Sidewalk Seating

What We Do

We encourage the installation of sidewalk seating to increase public space use, enjoyment, and safety. Properly designed and managed seating can make an area more walkable, add vitality to the street, and promote local economic development. Sidewalk cafés and tables-and-chairs setups are integral forms of right-of-way seating.

Specifically, we:

  • Guide people through the design and review process for sidewalk cafés
  • Facilitate the permitting process for:
    • Sidewalk cafés - businesses may provide table service and may serve alcohol, with the appropriate license issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board; seating is for the exclusive use of the business and, unless the business is participating in the fence-free pilot, requires a railing.
    • Tables and chairs - businesses may place tables and chairs in the sidewalk space adjacent to their business; no table service may be provided and seating is open to the public

As long as sufficient pedestrian clearance is provided, you may situate your sidewalk café in a variety of locations, including directly in front of the sponsoring business, in the center of large sidewalks, abutting the curb, or in a plaza. For more detail on required clearances, please see the diagram provided in our sidewalk café permits information sheet.

For information on converting a parking space near your business into a public or customer seating area, please visit our Parklets and Streateries page.

Questions about sidewalk seating? Email publicspace@seattle.gov or visit us in person at the Street Use permit counter.