How to Get a Permit/License

You need to apply for a City License in order to hold an outdoor event, open a gallery, close a street or sidewalk, be a street performer, serve food or liquor to the public, be a street vendor, install signs or hanging banners, install a sidewalk display, host a block party, an event at the Inner Harbor or in a city park.  In short, just about anything you want to do in the public realm requires a permit.

Different departments have different procedures.  Fortunately, the city has a central permit information site on the city website – .  Identify the type of permit you need for your event or activity, click on that link and it will take you to the department information you need to successfully complete the permitting process.  Each department has its own process and procedures, so don’t assume that because you’ve gotten a building permit before, you know the process for an event permit.  Remember that all permits require fees and take from 2 – 10 weeks to process, depending on the type of permit you require.

The following permits are the most likely to be the ones you would need for an event or activity:

  • Food Permits
  • General Services Permits – Hang signs, banner, etc.
  • Liquor Permits
  • Recreation and Parks Permits – Park, ball field & Inner Harbor use
  • Special Events – Festivals, block parties, mobile events
  • Business Permits
  • Street Vendor

The Street Performer permit process has been simplified.  You need to apply for the permit at the City Department of Revenue, located at 200 N. Holiday Street, Room 3.  The permit has a one-time fee of $25.00.  There are no designated locations for street performers, except that city-licensed street performers are not allowed to perform at the Inner Harbor.  The Waterfront Partnership has their own program for performances at the Amphitheatre, Bicentennial Plaza, and Pier One. You can contact Waterfront Partnership at

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