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This page will help you understand the steps to hosting a street and sidewalk event in San Francisco. It is a resource from the Office of Small Business, San Francisco's central point of information for small businesses.

Choose a location

Choose a location

Before you decide on an event location, talk with community stakeholders about what you plan to do and why. Getting support from the surrounding neighborhood (merchant groups, neighbors, cultural district leaders, etc.) prior to the event is important.   

  • For an event on public park property, find out about guidelines through SF Recreation and Parks 

  • For an event at a Pier or the Ferry Building, find out more about holding special events at the Port of San Francisco  

  • To close a street on a recurring basis (either weekly or monthly), apply for a Shared Spaces Permit 

  • For any other street closure, including a festival, street fair, farmers market, etc. apply for a Special Event Street Closure at least 30 days in advance 

    • This includes events that may close multiple blocks and intersections, may impact Muni service, and may include the sale of goods and services 

    • Notes: Street fair applications are due at least 90 days in advance of the event 

    • Note: Non-profit service providers holding a non-commercial event may be eligible for a fee discount. Merchant groups/associations are not eligible for this discount. Contact specialevents@sfmta.com  

Submit a Special Event Street Closure application

Submit a Special Event Street Closure application

Start the application process early. The earlier you apply, the cheaper the application fees. 

All Special Event Street Closure applications are reviewed by the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT) which is made up of representatives from various City Departments that regulate events. ISCOTT meets twice a month to review applications, and public hearings must be noticed to the public ahead of time.  

Once your application is approved, the ISCOTT process will guide you through the different permits you need. Do not contact individual Departments about permitting prior to getting an ISCOTT permit.  

Consider what will happen at the event

Consider what will happen at the event

At the ISCOTT hearing, applicants describe their event purpose, location, and activities, and then respond to any questions from the Committee and the public. Consider the following questions to determine what special permits you may need: 

  • Will there be a stage, large tent, bleachers, carnival rides? 
  • Will there be outdoor entertainment requiring amplified sound?  
  • Will food be sold or served? Will there be multiple food vendors?  
  • Will alcoholic beverages be sold or served? 
    • If so, permits from the CA Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) are necessary. Read about the ABC application process and you will need to work with your local Police District Station.  
  • Will any activities or food vendors require propane or butane, open flame, combustible liquids, air-inflated structures, etc.?  

Additional Considerations

Additional Considerations

Have a trash management strategy. Check with SF Environment for detailed information on holding zero-waste events. 

For most events, and particularly larger events and events with alcohol, you will be required to contact the special events officer at the district police station for the location of the event at least one month before the event, if possible.