When is a Permit Required?
A special event permit is required for most temporary outdoor events with an estimated number of participants and spectators of 75 or more during any day of the event and involves one or more of the following activities on public property or on private property, where otherwise prohibited by law:
1. Closing of a street, not including Block Parties.
2. Blocking or restriction of public property.
3. Sale of merchandise, food or beverage.
4. Erection of a tent 400 square feet or larger.
5. Installation of a stage, band shell, trailer, van, portable building or toilet, grands tand, or bleacher for public use.
6. Placement of temporary no-parking, directional, over-size or identification signage or banners.
7. Use of the City Hall Plaza.
8. Block Parties in a residential area are permitted through Street Services, go to our Resource Page for more information.
Applications are required no less than 45 business days prior to the event. Submission of an application does not guarantee permit issuance.
Please Note: Per FAA Policy, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVA’s) or drones are not permitted in Class B Airspace which encompasses the entire downtown Dallas area and beyond. UVA’s, drones and model aircrafts with cameras attached are strictly prohibited in Class B Airspace unless granted a waiver from the FAA.
A Special Events Permit is not required for events at the Dallas Convention Center, Fair Park, and property under the sole control of the Park and Recreation Board. However, if an event takes place at one of these locations and requires a street closure, a Special Events Permit is required.
- Complete the application in its entirety and submit the application with the applicable processing fee no less than 45-business days prior to the event date. Incomplete applications and applications submitted under the 45-business day timeline will not be accepted.
- To complete the application the following is required:
- Event Site Plan
- Parking Plan for participants
- Route Map / Traffic Plan for street closures (create your map here)
- Number, sizes & location of tents
- Stage type, location & dimensions including height
- A Preliminary Letter will be sent to the applicant outlining the requirements for the event.
- Upon receipt of the completed application, the Office of Special Events staff forwards a department review sheet to various city departments for final review and approval.
- According to Dallas City Code, the citywide departments are required to have no less than 10 business days to submit their approval/denial of the permit request.
- Depending on the type of event, the applicant may be required to obtain additional permits or licenses. Contact information for other permitting agencies is available in the Resource Guide.
- Upon final approval and review by the Special Events Manager, a permit is issued and includes certain conditions and/or restrictions for which the applicant will be responsible to meet.
The submission of the Special Event Permit Application must be online and required no less than 45 business days prior to the event date. Applications submitted under this timeline will not be processed.
If your event is Walk, Run or Parade, you are required to attach a Route Map upon the submission of your application outlining each street that will be affected. Your application will not be processed without the Route Map.
To utilize City Hall Plaza, located at 1500 Marilla Street, you must complete the Special Event Permit Application and submit to the Office of Special Events. You may use the City Hall Plaza diagram and attach to your special event permit application as your event site plan. All Venue Maps are available here.
Special Event Permit Processing Fee
0-200 people – $30
201-400 people – $50.00
401-800 people – $75.00
801-1000 people – $100.00
1001-20,000 people – $250.00
Over 20,000 people – $500.00
Application Changes – $40.00 per change
Applications are required no less than 45 business days prior to the event. A late fee of $40 is applied to all applications submitted less than 45 business days prior to the event. Submission of an application under this timeline does not guarantee a permit.
Processing of the Application will not begin until receipt of the Processing Fee.
All fees are payable to the Office of Special Events in the form of a Money Order or Check. Credit/Debit Cards are also accepted by faxing a complete credit authorization invoice to 214-939-2709 or payment made in person at our office. All fees are non-refundable.
Note: Changes to the original application will ONLY be accepted from either the applicant or emergency contact in writing. No changes to the application will be made within 14 business days of the scheduled event date. Applications without payment or missing information cannot be processed which may delay and/or prevent the actual issuance of the permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Special Event” means a temporary outdoor event or gathering, using either private or public property, in which the estimated number of participants and spectators exceeds 75 during any day of the event and that involves one or more of the following activities: closing a public street; blocking or restriction of public property; sale of merchandise, food or beverages on public property or on private property where otherwise prohibited by ordinance; erection of a tent; installation of a stage, band shell, trailer, van portable building, grandstand, or bleachers; placement of portable toilets (unless designated for construction purposes); or placement of temporary no-parking, directional, over-size, or identification signs or banners in or over a public right-of-way, or on private property where otherwise prohibited by ordinance.
1. For which activities are special events permits needed?
Parades, runs, walks, carnivals, festivals or any events that include the criteria listed above will require a special event permit.
2. Are there circumstances under which I should get a permit even though my group has fewer than 75 people?
Yes. Events erecting tents larger than 399 square feet, erecting a stage, or utilizing portable toilets (unless being used for construction purposes) or any of the items listed above will require a special event permit even if the attendance is below 75 people.
3. Can I get my application fee back if I don’t get what I requested, if it rains, if I decide not to hold my event, etc.?
The application fee is not refundable. Nevertheless, in case of inclement weather, you may be able to reschedule your event within 30 days subject to approval by the Office of Special Events.
4. Will I get everything I ask for in my application?
While we do try to accommodate our clients’ requests as much as possible, it is sometimes necessary to offer the applicant different times, locations, or dates for events, due to the volume of requests, conflicting events, or other unforeseen circumstances.
5. May I hold my event on a major holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day)?
You may be able to hold your event on a major holiday depending on the availability of police presence, event location, and conflicts with other events. The Office of Special Events and the Dallas Police Department will make a determination if there are not enough resources to ensure public safety during any holiday period.
6. May we erect a tent and/or hang signs or banners at our event?
You must inform the Office of Special Events on your application if you plan to hang signs or banners at your event. This information must be included in the final permit. No signs or banners can be affixed to trees or fences. To hang street pole banners, a permit must be obtained from the Banner Permit Coordinator at the Office of Special Events. Other banners must be coordinated through the Building Inspections Department. Contact information for permitting departments can be obtained.
7. Will I need any other permits to hold an event?
Yes. Depending on the type of event, other permits may be needed. When an application, has been filed with the Office of Special Events, contact information will be provided to clients for any departments they may need to reach to obtain additional permits.
8. Will I receive permission to have amplified sound at my event?
Not necessarily, there are restrictions on where, when, and how we can grant permission to apply for amplified sound. The Special Event Permit abides by the ‘noise’ guidelines set forth by Chapter 30 of the Dallas City Code.
9. Do I have to have insurance?
If your event exceeds 2500 participants/spectators, you will be required to have Commercial General Liability insurance. Liquor liability insurance is required of all events selling or serving alcohol regardless of attendance amounts. Other instances that may require insurance are animals at the event, fireworks, amusement rides, etc. The Special Event Manager may require additional insurance for a special event if such additional insurance is recommended by the city’s risk manager as being necessary for the protection of the city or the public health, safety, and welfare.
10. How do I get a permit to sell something at my event?
You must apply for a temporary vendors permit from the Environmental and Health Department by calling (214) 670-8083.
11. We are a non-profit organization. Can the event permit fee be waived?
The permit fee is an application-processing fee, and therefore, everyone is required to pay. All processing fees are non-refundable.
12. How do I apply for a permit to close a street?
Contact the Office of Special Events at (214) 939-2701. Street closures for residential block parties are permitted through the Public Works and Transportation Department (214) 670-5896. Block Parties over 200 participants are considered Special Events and must move out of the residential area and to commerical property or a park. For more information on residential block parties, visit the Other Resources tab from the home page.
13. Do I need a Special Event Permit to stage a protest or demonstration?
Protests, demonstrations, and rallies are considered a First Amendment right; therefore, a Special Event Permit may not be issued for these types of events. Organizers are asked to contact the Office of Special Events to verify that no events are scheduled in the areas where protests are being planned and to ensure public safety precautions are in place.