Special Events

Page updated on Sep 22, 2019 at 12:15 PM

The City of Alexandria is committed to facilitating a wide range of special events that highlight the diverse communities within the City. Events & Public Space Activations is a unit within the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities, which manages the special event permitting process for events throughout the City and reservations for Oronoco Bay Park and Waterfront Park

Per City Council, only the south lawn of Waterfront Park may be reserved for events not produced by the Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities, Office of Historic Alexandria, and Visit Alexandria.

Click here for information about picnic reservations, parks, athletic fields, outdoor courts, and more.

Click here for information about booking a wedding.

Click here for Waterfront District park rental guidelines.

Click here for the Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Fee Schedule.

Click here for Recreation Center contact information.

Click here for a printable version of this information.

Calendar of Events & Activities 

City Concerts 

Parking in Old Town 

What is a Special Event?

A special event is an event that restricts public access to public space and requires special permitting needs and/or support from City staff, such as Alexandria Police Department or Fire Marshal. 

According to the Special Events Policy, an event must be permitted as a Special Event if it is a short-term activity on public property that, due to the anticipated number of attendees or nature of the event:

  • requires City services to ensure compliance with Federal, state, or local laws;

  • uses city owned or managed property such as public streets, sidewalks, parking lots, alleys, parks or any other city owned/managed open space;

  • completely or partially closes any public right-of way;

  • requires traffic control requiring City of Alexandria Police Department or Transportation & Environmental Services personnel;

  • impairs emergency vehicles access;

  • or requires attendance of Emergency Management Services personnel.

Family reunions, birthday parties, and picnics should make their reservations through RPCA’s Registration and Reservations Office at 703.746.5414 if the reservation is not in Oronoco Bay Park, Waterfront Park, EF Pier Gazebo, King Street Gardens Park, or Montgomery Park. Picnic areas are available for rental April through October, beginning March 1 of each year through the Registration and Reservation Office.

All other events, including parades, foot races, charity walks, fundraisers, concerts, outdoor film series, or festivals in any park, should submit a Special Event Permit Application.

Events & Public Space Activations; the Office of the Arts; and Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities is not responsible for activities immediately surrounding the vicinity of the area permitted for a special event or wedding. The Waterfront District is an active marina with continuous improvement projects that occur as scheduled or without notice.

What parks can I reserve through Events & Public Space Activations for Special Events?

Events & Public Space Activations oversees park rentals for:

  • Oronoco Bay Park

  • Waterfront Park south lawn

Community Parks cannot be reserved for private events, birthday parties, or activities. They are used on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click here for a list of Community Parks.

Parks are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. No holds are placed on parks for potential events or weddings. Click here for guidelines on holding events in Waterfront District parks.

If you would like to hold an event at a recreation center, please contact the recreation center directly to reserve their space.

If you would like to reserve an athletic field or outdoor court, please Click here to access the Athletic Field and Outdoor Court Request Form.

If you would like your event to take place in a public area not listed above, please name the area in your special event permit application.

How to Apply for a Special Event Permit 

You may apply for a Special Event Permit by submitting a Special Event Permit Application online. You will need a valid email address and credit card to pay the $50 application fee. Only Visa and MasterCards are accepted.

Applications should be submitted at least 6 months before the event date. You may apply year-round for a Special Event Permit by submitting an online application. Click here for the online application. You must upload a site map with your event application. The site map must clearly show where tents, vendors, and other elements of the event will be located. Please indicate parking and street closures on the map if you need them. 

Changes to site maps and applications must be submitted for written approval.

The Special Events Committee cannot consider a permit application without a site map. Click here for an example of a site map.

If you would like to use Market Square for your event, you will also need to fill out a Market Square Application.