Public Event Guidelines

These guidelines have been developed for any person or group that wants to conduct a public event in the City of Boston. A public event is an event opened to the general public; it can be held on public or private property; it may feature entertainment, amusements, food and beverages; it may be classified as a road race, block-party, festival, fundraising party, or parade.

A public event in the City of Boston, depending on the size and nature of the event, may require a number of permits from various departments within the City before being officially approved. In order to assure that the City, as well as the public event applicant, has as much information as needed before beginning the permitting process, the City requires the applicant to sit down with the public event committee prior to the scheduling of their event.

Minimum Requirements

The applicant must provide the following completed documentation for the special events committee at their scheduled meeting:

Check (25)A Public Event Application.

Check (25)A detailed site plan showing the following: all handicap, pedestrian and fire access; dimensions of stages and tents; and type of equipment or generators & placement of any vendors and any outdoor toilet facilities.

Check (25)You will need to prepare an itemized list and cost analysis of city services proved to you by Transportation, Boston Fire, Boston Police, Boston EMS, and Inspection Services Department (Building, Health, Electrical Inspectors).

Additional Requirements

Depending on the nature of the event, any of the following may be required:

Check (25) Private Site Permission

If the site of the event is privately owned:

  • A letter from the landlord giving the applicant the right to use the property is required.

Check (25) Public Site Permission

If the site of the event is publically owned:

  • Park - If the event is to be held in a park, you will need to submit a Special Event Application to the Boston Parks Department.

    Special Events Permit Application

    You may submit the Special Events Permit Application to:

    City of Boston Parks & Recreation
    1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor
    Boston, MA 02118

  • City Street - If the event is to be held on a city street that needs to be closed to host the event, you will need to submit a Street Closing Application from the Boston Parks Department. Please contact the Parks Department at 617.635.4505 to request an application.

    You may submit the Street Closing Application to:

    City of Boston Parks & Recreation
    1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor
    Boston, MA 02118

  • Road Race, Walk, Bike Ride, or Parade on City Streets - Provide the following information to the Boston Transportation Department:

    • The name of the group sponsoring the road race or parade

    • The date of the event

    • The route that the road race or parade will take

    • The formation point for participants

    • The starting time

    • The expected number of participants

    • The name, address and daytime telephone number of the organizer.

    You may submit this information to:

    City of Boston Transportation
    1 City Hall Square, Room 721
    Boston, MA 02201-2026

Check (25) List of Event Features
  • Entertainment - If the event is featuring entertainment, you need to list all performances.

  • Rides and Games - If the event is featuring amusement rides, you need to list all rides and games.

Check (25) Letters of Support

If this is the first year of your event, you will need letters of support from local community and business organizations.

Further Assistance

Public Event Regulations

  • Reminder - Filing Dates

    Note: the applicant is responsible for filing their application in a timely manner; at least 30 days in advance for larger events and at least 14 days in advance for smaller events. Non-compliance may result in a denial of the application.

    View All Regulations