Special Event Permitting

This webpage is designed to help organizers navigate the process to obtain community support for special events that occur on public property. By following these guidelines event organizers can work with the community to build support for their event, a necessary step to secure a special event permit from the City of San Diego. Typical events includes runs, walks, fundraisers, festivals, parades; in other words, any event that will close off any part of a La Jolla public park or public street for a private, paid admission, or open to the public event.

For a primer on La Jolla’s community organizations see Community Links and La Jolla Recreation Councils.

City of San Diego

Permits are issued by the City of San Diego Office of Special Events. As your first step you should review their website:

General Information Events Already Permitted

As part of the application process and refining your proposal the city may require you to interact with a variety of city departments including Park & Recreation, Fire/Safety, Police, etc.


It is critical to reach out to those that might be affected by your event before you start the permit process. Examples include residents that might be affected by noise, traffic congestion or merchants affected by street closures. Working with those that may be impacted, addressing their concerns, and gaining their support will make your permit process easier. Reaching out to the chairs of the community organizations listed below can also facilitate the community review process.


If this is your first time putting on the event you need to start as far in advance as possible, six months is not too early, to develop your plans, to understand the city’s requirements and to start working with the community

Community Review

While seemingly complex, community review can be your friend. Community organizations provide a forum for the community to learn about your event and express their concerns about potential impacts. The organization will discuss your proposal and offer its recommendation. Organizations typically meet only once a month and need at least one to two weeks advance notice to be placed on their agenda. The days of simply showing up at a meeting unannounced to get a quick review and approval are long gone. Contact them when you are ready for community review. Keep in mind that depending on the community organization they can provide (a) a show of support or (b) a recommendation for approval to the city. The City of San Diego Office of Special Events is the decision maker on whether to issue a permit and they rely on evidence of strong community support.

Community Organizations and Jurisdiction

Events at La Jolla’s Public Parks, Shoreline Parks, and Beaches

La Jolla Park and Recreation, Inc. 
La Jolla Recreation Center

La Jolla Shores Association
Kellogg Park Laureate Park
Allen Field
Cliffridge Park

La Jolla Parks & Beaches Committee 
Scripps Park
Calumet Park
Cuvier Park/Wedding Bowl
All other shoreline parks
Starkey mini-Park
Via del Norte mini-Park
Bird Rock Park

Events seeking closure of a public street or reservation/closure of on-street parking

Step 1: La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board

Step 2: La Jolla Community Planning Association which makes a recommendation to the city under authority granted by Council Policy 600-24.

You should also seek support from the La Jolla Town Council, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, and/or the Bird Rock Community Council depending on the location and nature of the special event. Attending the meetings of these organizations can also help you spread the word about your event.

Submittal Requirements for Community Review

Generally community organizations will need to see the same information (event layout, hours, parking and detour plans, etc.) that you are submitting to the City. Some organizations (especially those overseeing parks) may have additional requirements. Events having significant impact on residences or merchants may be required to submit petitions demonstrating support for the event.

Decision Making Process

Each organization has their own process to determine whether to support a special event. They recognize that special events are organized for a beneficial purpose; further, special events by their scale and location on a public park or street will necessarily involve some impact to the public. Whether the impacts can be addressed or lessened and whether the impacts are a fair trade-off by the community for the special event is part of what organizations evaluate.

Shop Locally

While not a requirement we urge you to use La Jolla vendors, merchants, caterers, restaurants, etc., for your event to the maximum extent possible. If your event will draw from out of town we urge you to partner with La Jolla hotels, restaurants, etc, to create travel packages. There is no better way to give your attendees the “La Jolla” experience than by using La Jolla vendors