- local access, deliveries, and emergency vehicles are allowed to enter the closure. The success of the program and safety of your neighbors relies on hosts being alert and responsive to their needs.

A 20-foot fire lane must be maintained at all times, so only easily movable equipment should be on the street. Any large objects that cannot be easily moved are not allowed in the street or on the sidewalk. That's why we don't allow bouncy houses under this permit. Ok, NOW it's time to have fun!

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Step 6: Clean Up and Remove Barricades

When your event is over, please make sure the street is empty of equipment and any activity debris. Clean-up is a great activity to share with all the people who participated! Be sure to remove the barricades and signs and reopen the street to through traffic. 

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  or tag us on X at @SeattleDOT!

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National Night Out

Night Out is a special event that happens every year across the country. In Seattle, the Seattle Police Department's Crime Prevention team organizes it.

Night Out takes place on the first Tuesday night in August. If you want to participate in Night Out, you don't need a permit from us. You can sign up on the Night Out website.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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