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How to apply to host a public event in Boston

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You may need permits from several departments to host an event in Boston. You start the process online, and then meet with us.


Before you get started

Anyone hosting an event on public property or on outdoor private property needs to apply. Whether the event is free or ticketed, open to the public, or invitation only, it doesn’t matter — you still have to apply.

Public events include road races, block parties, festivals, and parades. Some events may include entertainment, games, food, and beverages.

To hold a public event, you may need to get permitted through several departments at the City. Give yourself plenty of time to apply. You must apply at least 30 days before a big event, or two weeks before a smaller one.

Please note:

Apply to host a public event online

Please submit a public event application. If this is your first event with the City, you will need to set up an online account. Remember to write down your username and password.

Public event application

When you apply online, you need to give us some general information about your event and include some other documents:

  • If you’re holding your event on private property, we need to see a copy of your rental agreement.
  • If you will be using a cleaning contractor at your event, please give us a copy of your contract.
  • If you need insurance for your event, we also need a copy of the insurance policy.

After you apply online, you’ll get a call from us on how to move forward with your event. We’ll also let you know about any other permits or services you might need. We’ll also either set up a meeting with the public event committee, or you’ll have to meet with individual departments at the City.


Get your information together

You need to get some additional information about your event for your meeting. At a minimum, you need to produce a detailed site plan that clearly indicates all components of your event. The site plan should consist of:

  • handicap, pedestrian, and fire access points
  • the sizes of stages or tents you plan to use
  • the type of equipment and generator you will use, and
  • the location of outdoor vendors and toilets.

You’ll also need to show us that you have permission to use the site, depending on the location of your event:

If this is the first time you are holding the event, we need to see letters of support from the local community and businesses.  You may reach out to the Office of Neighborhood Services for assistance with setting up the community meeting. We also created a page that details some of the permits you may need from City departments for a public event:

Common public event permits


Go to your meeting

Please bring all your event documents to your meeting. Please note meetings are currently being held on Virtual Conference.  If you have to meet with the public event committee, the committee holds meetings at:

1 City Hall Square, Room 802
Boston, MA 02201
Office hours
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Apply for permits and submit your application

At your public event committee meeting, you will be given a checklist of permits and documents you need to get for your event. After you get your permits together, you need to submit your public event application with copies of the permits listed on the checklist to: 

Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing
1 City Hall Square, Room 809
Boston, MA 02201
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
You can also email us at:

If you have any questions regarding the special events process, please email or call 617-635-2673.

The Consumer Affairs and Licensing Office issues the final permit for your event. Please keep in mind:

  • You must submit your public event application and permits at least five days before the event.
  • Before you submit your public event application, the application must be signed by the Police Captain listed on your checklist.
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