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Vending and Expressive Activity

SDUPD Code Section 8.05

San Diego Bay Fisheye aerial view

The Temporary Commercial Use Permits for vending were assigned on Monday, April 17, 2023 during a live-streamed Opportunity Drawing. Click the button below to see the Allotted Space assignments and click the video link to view a recording of the live drawing. 

Click here for vending assignments

Vending and Expressive Activity

The Port of San Diego (Port) is responsible for the public tidelands of San Diego Bay. The Port has created reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity and vending to ensure the safety of artists, performers, and their audience, as well as vendors, customers, and the general public. Port District Code (SDUPD Code Section 8.05) addresses commercial, business, and First Amendment activities in its jurisdiction. The Port’s Parks & Recreation department administers the permit requirements designated under SDUPD Code Section 8.05 and the Harbor Police department administers enforcement of SDUPD Code Section 8.05.  

Notice: SDUPD Code Section 8.05 Amended on February 14, 2023 

The Board of Port Commissioners (Board) voted unanimously to amend SDUPD Code Section 8.05 to update the time, place, and manner restrictions that pertain to commercial vending and expressive activity at the Port’s parks and other public spaces. The code is intended to ensure health, safety, and general welfare standards, provide increased economic opportunity, and activate the Port’s waterfront, within the eight (8) designated areas along the Embarcadero within the City of San Diego. More information about the updated regulations is included below. 


click here to download 8.05 Ordinance / maps - Vending & Expressive Activity 


What is Expressive Activity?

All forms of speech and expressive conduct including but not limited to: 

  • Distribution of non-commercial information 
  • Solicitation of funds, subscriptions and/or signatures for a charity, religious organization, non-profit, or government entity 
  • Sale or performing of artwork, speeches, and/or performances that are inherently communicative in nature and have only nominal value apart from its communication

Expressive Activity Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions   

  • Time:         6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 
  • Place:         Allotted Spaces within Designated Areas only 
  • Manner:      First come, first served; no permit is required 
  • Noise limit: 75 LAeq 3-minute average 

What is Commercial Vending?

The sale of items that have functional utility and that are not primarily communicative in nature. This includes, but is not limited to, food, handcrafts, jewelry, candles, appliances, housewares, souvenirs, hats, sunglasses, and more.   

Commercial Vending Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions   

  • Time:          Sunrise to Sunset 
  • Place:         Allotted Spaces within Designated Areas only 
  • Manner:     Temporary Commercial Activity Permit Required 
  • Noise limit: 75 LAeq 3-minute average  

Commercial Vending Permit Application Requirements  

The following documentation will be required as part of the Port’s Temporary Commercial Activity Permit application for vending. 

  • Photo ID 
  • Description of what will be sold  
  • Business License or Business Tax Certificate 
    • (from the city of San Diego)

For those applying to sell food items, the following is also required:  

  • A valid permit from the County Department of Environmental Health and Quality 

Opportunity Drawing 

To address the high demand from commercial vendors to operate in certain locations, and to allow for rotation and turnover of vendors in these locations, the Port will conduct an opportunity drawing twice a year to assign applicants an Allotted Space within a Designated Area.  

The following is required to qualify for the Opportunity Drawing:  

  • Submission of a complete permit application, including all permit application requirements 

If selected in the Opportunity Drawing you will need to provide the following additional items before a permit is approved and issued. 

  • Certificate of Insurance 
  • Payment of $35 permit fee 

More information about the dates of the opportunity drawing will be forthcoming. 

How Can I Get Help?  

The Port’s Parks & Recreation department administers the commercial vending permitting process. Parks & Rec is also collaborating with the Logan Heights Community Development Corporation (LHCDC) to educate and support vendors through the permitting process. LHCDC can provide technical support to vendors who need assistance getting the required business documents needed to be eligible for a commercial sidewalk vending permit. 

Contact Information  



How to Apply for a Commercial Vending Permit

Commercial Vending permit applications will be accepted from March 6 - 31, 2023.

To apply for a permit, follow the steps below:

1.    Go to the Port’s Service Portal
2.    Create a New Account to get set-up in the Service Portal 
3.    Login to the Service Portal and complete the permit application

Click for the Service Portal User Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to register and apply

•    For questions about how to use the Service Portal and the permitting process contact Parks & Recreation at or 619.725.6001. 
•    For technical assistance with your permit application, or for information about  getting the additional documents required for the permit application, contact Logan Heights CDC at or 619.858.0563.


Enforcement and Penalties 

Following the Port’s educational outreach and training period, Harbor Police Community Service Officers will enforce SDUPD Code Section 8.05, which includes the following administrative fines for violations of the code:   

  • $250 – First Offense 
  • $500 – Second Offense 
  • $1,000 – Third Offense and thereafter 

8.05 Vending and Expressive Activity Enforceable Regulations - English Download

8.05 Vending and Expressive Activity Enforceable Regulations - Spanish Download

Examples of SDUPD Code Section 8.05 Violations    

The list below is not exhaustive and is only intended as a resource to provide examples of potential violations. 

  • Exceeding the boundaries of an Allotted Space in a Designated Area  
  • Being set up in a location that is not an Allotted Space in a Designated Area 
  • Exceeding the Noise Limits  
  • Conducting activity outside the designated hours  
  • Being unable to provide proof of a Port-issued use permit 
  • Being unable to provide proof of a San Diego County health department permit to operate (if applicable)

Next Steps/Timeline

February 15, 2023 - Educational Public Awareness Period Begins

  • Train staff on Port Code Section No. 8.05 changes
    • Private security guards
    • Logan Heights Community Development Corporation (LHCDC)
    • Harbor Police Community Service Officers (CSOs)
  • LHCDC distributes information to vendors summarizing updated code and about permit application timelines and requirements; and provides assistance with completing permit applications
  • Continue to have private security available during high-traffic times to monitor the area and de-escalate conflicts

May 1, 2023 - Port of San Diego Harbor Police Enforcement of 8.05 Regulations begins

May 1, 2023 - First Commercial Vending Permitting Period Begins and temporary Commercial Vending Permits become effective

  • Citations issued to individuals in violation of Port Code Section 8.05 - Vending and Expressive Activity Regulated

These phases are the initial steps in what is expected to be an on-going, iterative process. As the Port, along with other agencies across the state, have been working to address the effects of the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act and implement regulations in their jurisdictions, it is clear that street vending is a complex and layered topic. Staff recognizes that it will take time, and consistent, dedicated effort, to refine the processes and procedures designed to cultivate a street vending environment on the tidelands that balances the needs and desires of various stakeholders.

Staff expects to focus on continuous improvement and understands that iterations of these initial administrative and enforcement procedures may be necessary. It’s anticipated that future Board updates and/or actions on this topic may occur. Staff will continue to monitor both the steps taken by other jurisdictions and the results of the Port’s own regulatory changes, to continue to work toward improving the waterfront experience for the public, community stakeholders, and for the individuals engaged in vending and expressive activities.