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Your first step in planning an event is deciding what kind of event it should be. By the time you are ready to apply for the permit, you should be able to explain what the event is (e.g. parade, wedding, block party, outdoor concert, etc), who is expected to participate (e.g. families with young kids), number of attendees, when you would like to hold the event (e.g. date, times, etc) and who is the key contact to work with city staff to plan your event. 

Whether you are using an indoor site such as City Hall or a Community Center or an outdoor site such as a park, paseo, street or sidewalk, you should contact the staff managing the venues in advance to ensure the requested event date is available. For outdoor venues, the completed application must be received 45 days prior to the first proposed event day and for larger more complex events that require multiple permits or venue sites, we recommend that the completed application is received 90 days to 1 year in advance of the first proposed event day.  Please visit out planning tips page.

If you are proposing to close a City Street as part of your event location, consider the impact and benefit your event will have on the nearby community. In general, street closures affect traffic patterns several blocks beyond the event location and can be costly to manage.With advance planning and consideration to the community, successful event sites on public streets can be chosen.  Specific community and business outreach requirements for outdoor special events are found in the in the Special Events Guidelines.

Planning Tips

So you are planning an event in San Jose... there is a lot to learn, but we are here to help you through it all. We have compiled the following list from our experiences working with event planners over the years. Please, feel free to give us a call at 793.4344, if you have questions that are not answered by the website.

1. Start early! The sooner you can set the date and start gathering the requisite information, the sooner your permit will likely be issued and your event assured a site.
City-owned sites can be reserved up to one year in advance and in some cases even two years in advance.

The recommended permit process timeline has a 90-day period for permit review. The typical event process takes 45-60 days, but it is always better to allow for more time, rather than less. A special events application must be received a minimum 45 days prior to event.

2. Know your event! We have done our best to collapse about thirty application forms into one application form. While we might have to ask you to fill out more paperwork, it is our goal to get as much information from you on the One-Start Outdoor Special Event Application form as possible. Please submit a completed form along with any applicable fees. If you are not sure about a particular section, call us and we will try to help.

Make a written plan for yourself that includes: the event objective and type, timeline for the event (including post-event activities), a checklist, site research, contacts for permit approvals, contacts for outside vending services, personnel and equipment necessary to complete the event, contract copies, required deposits, etc.

3. Partner with adjacent businesses!
Partnering may take a variety of forms, such as dropping by to meet potential partners or working out a vendor agreement with them. It may save you time and money to have bottled water provided by an adjacent restaurant, and would also benefit the restaurant. (Please be sensitive to businesses when approaching them with invitations to partner)

4. Organize your event planning! Make a list of major tasks to be done and assign responsibilities. Make sure that someone is assigned to investigate the least expensive vendors for equipment. Triple check that your entertainment is booked for the event. Draw a site plan and use it for set-up. Market the event -- don't forget about community event calendars on-line (such as and

5. We are here to assist you! To ensure City staff can permit and provide services as efficiently as possible, submission of your completed Outdoor Special Event Application 45 days in advance of your proposed event date is required.