Guide to Opening a Pop Up

Guide to Opening a Pop Up

Is your pop up going to be inside or outside?

Review the rules and steps for outside events here.

Do you know where the pop up will be located, or do you have a location in mind?

Contact the Santa Monica City Planning Division to determine if the use is allowed in the desired location or if you need a Temporary Use Permit. If required, complete the Temporary Use Permit Application and submit to the public counter at the Permit Services Center.

Review our available spaces map for options.


Will you be doing any build out/construction?

Consult the second box in this guide and contact the Building and Safety Division to determine whether you will likely need a building permit. To get a building permit, you will need to complete one of these two applications:

If you do need a building permit:

  • You must also get sign off from the Fire Department.
  • The applicant or contractor must have the right verification and a Santa Monica business license to pull the building permit (though not to initiate the process).
  • If your project consists of more than 1,000 square feet in area or has a valuation of $50,000 or more, you also must complete a C&D Waste management Plan and upload to ProjectDox for review by the Resource Recovery and Recycling Division. Put "N/A" for sections that do not apply and focus on the first and last pages. Indicate that the project is a pop up or temporary use in the project description.

Will you need to use public space for loading in/out or construction?

Do you plan to put up signs?

Consult the sign code (see in particular the temporary signage regulations) and/or contact City Planning to determine what is permitted. Rules about signage vary depending on the amount of time you plan to keep the sign up for, the size of the sign(s), and the space.


If your signage is all decals, then you just need approval from City Planning. If you are putting structural signs out on the facade, then you also need approval from the Building and Safety Division.

Will you be hosting an event in the space?

If you expect 15 or more people to line up for an extended period of time on the Promenade or more than 20 people elsewhere, alert the Santa Monica Police Department. This is especially important if you are bringing a DJ or celebrity or will have people waiting overnight. If your event includes alcohol, an additional permit may be required. 

Complete the In Store Event Notification Form.

Will you be doing any vending (tickets, merchandise, food, etc.)?

If you are vending in Santa Monica, you must have a business license before you begin operating. Complete the Business License Application.