When the sun comes out, many fitness fiends are itching to swap the studio for the fresh outdoors. As a fitness business owner, chances are you’re already planning ahead to take them there (no matter the season!). But before advertising your al fresco bootcamp or sunset yoga session, you’ll first need to touch base with your city’s Parks and Recreation department to apply for a permit that allows you to host outdoor classes in a legal and sanctioned way.

While every city has different channels in place for obtaining such permits, a few general rules about hosting classes in public parks include avoiding areas specifically dedicated to a use (think playgrounds, dog parks or a running track) and leaving the park just as you found—with nary a paper cup or elastic band left behind. Exchanging money in a city space is a big no-no, so you want all reservation transactions paid for ahead of time as well.

 

AUSTIN

Permit Type: Commercial Use of Dedicated Parkland Permit

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Texas driver license; general, auto, professional liability, and workers compensation insurance; CPR certification; First Aid certification

How to Submit: Email to reservations@austintexas.gov; mail to Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Attn: Events Office, 200 South Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78704-1046

Fees: $50 per trainer per six months (January to June, July to December); an additional monthly use fee of $0.45 per client, when a trainer serves more than four clients per day–capped at $1,500 per trainer, per six month permit period

Permit Length: Six months

 

ATLANTA

Permit Type: Private Business in the Park

Application: Schedule an appointment with Parks and Recreation Special Events Manager Adrienne Wright to apply for the permit in person by emailing her at parksreservationist@atlantaga.gov or calling her at 404.546.6757 ext. 0

Application Requirements: General liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming Atlanta as additional insured

How to Submit: In-person with Parks Reservations office (233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 1600, Atlanta GA 30303)

Fees: $1,500 per year per park

Permit Length: One year

 

BALTIMORE

Permit Type: Programming Permit

Application: Call or email the Permits Office to request an application: 410.396.7070, parkpermits@baltimorecity.gov

Application Requirements: Submit at least 6 to 8 weeks in advance; general liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming Baltimore City Recreation and Parks as additional insured

How to Submit: Email to parkpermits@baltimorecity.gov; mail to BCRP, Attn: Permits Office, 3201 Boston St., Baltimore, MD 21224

Fees: $35 application fee; permit charges $15/hour, $50/hour on weekends, plus $5/participant; $75 application fee for Inner Harbor

Permit Length: BCRP only allows five dates per application, but the trainer can submit more than one application at a time to extend the life of their program. However, they cannot permit more than one year out.

 

BOSTON

Permit Type: Special Event Permit

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 14 days in advance

How to Submit: Email to Parks@cityofboston.gov; fax to 617.635.3227; mail to Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Attn: Permitting Unit, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston MA 02118-2600

Fees: Free

Permit Length: Because the permit application is typically for a one-off event, you’ll need to explain on the document that your event will be a regular occurrence. Be sure to detail the day, time, length and location of your class series.

 

CHARLOTTE

Permit Type: No permit is in place here, the city instead requires trainers to enter into a General Instructor Contract with Mecklenburg County

Application: Contact Park Fitness & Wellness coordinator John Kelley at 980.314.1116

Application Requirements: General liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming Mecklenburg County as additional insured; CPR certification; teaching proof of certification for sports/activities being taught

Fees: Rental rates vary by venue

 

CHICAGO

Permit Type: Athletic Event — Level T

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 30 days in advance; dates and times are subject to approval; general liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming Chicago Parks as certificate holder and additional insured

How to Submit: Online; email to PermitApp@chicagoparkdistrict.com; fax to 312-742-5339; mail to Department of Revenue; Attn: Administration Office, 359 E. McFetridge, Chicago, IL 60605

Fees: $35 application fee, $455/year

Permit Length: Seasonal

 

COLUMBUS

Permit type: Special Event

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 30 days in advance; general liability for $1,000,000 naming City of Columbus as additional insured

How to Submit: Mail to Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, 111 East Broad Street, Suite 101, Columbus OH 43205-1303

Fees: Varies based on one-time use or annual authorization; see application for details.

Permit Length: One-time use or annual permit.

 

DALLAS

Permit Type: Outdoor Fee-Based Program

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least three weeks in advance; general liability insurance for $300,000 naming City of Dallas as additional insured; a completed background check

How to Submit: Submit at least three weeks in advance; Email to raegan.driskell@dallascityhall.com; fax to 214.670.8571; mail to Special Services, Attn: Raegan Driskell, 5620 Parkdale Drive, Dallas TX 75227

Fees: 15 percent of all gross revenues collected, plus cleanup and/or damage to park property

Permit Length: Up to one year

 

DENVER

Permit Type: Private Outdoor Fee-Based Activity

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Applicants must be over 18 years old; proof of insurance; a signed indemnification/waiver. Applicants must also designate if their class will have 1-5 students or 6-25 students, if they’re applying for Tier 1 (City Park, Washington Park, and Sloan’s Lake Park) or Tier 2 (all other parks), and if their class will be taking place on “Turf” or “Road/Trail.” Each city in the park only issues a small number of Turf and Road/Trail per season, and if there are more applicants than permits, a lottery system in enacted.

How to Submit: Email to park.permits@denvergov.org; deliver in-person the first two weeks in February and September to 201 W. Colfax Avenue, Room 1.G.1, Denver CO 80202

Fees: $25 application fee, in addition to fees ranging from $100 to $300/six month season (depending on class size, type and location)

Permit Length: Six month seasons (April through September, October through March)

 

FORT WORTH

Permit Type: Outdoor Fee-Based Program

Application: Call the Parks and Recreation Department to request an application via telephone: 817.392.5700

Application Requirements: Submit 30 to 60 days in advance

How to Submit: Email nancy.wong@fortworthtexas.gov; fax to 817.392.5117; mail to Park & Recreation Department, Operations Contract Management, 4200 South Freeway, Suite 2200, Fort Worth, TX 76115

Fees: Permit charges $1,000/year for 0 to 20 students; $1,600 for 21 to 35 students; $2,000 for 36 to 50 students; contact the Park & Recreation Department to discuss fees for classes with over 50 participants

Permit Length: One- and two-year permits are available

 

HOUSTON

Permit Type: Agreement for Recreation and Leisure Services

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: To be determined once the application is received

How to Submit: Email to Marisela.Blanco@houstontx.gov

Fees: 11 percent of the program’s total earnings

Permit Length: Three months

 

KANSAS CITY

Permit Type: Outdoor Fitness

Application: Contact Katie Sowers with dates, times and locations at Katherine.Sowers@kcmo.org

Application Requirements: General liability insurance for $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 general aggregate naming City of Kansas City, Missouri as additional insured

How to Submit: Mail with payment to Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Attn: Katie Sowers, 4600 East 63rd Street, Kansas City MO 64130

Fees: $25/90 minutes

Permit Length: The duration of the event

 

LAS VEGAS

Permit Type: No permit or fee is is required for outdoor fitness events with less than 75 attendees

City Requirements for No-Permit Events: Don’t accept money on the park premises; don’t block access to pedestrians, parking lots, or other park users; don’t use picnic tables, playground equipment or boulders for the exercises; don’t bring in heavy equipment or truck tires that would damage the grass or park surfacing; don’t act like you have reserved a particular spot in the park

Contact: For events larger than 75 people, call Las Vegas Parks at 702.229.7529

 

LOS ANGELES/ORANGE COUNTY

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks requires trainers to contact the desired parks directly for rates and permission. You can find each park’s contact information via the department’s Facility Locator, which is on the bottom right corner of the homepage.

 

MIAMI

Permit Type: Permit to Use Park Facility

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 14 days in advance; general liability insurance

How to Submit: Email to Office of Special Events at parkspecialevents@miamigov.com

Fees: $200/month + $14 tax

Permit Length: For the event’s duration

 

MINNEAPOLIS

Permit Type: 2019 Active Sports Class Application

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 10 days in advance

How to Submit: Email to the Permitting Department at permits@minneapolisparks.org

Fee: $25/class

Permit Length: Calendar year

 

NASHVILLE

Permit Type: Outdoor Fitness Instruction

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least two months in advance; if approved, general liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming City of Nashville as additional insured; current certification from an NCAA-accredited organization; current CPR certification; liability waiver; completed background check

How to Submit: Email to misty.adfield@nashville.gov; mail to Misty Adfield, P.O. Box 196340, Nashville, TN 37219

Fees: $250/year; sole proprietors must pay 20 percent of monthly gross sales to Metro Parks at above address; business owners must pay 25 percent of gross sales monthly

Permit Length: One year

 

NEW YORK

Permit Type: Special Event Permit

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: None; upon review Parks and Recreation managers may request for additional documents or certifications

How to Submit: Online only

Fees: Application is free, field fees vary depending on the request

Permit Length: The event’s duration

 

ORLANDO

Permit Type: Reservation

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Once the application is submitted, Parks and Rec staff may require insurance and/or additional permits depending on the size and scope of the event

How to Submit: Online only

Fees: To be determined once the application is received

Permit Length: For the duration of the event

 

PHILADELPHIA

Permit Type: Special Events, Athletic Events

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit no later than 90 days prior to your event’s start date; general liability insurance for $1,000,000 listing the City of Philadelphia as additional insured

How to Submit: Mail to Special Events Office, CASE Building, 4300 S. Concourse Dr., Philadelphia, Pa. 19131

Fee: $25 application; site fees starting at $1,000 (once submitted, the office will assess how your event’s fees are prorated/charged)

Permit Length: For the duration of the event

 

PHOENIX

No permitting regulations are currently in place for outdoor fitness events held in Phoenix parks. If planning to host an event series, contact the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation at 602.262.6862

 

PORTLAND

Permit Type: Commercial Use Permit

Application: Online, email, or in person

Application requirements: Submit City of Portland business tax compliant certificate (apply for via the Portland Revenue Bureau), certificate of liability insurance and additional insured endorsement (naming the city of Portland, its officers and employees), workers compensation insurance (unless you’re the sole operator of the business)—independent contractors must apply for their own permits, advertising information, instructors’ and staff names

How to Submit: Online; email ParksCommercialUse@portlandoregon.gov; or mail or bring in-person to 111 SW Columbia Street, Suite 660, Portland, OR 97201 on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fee: For 45 days or more, $150; For less than 45 days but more than 15 days, $300; for 15 days or less $450; usage fees include: groups of 1-15 people (including instructors), $6.75/hour for undesignated spaces; groups of 16-30 people (including instructors), $10.75/Hour for undersigned spaces; call for specific spaces and details on athletic facilities (tracks, sports fields, etc.)

Permit Length: One calendar year; dates can be reserved only while insurance coverage is in effect.

 

RALEIGH

Permit Type: Commercial Use of Park Property

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit by December 15 for licensing from January 1 through December 31; March 15 for licensing from April 1 through December 31; June 15 for licensing from July 1 through December 31; September 15 for licensing from October 1 through December 31. You will receive notice of approval or denial within five business days. Certificate of insurance naming Raleigh as additional insured also required.

How to Submit: Email to forms@raleighnc.gov; mail to Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, PO Box 590, Raleigh NC, 27602-0590

Fees: $25 application

Permit Length: One calendar year

 

SACRAMENTO

Permit Type: Long Term Athletic Field Use

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit by the third Thursday in September for the following calendar year. (If interested in one off events, submit a regular Athletic Field Use application five days before the first of the month.) General liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming City of Sacramento as additional insured (for youth involvement only).

How to Submit: Applications are accepted annually, and are best to submit in-person at Parks Reservations, 4623 T Street, Suite B, Sacramento CA 95819; email to sacrecreation@cityofsacramento.org

Fees: $17/hour and up

Permit Length: One year

 

SAINT PAUL

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation does not currently permit park space for private use by trainers. If a trainer is interested in offering a class through the department’s current programming, they can reach Recreation Services at 651.266.6400 or email Recreation Programming Manager Gwen Peterson at Gwen.Peterson@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

 

SAINT LOUIS

A permit is not currently required to host outdoor fitness classes in St. Louis parks. To confirm the park space you’d prefer is available, call the Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry at 314.289.5300.  

 

SAN DIEGO

Permit Type: Facility and Park Use Permit (a.k.a. Boot Camp/Adult Fitness Permit)

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Fitness permits are issued to instructors who charge for classes; submit two prior to the first day of each quarter; general liability insurance for $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 general aggregate naming City of San Diego as additional insured

How to Submit: In person only at 2125 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Fees: $44/quarter

Permit Length: Permits are issued by beginning of each quarter

 

SAN FRANCISCO

A permit is not currently required to host outdoor fitness classes in San Francisco parks if you meet the following criteria: do not set up any equipment in the park, do not interfere with other park users or trigger complaints, move activities to different areas so they do not trigger too much wear in a particular area. However, due to increased growth, it is advised to provide the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department with your name and email to be included in future communications about permits by emailing rpdinfo@sfgov.org.

 

SEATTLE

Permit Type: Activity Use Permit-Fitness Classes (up to 10 hours per week, no more than 35 participants)

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Application, insurance requirement, City of Seattle Business License, background checks for staff

How to Submit: Email application to amy.hamaker@seattle.gov, Contracts Administration Support Office, 800 Maynard Ave S., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98134

Fees: $75 permit fee, $75 use fee per month; Fees payable at time of permit issuance

Permit Length: Up to one year

 

TAMPA


Permit Type: Recreation Contract Permit Instructor Agreement

Application: Click here and contact infoparksandrec@tampagov.net

Application Requirements: General liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming City of Tampa as additional insured; three references; pertinent certifications. Note that a new application must be filed for each course being taught.

How to Submit: Email to infoparksandrec@tampagov.net; fax to 813.274.5749; mail to Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, Attn: Contract Instructor Coordinator, 3402 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa FL 33607

Fees: $50/year; $10/hour plus tax facility use fee, Background check $17.50 per instructor

Permit Length: One year

 

TORONTO

Permit Type: Commercial Activities in Parks/Seasonal Request for Space

Application: For one-time booking, click here; for seasonal booking, click here

Application Requirements: General liability insurance for $2,000,000 naming City of Toronto as additional insured

How to Submit: Mail to your local permit office, see a full list here

Fees: $36.80/hour for groups who have 20 people per class, with a maximum 2 hours per day and a maximum of 2 classes per day

Permit Length: April 30th to October 30th

 

VANCOUVER

Permit Type: Park Use

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: Submit at least 10 business days prior to event; general liability insurance for $1,000,000 naming Vancouver as additional insured

How to Submit: Click “submit” on online application; fax to 360.487.8305; mail to Vancouver Parks and Recreation, PO BOX 1995, Vancouver WA 98668

Fees: To be determined once the application is received

Permit Length: For the event’s duration

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Permit Type: Permit Application

Application: Click here

Application Requirements: To be determined once the application is received

How to Submit: Online only

Fees: To be determined once the application is received

Permit Length: 6 months

 

Regulations on submitting permits for outdoor classes is subject to change. Information on this page is accurate as of 1/23/19.