Special Event Permits
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all special events permitted in the City of Alexandria must adhere to public health guidelines issued by the Office of the Governor of Virginia. Additional information is also available from the Virginia Department of Health. All event organizers are required to upload a completed Public Health Guidelines Plan with the completed site map when completing the Special Event Permit Application in APEX. More information for how to complete the Special Event Permit Application is below.
The City of Alexandria is waiving Special Event permit fees through Friday, December 31, 2021. Event organizers will still be responsible for paying direct costs incurred by the City, such as costs of city staff time to support the events. Only special events scheduled through Friday, December 31, 2021, will have permit fees waived. Special Event Permits will be issued pending availability of dates, times, locations, city staff, and/or resources needed to support the event and organizers must meet all permitting requirements to receive a Special Event Permit.
The City of Alexandria is committed to facilitating a wide range of special events that highlight the diverse communities within the City. The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities manages the special event permitting process for events throughout the City.
Per City Council, only the south lawn of Waterfront Park may be reserved for events not produced by the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities, Office of Historic Alexandria, and Visit Alexandria.
For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will contact you.
What is a Special Event?
According to the Special Events Policy, a special event is a short-term activity that requires special permitting needs and/or support from City staff, such as Alexandria Police Department or Fire Marshal, or 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 the Registration and Reservation 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. Please read the Special Event Guidelines for information on the permitting process for Special Events.
The Department of 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.
Which parks can be reserved through Events & Public Space Activations for Special Events and weddings?
Events & Public Space Activations oversees park rentals for:
- Oronoco Bay Park
- EF Pier Gazebo
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.
Parks are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. No holds are placed on parks for potential events or weddings. See Waterfront District park rental guidelines.
To host an event at a recreation center, please contact the recreation center directly to reserve their space.
To reserve an athletic field or outdoor court, please submit the Athletic Field and Outdoor Court Request Form.
To host an event in a public area not listed above, please name the area in the Special Event Permit Application.
How to Apply for a Special Event or Wedding Permit
Apply for a Special Event Permit by submitting a Special Event Permit Application online. A valid email address and credit card to pay the $50 application fee are required. Only Visa and MasterCards are accepted as methods of payment. More information is available to help with submitting an online application. A short guide has been created to help complete the application. If you need in-person help submitting the application, you may visit the Permit Center and staff will be ready to assist you.
Applications should be submitted at least 6 months before the event date and applications for year-round permits are accepted by submitting a Special Event Permit Application online. A site map, which clearly show where tents, vendors, parking, any street closures and other elements of the event will be located, must be uploaded with your event or wedding permit application.
A permit application will not be considered without a site map. Refer to an example of a site map.
Events to be hosted at Market Square also require submission of a Market Square Application.
Any changes to site maps and applications must be submitted to the Special Event Permit Manager at least 5 weeks before the event or wedding date for written approval. Please call 703.746.5421 for assistance.
Event and wedding organizers may be required to submit some or all of the forms below. The Special Event Permit Manager will notify each organizer if the forms are necessary to complete the permitting process.