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Event Permitting

Many events take place in the City of Carlsbad each year, from major invitational sporting events to community-based festivals. Typical events include runs, walks, triathlons, festivals, parades, block parties, fireworks and bike tours. One of the functions of the Parks & Recreation Department is to provide permits for events on city property (e.g., city streets, Agua Hedionda Lagoon, The Shoppes at Carlsbad parking lot). Through the process, an organizer must work with the city while planning an event.


The City Council has adopted a Special Event ordinance (Chapter 8.17 of the Carlsbad Municipal Code) to define and establish special events. Events requiring a special event permit from the Parks & Recreation Department may include:

  • 50 or more people on public property.
  • Any event which does not comply with normal or usual traffic and parking regulations or controls.
  • Any event which involves the use of, or has an impact on, other public property or facilities and the provision of city public safety services in response thereto.
  • Any event which is not within the scope of a Parks & Facility Use permit, other land use approval or private property permit.

Special event application process

The Special Event Application must be submitted at least 90 days and not more than two years in advance of the event. At least nine to 12 months ahead is a preferred timeline for most events.

Review the Special Event Reference Book prior to completing the application. It serves as a guide and details the process, the requirements and ensures all necessary elements of the event have been addressed.

Once an organizer submits a Special Event Application, the Special Event Coordinator and the Special Events Committee will review the permit application and notify an organizer of the next steps to follow. An application packet is available upon request.   


Some events within the city may require a different process:

  • An event contained in a city park or facility may only need a facility use permit. Contact the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department before pursuing a special event permit: 760-602-7510.
  • An event on the beach may only need a permit from California State Parks. Contact California State Parks before pursuing a special event permit: 619-688-3385.
  • An event on private property may need a private property special event permit (Application) issued by the Community & Economic Development Department: 760-602-2721. Submit application a minimum of thirty(30) days prior to event to: Mike.Peterson@carlsbadca.gov or Bldginspections@carlsbadca.gov.