Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade
Street Performer's License



Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade Street Performer's License
by Sue Basko

One of the best places to street perform in all of the world is the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. The 3rd Street Promenade is a street that has been closed off from vehicle traffic for several blocks. The street is lined with mostly chain retail stores and restaurants; it is, in effect, an upscale shopping mall. The sidewalk and street have been nicely decorated and are kept very clean and in order. This is a place for visitors and tourists. This means what it usually does -- that money flows, famous people are there, and it's a good idea to be vigilant while having fun. While there is an ever-present security crew, I have seen brazen snatchings of purses and cameras from people at tables at outdoor cafes.

How to Get a License to Perform:
You have to apply in person and my understanding is that after you apply and qualify, you will  now get the license ONE day later.  

HOW TO APPLY, cut and pasted from this site:

Street Performer Permit


Applications for performance permits are accepted in person only at 1717 4th Street, Suite 150 from Monday to Thursday 8 AM to 5 PM and on alternate Fridays. Please see the City Hall calendar for alternate Fridays.

When applying, please bring with you the following:
  • The application form (which is also available in our office)
  • Two recent passport-type photographs (approximately 2 inches square) clearly showing your face, no hat or sunglasses on
  • Current photo ID such as a driver’s license or state ID card, passport, or student ID (expired identification will not be accepted)
  • The cost per permit is $37.00. The forms of payment we accept are Cash, Check, Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Each individual performer must have his or her own performance permit.  The permits are not transferable and you cannot apply for or pick up another performer’s permit.
Permits are usually processed within one business day.
When picking up your permit, please bring your valid photo ID.  The permits will not be released without identification.

Permits for minors younger than 16: 

A parent or guardian may obtain a permit for a minor younger than 16 provided that he or she also brings, in addition to the above documents and payment, a copy of a California Entertainment Work Permit.  These can be obtained at:

6150 Van Nuys Blvd., Room 100
Van Nuys, California, 91401
818-901-5484

Walk-in service (for the entertainment permits only) is available at 6150 Van Nuys Blvd. from 8 AM to 4:45 PM Monday to Friday.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL PERFORMERS MUST COMPLY WITH THE 
CITY OF SANTA MONICA'S MUNICIPAL CODE. 

Once a performance permit has been obtained, any questions may be directed to the Downtown Santa Monica, 310-393-8355.

The Santa Monica Municipal Code has these following sections that are pertinent. You should READ these carefully once before going out to perform:
6.112.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this Chapter, the following words or phrases shall have the following meanings:
(a) Charge. To require someone to pay a fee or to set, negotiate or establish a fee for a performance. Seeking voluntary contributions through passing around a hat, leaving open an instrument case or other receptacle, or soliciting donations after a performance is not a charge.
(b) Handcrafts. Objects made either by hand or with the help of devices used to shape or produce the objects through such methods as weaving, carving, stitching, sewing, lacing, and beading including, but not limited to, objects such as jewelry, pottery, silver work, leather goods, and trinkets. Handcrafts are not likely to communicate a message, idea, or concept to others, are often mass produced or produced with limited variation, and often have functional utility apart from any communicative value they might have. Handcrafts do not include visual art.
(c) Perform. To engage in any of the following activities on public property: playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, acting, pantomiming, puppeteering, juggling, reciting, engaging in magic, creating visual art in its entirety, or similar artistic endeavors. “Perform” shall not include: (1) the provision of personal services such as hair weaving or massage; (2) the application of substances to others’ skin, including, but not limited to, paints, dyes, and inks; (3) the completion or other partial creation of visual art; (4) the creation of visual art which is mass produced or produced with limited variation; or (5) the creation of handcrafts. This list of exclusions is not intended to be exhaustive.
(d) Performer. An individual who “performs” on public property to provide public entertainment. Indicia of being a performer include, but are not limited to, setting up performance equipment; staging or orienting the performance towards the public; performing in the same location for an extended period of time; performing in the public fora over multiple days; seeking voluntary contributions through passing around a hat or leaving open an instrument case or other receptacle; and soliciting donations after a performance.
(e) The Pier. The Santa Monica Pier, consisting of both the Newcomb Pier and the Municipal Pier, protruding from the Santa Monica State Beach at the southwesterly terminus of Colorado Avenue, and extending for approximately two thousand one hundred thirty-five feet into the Santa Monica Bay. The Pier is divided into three performance areas: the Center Performance area, the Breezeway Performance area, and the General Performance area. The boundaries of each of these performance areas are delineated in Exhibit A to Resolution Number 9704 (CCS), or any successor resolution thereto.
(f) Sculpture. A three dimensional work of art which is created through shaping solid material such as wood, stone, clay or metal by carving, modeling, or similar methods.
(g) Third Street Promenade. Third Street between the southeasterly line of Wilshire Boulevard and the northwesterly line of Arizona Avenue, and between the southeasterly line of Arizona Avenue and the northwesterly line of Santa Monica Boulevard and between the southeasterly line of Santa Monica Boulevard and the northwesterly line of Broadway.
(h) Transit Mall. The sidewalks on Santa Monica Boulevard and Broadway from the east side of Ocean Avenue to the west side of Fifth Street.
(i) Visual Art. Sculptures or drawings and paintings, applied to paper, cardboard, canvas, or other similar or technologically equivalent medium through the use of brush, pastel, crayon, pencil, stylus, or other similar object. (Added by Ord. No. 1888CCS § 1 (part), adopted 10/28/97; amended by Ord. No. 1949CCS § 4, adopted 7/20/99; Ord. No. 1959 CCS § 1, adopted 10/12/99; Ord. No. 1982CCS § 1, adopted 8/8/00; Ord. No. 2009CCS § 1, adopted 5/22/01; Ord. No. 2028CCS § 1, adopted 11/13/01; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 1, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2337CCS § 1, adopted 12/14/10)
6.112.040 Performance permit.

(a) To receive a performance permit, a person must complete and file with the City a performance permit application on a form approved by the City. The applicant must provide the following information:
(1) The applicant’s name;
(2) The applicant’s address;
(3) Proof of the identity of the applicant. This identification must contain a photograph of the applicant. Acceptable forms of identifications shall include, but not be limited to, a driver’s license, student identification card, or passport;
(4) A detailed description of the nature of the act to be performed;
(5) A detailed description of any instrument(s) or prop(s) which will be used by the performer(s);
(6) A minor under the age of sixteen shall provide a copy of an entertainment work permit issued to the minor by the Department of Industrial Relations of the State of California and shall identify the responsible adult(s) who will be with the minor at all times that the minor is performing;
(b) The performance permit will be issued annually commencing on January 1st of each calendar year;
(c) Upon receipt of a written application for a performance permit, a performance permit shall be approved within three business days of the filing of a fully completed application, unless one of the following findings is made:
(1) The applicant has knowingly made a false, misleading, or fraudulent statement of fact to the City in the application process;
(2) The application does not contain the information required by this Chapter;
(3) The applicant has not satisfied the requirements of this Chapter.
(d) In addition to requiring compliance with all provisions of this Chapter, the City may condition the approval of a performance permit on the applicant’s compliance with other provisions of the City’s Municipal Code which are applicable to the performance.
(e) The City may revoke or suspend a performance permit upon the commission of the second violation either of this Chapter or of permit conditions within a six-month period. In any such case, the permit holder shall have the right to appeal from a decision of the City to revoke or suspend any permit in accordance with Chapter 6.16 of this Code. A performer’s permit may be suspended for up to four months. If the performance permit of any performer is suspended, no new permit shall be issued during the period of suspension. Any revocation of a performer’s permit shall be for six months unless the performer previously had a performance permit revoked and the new violations of this Chapter or permit conditions relate to public safety, in which case, the permit shall be revoked for twelve months. No new permit shall be issued during a revocation period. The City shall establish administrative guidelines to assist in the implementation of this Section.
(f) No application for a performance permit or the renewal thereof shall be accepted unless the application is accompanied by a payment of a nonrefundable annual fee in an amount to be set by resolution adopted by the City Council.
(g) The performance permit shall include a photograph of the performer, shall not be assignable or transferable, and shall contain the permit number of the applicant and the year in which the permit expires. Each performer in a group shall obtain his/her own separate performance permit.
(h) A replacement performance permit may be obtained upon payment of a nonrefundable fee in an amount to be set by resolution adopted by the City Council.
(i) A performer shall clearly display his or her permit while performing, and shall allow inspection of the permit by any City police or fire official on request.
(j) The City Council may by resolution adjust the noise limitations established in this Chapter during public holidays.
(k) When an applicant requests a performance permit application, the City shall also give the applicant a document which summarizes the rules and regulations concerning street performances in the City. This document may be, but is not required to be, a copy of this Chapter. (Added by Ord. No. 1888CCS § 1 (part), adopted 10/28/97; amended by Ord. No. 1949CCS § 6, adopted 7/20/99; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 3, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2145CCS § 1, adopted 11/23/04)
6.112.030 Rules and regulations.

(a) Subject also to Sections 6.112.050 and 6.112.060, no performer may perform:
(1) Within ten feet of any bus stop;
(2) Within ten feet of any street corner or a marked pedestrian crosswalk;
(3) Within ten feet of the outer edge of any entrance of any business, including, but not limited to: doors, vestibules, driveways, outdoor dining area entries, and emergency exits, during the hours that any business on the premises is open to the public or to persons having or conducting lawful business within those premises;
(4) Within ten feet of the outer edge of any entrance to any residence;
(5) Within twenty feet of the outer edge of any stairs or ramp on the south side of the Pier;
(6) Within ten feet of the outer edge of the roadway leading to the Pier;
(7) On the wooden landing or wooden walkways immediately north of the Pier.
(b) No person may perform on the Third Street Promenade, the Pier, or the Transit Mall without first obtaining a performance permit issued by the City pursuant to Section 6.112.040 unless the performance is conducted on Monday through Friday prior to twelve noon and that day is not a holiday as defined in subsection (q) of this Section.
(c) A performer and the performer’s equipment may not block or obstruct the free and safe movement of pedestrians. If a sufficient crowd gathers to observe a performer such that the passage of the public through a public area is blocked or obstructed, a Police Officer or Fire Official may disperse that portion of the crowd that is blocking or obstructing the passage of the public. If a performer cannot conduct a performance in a location without blocking or obstructing the passage of the public, a Police Officer or Fire Official may cause the performer to leave the location or require that the performer relocate his or her equipment, but shall not prevent the performer from occupying another location in compliance with this Chapter.
(d) There shall be no charge for a performance. Money given for a performance shall be on a donation only basis. A performer shall perform whether or not the performer receives compensation for the performance. A performer may not charge a set fee for the performance or use aggressive measures to solicit donations. For purposes of this subsection, aggressive measures shall include: blocking or impeding the passage of the solicitee intentionally; touching the solicitee with the intent to intimidate or coerce; following the solicitee, going behind, ahead or along side of him or her, with the intent to intimidate or coerce; threatening the solicitee, by word or gesture, with physical harm; or abusing the solicitee with words which are offensive and inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
A performer shall not be required to obtain a vendor permit pursuant to Chapter 6.36 or a business license pursuant to Chapter 6.04. Other Federal, State, and local laws may apply to this activity and to sales, including, without limitation, local, State, and Federal tax laws. It is each performer’s sole responsibility to ensure that he or she is familiar with and complies with such laws.
(e) No performer shall construct, erect, or maintain any stage, platform, or similar structure for use during any performance unless the stage or platform:
(1) Is integral to the performance and the performance only takes place on the stage;
(2) Does not exceed four feet by four feet and one-quarter inch in height;
(3) Is removed from the public way when the performer is not performing;
(4) Has beveled edges.
(f) No performer shall use any knife, sword, torch, flame, axe, saw, or other object that can cause serious bodily injury to any person, or engage in any activity, including, but not limited to, acrobatics, tumbling, or cycling, that can cause serious bodily injury to any person.
(g) No performer shall use any generator, wet cell battery with removable fill caps, or any other power source that poses a fire or public safety hazard. No performer shall connect or maintain an electrical cord to an adjacent building or to a City power source.
(h) No performer may litter his or her performance site.
(i) No performer shall utilize or prevent the public from utilizing any public benches, waste receptacles, or other street furniture during the performance.
(j) No minor under the age of sixteen can perform unless the minor is at all times accompanied by a responsible adult eighteen years of age or older, has obtained an entertainment work permit issued by the Department of Industrial Relations of the State of California and maintains the permit in his or her possession at the time of the performance.
(k) No performer shall place any object on a public sidewalk which causes less than a four-foot contiguous sidewalk width being kept clear for pedestrian passage.
(l) No performer shall perform with more instruments, props, equipment, merchandise, or other items than the performer can reasonably transport and remove all at once within three minutes.
(m) No performer shall place his or her instruments, props, equipment, merchandise, or other items on a public sidewalk, public street, or public right-of-way for more than two hours without performing in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.
(n) A performer shall stay with his or her instruments, props, equipment, merchandise, or other items at all times that these items are on a public sidewalk, public street, or public right-of-way.
(o) No performer shall perform in contravention of the allowable noise standards established by Chapter 4.12 and Chapter 6.116 of this Code.
(p) No performer shall block or obstruct a curb cut.
(q) The following formula establishes the special performance hours that apply during specified holidays on the Third Street Promenade, the Transit Mall, and the Pier:
(1) If the holiday follows a weekend and the next day is a workday, then the holiday shall be treated as if it were Sunday and the day preceding the holiday shall be treated as if it were Saturday.
(2) If the holiday precedes a weekend, then the holiday shall be treated as if it were Saturday and the preceding day shall be treated as if it were Friday.
(3) If the holiday occurs during midweek, and is surrounded by workdays, then the holiday shall be treated as if it were Sunday and the day preceding the holiday shall be treated as if it were Friday.
The following is a list of holidays which trigger the application of this subsection: New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The City Council may by resolution add to this list of holidays.
(r) No performer shall perform outside designated performance zones on the Third Street Promenade and the Pier, as established by resolution of the City Council. (Added by Ord. No. 1888CCS § 1 (part), adopted 10/28/97; amended by Ord. No. 1949CCS § 5, adopted 7/20/99; Ord. No. 1959CCS § 2, adopted 10/12/99; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 2, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2075CCS § 1, adopted 5-13-03; Ord. No. 2304CCS § 1, adopted 1/19/10; Ord. No. 2337CCS § 2, adopted 12/14/10)

6.112.050 Special regulations for Third Street Promenade and Transit Mall.

In addition to the requirements of Sections 6.112.030 and 6.112.040, no performer shall perform in the Third Street Promenade or the Transit Mall outside of an enclosed building in violation of the following requirements:
(a) Except as provided in subsection (q) of Section 6.112.030, no performer shall perform except during the following time periods:
(1) Nine a.m. to eleven p.m. daily.
(2) Eleven p.m. on Friday and Saturday to one-thirty a.m. of the following day.
(b) No performer shall perform within sixty feet of any special event authorized by the City unless the special event encompasses one or more City blocks in which case the performance shall be conducted according to any administrative guidelines which shall be adopted by the City.
(c) No performer shall:
(1) Perform on the Third Street Promenade in any specific location or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in a north/south direction, for more than two hours in any six hour period. The time required to set up and to remove any instruments, props, equipment, or other items shall be considered part of the performance for purposes of this subdivision and subdivision (2) of this subsection (c).
(2) Perform on the Third Street Promenade on an even hour at the same location that he/she was performing on the preceding hour, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in a north/south direction.
(3) Perform on the Transit Mall in any specific location or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in an east/west direction, for more than two hours in any six hour period. The time required to set up and to remove any instruments, props, equipment, or other items shall be considered part of the performance for purposes of this subdivision and subdivision (4) of this subsection (c).
(4) Perform on the Transit Mall on an even hour at the same location that he/she was performing on the preceding hour, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in an east/west direction.
(5) Perform within ten feet of a vendor operating pursuant to or under the authority of an approved license agreement or within forty feet of any other vendor or performance.
(6) Perform on the Transit Mall at a distance greater than five feet from the outer wall of any building or any permanent extension of the building such as a planter box.
(7) Perform on the Santa Monica Boulevard segment of the Transit Mall within twenty feet of the Third Street Promenade. (Added by Ord. No. 1888CCS § 1 (part), adopted 10/28/97; amended by Ord. No. 1949CCS § 7, adopted 7/20/99; Ord. No. 1959CCS § 3, adopted 10/12/99; Ord. No. 2009CCS § 2, adopted 5/22/01; amended by Ord. No. 2028CCS § 2, adopted 11/13/01; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 4, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2075CCS § 2, adopted 5-13-03)
6.116.060 Special regulations for vendors on the Third Street Promenade and Transit Mall.

No person authorized to vend pursuant to Section 6.36.030(f) and (g), or any successor legislation, may on the Third Street Promenade or the Transit Mall:
(a) Vend on the Third Street Promenade in any specific location, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in a north/south direction, for more than a two-hour period in any six-hour period. The time required to set up and to remove equipment and material for vending shall be considered part of the time limit established by this subsection and subsection (b) of this Section;
(b) Vend on the Third Street Promenade on an even hour at the same location that he or she was vending on the preceding hour, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in a north/south direction;
(c) Vend on the Transit Mall in any specific location, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in an east/west direction, for more than a two-hour period in any six-hour period. The time required to set up and to remove equipment and material for vending shall be considered part of the time limit established by this subsection and subsection (d) of this Section;
(d) Vend on the Transit Mall on an even hour at the same location that he/she was vending on the preceding hour, or within one hundred twenty feet of that location as measured in an east/west direction;
(e) Vend within ten feet of a vendor operating pursuant to or under the authority of an approved license agreement or within forty feet of any other vendor or performer;
(f) Vend those items authorized by Section 6.36.030(g), or any successor legislation, unless that person is also performing pursuant to Chapter 6.112, the item vended is representative of the work being created during the performance, and no more than five such items are displayed at any one time. A performer/vendor may display these items from a table or cart, the performer/vendor’s instrument case, or attached to an easel which is used as part of the performance. If a performer/vendor displays items from a table or cart, all other requirements specified in Section 6.116.010 shall apply except that the performer/vendor shall be limited to utilizing one table or cart of a size not larger than four feet in width by four feet in length by three feet in height. Other Federal, State, and local laws may apply to this activity and to sales, including, without limitation, local, State and Federal tax laws. It is each performer’s sole responsibility to ensure that he or she is familiar with and complies with such laws;
(g) Vend on the Transit Mall at a distance greater than five feet from the outer wall of any building or any permanent extension of the building such as a planter box. (Added by Ord. No. 1949CCS § 12, adopted 7/20/99; amended by Ord. No. 1959CCS § 6, adopted 10/12/99; Ord. No. 2028CCS § 7, adopted 11/13/02; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 9, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2075CCS § 7, adopted 5-13-03; Ord. No. 2145CCS § 6, adopted 11/23/04; Ord. No. 2337CCS § 6, adopted 12/14/10)




Click to read about: