• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma OpenData


As an applicant and a permit holder you are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit.

Terms and Conditions of Special Event Permits

Application Submission Does Not Guarantee Permit Issuance
By submitting your application you accept the established process of the City of Tacoma Special Events Office and understand that the final issuance of a permit is not guaranteed by application submission, insurance provision or payment of the application processing fee. An internal department and external agency review team will assess the application, make recommendations and approvals, and may, if deemed appropriate, withdraw an application from processing for lack of information, conflict of interest or conflict with other established events.

Minimum Requirements for Special Event or Master Film permits include providing general liability insurance, adherence to the City's noise abatement laws, following standard pedestrian and traffic laws, and assurance of the safety of participants, attendees and the general public.

Insurance Requirements

Generally speaking and with some exceptions, the event organizer must possess or obtain comprehensive general liability insurance naming the City as additional insured and in a combined single limit of at least $1,000,000 and submitted to the Special Event Office at least 30 days prior to the event.

Noise Abatement Program
The City has restrictions on noise, and questions about whether or not your event will need to comply should be directed to Craig Kuntz, Planning & Development Services Building Inspector. ckuntz@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 594-7820.

Applicants and organizers must be certain that all event activities comply with the local laws applicable to noise abatement. Please be advised that loud and unreasonable noise (including music) is a violation of Chapter 8.12.060 of the Tacoma Municipal Code. A police officer may determine that noise during your event is offensive to others and may require you to stop the noise. Also, the police may order musical entertainment to cease because it may incite a crowd to become unruly and risks injury.

Obey Standard Pedestrian and Vehicular Traffic Laws
Whether you close a street or use a sidewalk you and your event participants must adhere to all applicable laws. Special events are subject to all rules, laws and ordinances. An issued permit does not constitute a waiver by the City of any laws or ordinances that may apply to the permitted event or any activities associated with the permitted event. Your event may require the presence of traffic safety monitors--these can be hired personnel or volunteers. Instructions will be provided by the Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant.

The Special Events Office will conduct public notice for events that close a street, or that have substantial impact to a surrounding neighborhood. However, the applicant is required to contact residents and businesses within a reasonable radius* regarding details of the special event.
*The Permitting Authority has discretion to determine the size of the reasonable radius based on factors including the event size and its impact on surrounding properties. Please contact the Special Events Office if you require assistance with the notification identification and samples of letters.

Other Requirements May Apply

Additional Fire Department Special Event Permits
Your event may require additional permits from Tacoma's Fire Department. Find out which permits your event must obtain by calling (253) 591-5740, or by going to the department's Operational Permits webpage.

Fire Department Special Event Permits Frequently Asked Questions

Traffic Control Plan (TCP) 
Applicants are responsible for the creation of their traffic control plan (TCP), if it applies to their event. The Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant will consult with the applicant to determine the safest street closure, right-of-way barricade, and/or other key pedestrian and vehicular changes. TCPs are submitted by the applicant to the City and are reviewed and approved by our Traffic Engineer. Samples of TCPs can be found on GovMe.


As the City, we do not promote any single business, but we are able to provide a list of those businesses we know are able to provide the service you may require. Go to the Resources & Links page for more information.

Use of Off-Duty Police Officers
In some cases the Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant will determine event applicants are required to hire off-duty police officers to monitor the event. Police fees range starting at $75 per hour, with a minimum of three hours per officer.

         Green Events in Tacoma

        Events with more than 1,000 participants and events hosted by the City of Tacoma are required to participate in the Green Event Program. The City’s goal is to foster sustainable events with minimal impact on the environment. Learn more about the Green Event Program, including opportunities for in-kind event support.

Disposable Plastic Bags Banned at Special Events 

After July 12, 2017, any corporation, including street fair and festival vendors, that sells or provides merchandise, goods, or materials is no longer able to provide thin plastic checkout bags (less than 2.25 mils) and must collect a pass-through a fee on recycled paper and other retailer provided checkout bags. Hot or cold prepared foods are exempt. For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/shoppingbags.

Waste Management Services
Depending on the size and location of your event, you may be required to supply portable restrooms and trash and recycling receptacles—use this helpful chart to find out if this applies to your event. Environmental Services (ES) Event Support might be available for material goods or in-kind services, such as garbage, recycling and portable toilets. To receive ES Event Support, events must by not-for-profit and achieve Green Excellence status through the Green Event & ES Event Support Program. Find out more here or call (253) 591-5172. 

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
For temporary food establishment rules and regulations, and how they apply for permits, contact the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department at (253) 649-1703.

City of Tacoma Tax and License Department 
For information about multi-vendor business licensing for events like the one you are doing (similar to farmers markets). (253) 591-5252, and describe your event—how they proceed will depend on multiple factors.

Metro Parks Tacoma
If you will be using either a park or a structure operated by Metro Parks you’ll want to contact them to reserve it. Find information about their Facility Rentals on the Metro Parks website. If you need assistance finding out if your chosen location is a Metro Parks, or a park managed by another entity, you can call the Special Events Office at (253) 573-2523.