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Planning Guide

The Special Event Planning Guide has been developed as a reference tool to provide event organizers with information essential to hosting public events in the City of Santa Barbara. This guide contains essential information regarding rules, regulations and additional permitting requirements that vary depending on the elements and activities that will be incorporated into the event.

Cover of Special Events Guide

View special event planning guide as a PDF

While it is recommended that event organizers review the entire planning guide, links to the most commonly referenced topics can be found below as separate PDF files.:

Accessibility Requirements

Alcohol Served on City Property

Amplified Music and Sound

ATM Machines

Cancellation Policies

Event Cleanup

Fees, Fines, and Payment Deadlines

Food and Beverages at Events

Generators and Utilities


Insurance and Indemnification Requirements

Mandatory Meetings

Neighborhood Notification

Ocean Activities

Parking and Transportation

Permit Approval Criteria

Permit Denial, Revocation, and Appeal Process


Site Plan and Route Maps

Street Closures


Trash and Recycling

Vendors at Events

What Is a Special Event?

Additional permits and compliance items issued by other City departments or County, State and Federal agencies may be required as a condition to obtain a Special Event Permit from the City of Santa Barbara. The proposed event location, infrastructure, size and elements determine these additional requirements. In most cases these additional requirements have an associated cost.  Please review the Planning Guide section titled “Special Event Permit and Compliance Items” for more information. 

Special Event Permits and Compliance Items

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2021
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